Sage North America has formed The Competitive Edge for Accounting Professionals: Value Beyond Tax and Compliance Services, a new CPE program for accounting professionals in conjunction with the Business Learning Institute.
The new partnership will offer Web and live, in-person learning tracks focused on giving accountants more information on how they can grow their service offerings.
The Business Learning Institute has been creating custom-learning solutions for individuals and organizations since 1999 when it was formed by the Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA).
The program offers three separate tracks, with flexible and versatile training options: The technical expert track is geared at the CPA who is content with his or her practice structure, acts as an advisor to clients, and wants to enhance skills; the aspiring track attracts the accounting professional who wants to provide more consultative services to clients; and the visionary track focuses on the accounting professionals who are early adopters of technology, and already act as an advisor to clients.
Over the last 18 months, Sage has conducted research in the accounting community to better understand what can be done to better support their business goals. Sage vice president of partner programs and channel sales Jennifer Warawa stressed that the primary objective of the program is not to directly sell product, but noted that if CPAs have an interest in a Sage product for their clients it will be a way to learn about them.
“The bottom line is our research showed that 29 percent of firms only speak to their clients once a year, primarily during tax season,” said Warawa. “Our partnership with the Business Learning Institute to develop this new curriculum is the solution to educating accounting professionals on how to deliver value to their clients beyond tax and compliance services, with the end goal of increasing the value they bring as trusted advisors, ultimately creating greater business confidence.”
The workshop curriculum will officially be rolled out in October, though there was an official launch session at the Sage Summit user and partner event, hosted by Warawa and MACPA chief executive Tom Hood.
“We want to make sure accountants have a vision for their business. CPAs have told us they need particular skills for the future and we said we have to offer training to build those skills,” said Warawa. “Plenty of firms are not doing any kind of training of this matter and we believe if we make them better they will serve businesses better.”