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  • The Future of Accountancy

    by Kieron McDonnell | Dec 21, 2017

    We recently attended the Future of Accountancy conference at London’s Southbank University, joining key figures from the world of accounting education to discuss what the future may have in store for our industry. Against a backdrop of fast paced change, not only is it important that these conversations are taking place but that we, as a tuition provider, are present to consider how we will need to react in the years to come.

    Although all sort of topics were covered across the day - from Brexit to blockchain - key themes that came up consistently were the needs of employers, the shifting ambitions and aspirations of the next generation, and the dynamic nature of the environment in which all stakeholders currently find themselves in. Of course, these will also impact the professional bodies and tuition providers such as Kaplan.

    Challenging questions were asked as to what the future might bring, such as:

    • Will we still need financial statements in their current form, or could shareholders and governments not simply access accounting records directly?
    • Do we need changes in corporate reporting to help shareholders better understand how value is generated and sustained?
    • What is the value of trust in a business relationship? Is it not trust that wins contracts, generating cashflows leading to a more sustainable business?

    Of course, professional bodies are not immune to change, as we’ve seen recently with the merger between CIMA and AICPA to create the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) or the way in which all of the bodies have had to respond quickly to the developments of the Level 7 Professional Accountant Apprenticeships.

    Against a backdrop of increasing change and new challenges, professional bodies have to create an exam framework that will test the finance professionals of the future in subjects that will still be relevant 10 years from now, ensuring those who pass will be able to thrive in an uncertain world.

    We weren’t able to touch upon how training providers such as Kaplan will be able to better teach these new subjects on the day, but we are seeing changes here as well.

    It’s very encouraging to see a greater recognition of the importance of collaboration between the professional body, employer and tuition providers. Our expertise in the area of knowledge transfer and behavioural changes will be an essential component in creating better accountants of the future.

    We can’t predict exactly what the future will have in store, but as a tuition provider we can join the conversations as we look to the future with imagination and scepticism, asking what changes might happen and how will we respond to them to ensure that we continue to train accountants for the challenges they will meet in the years ahead.

  • The future of Procurement

    by Sharon Cooper | Dec 12, 2017
    "Procurement faces significant challenges in the years ahead, but there are massive opportunities too." Alejandro Alvarez, Director at Ayming 'Procurement 2020' report of 2017.

    Deloitte's 2017 global survey of Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) revealed that 79 per cent of respondents saw reducing costs as their highest priority for the year. That's a higher figure than in the 2016 survey, and significantly the emphasis on increasing cash flow was also up, at 48 per cent.

    The figures point to a need for better commercial decision-makers within procurement teams, people who can help keep costs down while bringing in more revenue.

    But CPOs face an additional challenge around the people that comprise their teams, namely keeping and improving them in the face of pressure for better results.

    Retaining the talent in a procurement team by identifying it and then developing it was one of the pressing concerns discussed at the World Procurement Congress (WPC) in 2017.

    Approaches discussed at the WPC varied with Ericsson, for example, revealing that they assess people from across its organisation and put them on new growth paths within the company to improve its procurement process.

    Siemens, meanwhile, identify talented people in procurement and non-procurement teams, and offer job-swaps and secondments to enhance skills in a range of roles.

    And as well as looking at how their people operate, CPOs are having to adapt their strategic approach to cope with external issues that can increase risk around what they do.

    Events like Brexit and changes to global free trade policies are provoking uncertainty. Procurement teams are being forced to rethink their approach after lengthy and favourable agreements with former suppliers.

    In fact, while Deloitte found that cost reduction is the strongest priority for CPOs, managing risks came next at 57 per cent. CPOs also observed an increase in business risk levels compared to 2016.

    As reducing costs, increasing revenue and managing risks become more of a priority than ever before, Kaplan is bringing its expertise and experience together to create the Kaplan Procurement Journey. This is a development offering that gives procurement teams a comprehensive toolkit to develop into the business partners their organisations need them to be.

    With this approach, we can help your procurement teams make better commercial decisions, reduce contractual risk and build more meaningful relationships - both inside your organisation and with external suppliers.

    Contact us to find out how Kaplan can help your organisation produce a tailored development plan to keep your procurement team one step ahead.

    Call 020 3122 0100 or email businesstraining@kaplan.co.uk

  • How to win friends and influence the finance department

    by Sharon Cooper | Dec 12, 2017
    As a learning and development professional you know how important it is to get the buy-in of senior leaders for a training or development programme. Without active support, you know you'll be constantly defending it in senior circles and it'll be in constant danger of losing its funding.

    You know the script. You scope out a terrific programme, identify a supplier you are sure will do a great job, and are excited about the value it'll add to the business. The managing director likes it and other stakeholders you've consulted are talking about who they can put on it.

    And then finance gets involved. They ask what the return on investment will be and where you could shave costs – as if you haven't already been through all this already and made the case several times over. Worst of all, they ask whether it is really necessary or just nice to have?

    When 'buy in' gets real

    For most of your stakeholders 'buy in' is a metaphor; for finance it's literal. It's their job to weigh up the commercial value of the training.

