THE SMOKE DETECTOR: What are your Professional Development Goals for 2016?

By Dennis Hickle posted 12-29-2015 11:28


It is the time of year when we all spend time establishing goals for the coming year. Among other things, we should set goals for the skills we want to develop and enhance in order to improve our professional competence. Unfortunately, under Indiana’s current hours based license renewal system, we do not receive credit for many of the things we do outside of classrooms to improve our skills. As a result, many of us have sat through CPE sessions that we were not interested in and got little out of, simply to get the required CPE credit.

At the fall Leadership Cabinet/Emerging Leaders Alliance meeting, we discussed how alternative license renewal systems might function. One alternative that was suggested would allow individuals to submit a professional development plan to the State Board of Accountancy. These plans would identify what skills the CPA wants to develop or enhance over the three-year reporting cycle, and what actions they will take to accomplish the goals. 

You may have a skill based goal such as:

“Develop proficiency using advanced Excel functions.”

To accomplish this goal you may plan to take a traditional CPE course in advanced excel topics. You may also plan to demonstrate proficiency by using these Excel skills in several projects on the job.

You may have a goal related to core competencies:

“Enhance my critical thinking and decision making skills.”

To accomplish this goal, you may plan to enroll in the interactive competency based courses on Critical Thinking and Decision Making offered through the CPA Center of Excellence®.

Or, you may have a goal specifically related to your practice such as:

“Develop knowledge and expertise related to insurance industry audits.”

To accomplish this goal, you may plan to review the AICPA Insurance Industry Audit Guide and participate as a staff auditor on a minimum of two insurance company audits.

When it is time to renew your license, you would certify that you have completed these professional development plans. The support for your actions may include CPE completion certificates, attestation by superiors, digital badges, etc.

What do you think? Would this type of system improve the effectiveness of your professional development activities? Would it give you more flexibility and options, and most importantly meet your needs? If you could redesign the CPA license renewal process what would it look like? How would you like to develop your competencies?

If we want a better, more effective continuing education system, it is up to us to help design it.

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