And the fatal mistake CPA firms make in their training budgets.
By Michael Ramos
For years CPA firms have tried to measure the ROI from their learning and development spend, an effort that has produced mostly unsatisfactory results.
Standard learning and development metrics provide some insight into the training function, but firm partners are more interested in measuring something much more elusive: tangible economic benefit from training spend. What the profession has struggled with is, while measuring costs is easy, measuring direct return has proven to be quite difficult. Faced with an incomplete ROI model, firms turn to the only side of the equation they can control, the cost side, which leads them to take the only option that seems viable – cutting costs as a way to drive ROI.
The problem is firms are asking the wrong question. Instead of focusing on precise measures of return on training dollars, CPA firms would be better served by asking the more subjective question, “What should we do to make sure our training dollars are being spent wisely?” The answer to that question may lack the precision firm leaders desire, but it does have one distinct advantage over precise objective measures: It is a question firms can answer. And the answer, if thoughtfully considered, may achieve the ultimate goal: providing high-impact training at an affordable cost.