    You know they're right – if the training isn't actually contributing to the bottom line, either directly or indirectly, in their eyes it really is just a 'nice to have.' So, you're not surprised that they ask difficult questions. Still, finding answers that speak to their concerns can be difficult.

    So what can we do to gain their support and push the great training idea through? Well, like any exercise in stakeholder management it starts with identifying their interests. What keeps the finance department awake at night?

    One concern I have heard over and over again in my years in HR was the complaint that many of the staff didn't think 'commercially' enough. These people made decisions without thinking of the financial implications, passed up opportunities to cut costs, lacked the 'commercial savviness' for what makes a good 'business' decision. A learning and development professional who could offer a way of addressing that issue would certainly get the ear of the finance department.

    Follow the money

    But that'd need a way of defining what good commercial decision-making looks like in your business. You'll have heard enough senior leaders tell you that it's important and, probably, isn't as 'good' as it should be in places. But how do you articulate what good looks like? Then you'd need a simple way of assessing how people in the business measure up to that standard.

    Fortunately, this is what we designed our Commercial Acumen Diagnostic to do.

    A commercial acumen diagnostic tool will identify those people who are likely to make a good commercial decision, and those who take a risk every time. But perhaps most importantly, it’ll define what good commercial practice looks like in your business, and what drives it in terms of skills and knowledge. In essence, this diagnostic provides you with the data to create a 'lens' that will inform all your training provision – from the hard and soft skills – giving you the confidence that all your training supports and develops the business commercial objectives.

    Do that, and soon you'll have a whole set of new friends and supporters with those in the finance department, who will champion your evidence-based decision making.

    You can learn more about our Commercial Acumen Diagnostic in the video below.

    Jo Lee, Senior Consultant, Leadership & Professional Development

  • Criminal Finances Act – it’s here

    by Kieron McDonnell | Oct 02, 2017

    The UK’s new corporate offence of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion is now in force.  Are you prepared?

    Do you have procedures in place, or have you done a risk assessment to satisfy yourself that your current procedures are adequate to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion?

    If you aren’t prepared you could be open to prosecution.

    Who does it apply to?

    Whether you do business in, or with the UK, you will need to be fully informed of the legislation and its impact on your business. Whilst it has always been a criminal offence to facilitate tax evasion, the new offence means that organisations that ‘turn a blind eye’ to, or are simply unaware of the criminal acts of persons representing them, may now be held to account.  And the scope is wide. Not only does it cover employees, but any person representing your business, including sub-contractors and agents.

    The only defence to this new offence is the organisation putting in place ‘reasonable prevention procedures’  to ensure that its representatives are not facilitating tax evasion.

    What is the new offence?

    There are 3 stages to the new offence.

    Stage one: there must be a criminal tax evasion by a taxpayer (either an individual or a legal entity) under existing law.

    Stage two: there must be a criminal facilitation of the tax evasion by a person acting on behalf of your organisation.

    Stage three: your organisation has failed to prevent the person from committing the criminal facilitation act.

    Why is it important to act now?

    If you fall short of the requirements set down by HMRC you will have no defence to the new corporate offence. The consequences of a successful prosecution are:

    • Unlimited financial fines
    • Possible revocation of licences and exclusion from public procurement processe
    • Reputational damage

    How should you respond and how can we help?

    There is no simple one size fits all system that will protect your business from the risk of prosecution. However.  HMRC has published draft guidance which suggests that the procedures put in place to prevent tax evasion from being committed on your organisation’s behalf should be informed by six principles.

    • Risk assessment
    • Proportionality of risk-based prevention procedures
    • Top level commitment
    • Due diligence
    • Communication (including training)
    • Monitoring and review

    So what next?

    You will need to ensure, if you haven’t already done so, that you undertake a risk assessment on all of your organisation’s activities so you can identify possible areas of risk and what procedures you need to put in place to address these.

    In order to complete the risk assessment, your project teams will need to know what constitutes tax evasion.  The use of offshore trusts and accounts may be an obvious example, but what about the more subtle forms of evasion that are nevertheless caught by the law, and may be possible risk areas for your organisation?

    Once your project team has identified possible areas of risk, you will need to put in place procedures, to demonstrate that as an organisation you are trying to prevent those acting on your behalf from facilitating tax evasion.  These procedures are likely to include training on what the offence means for the organisation, and policies and procedures that you have identified and implemented in order to address risk areas.

    As a legal and tax training provider, we can help you with the training required to demonstrate compliance.

    Contact our specialist team at businesstraining@kaplan.co.uk now to support your organisation.

  • Developing Commercial Acumen in your organisation – Step 1

    by Kieron McDonnell | Sep 15, 2017

    How commercially astute are your people?

    Step 1 - Identifying Commercial Acumen

    Sound Commercial Acumen is the holy grail of every organisation, but our experience tells us there is no single way to define it. For some, it might mean looking beyond the basic financial metrics, for others it’s about being able to objectively evaluate the business from the outside in, or making decisions that result from weighing up the cost versus the benefits of something.

