A learning program from CCH puts professional development on the fast track for newer accountants
Getting new accountants and tax preparers up to date on laws, regulations and tax code is a daunting task. A lack of consistency or confusion over methodology translates into errors and diminished productivity.
Now, accounting and tax prep firms can shape a more knowledgeable staff and develop more reliable practices through the use of a new tool: CCH Learning & Development Academy’s School of Tax.
The service, rolled out in July, is designed to teach the basics for tax professionals who have been in the field less than 18 months. The School of Tax addresses a variety of topics:
- Managing professional expectations
- Documenting best practices
- Common tax issues and basic tax forms
It also includes case studies that revolve around real-life scenarios and instruction on using CCH software tools and functionality effectively.
“In the past, accounting firms have usually approached these issues in a piecemeal manner. There was no comprehensive way to train a group of people in one place,” says Adam Burnett, Manager of CCH Training and Consulting.
“This instruction provides the backbone for doing the job well,” Burnett says. Program attendees participate in learning exercises that closely mirror their day-to-day responsibilities. CCH tailors the programs for specific organizational roles.
So far, CCH has rolled out two modules. The Level I coursework consists of three days (24 hours total) of instruction that helps new hires get acquainted with the profession and understand what they can expect during their first year on the job. Topics covered include:
- Interest and dividends
- The basics of income and standard deductions and other tax law fundamentals
The Level II course spans four days (32 hours total) and focuses on advanced issues, including:
- Pass-through income
- Alternative Minimum Tax
- Developing a full understanding of business tax returns
Both courses are interactive and hands on — with a limit of about 15 students per class. Students use computers, view videos and take quizzes. For example, after watching one video clip they’re asked to identify all the possible taxable issues. “It’s extremely hands on. Participants constantly engage in exercises and review best practice case studies. Things move at a fast pace and the learning is dynamic,” Burnett explains.
The School of Tax offers a highly flexible approach to learning. An instructor can visit a company and address a group of students or an organization can send attendees to CCH offices or to a regional seminar. All instructors are former public accountants who have become professional educators. CCH will introduce additional modules in the future.
Concludes Burnett: “The courses provide the technical and practical knowledge that young accountants need to succeed.”