insight magazine

Today's CPA

Reach Higher, Be Better

“My mother runs faster than you!”
Todd Shapiro ICPAS President & CEO

Those words I remember fondly from my 10 years of coaching youth soccer. Sure, everyone would laugh, but the players got the message: They had to reach higher.

My key responsibility as coach was to teach and mentor the players in developing their technical, strategic thinking, leadership and communication skills—all of which are critical for a successful team, whether on the soccer field or in a company or firm setting.

Why should all this matter to you? Because two of the most critical factors in any successful business are retaining top talent and committing to business development. Constantly losing your best people can severely hamper your success, and in order to retain them you need to show a commitment to developing their leadership, communication and strategic thinking skills. Your business will actually profit from your investments in your young staff. Put another way, you can’t afford NOT to focus on talent development.

How, then, do we expect to develop these critical capabilities among our young professionals? There is no single answer, but rather a multi-faceted one that has its own set of challenges. Development entails formal training, mentoring and on-the-job opportunities, among other things. Yet formal training takes time away from “doing the job.” Added to that, each of us has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. The challenge then becomes creating an individualized plan that addresses our specific development needs. One option is to use a competency model. This model helps to identify specific skills related to a position, which then can be compared to an individual’s specific needs. The Society is planning to introduce a competency tool such as this, which will aid in planning for the development of young, talented staff with aspirations of filling leadership roles.

There are always reasons why companies and firms decide not to devote resources to training, whether because of the impact on billable hours or because of ingrained corporate culture. Truthfully, though, there are no excuses. We have to commit to developing the skills needed for our young professionals—and our businesses—to succeed. To put it plainly, developing young talent is not a “nice to have” but a “must have.” Our young staff today, after all, will be the leaders of tomorrow. And together with them we will “Enhance the Value of the CPA Profession.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Email me anytime.

{Follow Todd on Twitter @Todd_ICPAS}
{Watch Todd’s CEO Video Series on YouTube}