    Whatever the definition, organisations need to articulate what commercial acumen means to them and ensure their people are completely aligned with it.

    The 3 stage approach

    For this reason, we have created a 3 stage approach to assessing commercial acumen:

    1. Define the drivers – What shapes the attitude towards commercial decisions?
    2. Identify Competencies – What do these drivers mean?
    3. Scenario based questions – Tailored questions that highlight strengths and weaknesses.
    Commerical acumen drivers

    A tailored Commercial Acumen Diagnostic Assessment will present you with a clear picture of who is aligned to your business vision. It will allow you to identify risk quickly, using relevant scenarios to assess the competence and confidence of your people, and deliver accurate results with detailed recommendations on how to act.

    Why is STEP 1 important for the development of Commercial Acumen in your organisation?

    Defining and assessing Commercial Acumen will allow you to:

    • Prioritise and direct learning and development interventions with a laser focus to where it’s needed
    • Optimise your budget and avoiding waste
    • Identify financial risk – highlighting people that are highly confident but making incorrect financial decisions
    • Detect hidden talent – identify people with high competence but low confidence
    • Provide flexible and commercially relevant ‘before and after’ benchmarks

    Did you know?

    Our Diagnostic range could help you prioritise and direct learning and development to where it’s needed, optimising your budget and avoiding waste.

    The above is true for any capability assessment - our Kaplan Diagnostics range helps to optimise L&D spend, empowering you to focus on the development areas that are most needed, and with real-time insights on risk areas, hidden talent and learning trends, Kaplan Diagnostics will enable you to efficiently identify the champions of your organisation and barriers to its success.

    If you would like to hear more about the diagnostics tool, please complete the callback form to request a free demonstration of how the programme works.

    What happens after you have identified Commercial Acumen? You develop your learning and development to drive measurable results. Watch this space for our next blog which will identify this step 2 in detail.

  • The Top 5 EdTech trends you need to know about - Summer 2017

    by Stuart Pedley-Smith | Jul 10, 2017

    We are in the season when many learning and technology leaders gather to discuss what’s new and what’s trending in the world of education. And at two recent conferences that I attended with colleagues from Kaplan, Learning Technologies and EdTechXEurope, there was plenty to see.

    Generally, the role of technology in learning seems to have found its place with many acknowledging it should support learning not drive it. However, it’s still very easy to look at the latest shiny new offerings and think, this is great how can I use it, rather than, what learning problem does it solve.

    Here are a few of the most notable developments.

    1. Video is getting even better – fuelled by the YouTube generation of learners (those who would rather watch a video than read a book as a means to consume knowledge) - and we have some new developments.

      Firstly, using video to deliver micro learning.  Not just small chunks of video but untethered, JIT, 3 minute courses that offer the learner digestible easy to remember information. Think of micro learning as a series of very short courses that could be linked to each other or not, and can even include assessment.

      Secondly, interactive video. TV is no longer the all commanding medium it once was, it like other technologies has had to evolve. In recent years the shift has been towards better engagement, offering spin off programmes where there is a live audience, web sites that showcase the backstory to the characters and programmes that require the audience to vote and so influence events. Now we have interactive video, where the individual can choose what they would do and so change the future. Check out this amazing example, used by Deloitte to attract new talent.

    2. Gamification is becoming better understood. For the uninitiated gamification is the use of game based principles to improve motivation, concentration and more effective learning. Gamification uses Points (P) as a measure of reward, Badges (B) as a visual record of success, and leader boards (L) to create competition.

      We now believe Dopamine, the pleasure induced neurotransmitter (chemical) is not created as a result of a reward e.g. by being given a badge, it is the challenge and subsequent achievement that releases the dopamine which in turn leads to pleasure. This might seem obvious, with hindsight, no one gets pleasure from being top of a leader board, if they did nothing to get there.  In addition, dopamine is released when you have a new experience, so think about changing pathways, setting different questions and tasks, it’s certainly not very motivational to go over the same content again.

    3. Information overload is leading to a need for Knowledge Curation – we are living in an age where information is abundant. You can learn anything from the internet. But there lies the problem, we have too much information, we suffer from information overload. Curation is the collecting and sorting of meaningful content around a theme, and it is now in some instances being thought of as more valuable than the content itself.

      Arguably curation is not so much about what you curate and share but what you don’t share. In addition to the organisation of content the curators need to have an expertise in the subject and an understanding of their audience and what they want.

      Steven Rosenbaum in his book Curation Nation, offers up a good summary. “Curation replaces noise with clarity. And it’s the clarity of your choosing; it’s the things that people you trust help you find.”

    4. The market is becoming more accepting of user generated content (UGC) – organisations are beginning to see the benefits of UGC for a whole host of reasons. It’s a very fast way of generating content, there is a lot of expertise that can be uncovered by allowing individuals to share what they know, it’s often user friendly, and importantly it’s cheap. It is of course not perfect, and there are concerns about quality, but by allowing the users to rate the content, the quality might just look after itself.

