ACCA’s Clive Webb reports on how training for professional accountants is changing, with career development responsibilities shifting from employers to individuals
The changing nature of the profession and professional career paths means that accountants are having to develop their existing skills and learn new ones. But while professional accountants will need to take more responsibility for their own development, they also get the opportunity to take control of their careers, according to an ACCA review into the future of learning.
It has identified four key factors in workplace learning.
There is a growing range of ways to undertake learning, but what is learned needs to be applied back in the workplace. Greater sophistication in choosing the right learning opportunities is also required: what is the performance outcome sought and how will it be achieved?
The implication for the learning and development community – and therefore for employers too – is to reflect the shift from being organisers of courses and structured programmes to being curators of content that is available when staff need it. Learning must become part of the corporate culture, embedded in an environment that supports development, values success and rewards contribution. And while not everybody wants to learn and grow, those who are comfortable with their current position and expertise still need to stay up to date.
Technology is playing an increasing role in delivering learning. From MOOCs (massive open online courses) to the use of virtual and augmented reality as learning tools, there is an evolution in capability. However, the learning community needs to address the reality that poor design can undermine the effectiveness of learning. It is also important not to ignore the role of traditional, face-to-face courses.
Guidance from those with more experience can be captured through mentoring programmes, but technology-driven transformation could reduce the number of middle-management roles that have been so important for mentoring and coaching.
The future of learning is one that professionals need to grasp for themselves. After all, it is your career.