AccountingCPD-net

Accountingcpd.net offer over 100 online CPD courses on a wide range of topics, selected specifically with your needs in mind.  Accountingcpd.net covers core subjects as, Financial Modelling, Professional Skills, Business Performance Management and many more.

How to access accountingcpd.net’s courses:

  • Choose the subject area that interests you the most
  • Click through to accountingcpd.net to see all the courses available on that topic
  • Add the courses you want into your basket and purchase directly from accountingcpd.net

Once you have registered for an account you can log in at any time that suits you and revisit your course whenever you like during your access period. You’ll also be able to take advantage of special offers exclusive to AIA members.

Unless otherwise stated all courses are: 4 CPD units | £75 (+VAT) | 120 days access

FREE! Click here for free taster courses.

EXCEL@ACPD

Price: £250+vat
Access: 365 days

Mastering Excel is essential for every professional accountant. This innovative, online service is designed specifically for accountants and finance professionals to help them make the most of this powerful tool.

excel@acpd is the only Excel CPD programme that is designed for accountants. It takes the powerful features of Excel and looks at how you can apply them in your role, to become more sophisticated, more accurate and more efficient.

What’s included?

  • A catalogue of online courses with a new release every month
  • A new CPD Bite every two weeks provides short tips and tricks in a digestible 15-minute format
  • Quizzes to help you decide where to focus your learning
  • Coming soon! Polls – tell us what's important to you or what you find challenging and we'll make sure it's covered
  • Coming soon! The chance to get involved and see where you can climb to on the excel@acpd leaderboard

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Blog

Posted: 27 October 2020

At a time of great change and uncertainty, people will look to their managers for leadership. Your organisation may be changing – some are completely reinventing themselves – so your role in organising your team effectively and helping them to align with the organisation's new priorities will be key.

But that doesn't mean that you are going to be required to deliver a great motivational speech. Indeed, with so many people working remotely, some of those skills that involve the force of an individual's presence may be less important than they were, meaning managers will need new ways to establish their credibility. So, what is your role as a finance leader, and how may that need to change as we define a new future for our organisations?

Why is emotional intelligence more important than ever?

By being open and honest – and by communicating clearly and frequently – you will find that people come to trust you and look to you for guidance. Through activities like giving feedback, allocating tasks and distributing resources, leaders can affect the emotions of their team. In turn, this directly affects employee behaviour and productivity, so it is vital that you consider how people will respond to your actions.

When we can't be face-to-face with people, emotional intelligence becomes even more important. Your ability to understand and manage moods and emotions in yourself and others is the key to your success.

Does your organisational culture need to adapt to the new ‘normal’?

Every organisation has a culture within which everyone operates. We may have our own preferred style, but we must match that up against the environment in which we are working. Thinking about your organisation,

  • Does it have a predominant leadership culture?
  • Has this culture been affected by the pandemic?
  • If so, will that mean you have to adapt your own style in future?

As an example, one big thing that may change – particularly with an increase in remote working – is that some aspects of leadership that may have helped you get promoted through the ranks (such as being a very capable and charismatic person who gains people’s respect through networking events, or influencing people by presenting compelling cases and doing PowerPoint presentations) are more useful when you've got everybody in the same office together.

So, if you do end up working in a new structure and a new setup, you're going to have to find new ways of becoming that credible and significant leader, and it may not just be through the force of your presence.

How can your organisation embrace new strategic opportunities?

With change comes large-scale strategic opportunities. Many organisations will decide that they don't want to return to the way things were and that, in fact, the new world that they're going to emerge into requires a tweak – or even a significant change – in strategic direction. You may have a role in setting that strategy, or at least an input into it, but certainly you have a big role in helping to reinforce it. As a finance function, you need to be nimble and line up with that.

That means you need to understand what the new set of imperatives are and what their implications are for the organisation as a whole. You might need to design reporting systems, help people to understand them and help people to measure their progress. And you need to communicate to people, through the forecasting, budgeting KPI-setting process, for example, to provide support for that new strategic direction.

Embrace change and bring your team with you

At a more operational level, we might decide not to do everything that we used to do and to adopt new working practices. Such changes aren't necessarily mandated from the top, they also come up from the bottom. By involving everybody in the team you can get them to come up with ideas for how you can create a new, future world that's better than the one you left behind.

Learn more about how accountingcpd can help you and your team create a stronger post-pandemic finance function through access to relevant, flexible online CPD designed to help accountants grow.

Posted: 27 October 2020

A study of 600 IT leaders by the Xerox Future of Work study has shown the impact of the pandemic on the finance sector's technological abilities. According to the data, around 11% of finance companies intend to permanently change their approach when it comes to working in the office. Going forward, when some sense of normality resumes, the firms say their employees will be allowed to spend more time working from home.

