According to a recent AICPA Insider poll, during these tough economic times, CPAs are focusing mainly on efficient execution of everyday work and returning to the basics of running their practices. My first thought was: I hope that focusing on the basics includes self-development!
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If day-to-day operational efficiency is key, isn’t your professional development also key? Maybe there is something you could learn to do better or faster. You could gear up to offer a new service to your clients. Some firms may not have this mentality and cut their training down to the bare necessities when trimming the budget. While this can be a natural response, I think it’s a bit shortsighted. There can be tremendous return on your investment when learning something new or in brushing up your day-to-day skills.
I’m happy to report that I have seen evidence that a great number of practitioners are indeed looking for ways to strengthen their skills and work more efficiently. At CPE Link we have seen record attendance in our live Excel webcasts. The hot programs have included Creating Error Proof Spreadsheets, Mastering Excel Pivot Tables, and Excel Speed Tips. It makes sense to improve on a skill that you use in your daily work. If you can cut down on the hours you spend manipulating the data in your spreadsheets, you can move onto other tasks.
Don’t think you can afford to keep up with your professional development? Today’s tighter budgets may require you find new ways to learn. That’s okay. There are plenty of avenues available today beyond the traditionally expensive in-person seminar or conference. You could consider self-study which has can be an inexpensive alternative. Of course, there are lots of webinars offered these days. Sometimes you can even find free programs. Today’s online learning platforms not only offer less expensive registration fees, but they also allow for easy access to information without spending extra time out of the office.
So, as you focus on getting back to the basics for your firm, remember to include developing your knowledge and skills. An increase in your productivity could translate directly to an improved financial situation for your firm.
What are you doing to develop your professional skills?