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In a ground-breaking effort to uncover the top trends and best practices in professional development in the tax and accounting industry, The Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA) is teaming with CPA Trendlines Research and Michael Ramos + Associates to conduct an extensive study of CPAs’ learning plans, attitudes, and behaviors.
The study, already underway and in the preliminary reporting stages, is examining the links between the relative success of CPA firms and their approach to professional development.
“Recent studies have focused on individual preferences for CPE and professional development,” said Josh Goldman, CAE, vice president, learning, OSCPA. “We wanted to take a different approach by focusing on the return on investment a growth-oriented business can achieve by using organizational learning and other human capital initiatives to drive bottom-line performance. People are the greatest asset, and expense, for professional service firms and we are pleased to sponsor research to explore the characteristics of an effective human capital culture that are present in high performing firms.”
The survey is also investigating a host of specialty skills including business valuation, employee benefit plans, fair value measurement, fraud prevention, government, health care, international accounting and several others.
“When it comes to professional development, most firms leave huge amounts of money on the table. The key is NOT to shop for cheaper CPE,” said Michael Ramos, principal, Michael Ramos + Associates. “Instead, firms should take a more strategic approach to how they manage their learning function and demand a higher return on their spend just like they would from any other investment. The survey shows more successful firms are moving in this direction.”
Preliminary results are already showing that the top priorities for continuing professional development this year are led by tax issues.
“Tax preparation and tax planning for individuals and for businesses are at the heart of what CPAs may be best known for,” said Rick Telberg, president and founder of CPA Trendlines Research. “And with the uncertainties looming in a presidential election year, CPAs know they can’t afford to miss a beat.”
Research Focus & Findings:
• Qualitative analysis of the essential ingredients for firms to succeed this year
• Comparison of ranking professional development by topics for this coming year
• The rationale’s of those choosing essential skills or specialty areas to focus as a growth driver
• The gap between alignment of critical success factors and professional development
• Comparison of high-performing and low-performing professional service firms regarding:
o Learning agenda focus
o Culture of innovation
o Alignment of learning programs to firm’s future, strategy and vision
o Engagement by senior leadership in learning programs
o Performance multipliers for working with the best professional development resources
o Benefits of treating human capital and learning as a competitive advantage
o Correlations among strategic learning and recruitment and retention success
About the Study:
The CPA Trendlines / Ohio Society of CPAs / Ramos Study of Issues and Trends in Professional Development 2016 measures and correlates attitudes, behaviors, plans and outcomes reported by tax and accounting professionals. As of this date, 392 responses have been collected, a sample size that yields an estimated margin of error of about 4.2 percentage points at a 90 percent confidence rating. Respondents were scientifically selected from the databases of The Ohio Society of CPAs and CPA Trendlines and invited to participate. The findings are being reported as they develop at cpatrendlines.com and ohiocpa.com/learning-trends-survey.
Professional tax and accounting practitioners are invited to join the survey at https://www.research.net/r/CPE16
Participants will receive an executive summary of the results that users may find valuable for themselves and their firms.
About the Respondents: The overwhelming majority of respondents are the owners and chief executives of independent, local, tax and accounting firms from across the nation.
By Position: Managing Partner/President/CEO/COO: 59.8%
Partner/Senior Executive/CFO/COO: 18.0%
Senior Staff/General Management: 16.7%
Other Staff: Mid-Level Staff/Internal Auditor: 5.5%
By Sector of the Profession:
Public accounting: 82.2%
Business or Industry: 12.0%
By Size of Business:
Solo practitioner: 22.1%
2 to 10 persons: 39.9%
11 to 50 persons: 22.1%
More than 50 persons: 13.9%
About the Researchers:
The Ohio Society of CPAs – The Ohio Society of CPAs is a leading partner and influential voice for a thriving business environment. We are a community of 85,000 CPAs and financial professionals leading important advocacy initiatives that protect the public and create a healthy and sustainable business climate in Ohio. More at ohiocpa.com.
Michael Ramos + Associates – Headed by CPA Michael Ramos, the consulting firm acts as a strategic partner to accounting firms and businesses in building, leveraging and monetizing intellectual capital, by deploying a deep understanding of the accounting profession and a network of learning, marketing, and technical resources. More at ramos-associates.com.
CPA Trendlines Research – CPATrendlines.com is the online home of the freshest research and analysis in the tax, accounting and finance professions. The company, founded by accounting industry veteran Rick Telberg, delivers "actionable intelligence" – the data and analysis professionals need to advance their careers, their organizations and their clients – the facts and figures, insights and implications, for smarter, faster, data-based decision-making. More at cpatrendlines.com.