However, the data, which was the result of surveys of IT leaders across five countries, reveal that there is a big need for technological advancement following the COVID-19 pandemic. 76% of IT leaders say they are not technologically ready for the shift to remote working and further on from that 36% say that technology was the biggest issue they face while they are working from home.

As a result it does appear then that finance firms are the most likely to make investments in technology. 57% of the IT leaders surveyed say they are allocating more budget to improving technology to support their employees at home and ease the technological barriers that employees can come up against when remote working.

However, although the leaders all state that there will be more remote working in the future, Steve Bandrowczak, Xerox President and Chief Operations Officer, says: "While there is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work, our research found that over time many companies plan to have most employees back in an office environment.

This could be for a variety of reasons, including communication, speed of decision-making and talent development. At the same time, the sudden shutdown and ongoing hybrid work environment has exposed technology gaps that require new or additional investment in the coming months.”

Posted: 27 October 2020

At accountingcpd, we're passionate about providing flexible and effective online CPD that is designed specifically for accountants. Understanding what employees need from CPD is a vital part of this, which is why we conduct a survey twice a year to learn what's important to your team. This whitepaper presents the latest learnings and trends for 2020. What employees want from their CPD?

To keep reading download the whitepaper here.

Posted: 10 September 2020

As we navigate the whirlwind that 2020 threw us into, working life has been changed forever for many organisations. Back in 2018 we might have found it surprising that a survey conducted by Buffer found 90% of the remote workforce plan to work remotely for the rest of their careers, and 94% of those who work remote would recommend it to others*. A more recent Garner Inc. survey of CFOs and Finance leaders in March revealed that 74% of survey respondents plan to shift at least 5% of their previously on-site workforce to permanently remote positions. Nearly a quarter of respondents said they will move at least 20% of their on-site employees to permanent remote positions**. Now, as we near towards seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, these figures may no longer be so surprising.

So, what should you be doing to make sure your team has effectively adapted to the new workplace reality? Continue reading to discover our 6 top tips for effective remote management.

1. Set clear expectations for the year

In most organisations, the finance department is full of people who work hard and hit deadlines. They have demonstrated their commitment to their careers by becoming professionally qualified. But are you sure that everyone is always pushing in the same direction? It’s important to identify the deliverables, behaviour and level of contribution that will support the business’s and personal goals. When each team member sees the bigger picture of how their work fits into the business’ goals, it gets everyone lined up and pushing in the same direction.

2. Check in

Reduce remote workers' feelings of isolation by calling regularly to check in informally and facilitating face-to-face interactions with colleagues. Just because you’ve set the expectation for the year doesn’t mean you now don’t need to speak to your team regularly. Working remotely removes the office chit-chat and opportunity to stop by someone’s desk for a catch up. Regular and informal conversations with colleagues should be facilitated to continue building relationships and encouraging a good team dynamic.

3. Provide frequent feedback

Another key advantage of regularly checking in is that it gives you and your team the time to informally provide feedback to each other. It enables both parties to check their progress and measure it against expectations. Feedback in these situations needs to include the positive as well! Recognising the achievements of team members in a group setting is crucial in making sure each member of your team feels appreciated in their role. Negative feedback needs to be provided in a way that is sensitive and appropriate – keep in mind that body language and tone may be lost in some forms of digital communication.

4. Spot when you yourself are off-balance

When you’re working at a distance, your colleagues aren’t there to let you know you’re looking stressed or under pressure. You need to look out for signs yourself and encourage your team to do the same. Are you finding it difficult to concentrate? Are you feeling anxious, irritable or emotional? Or are you feeling some physical changes, such as experiencing headaches or struggling to sleep? These are all indicators of stress and you may need to re-evaluate the separation between your professional and personal lives or devote more time to activities that promote well-being. When you do this for yourself, you model the behaviour for the rest of your team to do the same. Which brings us on to our next point.

5. Model good practice

Your team will be looking to you to set the boundaries of what is acceptable. If you are seen working extra hours and taking on too much of a workload, they will inadvertently feel pressured to do the same. Long term, this just isn’t effective and will create a stressful working environment for yourself and your team. It’s crucial for you to be modelling good remote working practices and encourage a healthy division between working life and personal life, even if those do feel blurred at the moment.

6. Encourage employees to take responsibility for their own development

Regular feedback will help develop good practice and allow your team members to gauge how they’re doing and where they may need improvement. They can then set actionable goals to boost their own learning and performance. Each team member will need your support and encouragement to continue learning, but this shouldn’t be micromanaged. What your team does need is access to learning materials and a range of topics and learning styles so they can take control of their own performance.

