INTHEBLACK August 2021 - Flipbook - Page 36
F E AT U R E
// P R O F E S S I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T
“EMPLOYERS RECOGNISE THE IMPORTANCE OF ‘SOFT’
SKILLS TRAINING, BUT IT COMPETES IN PRIORITY WITH
NEW PRODUCT LAUNCHES, PERFORMANCE AND GROWTH...
THE APPETITE IS THERE, BUT IT’S NOT ALWAYS A PRIORITY,
AND THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE.”
Above: Nicole Gorton,
Robert Half Australia
A PRICE WORTH PAYING
While it is clear that CPD offers all-round benefits, what
is less clear is who should be paying for it.
Peter Polgar FCPA is executive chair of professional
services firm Reanda Australia, and says even after 50
years in finance and accountancy, trying to keep abreast
of what is going on in the industry is more challenging
He is in no doubt, however, that continued professional
development should be a shared responsibility between
the employer, the employee and professional associations.
“Professional development should be a shared vision.
We need to take ownership, as we are all in this together,”
At Reanda, employees are encouraged to take an active
part in their own learning and are reimbursed for the cost
of successfully completed training courses.
“Big firms like ours have the resources and capacity
to budget for professional development, but smaller
firms are less able to do that and training becomes a
discretionary cost,” says Polgar.
In order to help manage the cost of CPD for staff,
the employer should have a good understanding of the
business’s cost revenue structure. Taking a strategic view
of CPD means determining what the organisation needs
and when, and how to go about delivering that in the
most cost-efficient way possible.
This may include delivering CPD through group
training sessions or peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, with
employees presenting their learning to the wider team
following a conference, for example.
A weekly or monthly discussion group on problem issues
could also bring a team closer together.
36 ITB August 2021
NICOLE GORTON, ROBERT HALF AUSTRALIA
Cross-training or shadowing someone who is
comfortable performing tasks another employee needs to
learn is another cost-effective way of upskilling staff, as is
identifying an employee with strong communication and
behavioural skills who is willing to act as trainer for others
and would be happy to change their job description.
A business that prioritises CPD and develops a clear
idea of how learning and development activities fit into
the overall strategy is much more likely to achieve desired
results without going over budget.
REQUIREMENT FOR CONTINUOUS LEARNING
Accountants have a professional responsibility to keep
their knowledge up to date and stay on top of the latest
“If you are not learning something new every day, then
you are not keeping up, as the industry is changing every
day,” cautions Polgar.
This includes not only improving technical knowledge
and staying up to date with technology trends, but also
honing so-called “soft” skills, such as communication and
people management, says Gorton.
Cultivating the ability to navigate conversations,
negotiate and wield influence is even more important in the
post-COVID-19 world, where so many daily interactions
with colleagues and clients are not face-to-face.
“Employers recognise the importance of ‘soft’ skills
training, but it competes in priority with new product
launches, performance and growth as it relates to
shareholder interest,” says Gorton.
“The appetite is there, but it’s not always a priority,
and that needs to change.” Gorton says one solution is
to put professional development into the context of an