CPAs are true knowledge workers, so it only follows that Accounting Continuing Education is required. In the accounting profession, so much knowledge is required, and the nature of requirements is based on the specialty, goals, and aspirations of each professional. For planning purposes, there are three categories of skills for Accounting Continuing Education: 1. 'technical skills' in a professional specialty, 2. 'hard skills' in related business domains, and 3. 'soft skills' to support the people side of being a CPA. Here's a more detailed look at each.
Technical Skills for Accounting Continuing Education
By technical skills, I am talking about the areas related to the CPA's specialty. Some of these skills are broad in nature within the
accounting knowledge domain, such as accounting for capital budgeting, or general operating budgeting. But more often than not, they involve expertise in accounting rules, usually involving changing legislation as well as best practices, in certain specialties. For example, one CPA may want to deepen and maintain up-to-date knowledge about estate taxation. Another may need to keep abreast of accounting rules and unique business structures in, for example, the construction industry. Still another may be intensely involved with international business and require broader knowledge of how to handle transactions between countries.
Accounting Continuing Education for Objective Hard Skills
Critical to success are hard skills in areas like software, such as MS Office, accounting software, or even enterprise management software. Other hard skills include business skills such as project management, portfolio management, business analysis, Six Sigma, and much more. These skills are not core to accounting itself, but can greatly increase the effectiveness of a CPA and fuel new business objectives.
Accounting Continuing Education for Soft Skills
Soft skills are critically important, and working with clients, within any size business, or in the public domain demands top soft skills. Indeed, it is well known that a large - maybe even vast majority - proportion of success is determined by soft skills. These skills include leadership, communications, team building, and technical writing and speaking in public.
Personalizing an Approach to earning CPA CPE
A CPA has about 40 hours to work with each year for continuing education. Ideally, this will be accomplished by a combination of technical CPE to support the specialty, targeted hard skill development, and soft skill development to round out the skill set. The good news is that there are plenty of training opportunities available to reach any and all of these professional objectives and earn CPE at the same time.
One Last Item
The 'multiple sources' strategy is an approach that generously rewards those that use it. A 'multiple sources' strategy refers to the idea of learning a subject from multiple angles - which can be achieved by studying the material from multiple sources. Each of these sources will offers a different perspective on the subject, enabling the learner to deepen understanding of the subject. While many learning modes - including the online training that we provide - incorporate this type of learning by portraying different angles, it is up to the individual to decide how they will approach this.
John Reiling provides hundreds of NASBA-approved CPA Accounting Continuing Education online training courses on the site CPEtrainingonline.com. John has earned multiple licenses and certifications - licensed Professional Engineer (PE), several IT certifications, and current Project Management Professional (PMP) and Six Sigma Green Belt (SSGB). He provides additional professional online training under PROtrainingonline.com