    5. Virtual reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial intelligence (AI) – not that these are all related, but just a simple way of me summarising three areas to keep an eye on in the not too distant future. All of these technologies are becoming cheaper, largely because of the investment made and experience being gained in the gaming industry.

    Learning like so many industries is moving very fast just now, so it’s important to keep abreast of the changes, continually thinking what they might mean for your organisation and the steps you have to take today to make possible the developments of tomorrow.

    And at Kaplan, we intend to continue to do just that.

    Stuart Pedley-Smith, Head of Learning for Kaplan Financial, has been involved with training and educating finance professionals for over 20 years. He is especially interested in the process of learning and the exam skills and techniques that contribute towards success in the classroom and in life. Stuart has written two books – The E word – Kaplan’s Guide to Passing Exams and A student’s guide to writing Business Reports.

  • Emerging leaders: Preparing for a greater challenge

    by Ian Stewart | Jul 06, 2017

    Emerging leaders are often talented individuals who are easily identified as having what it takes to rise in organisations, but they often fall short of being the 'full package' right away.

    About a year ago, one emerging leader we worked with was promoted to a major new role in her company. From looking after a small business unit, she was now in charge of a global function, with a team that would spread across 7 francophone countries. It would also involve relocating her family to Paris.

    The business put in place a great deal of support – finding accommodation, schools for the children and arranging language classes. But there was one area they neglected to prepare for her.

    For a leader transitioning to a senior position it's important to be well equipped for top level decision making. While the new post built on her technical expertise, the kinds of decisions she would have to make were measurably different to those she was used to.

    Three key differences stood out: the level of the stakeholder management involved, the impact a single decision could make, and the time taken to deal with the decision's consequences.

    Dealing with stakeholder perception

    The stakeholder management presented her with a whole new challenge. She was faced with a group who lacked her technical understanding and who saw the issues from a completely different perspective.

    Despite being a subject matter expert, with fantastic technical and strategic skills, a well thought through plan simply wasn't enough. She had to spend a great deal of time listening, and trying to understand other perspectives.

    When it came to using this accommodation even further up the hierarchy, she encountered another set of interests and agenda. She told me:

    'Negotiation was key: understanding the differences between interests and positions, and learning how to frame the issue for different parties. To learn how to plan, phrase and package an agreement.

    'These were skills I had never been taught. I understood enough French to know what the facts were, but I didn't understand our organisational culture.'

    What's the 'half-life' of a decision?

    Some decisions last longer than others. We often borrow the term 'half-life' to describe this aspect of decision making. Put simply, choosing what to have for lunch is a decision that really only lasts until supper time. But choosing a career can be a decision that shapes the rest of your working life.

    This is reflected in many of the decisions in the workplace – some have long lasting consequences, others not. For the emerging leader taking up a more senior role, the "half-life" of the decisions they make increases dramatically. Choosing a course of action can shape how the business operates over months, or even years.

    'I found that I had to spend far longer working out the implications of decisions – and especially trying to uncover the unintended consequences.

    'Learning tools and techniques such as "scenario planning" and "red teaming" helped me enormously.

    'I soon learnt that I had to play through my decisions far more rigorously than I had done before'.

    Learn more about how we prepare emerging leaders for greater responsibility, subscribe to our newsletter.

    Dr Ian Stewart, Head of Leadership and Organisational Performance, has over 25 years' experience of leadership development in the public and private sector. Prior to joining Kaplan, Ian ran the Behavioural Science department at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.

  • Maximise the Potential of Your Graduates

    by Lewis Charlesworth | Jul 06, 2017

    Top graduate employers are to “increase their graduate recruitment by a further 4.3% in 2017”. This is according to the annual UK Highfliers graduate report. Clearly, in a post-recession Britain, graduate demand continues to rise.

    This highlights a growing need for the big graduate recruiters to adopt best practises when incorporating new talent into their demanding roles.

    Engage through on-boarding

    The ‘bedding in’ period cannot be underestimated when it comes to getting the most of their initial impact. Given the relative inexperience of graduates, an ignorance of effective on-boarding techniques seems vastly counterproductive.

    Yes, the new recruit is talented, driven, has fantastic grades and great enthusiasm, but do they have the experience and business acumen to immediately influence and affect your company’s bottom line?

    Companies must show an appreciation and understanding of the graduate position at this stage in their career, so that they can effectively nurture them at this pivotal time. Bridging the gap between ‘undergraduate life’ and ‘working employee’ ensures that their intelligence and enthusiasm is channelled into immediate productivity.

    Kaplan Business Challenge

    Refining those Business Skills

    Kaplan’s Leadership and Professional Development has developed an interactive programme to specifically address this issue, with a business simulation: The Kaplan Business Challenge.

     

    The Challenge provides a training ground for developing the key skills needed to make New Hires highly productive contributors, with an eye towards their next level of growth and achievement.

    Acting as the newly appointed board of directors of a struggling company, and in direct competition with each other, teams will develop their strategies, create innovative solutions and implement them as they explore the keys to commercial success.

