Create a resource book for new
employees of processes
your firm follows such as
standardized signatures or forms. Consider
the procedures that are a part of your
daily work routine in the firm and make
them part of the orientation training.
Set specific dates each month to
offer new-hire training.
Establish a training agenda
for new hires and introduce them to
marketing patterns of your firm such as
the areas you sell to and target goals, HR
procedures and software used. Bring in
speakers for technical skills as well as
soft skills such as e-mail etiquette.
Use the software program Camtasia Studio
to capture screen shots with
voice layover for training purposes. The software
is available at www.techsmith.com
. You can easily develop training sessions
using this tool.
Create a training library
of resources such as CPE prep books,
audit manuals, tax reference books and management
skill building books.
Find grants or tax credits.
For example, New Jersey’s Department
of Labor and Workforce Development awards
competitive Customized Training Grants to pay for
programs that enhance employees’ skills. Georgia
has a Retraining Tax Credit that helps pay for
training programs and materials. Many states and
the U.S. Department of Labor administer similar
types of grant programs.
Use your reps (CCH, RIA,
LexisNexis, PayChex, ADP, insurance carriers) for
training. They offer many free classes.
Use DVDs to focus on technical skills.
For example, BISK ( www.bisk.com )
sells monthly DVDs that focus on legal and
regulatory updates in the tax and audit sectors.
Show these at a lunch-and-learn. Have a partner
lead a discussion on the DVD’s material to
emphasize points relevant to your firm’s clients.
Videotape all training sessions,
even those conducted by outside
speakers. This will make the training available to
employees who could not attend.
Create learning plans for your employees
and use them as part of the mentoring process.
Learning plans allow employees to
map out the specific classes they will take to
help them advance in the company. Have the
employee set training goals and select topics to
Bring in outside trainers.
Use AuditWatch, Surgent McCoy or
other speakers and invite other small, local firms
to attend and share the costs. Use local college
professors to teach specific courses, even soft
Turn repetitive questions into a weekly
or monthly tips e-mail. Include
clients and prospects in your training programs or
offer training to them in areas where you see a
need. Our firm sends out weekly tips on specific
training topics to clients and firm employees,
usually based on recurring questions or mistakes
that we see clients make in Excel or QuickBooks.
Be creative with training opportunities.
Training should not be seen as a
mandatory or mundane requirement but, rather, a
benefit of employment. Look for unique ways to
incorporate fun into the training process to
improve the chances of its success.
— Linda Steele , director of
education and training
for Habif, Arogeti
and Wynne LLP in Atlanta.