Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The challenges Indian professional accountants in business face for lifelong continual professional education

All professional institutes hold out to the public that their members besides being technically qualified, are well regulated and obliged to update their knowledge. Towards this effect, these institutes (and where allowed, private bodies) conduct initiatives to improve knowledge by structured ways(seminars, courses) and unstructured(articles, teaching, self study). However, the core challenge to the PAIB(or CAs in service/CAs not in practice as we call them in India) is as follows

  1. CPE Program timings conflicting with working hours: CPE programs are often targetted at CAs in practice instead of CAs in service who might not be able to take leave/off. Same holds true for talks from 5pm-8pm or so.
  2. CPE Industry Study circles barriers: CPE study circles of members in industry appear more of an effort to recognize internal KMS than open it to outsiders. That is why study circles like Reliance/Castrol conduct programs but often open only to their employees. This is understandable due to security issues in tech parks etc, but outsiders have a less chance
  3. Journal articles focus on traditional areas like audit, law, tax with very less focus on corporate finance, management accounting and other industry interest areas
  4. Journal articles quality: The quality of articles vary-with many just being a regurgiation of laws/standards, with less incisive. 
  5. Research Practice Gap: Research is not easily dissiminated and there is no central portal for business research. So those in service need to visit multiple sites and/or subscribe to many journals just to keep up. And lesser said about 'peer review' and 'ivory tower' research, the better.
So what to do? It is easy to criticize but difficult to implement. So without much ado, here are some useful suggestions
  1. Track the regional council website for relevant seminars/conferences. Some are targeted at members in industry and may be relevant
  2. Form your own CPE study circle centred around areas of common interest(eg project finance, excel, tax). Exchange faculty with like minded professionals
  3. Use startups like Breathingrom. co to get venues on demand with seating capacity ~50-100. This would help plan events on short notice also
  4. Devote some time each month to professional development(journal writing/KMS). It will go a long way
  5. Use study circle to share expenses such as relevant books, hiring trainer etc. It is useful
  6. Use study circle as a sounding board to share/discuss experiences and professional plans. It would help get perspectives.
I will implement many of these in the next year. Do drop me an email on andy161161 at gmail dot com with the subject line 'CPE' if you are residing in Mumbai and interested. 

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