    Learning by doing

    When it comes to understanding how to run a business, appreciating the financial consequences of the decisions that you make and using financial data to optimise return, the best way to learn is by doing. The simulation provides a safe learning environment where mistakes are not only permitted but are a powerful part of the learning process.

    KBC in action

    We successfully ran a series of KBC sessions with the students of The University of Exeter, in conjunction with ACCA.

    The sessions were delivered over a 4 day period, and by day two we were starting to see good negotiation skills and commercially inventive deals - very impressive for undergrads. Competition was fierce and everyone wanted to win.

    Teams completed a competitive auction, establishing a brand identity and signing up for board positions. The 20 finalists got the opportunity to develop their practical skills and behaviours in a dynamic and engaging way – to a panel of senior decision makers.

    Decision making panel

    So if you hire graduates, or run graduate schemes, get in touch to see how the Kaplan Business Challenge can help to seamlessly integrate your new talent into the world of work.

  • How vital is Learning and Professional Development this year?

    by Sharon Cooper | Jun 19, 2017

    In the context of Brexit, commercial uncertainty and globalisation of the workforce, we collected and analysed a large group of respondents' feedback regarding their L&D budget, current and future challenges and their development priorities.

    Kaplan surveyed over 280 UK-based Human Resources (HR) and Leadership & Professional Development (L&D) professionals. The data gave insight as to what role L&D would play within organisations in 2017 and beyond.

    "The central skill that underpins and informs professional effectiveness is decision making, and to develop this should be the ultimate aim of any professional development Programme," said Ian Stewart, Global Head of Kaplan's Leadership and Organisational Practice, who provides commentary on the results.

    Key findings from the survey:

    • 73% believe that it is important, or very important to measure the return on investment from their learning and development spend;
    • In measuring their ROI on learning and development, line manager assessment is cited 61% of the time, participant feedback 58% of the time and business metrics such as increased sales or savings, 37% of the time;
    • Most respondents said that the top learning and development priorities in 2017 will be: 1) developing the skills of their employees; 2) engaging employees; and 3) retaining employees.

    L&D is about triggering development. It is a visceral as well as intellectual process – we need to 'feel' the challenge, as well as 'think' it. However, many businesses find themselves locked in a traditional train and 'upskill' mindset: this is the challenge that our colleagues and clients in L&D face.

    Read the results of the survey to find out what the hot topics and priorities for the L&D professional are this year.

    Download a copy of the study

  • How risk averse are you? A guide to solving problems

    by Ian Stewart | Jun 19, 2017

    Risk is always a factor when making important business decisions. A series of questions run through your mind:

    • Have you weighed up the evidence correctly?
    • Have you generated the best options available?
    • Do you have the right resources?
    • Have you made the right choice?
    • Will there be unintended consequences?

    In an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, the need to assess and take intelligent risks could not be more pressing.

    To explore this issue and provide a useful guide, Kaplan’s Head of Leadership & Organisational Performance, Dr Ian Stewart, has produced a new substantive whitepaper on Risk Taking and Problem Solving.

    The intelligent risk taker knows how to conduct a technical assessment of a risk. But they also know themselves and their environment. Ultimately, a professional’s ability is judged by the decisions we make when confronted by a complex problem.

    The purpose of this Kaplan whitepaper is to offer some new perspectives and encourage further personal study and professional development. This is by no means an exhaustive or complete study of what is an enormous and complex area; however, it explores problem solving at the levels of the individual, the team and the organisation.

    At Kaplan we believe that the central skill that underpins and informs professional effectiveness is decision making and to develop this should be the ultimate aim of any Professional Development Programme.

    Take our quiz

    How risk averse are you? Download the full whitepaper by taking our quick risk taking quiz.

  • Do your managers have what it takes?

    by Kieron McDonnell | May 11, 2017

    Free event – 8th June 2017, 9:30-1:00pm

    Following the recent success of this event in London, we are bringing our Management Development taster session to Birmingham.

    This morning event will illustrate how we develop managers – so expect business simulations, practical case studies and interactive exercises.

    A 2016 survey found that

    We all know managers get a bad press: 20% of them are doing a poor job according to the people they lead; 26% feel they are not ready to lead others; 50% are assessed by their own managers as being ineffective.

    Companies invest time and money in management training, and yet, we are still getting it wrong. Kaplan commissioned research in the HR and L&D community in 2016 and one issue emerged clearly:

    Managing is the art of allocating resources – numbers, not only people – but the traditional management programmes offer fairly off-the-shelf designs and focus mostly on soft skills. Managers need to develop their understanding of the business as a whole, including the commercial implications of their and their team's actions and decisions.

    So, if you need managers who:

    • Can manage more effectively
    • Understand the business and its policies and practices
    • Know how to leverage the connection between different parts of the organisation
    • Are able to apply the skills and qualities of management in the workplace.

    Then register to attend this event.

    Watch the highlights taken from our last Manager Development session.

    Session details:

    Date: Thursday 8th June 2017
    Time: 9.30 - 1.00pm (please join us for lunch after the session)
    Location: Central Birmingham (further details will be provided)

    Find out more about our First Time Manager programme here.

