Managers mixed about letting financial workers earn education credits on the job
July 11, 2017
• Only 26 percent of companies allow all employees to fulfill continuing professional education requirements while at work
• “The better informed your employees are, the fewer technical, compliance and ethical mistakes they're likely to make”
Employers want financial employees who are well informed on the latest regulations, business trends and best practices. But they're not always willing to let their teams pursue continuing professional education opportunities on company time, according to a new survey from recruitment firm Robert Half Finance & Accounting.
Only 26 percent of CFOs report their companies allow all employees to fulfill continuing professional education requirements, which come from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy while at work; another 24 percent say it depends on the employee. Half of firms rarely or never let any staff take classes during business hours.
"Businesses do themselves a disservice by prohibiting employees from taking CPE courses during company time," says Robert Half Senior Executive Director Paul McDonald. "Webinars, seminars and online courses, some as short as 10 minutes, allow professionals to earn the needed credits and help their employers by staying on the cutting edge of industry trends."
Mr. McDonald says investing time in staff members' ongoing education offers lasting benefits. "The better informed your employees are, the fewer technical, compliance and ethical mistakes they're likely to make," he says. "Moreover, a generous training program that includes allowing staff to obtain continuing education during work hours shows support for professional development and is a powerful recruitment and retention tool."
For employees trying to convince the boss that they need to take training during company time, Robert Half Finance & Accounting offers four tips:
• Be your own best advocate
Supervisors may need to be convinced to let employees take courses while at work. Build a business case for how the company will benefit from the skills you'll acquire.
• Start small
If your boss frowns on continuing education during work hours, choose sessions that can be scheduled during your lunch hour. Not sure where to start your search? Try the NASBA for more information on requirements and courses for each state.
• Emphasize the big picture
Is there a gap in your department's knowledge base? Let your boss know how CPE classes will enable you to shore up those weaknesses and support the team.
• Evaluate different options
While some CPE courses are online and others in-person, offerings from providers, including professional organizations, are evolving. For example, in some states, accountants can earn credits through a series of shorter events. Check with local professional associations to find opportunities that fit your needs.
About the survey
The survey was developed and paid for by Robert Half Finance & Accounting and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on telephone interviews with more than 2,200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.