When you’re working at a distance, it can be easy to lose the friendly, encouraging environment of an office. By following the above steps, you can make sure you and your team have a healthy work life balance which allows your team to thrive in the post-pandemic world.

With over 1,000 hours of learning tailored to accountants and finance professionals on a wide range of topics, an accountingcpd team subscription will help your team grow, even in the toughest of times.

Find out more about how an accountingcpd team subscription can help your team grow.

*https://buffer.com/resources/state-remote-work-2018/
**https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-04-03-gartner-cfo-surey-reveals-74-percent-of-organizations-to-shift-some-employees-to-remote-work-permanently2

Whether you are looking for negotiating a reduction in rent on your business premises or simply resolving the key question of who takes priority on the home broadband, one unexpected consequence of the lock down is that we are all engaged in more negotiations than we are used to. But are you any good at it?

Many people tend to assume that you either are or are not a good negotiator. But in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Negotiation is a process. You can get good at it by learning some key skills. What's more, there are some simple tools you can use that will help you succeed, that most people don't know about.

So, here are my top 5 tips for successful negotiations during the crisis:

1. A bit of empathy goes a long way

Try to put yourselves in the other person's shoes. I know it's hard to imagine right now but one day this will be over, and we will return to whatever people are by then calling the new normal. Business relationships will resume and the way you behaved during the lock down will be remembered. So don't give them a reason to want to get back at you. Think about the situation from their point of view as well as your own, and wherever possible, find a solution that is a win for both parties.

2. Listening, speaking and understanding

When most people think about negotiators, they think about their ability to pitch a compelling idea. Being clear and articulate, and positioning what you want in a way that sounds reasonable and hard to knock down, is indeed a key skill, but there are two other skills that are just as important, if not more so.

The first is listening. You should spend at least as much time listening as you do speaking. Only by listening can you understand their position and find the win-win outcome.

Alongside listening is the third key skill: understanding. Good negotiators are very good at understanding the other party's position. By quickly appreciating the key issues the other party cares about, they are able to position their own requirements in a way that is acceptable to the other party.

Most people aren't good at all three of these skills. So, reflect a little on your strengths. If you are a nervous talker, then prepare for negotiations by thinking about the words you might use when articulating the things that really matter to you. If you tend to talk too much, then prepare some questions. And if you find it hard to understand what the other person cares about, get yourself a pen and paper and make notes while they speak.

3. Understand the trades

Negotiation is all about trading concessions. We start in one pace and then we trade concessions. So, make a list of all the things you have to trade. In making that list, divide them into what negotiators call constants and variables. Constants are those things that have the same apparent value to both parties – where more for one party means less for the other. The most obvious is price. But sometimes variables are just as important. This is where you have something you could do that costs you very little, but which is a big deal for the other party. So for example it might be fantastic for the other party if you could deliver before 9.00am. That might be easy for you and cost you nothing and so our tendency is to be helpful and agree because it's easy. But in doing so you could be giving away your ace card and getting nothing in return. So, include in your list everything you could trade, whether it is important to you or not.

4. "If" is the hardest word

And all that time, you thought it was sorry! Once you have your list of things you could trade, think about phrases you could use that include the word if.

"If I could deliver to you before 9.00pm every Tuesday, could you commit to a minimum order of x?"

That will help to ensure that you don’t give things away from nothing.

5. And finally ...plan, plan, plan

This is something that finance people should be good at. Spend time before the negotiation planning your approach. The four tips given above provide a pretty good list of headings for your plan: 

 

 Empathy   What will the other party want and what will they find hard to accept? How can   I position what I want so that they will understand and want to help me? What   could I give them that might make it acceptable?
 Skills  Which of the skills do I need to focus on because it is not my natural strength   and how can I prepare to listen more, understand better, or speak more   confidently? 
 Trading  Prepare your list of constant and variables and think about could be traded for   what.
 IF  Write your if questions to help you trade naturally


And that's it. Good luck with negotiating those difficult conversations we are all having to have during this weirdest of times. Stay calm and professional and try to remember that you want to work with these people when all this is over!

Alan Nelson is an author for accountingcpd. To see his courses, click here.

CPD is easy to put off until the last minute. But good professional development comes from knowing what changes you need to make each year and making them. CPD is the perfect tool for reflecting on your career as well as knowing how to move forward in it.

When thinking about your CPD, you can make it easier by following these simple rules:

  1. Plan early
  2. Think about your broader skills and knowledge as well as the technical updates
  3. Be prepared to change your plan during the year to address any issues that arise

Plan early

You know yourself better than anyone else, therefore you know how you like to learn and where CPD best fits into your life. Take some time to consider what the best approach to tackling your CPD is and plan around your schedule and learning style.