    To RSVP and register your interest in attending, please fill in the form. Availability is limited.

  • How commercially astute are your people?

    by Kieron McDonnell | May 11, 2017

    Free event – 14th June 2017, 9:30-1:00pm

    Does your company use a commercial assessment, that aligns the strategy of the business to the development of your employees?

    Leaders must ensure that their people understand the importance of the bigger commercial picture and realise the consequences of everyday decision making. Yet, many of our clients wrestle with the issue of ‘commerciality’ or ‘commercial acumen’, and it’s easy to see why:

    • How should we define ‘Commercial Acumen’ or ‘Commerciality’? There is no right or wrong answer, but what does it mean for my business?
    • How do we know how commercially savvy the people in our business are right now? How can we avoid training people on what they know already? How do we ensure that others who need more development are catered for?

    Most organisations assume that commercial acumen is simply the application of good financial management skills. This takes us so far, but certainly misses something: the initiative and insight that can turn a commercially sound decision into a decision that is a game changer for the business.

    Our team of finance experts and behavioural scientists have created a unique way of assessing commercial acumen that we will be showcasing on 14th June:

    The Kaplan Commercial Assessment - an online survey aligned to the commercial strategy of your business that you can employ to personalise learning and development solutions for your people.

    We will show you how it works, give you the opportunity to try it out and tell you about how our clients are using it to develop the commercial decision making of their organisation.

    Session details:

    Date: Wednesday 14th June 2017
    Time: 9.30 - 1.00pm (please join us for lunch after the session)
    Location: Central London (further details will be provided)

    To RSVP and register your interest in attending, please fill in the form. Availability is limited.

  • First Time Managers: Getting to Know the Unknown

    by Dave Kingston | May 05, 2017

    Having been in L&D for the last 20 years, I recently came up against possibly my biggest challenge to date.

    I have a teenage son who will shortly be sitting his GCSE in maths and given my slightly dubious affinity with numbers as a result of my finance background, it was suggested that I could coach him.

    So began one of the most stressful periods of parenting I have experienced to date!

    Every time we talked about the merits of re-arranging equations, or the diameter of a circle, it felt like I was arguing that black was white. But on the flip side, there were probably times when I was trying to remember something I’d not used for over 30 years, and maybe my son was wise to question me.

    This got me thinking of the real world of management and the challenge of getting managers to be true to themselves about their technical strengths and limitations.

    Every organisation is different, and this is by no means an issue that applies just to first time managers. I have run programmes for many organisations where technical competence and technical confidence are misaligned. This creates some very real issues; at one end of the spectrum you have a manager very confidently offering incorrect advice and making ill-informed decisions. At the other end of the spectrum, you have the missed opportunity of a manager who is technically strong, but lacks the confidence to ensure their view is heard.

    Going beyond the ‘blind spot’

    Based on diagnostic tools we have employed recently, we have seen how the split between the two camps can vary for a number of reasons - whether cultural, by gender or by professional specialism.

    For some of the organisations with whom we work, this variety of technical competence is probably more of an issue than it has been in the past. Profiles of employees moving into first time management roles have, in my experience, become far more diverse.

    This presents some interesting challenges when it comes to designing development pathways that can target what needs to be addressed. We’re not all self-aware, and from a technical perspective whether we are talking finance, law or technology, we often don’t know what we don’t know!

    In my experience, being able to give an individual that insight and analysis of blind-spots; as well as being able to provide an organisational heat-map of technical strength and weakness offers real value. It can inform a more strategic view of the learning and development priorities of your organisation, whether this is used to identify participants who will benefit most from development, in designing the content of a training programme, or just stopping your organisation from potentially being sued as a result of the actions of a rogue manager!

    Food for thought, but then so are quadratic equations, and another maths tutorial beckons…

    Dave Kingston is Head of Commercial Awareness within Kaplan Leadership & Professional Development. He has 20 years experience of delivering finance and commercial awareness programmes across all levels, and has led the development of a suite of commercial and financial diagnostic tools that assess technical competence and confidence.

    On June 8th  2017 Kaplan Leadership & Professional Development are conducting a taster training session, giving an in depth look at how we develop first time managers, conducted through business simulations, practical case studies and interactive exercises. For further information subscribe to our newsletter.

  • First Time Managers: Stepping up to the mark

    by Jo Lee | Apr 26, 2017

    I remember when I stepped up to managing a team in my late 20s.

    I imagined that it must have been similar to being asked to captain the school netball team, and that I would have the same sense of excitement and determination. Afterall, I possessed the same level of determination. I had learned from my manager, who like my coach was a great role model, and the team liked me. So it couldn't be easier. How wrong was I.

    In reality the journey to establishing myself as an effective, successful manager, took many years. I had to build my credibility with my former peers; new peers and senior leaders. I had to change my mind-set; I had to start thinking commercially; realise that collaboration was essential; step away from the 'banter' and learn how to manage performance. Most of this happened by osmosis rather than through any guided development path.

