The University Within the CPA Firm

September 2007

At the risk of sounding like the person who tells his kids that they had to walk 10 miles to school every day, let me share a fairly new development in the profession.

In the July/ August issue of The New York Enterprise Report, Ronald Tramazzo of Citrin Cooperman and Company wrote how his firm uses a “comprehensive training program to improve productivity, reduce turnover and build morale.”  The essence of the article relates to how the firm is supplementing the required technical training with offsite (and 100% casual dress) sessions on topics like networking, marketing, business writing, consulting, rainmaking and presentation skills.  As part of their training effort, the firm also offers the services of a professional business coach , a sabbatical program and an incentive program related to new business activities (note the word “activities” versus new clients obtained)

I tip my hat to Citrin Cooperman and others like them for coming up with some creative ideas and investing the time and money to back them up. These are very critical elements of creating a culture to attract and retain excellent staff.  I certainly recall trudging into my initial CPA firm’s conference room at the end of the day to hear one of the partners or managers speak about purely technical issues. Unless you were fortunate enough to work directly for someone who had the skills and was willing to teach you about topics like effective business writing, client relations and marketing, then you had to learn somewhat on your own.

Robert Fligel

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