Learning: PD highlights for November 2014

Research proves that the best leaders are those who never stop learning. Plus, highlights from the AICPA Practitioners Symposium and the Tech+ conference held in Las Vegas in June 2014.


Teaching the leader

Good leaders never stop learning. That’s what author Gerard Seijts discovered upon interviewing more than 30 A-list leaders from across the world for his book Good Leaders Learn: Lessons from Lifetimes of Leadership. These days, more and more individuals and employers are recognizing the value of leadership training, not only for those who hope to make it to the top but for those who are already there.

"We live in a global environment that’s changing every day, and I push leaders into thinking about what’s coming down the pipeline," says Leon Goren, CEO of Presidents of Enterprising Organizations, a Toronto-based company that specializes in leadership training for senior executives. "If you’re not constantly changing and learning along with it you may not have a job in the future."

A CPA himself, Goren develops a growth plan for his clients (15% of whom are CPAs) and groups them with other leaders in noncompeting industries to confidentially discuss real-life case studies. "Sometimes these groups meet for years and years," he says. "In trying to solve the problems of others, you stimulate your brain to consider your own business issues."

Richard Martin, president and founder of Alcera Consulting Inc. in Montreal, draws from more than 20 years’ experience as an infantry officer with the Canadian Army to offer leadership coaching in person or via webinars, as well as strategy development and other services. "I think [leadership training] is particularly relevant to those in finance because you have to influence your clients and lead them to that optimal solution for their business," he says. But he also stresses that you can’t go into a leadership course and expect it to change you overnight. "You have to be open to the feedback and then adjust your approach accordingly."

CPA Canada dedicated one of five learning tracks at its inaugural conference in September to leadership training. "We developed this two-day [track] in response to our broadened and more diverse membership," says Pam Robertson, principal of professional development and learning. Designed for all CPAs, including CFOs and those wanting to move into senior leadership positions, the program attracted members from across the board, she says. "We know CPAs become business leaders and the goal for us is to help them develop the skills they need to thrive in these roles."


2014 AICPA Practitioners Symposium and Tech+ Conference

When: June 8-11, 2014

Where: ARIA Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, NV

One of the AICPA’s most popular events, the conference featured 111 sessions and brought together more than 900 partners, managers, consultants, CPAs, finance, IT and staff specialists from across North America. Some highlights:

1. It’s important to build your practice around the optimal use of technology but be sure to have policies in place on how to use it properly.

2. Use other companies as benchmarks in deciding how much you should be investing in technology to help position yourself in the market.

3. It is possible to transition the firm’s operation to other partners or colleagues without giving up autonomy or income.

4. If you’re not recruiting 365 days a year, you’re behind your competition; finding talent is an ongoing process.


In-Depth Transfer Pricing Course Part II (In-Residence), CPA CANADA


"Fabulous! The content was great and very relevant, and the format (i.e., lectures and case studies) was perfect. It’s so interesting to have practitioners and industry people and the CRA all together."

— Emilie Granger, manager, economist at Deloitte in Montreal