Increasing Audit Profits Series No. 9--Getting the Most Out of Webcast CPE

For over 30 years of presenting continuing education for accountants and auditors, I’ve been concerned about maximizing the value of the training.  Most firms and organizations pay the registration fees for staff personnel to attend live and webcast training programs.  Few firms, however, monitor and assist their personnel with the preparation for the training and the application of the learning to their job responsibilities. This monitoring and assistance is the only way to maximize a firm’s investment in CPE! Because most firms’ CPE budgets are increasing each year due to higher registration fees and the need to stay abreast of the information explosion in our profession, good stewardship of the training investment is essential for building a firm’s staff resource base.  Following is an example of how a Utah CPA firm plans to get the most out of its investment in webcast CPE.
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From Joseph P. Leverich, CPA, Leverich Group, Midvale, Utah, here is his firm’s plan to get the most out of their investment in webcast continuing education:

“In an attempt to raise our team’s level, here is an outline of what we are doing to help make your training more valuable to our team,  firm and the clients who we render services to:

1:  Print a copy of all handouts, back-up support, possibly the slides.  
2: Share the print-out in a 30 minute meeting 4 working days in advance of your presentation asking each person to read – underline – highlight the ideas and issues.
a.     Seek out problems or consult with a team member if they are struggling or don’t understand some of the material.
b.    Assign our people time to read the material.  We don’t want to hear “I was too busy to read it.”
c.    Set up some expectations of the how this training will be valuable to us individually in doing our work.
3: Appoint a person, staff team member, to lead a 30 minute round-table after the meeting on what was the benefit and how can we use this information in our firm.  This person will be in charge of printing, setting the expectations, presenting the 30 minute initial meeting, and conducting the huddle – immediately after your presentation.
4:  Have each team member print their individual course evaluation and share it with our appointed team person.  We want to challenge our process and help the firm get the benefit from our study, attendance and how we can raise our ability as professionals.

Our goal is to develop a process where we do more than listen to you to present but really gain from the education and discuss how we can implement it.”

After waiting nearly 30 years to see plans like this implemented for live seminars and webcasts, I applaud the efforts of the Leverich Group! I recognize that the investment of time to implement this plan will result in additional un-billable time charges and increase the cost of training. The return on this investment through learning retention and increases in engagement profitability, however, will far exceed these costs!  Implementing a plan like this in your firm or organization is an essential ingredient for success (maybe even survival!) in the years to come.

Syllabuses for my live webcasts and on-demand self-study courses can be obtained by clicking the appropriate box on the left side of our home page, www.cpafirmsupport.com. Also, you may be interested in registering for our free weekly email newsletter that contains a monthly schedule of my live webcasts.

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by Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC - Larry has over 40 years experience as a CPA practitioner, author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs.  He is co-founder of CPA Firm Support Services, LLC (www.cpafirmsupport.com), an organization providing resources, training and consulting to smaller CPA firms.  Larry writes a weekly blog on AccountingWEB.com focusing on small audits, reviews and compilations.  He is currently developing documentation manuals and handbooks for small audits, reviews and compilations and related electronic practice aids.

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