You have the power to make your yearly CPD process much more manageable, and ultimately even enjoyable, once you've understood your ideal learning style. For example, it makes sense that if you prefer shorter durations of learning you might want to complete your CPD little and often, and ideally integrate it into your working day. However, if you prefer dedicating time to longer CPD sessions these need to be planned out in advance to make sure you have ample time set aside for learning.

Technical vs Professional skills

Just as you know how best to manage your time, you’re also the best person to identify your skill gaps and know where you should focus your professional development. Your CPD is all about benefitting you, after all.

However, it can be so overwhelming to try and figure it out by yourself. So, we have some statistics and advice we hope can help you realise where you want to focus.

We questioned over 1000 accountants about their choice of CPD topics and found that 85% wanted just professional skills or a mix of technical and professional skills. Considering how the accounting role is changing, this isn't surprising. Technical skills alone won't cut it. With technology and automation affecting many areas of business there is a desire and a need for CPD to prepare accountants for a changing future.

The accountant of the future will need an optimal and changing combination of professional competencies. Yes, this needs to include technical knowledge, but there are key skills the accountant will be expected to master which include:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Strategic decision making
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership

Preparing for change

The earlier you plan your CPD the more opportunities you give yourself for reflection and to take part in discussions with peers and colleagues around chosen topics, all of which embeds learning and allows the benefits to translate into the workplace.

Of course, life is never simple, and we don't know what is around the corner. New laws and regulations could be released, and new technology can disrupt the industry at any given moment. We simply can't predict what the year ahead will bring!

Allow yourself the time to adjust your professional development as and when you might need it.

Compile these thoughts to ensure a strong plan of action, making sure your professional goals in 2020 are reached.

In the changing world of accounting, being a digital firm involves more than just technology. Here we look at the ten elements of a digital firm.

1. Client experience

Client experience is at the heart of digital firm transformation. With marketing disruption and low-cost alternatives around us, simply providing good customer service is no longer enough. If you want to sell at a premium you need to have a USP (unique selling point) to justify the premium price.

2. Strategy

For the other nine elements to be successful, we rely on strategy, a crucial element of digital firms. What are the missions, objectives and values of your firm? You need to understand these to figure out the how.

3. Internal technology

We need to decide on the technology that will drive and underpin our own firms. What systems and processes currently exist and how can you use technology to improve them?

4. Client technology

As well as the technology used internally, it is essential to use the right technology to improve efficiency for the client experience too. Cloud accounting and machine learning are examples of technologies for digital firms.

5. Process

Firms need to lead processes, and not continue to let the clients do so. When you own your processes, you can control the data quality and the profitability. Processes need to be developed around everything. This does not just include the core service delivery but also the organisation of customer touch points, from the very first client interaction.

6. Marketing

As accountants, we're notoriously poor marketers. But to successfully market your services, you first need to have the right brand. It should reflect the set of values that reinforces the culture and attitude of a firm.

7. Pricing

It is necessary for a digital firm to adopt fixed fee pricing as this helps you to create processes around your billing and cash collection. Charging per hour will not motivate you to automate jobs and complete tasks quicker and clients care more about what they get from a service rather than how long you worked for it.

8. Advisory

To become the accountants of the future, you need to make the shift to advisory. To provide excellent advisory services, a digital firm needs to have the right technology, processes and people. Once you use technology to control the data quality, you can start having meaningful communications with your clients.

9. People

A significant challenge we have today in the world of accounting is recruitment. You need to select the right people to work at the right level with the technology in digital firms. There is no longer the need for accountants to spend as much of their time on bookkeeping tasks, raising questions of whether they need to be doing all the work they do now. So, who should you be hiring to support your digital agenda? And how do you make sure you attract, recruit and retain the right people?

10. Culture

Charles Handy defines culture as "the way we do things around here". It is an essential part of the digital firm as it influences the brand proposition, which is a necessity to successful marketing both the client experience and the people you hire.

To make sure your digital firm performs, you need to consider each of the ten elements and how they work together. The starting point is the strategy, with client experience at the centre. Once you know the objective, you will be able to develop the other areas.

PEST is a methodology for analysing the external factors that affect the sector an organisation operates in. The letters stand for:

      • Political
      • Economic
      • Social
      • Technological

These factors are normally beyond an organisation's control. However, they can have a profound impact on the organisation, either as threats or as opportunities.

You may also have heard it described as a PESTLE analysis. This longer acronym also includes legal and environmental factors.

So why is it important to do a PEST analysis? The answer is that we need to be aware of the context within which we operate if we are to avoid being caught out by events beyond our control, and are going to make ourselves ready to take advantage of opportunities. We spend so much of our time looking inwards, analysing what we do and how we can do it better, that the opportunity to look up and outwards is valuable.