Increasing Audit Profits Series No. 19—Investing in Foundational Staff-Level Training

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I attended the first AICPA Basic Staff Training Seminar in Boulder, Colorado in 1966 as I recall.  Since then CPA firms large and small have been sending their personnel to staff level training programs offered by a number of providers.  As the profession has long recognized, these CPE programs provide foundational skills that build the resource base of individuals and firms.  Stronger technical and practical skills result in higher quality services and greater engagement and firm profitability.

In recent years, registration fees for staff level training have increased substantially, to the point many small and medium-size CPA firms and other organizations have turned to other CPE programs.  Most alternative programs provide knowledge of professional standards and requirements. Few such programs provide the practical application skills of staff level training programs.

Having written and presented live staff level training programs for over three decades, I have observed the long-range benefits enjoyed by firms that invest in these programs.  The knowledge applied in this type of training becomes knowledge retained and transferred to on-the-job applications. Individual skills of staff personnel become and remain stronger which enables each person to develop others that they supervise.  Skills added through staff level training bring exponential returns on a firm’s CPE investment.

As a cost-beneficial alternative to live staff level training, I have developed the first-of-its-kind live webcast and self-study staff level training.  By presenting and illustrating the application of professional standards, by illustrating a team approach to performing accounting and auditing engagements and by discussing real-life issues and case studies, interaction with participants is achieved in ways that parallel live training to enhance learning retention.  By eliminating the costs of travel and the high registration fees for  live staff level training, the benefits of high quality webcast staff training are available for all sizes of CPA firms and other organizations.

When the leadership of CPA firms and organizations become involved with their staff persons attending live or self-study staff training (see my blog on 5/14/11 Getting the Most Out of Webcast CPE), firm policies and procedures can be added to the learning.  The case discussions and voluntary homework assignments with my webcast presentations offer the opportunity for participants to demonstrate their initiative and to involve their leadership in the learning application process.

My Staff Training for New In-Charge Accountants Series of 8 webcasts is being presented currently.  The Entry-Level Skills Training Series of 6 webcasts starts in September. In November and December, I’ve scheduled 6 webcasts for the Staff Training for Engagement Leaders Series.  You can download syllabuses and register for currently available webcasts (and others and they become available) by clicking on the Live Webcasts box on the left side of my home page, www.cpafirmsupport.com.   

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