    Thankfully, many of the organisations I work with do offer managers some form of development. You get the opportunity to attend manager inductions, and you might also be enrolled on a management programme to develop your 'people management' skills. And when things go awry, you might get a coach to support your personal development, resilience and confidence.

    This personal development does something to support managers, however where is the technical expertise? And where are the deeper behavioural insights? For example, where is the understanding of a P&L in manager development (I didn't understand one for about four years after I became a manager!)? Where is the teaching on how to make the best decisions and how to communicate in a clear and confident manner? Elements which are essential for any First Time Manager.

    When I think back to being a First Time Manager, my team had a blast, were supportive of me - each other, and were 'in it together'; however, as a manager I think I was doing half a job. My personal development needed a more rounded approach. I needed competence in the technical aspects of management and confidence when challenging and driving through decisions. Half the development; half the job.

    Organisations have a clear expectation of their managers and that is to deliver the organisation's goals and objectives. Where clarity lacks is in their actual development. "Suck it and see" is often the way, we might even cite the 70:20:10 framework. Of course there is merit in such an approach – however, we develop through experience, and through trying something and stretching ourselves.

    Our recent taster session offered a sample of our double helix approach to management development. It featured interactive simulations and talks aimed at demonstrating the importance of improving technical competence and behavioural confidence.

    We also asked a number of First Time Managers what advice they would give to others who were stepping up in their role. Here's the top 10 insights from their first-hand experience.

    1. Understand your role and expectations (step in but be clear on what is required of you).
    2. Understand who your stakeholders are and who you need to build relationships with.
    3. Who can give you advice? Who is your go to person? They have had the experience, allow them to share. Find some support!
    4. Look after the people working for you, you need your team just as much as they need you.
    5. Take your time to learn your strengths and weaknesses and where you need to develop.
    6. Take some time to understand what it is you want to do and how you want to operate as a manager.
    7. Think about how you want to structure your leadership. If you don't take the time, you'll forever be trying to catch up with yourself.
    8. Listen and communicate - especially to those you are managing and communicate directly and clearly.
    9. Always anticipate. When you've made a decision, ask yourself – So what?
    10. Most importantly look after yourself.

    Just imagine how successful our managers, and therefore our teams and our organisations could be if we focused on the development of both sides of management – technical and behavioural.

    Watch some of the highlights from this session.

    Jo Lee is a Senior Consultant at Kaplan Leadership and Professional Development, which supports organisations in developing the technical competence and behavioural confidence of their employees, from those starting their careers to established leaders.

    If you would like to find out more about our First Time Managers and Professional Development courses, use the form to request a callback.

  • ‘Doing a Devon Loch’ or why so many of us fall at the last hurdle

    by Simon Taylor | Apr 05, 2017

    Just over sixty years ago Devon Loch, a horse owned by the Queen Mother, was set to win the Grand National. For over four miles Devon Loch had soared over thirty fences and was clear of the field. With 50 yards to go victory was assured. But as hats were being thrown in the air and punters counting their winnings, Devon Loch fell. Its race was over.

    But that day a phrase entered the culture: ‘Doing a Devon Loch’, capturing that all too common experience of seizing defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Why do so many of us fall at that last hurdle? Business is no different. Consider delivering a pitch, and the stress involved in the preparation and delivery. It’s going well and the win seems assured – then as the final question rolls in, one of the team makes a basic error, misjudging their audience or failing to address the client’s key concerns. And yet, you believed you had been so well-prepared and rehearsed.

    Psychology offers us explanation and some lessons.

    The same year that Devon Loch was running, Robert Zajonc was doing work that would help us understand the ‘Audience Effect’ – why we perform a task more poorly in front of an audience than we do when we are alone. Anyone who has watched a child struggle to play a piece of music at a school performance that you’ve heard them play perfectly at home is familiar with this effect.

    Zajonc found it was tasks which are more complex or with which we are not familiar, that we struggle with in front of others. The lesson for our pitch team? Practice is essential. That time in front of the mirror or with your team running through your parts is absolutely necessary. But equally so is rehearsal – trying it out in front of an audience. Real people asking real questions.

    After a long day, do you find it harder to resist temptation, often in the form of a glass of wine or a bar of chocolate? You aren’t unusual. In fact, your behaviour is predictable according to those who study self-regulation.

    Self-regulation is our ability to screen out distractions and to concentrate, to resist short term gains in favour of longer term benefits and, crucially, to control our emotional responses. It is an ability that becomes depleted as the day wears on. The plethora of stimulus and activity that makes up a working day drains our well of willpower, reducing our ability to regulate our thoughts and behaviours. By the end of the day, our decision-making is affected – our choices are short term and predictable, we are more volatile – more easily swayed by events.

    What can be done? We must accept that we cannot replenish our store of willpower throughout the day, so we must curate it. We can plan our day to ensure that we are at our best when we need to be. A sandwich at your desk amid the emails and phone calls is draining; a walk in the park at lunchtime can work wonders.

    Failure can be a great teacher but a poor master. We have all ‘done a Devon Loch’. So let’s learn from it and what this kind of experience tells us about how to look after and prepare ourselves better. I look forward to seeing you in the winner’s paddock!

