Lifelong Learning: More Than a Credits Requirement

In today’s rapidly changing landscape, with new technologies and best practices emerging all the time, learning cannot stop the moment one finishes formal education or even after the continuing ed requirements are fulfilled. The half-life of skills is constantly shrinking across fields from accounting to human resources to information technology. Tax codes change yearly and accounting standards see periodic upheavals. Even soft skills like communication, leadership, and creative problem-solving must adapt to new workplace dynamics and employee expectations.

Learning agility has, therefore, become a crucial asset for business professionals. In a recent McKinsey survey of global executives, nearly 90% said they prioritized nimble learning as they navigated increasing business complexity. Likewise, a study from IBM found that high-performance enterprises were over five times more likely to have a strong learning culture ingrained throughout their organization.

Beyond maintaining current relevance, ongoing education also enables individuals and companies to get ahead of the curve. It allows them to foresee emerging challenges in their industry and proactively build future-ready skillsets. Whether it’s gaining analytics proficiency to harness big data or experimenting early with automation to enable scalability, those who lead the learning curve also lead the competitive curve.

The good news is there are now abundant, flexible alternatives from costly and time-consuming options – to bite-sized mobile lessons to immersive virtual courses to coaching sessions with industry experts. The ease of access combined with the pragmatism of outcomes removes all excuses not to make learning a habit.

As the leaders of our practices, it’s our responsibility to build a culture of learning. We have to start with our own commitment to continuing education and constantly instill its importance into the team around us. It’s also our responsibility to build a strategic learning plan to ensure that the skills and continuing education our team members receive are focused on the areas that will continue to propel the firm forward.

If continuing education has traditionally been something that has been treated as a check-the-box requirement in your practice, it is more important than ever to begin looking at learning and skill development as an integral part of your strategic plan. With a fast-paced technology landscape changing every day, our practices can no longer afford to simply pacify learning as meeting minimum requirements.

Christine Gervais

Christine Gervais is a licensed CPA, using her skills to help businesses grow and achieve their fullest potential. Christine has a Master’s degree in accounting from Southern New Hampshire University in addition to holding her CPA license for over a decade. Notably, Christine is a nationally recognized speaker providing education to other CPAs on how to best serve clients as well as instruction on a wide variety of topics for business owners on how to maximize success. Christine prides herself on the value she can bring to clients with her extensive tax knowledge and provides strategic, forward-thinking financial strategies to help clients grow. When not behind her desk, you can find Christine spending quality time with her daughter and stepson or tending to the family’s excessively loved farm animals.

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