Professional Development Opportunities for Accountants

Learning doesn’t end with college graduation. Accounting professionals are required to keep up with changing regulations and industry standards. In addition, many accountants create value by specializing in tax law, mergers and acquisitions and others. Opportunities for professional development are available through trade associations and employers.

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)

The AICPA administers the certified public accounting (CPA) exam. The AICPA is the world’s largest accounting member organization. As well as offering preparation for the CPA exam, the AICPA offers professional development to its members. There are over 300 self-study courses that cover many areas. In addition, there are also live web events and group study options. Subjects include fraud, healthcare, not-for-profit, professional ethics and more. The AICPA offers training modules to keep members up to date on regulations, GAAP and IFRS polices. In addition, the AICPA holds several conferences a year in in major cities regarding topics such as “Expert Witness Skills” and “Business Valuation.” As you focus your career, these becoming knowledgeable about specialized subjects such as these will set yourself apart as an expert.

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)

The AICPA offers professional development to its members. There are over 300 self-study courses that cover many areas. In addition, there are also live web events and group study options. Subjects include fraud, healthcare, not-for-profit, professional ethics and more. The AICPA offers training modules to keep members up to date on regulations, GAAP and IFRS polices. In addition, the AICPA holds several conferences a year in in major cities regarding topics such as “Expert Witness Skills” and “Business Valuation.” As you focus your career, these opportunities are valuable to set yourself apart as an expert.

The Institutes of Management Accountants (IMA)

The IMA administers the certified management accountant examination. The IMA also offers professional development, focusing on business topics for the financial professional. The IMA holds an annual conference that focuses on current topics and allows attendees to earn education credits. The organization also offers two leadership conferences for younger accountants, the Leadership Academy and the Student Leadership Conference. A monthly Inside Talk Webinar Series covers relevant topics and covers current issues in the accounting profession.

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA)

The IIA, the organization that administers the certified internal auditor exam, offers opportunities for professional development for auditing professionals. Seminars are offered in major U.S. cities on topics such Risk, Technology, Governance and others. E-Learning classes are also available, and include subjects such as Enterprise Risk Management, Auditing the Cloud and Lean Six Sigma tools for Internal Audit. IIA also offers an executive development program for auditors interested in advancing their career to top management, specifically a Chief Audit Executive.

Corporate Development

Many companies offer professional development opportunities for employees, including preparation for the CPA, CMA or CIA exams. Professional development training classes help employees further their career in their chosen area. Caterpillar, for example delivers specialized employee development courses such as Finance Services Development Programs. Companies often contract with a training company to provide such opportunities to employees. In addition to internal training, many companies subsidize professional development by sending employees to conferences offered by the AICPA, IMA and IIA.

Professional development in your chosen career is important increase your value to your company and future employers. In the first years after graduating, take advantage of opportunities that will help you find your focus of interest. After three to five years of work experience, you can start to pursue specialization topics to become an expert in your field.

Sources
http://www.aicpa.org/Pages/default.aspx
http://www.imanet.org/ima_home.aspx
https://na.theiia.org/Pages/IIAHome.aspx
http://www.caterpillar.com/careers/americas/college-university/development-programs

About Sara Huter

Sara Huter has over 15 years experience in the banking and energy industries, and over 10 years as an adjunct professor. Her work has been published for BusinessBee.com, the International Directory of Company Histories, the Encyclopedia of Business Insights: Global, EHow.com, and Examiner.com. Find out more about Sara at her Google+ Profile.