Accountants Global Network International-North America Inc., a network of accounting firms, is tackling two of the profession's challenges by looking to enhance the skills of experienced partners, and develop a firm's staff, in a more focused manner.

"The AGN-NA Advanced Partner Training Program is a break-through for association-sponsored education," said the group's chairman, Ben Doerr Jr., managing partner of James Moore & Co. in Gainesville, Fla., in a statement.

After five years of development, the program utilizes modules developed by a leading training developer and combines face-to-face learning with ongoing, organized, accountability study groups.  A two-day kickoff for the program was held in mid-May in conjunction with AGN's North American regional meeting in St. Louis.

AGN's executive director, Rita Hood, said that more than 125 partners from the group's member firms registered for the session. Each participant was pre-assigned to a group and will continue to meet regularly over the course of the next year. Along with creating a format geared toward improving partner performance in non-technical areas, the goals for the program were also to create connections among AGN members across technical disciplines, and to help partners better develop their staff. The costs of the inaugural program were completely subsidized by AGN-NA reserves. The development team has already committed to repeat the format in 2006 for a new group of partners.

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