Keep your accounting practice on the cutting edge by working lifelong learning into your career as an accounting professional. By staying on top of constant changes to accounting practices made by agencies like the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), you’ll always be up-to-date and ready to provide your clients with the most accurate and advanced service. Continuing education can by a key to sustaining and growing profits for your accounting firm, helping you to land and keep important clients.
Get a Degree or Professional Certification
In Canada, the accounting field isn’t terribly strict in terms of educational requirements. Still, having a degree makes you stand out. If you are the face of your firm, think of how marketable you’ll be if you have a strong educational background. Running or working at a successful firm could make getting a degree difficult. If you can find a way to work in classes, going to an accredited four-year university for a Bachelor of Commerce degree in accounting is a wonderful way to boost your knowledge. If it’s difficult for you to attend regular classes at a specific time, consider online education that enables you to work at your own pace. At the end, there’s the added bonus of a degree that you can display on your wall to let clients know you’ve expanded your arsenal of information and skills.
Certifications are also helpful for enhancing your professional profile. The option to focus on, the one that is most recognized and sought after in Canada, is the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation. When it comes to the accounting field, having a CPA designation after your name is a shiny gold star that your clients and colleagues will admire. It also signals to clients they can be confident you know your stuff.
Attend Conferences and Seminars
Conferences and seminars offer significant educational value. Professional conferences may provide vital knowledge that can’t always be learned on the job. They often provide information on compliance changes, proper and new practices, new techniques, technological advancements, and a host of other up-to-the-minute tidbits you might not have picked up otherwise. Attending conferences helps you keep a finger on the pulse of the accounting industry.
Build Your Network
Networking is a crucial part of lifelong learning. Conferences and seminars are not only vital for current information in the field but also a great way to network. After a speech or session, hang around awhile afterwards. You can mingle with presenters, speakers, and other attendees. This allows you to share ideas and trade practices with others and gain insight from what they share with you. This two-way street of information sharing is a key way to garner important information that you can take back with you and put into practice at your firm. Be sure to exchange business cards with anyone you talk to so you can easily keep in touch with them.
Building relationships with other professionals also affords you a referral network to assist your clients when they have nonaccounting issues that need assistance.
If a prestigious organization or group is hosting one of these gatherings, see if you can join. This is another way to network, and it can also lead to discounts and special offers related to attending future events. It also opens the door to special webinars or conference recordings that you can access when you’re unable to attend an event in person.
These are just some of the ways you can maintain professional expertise through practicing lifelong learning. It’s worth the effort to fit in reading, listening to podcasts, and regular continuing education as part of your career growth as a professional accountant.