Professional Development in Accounting: Ways to Drive Your Learning Process

January 23, 2023 Sarah Dameron

Accountant learning new skills

Times are changing. To thrive in the finance space, businesses must be willing to adapt to the changing environment and pivot on a moment’s notice. But how? By stressing the importance of professional development in accounting. Unfortunately, although many organizations are getting better about offering workplace learning opportunities, some are still lacking in driving employee growth.

In this unprecedented climate, employees are seeking ways to cultivate their skills that’ll take them to the next level in their career. Likewise, employers are wanting to retain their teams, no matter the demands. As Linda Cai, VP of Talent Development at LinkedIn states in the Workplace Learning Report, “The responsibility of learning has always been to help organizations navigate uncertainty and chaos in the world.”

Let’s take a closer look at some factors contributing to the need for workplace learning, tangible benefits of continuous learning and what to consider when fostering a culture of learning.

Factors Driving Modern Workplace Learning

accounting team asking questions about professional development in the workplace

The world is changing rapidly and the skills (and experience) that were relevant yesterday are no longer pertinent today. The finance and accounting industry is witnessing firsthand the changes that are sweeping across every organization. Changes like:

  • Advancements in Technology. These developments have not only changed the way people do business, but also the way people learn. As Microsoft once said, “The exponential growth of digital connectivity, devices and information is driving profound changes in the way we work, all around the world…”

  • Multi-Generational Workforce. Move aside Millennials (and all those that came before), there’s a new generation entering the workforce, and they are driven by change. Amy Borsetti, Senior Director at LinkedIn Learning, touches on this topic: “They’re the most agile generation on record, and they are putting positive pressure on organizations to actively invest in their development.”

  • Shifting Priorities. The pandemic disrupted nearly every aspect of business in every sector. Now, companies are having to regroup and identify ways to propel their businesses forward in a way that matches the current landscape.

Suggested Reading: Building Best-In-Class Finance & Accounting in the Modern Global Landscape

Importance of Continuous Learning in the Workplace for Professional Development in Finance & Accounting

finance team during free learning session offered in the workplace

In an era dominated by the Great Resignation, there’s a reason why creating a continual learning environment is crucial to your organization’s bottom line. In fact, a LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report found that 94 percent of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. With this in mind, here are a few reasons why learning lies at the crux of success for businesses:

  • Remain Competitive in a Saturated Market. To do this, you’ll need a knowledgeable workforce; one that is willing to learn new processes and technologies to further the advancement of the company.

  • Reduce Burnout and Employee Turnover. Bringing on new talent is both a time and monetary investment. By nurturing your current employees, you can curtail the need to recruit additional headcount (a win-win for both parties). Additionally, it prevents your workers from feeling stagnated or boxed-into their role.

  • Attract Top Talent. Learning cultures are a magnet for enticing highly skilled workers. People are eager to grow in their career, and to remain competitive in the present climate, you want to be the place people can excel – to strengthen their skills and become the best version of themselves at work.

  • Enhance Employee Performance. At the micro level, employees feel valued, and they become more in tune with their job responsibilities. On the other hand, at the macro level, continuous learning can be the catalyst that fuels innovation and growth.

Read More: 5 Strategies to Develop a Habit of Lifelong Learning

Taking Charge of Your Learning Process

accountant working on professional development by learning new skills

It’s easy to assume that your current learning initiatives are fail-proof. After all, you’re implementing a one-size-fits-all approach throughout your org. Unfortunately, that tactic causes more problems than not (and when it comes to learning, you can’t afford any mistakes). So how do you drive your learning process?

Make Learning a Priority from Day One to Master Professional Development in Accounting

All too often, we wait for our new employees to be firmly in the trenches of their job before we offer up professional development as a perk. However, those first 30-60-90 days matter a lot. Learning should be ingrained in your employees from the moment they join until the day they exit. This starts with an effective onboarding strategy and continues throughout their time with your company.

Set Aside Time to Learn

Looming deadlines, on-going projects, countless meetings, a back-log of unanswered emails – the most compelling evidence for why employees feel held back from learning. Time is a commodity – a resource that seems to deplete quickly. Erase the notion that learning is an extracurricular activity, only to be done outside of work hours. Instead, make learning a core business value. You can do this by offering:

  • Lunch and learn training sessions. The perfect pairing – lunch and the opportunity to learn on the job without losing valuable time.

  • Microlearning videos. Learning in bite-sized increments can help employees retain new skills without overloading them with information they’ll forget in a day or two.

  • Training podcasts. If you listen to music while you work, this is the same concept. The best part? It keeps your employees engaged and eager for more.

Create a Library of Learning Resources

It’s essential for employees to keep pace with industry trends and technological developments that would add value to their company. To do this, employers need to make information easily accessible because if the learning process takes a lot of effort to do (or find), your employees will get discouraged. Your library should include materials ranging from:

  • PDFs

  • Webinars

  • PowerPoint Presentations

  • Videos

Professional development in accounting is about more than just learning on the job – it’s about building the workforce of the future. Whether your goal is to foster a culture of learning, bridge the skills gap or push your company forward, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Get in touch with one of our experts to discover how outsourcing can help drive your business’s learning process.

Looking for resources that are free and simple to read and download? Check out our accounting resource library.

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