In the beginning, CPAs needed CPE to maintain their licenses.
The MACPA specialized in enabling our members to deliver high-quality services to the market through our professional development learning activities, from the beginning, when the CPE law was passed in 1976.
We “enable our members” to serve the market through knowing the CPA’s learning needs and creating and delivering one of the top professional development programs in the world. CPAs turned to us for high-quality technical training in areas they needed to know, like tax, accounting, and auditing.
But soon that would not be enough. The winds of change were on the horizon.
In 1999, we were involved in a profession-wide effort to re-imagine the CPA of the future with the AICPA’s CPA Vision Project.
The process involved creating a future vision (in 2011) and asking what would be the top competencies (KSA – knowledge, skills, and abilities) needed to reach that vision. They agreed that the top competencies for the future were leadership and communication, strategic and critical thinking, focusing on the market, and being technologically adept.
Listening to thousands of CPAs around the U.S. and hundreds in Maryland, we said to ourselves, “If these are the skills CPAs say they need for the future, shouldn’t we be offering them?”
This led us to form the Business Learning Institute, a center for the development of competency-based curriculum, courses, content and community to enhance learning and grow intellectual capital for organizational and executive leadership. (See our glossary here.) We have been working on building our library of “success skills” that complement the core technical skills our CPAs need to mantain their technical body of knowledge.
But then the world changed. Some say forever.
The Great Recession of 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 changed business as usual. The rate of change and complexity increased. Technology changes combined with generational issues and globalization to create a perfect storm that was redefining the entire business landscape.
How would CPAs adapt and even thrive in this “new normal?”
CPA Vision redux.
In 2011, BLI designed and facilitated the grassroots, in-person “future forums” for the AICPA’s CPA Horizons 2025 Project. A new body of research was developed with the CPA Horizons 2025 Project, which led to the updated list of competencies for CPAs in the future (2025): Skills like leadership, communication, strategic thinking, collaboration and synthesis, and being technologically savvy would be the secrets to success in the future. These skills are consistent with the latest research and studies on the competencies needed for the future. We have been running these programs successfully in public seminars, CPA firms and corporate finance teams for the past 14 years.
That was then.
This is now!
Today we reintroduce our Business Learning Institute (BLI), and a new era in learning and talent development.
Those activities have expanded to include public seminars, conferences, on-site learning, webcasts, and now on-demand or “just-in-time” learning. We lead the nation with our robust free CPE offerings for our members, and now have a portfolio of more than 400 programs in these “success” skill categories in multiple learning formats. In addition, there are new ways to engage learners and increase the effectiveness of learning.
Recent research has identified social learning as one of the top trends in learning. The Business Learning Institute has been an innovator in this area, using the latest learning technologies to increase the impact of learning through better engagement and more peer-to-peer experiences. Social learning tools include Conferences.io, ThinkTank by Group Systems, Inc., and i2a:Insights to Action, in addition to Twitter, Slideshare, and other social applications.
In this period of rapid change and increasing complexity, the winners are going to be the organizations and people who can learn faster than the rate of change and faster than their competition. We believe learning and talent development is the only sustainable competitive advantage.
That is why we say, “R.I.P., CPE. Long live learning!”