With the training season for accounting firms just a couple of months away, now is the time to develop contingency plans for distance learning should live seminar training classes be cancelled – a very real possibility as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the United States.
Accounting firm leaders have already modified many aspects of their businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Having grappled with travel restrictions, client service issues, and office closures, they will soon confront another multifaceted, complex challenge – whether and how to move live seminar training to the internet and other distance learning models.
For several reasons, accounting firms can’t simply postpone indefinitely or cancel their training for the year. For example:
- What if travel and large gatherings are not declared safe until fall? Is it reasonable for a firm to pull staff from billable projects to attend training? How will the firm service its clients?
- Some, if not all, of the firm’s professional staff will be required to obtain continuing education credits in the current year to maintain an active license. How will they get their credits this year in order to renew their licenses?
- Even if it’s not an education reporting year, training still poses a difficult challenge. If these professionals receive minimal continuing education credits in the current year, is it possible for them to double up on training in 2021 in order to meet necessary goals?
Practical challenges aside, the most damaging consequence of canceling or curtailing training this year is the most obvious: without effective training, firm professionals will not have the knowledge and skills necessary to do their jobs at the highest level, causing another set of problems: not enough trained professionals to do the work.
As accounting firms face the issue of live seminar continuing education training, more will reach the same conclusion as some of our clients already have: the most prudent course of action is for firms to make contingency plans now for creating and delivering distance learning to replace any live seminar training events planned for the remainder of the year.
Creating such a plan comes with a cost, but the risk of not planning at all is significant. A hastily considered plan cobbled together at the 11th hour is likely to not only be ineffective but perceived by the staff in a negative light.
A thoughtful, well-executed plan greatly improves the chance that the training will be effective and sends a positive message to the firm about its leaders and their commitment to professional development.
Why not ready ourselves now for the possibilities of what could be inevitable? It’s better to be safe than sorry, and preparation is key. MRA Learning is here to guide companies when it comes to creating unique, customized distance learning plans meant to replace traditional training. Use our resources to put together a comprehensive plan that meets your needs.