    Simon Taylor, Senior Leadership Consultant at Kaplan Financial, delivers Kaplan’s unique leadership development programmes, which focus on combining Behavioural Science with World Class Financial Training. He has prior experience in delivering leadership training to military, police and government departments worldwide.

    If you would like to find out more about our Leadership and Professional Development courses, use the form to request a callback.

  • 5 Reasons Not to Fear 360 Assessments

    by Ian Stewart | Mar 10, 2017

    Having being born and raised in Scotland, I have been reminded many times that the Scots have invented most things in the modern world: the steam engine, the bicycle, the telephone, and television, to name a few. While I don’t think we can attribute the 360 survey to fellow Scot Robert Burns, my countryman certainly articulated its key benefit. What a splendid gift being able to know how others see you?

    Thirty-four percent of Millennials have cried after a performance review, 47 percent have looked for another job, and 30 percent say they’ve quit outright.

    Despite this, many of the leaders and managers I have worked with are downright terrified of the 360 assessment. According to a recent survey, 34 percent of Millennials have cried after a performance review, 47 percent have looked for another job, and 30 percent say they’ve quit outright.

    But the review needn’t be such a feared ordeal, and here are five reasons why:

    1. Opinions are free and everyone’s got at least one. Allodoxaphobia is the fear of hearing other people’s opinions. It’s a real condition and those who suffer from it live in constant fear and anxiety of hearing opinions about them. To some degree we can all relate to that—we want others, especially those we admire and respect, to think well of us. Few of us relish criticism. And while occasionally a 360 will contain some criticism, it’s important to remember that it is their perception, not necessarily the reality, and the good thing about perception is that it can be changed with a little bit of effort. 360 feedback gives you that opportunity.
    2. Others are often a better judge of your abilities, than you are. Have you ever been asked how long it will take to carry out a simple task and said “about half an hour,” and a couple of hours later, you were still on it? Don’t worry, optimism (and the desire to be seen as helpful) are pretty much part of the human condition. A 360 offers the opportunity to address such measures of overconfidence. This will make your life and the lives of the people who work for you much easier. It exposes what you may already know and allows more efficient planning.
    3. You don’t know what they know until they tell you. In the mid-1950s, Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham combined their first names to create a communication model called the Johari Window. A key idea their model promotes is that we learn about ourselves from the feedback others provide. This is particularly the case regarding our “blind spots”—the perceptions others hold of us that we are not aware of. Learning about (and sometimes overcoming) the effects of these blind spots on working relationships is invaluable to personal development.
    4. Even Roman emperors needed a reality check. Alongside sanitation, law and order, education and, of course, the roads, the Romans knew a thing or two about how easily position and power can give us a distorted view of our abilities. Marcus Aurelius had a servant whose only job was to whisper in his ear when people praised him, “you’re only a man, you’re only a man.” So if a colleague’s view of you isn’t quite as high as your own, at the very least this offers a little lesson in humility and perspective— something leaders should never be short of.
    5. A chance to hit the pause button. How long have you worked with your current employer? What did you do last Tuesday? What would like to be doing next month? Such is the frantic pace of working life that we rarely get an opportunity to sit back and reflect. A 360 is such an opportunity. It will ask you to think about the ways you behave, your impact on others and, by extension, to think of others too. So grasp not only the chance to reflect, but use it to talk to your colleagues, peers and managers. The conversations explore what works and what needs to change—from this the real benefit of a 360 assessment is immediately derived.

    Kaplan Leadership and Professional Development (LPD) have designed a 360° assessment that provides an in-depth, personalised, and well-rounded framework that can be tailored to your organisation and your people.

    Download a free brochure to find out more about our 360 assessments.

    If you would like to talk to one of our advisers about the 360 tool or any other Leadership and Professional Development programmes, then use the form to request a callback.

    Dr Ian Stewart, Head of Leadership and Organisational Practice, has over 25 years’ experience of leadership development in the public and private sector. Prior to joining Kaplan, Ian ran the Behavioural Science department at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.

  • New Hires and Graduates: Turning Risk into Return

    by Kieron McDonnell | Feb 23, 2017

    Free webinar – 15th March 2017, 11-12pm

    Speakers – Simon Taylor, Kaplan’s Senior Leadership Consultant, and Karis Stander, Managing Director at Investment2020

    The Graduate and New Hire recruitment season is upon us and the process by which new talent joins companies is quickly evolving. The traditional relationship between graduates/new hires and the companies that employ them has changed.

    Without an appreciation and understanding of this change, a costly recruitment model can become more expensive. We need to reconsider the recruitment and on-boarding process to ensure the offer meets expectation, and that on-boarding keeps the new hire enthused and focused.

    Join Simon Taylor, Kaplan’s Senior Leadership Consultant, and Karis Strander, Managing Director at Investment2020, on Wednesday 15th March at 11am for an insightful web-ex that will cover:

    • Effective ways to communicate the right message to your audience in order to ensure greater compatibility
    • The i2020 model, which looks to broaden the traditional talent pool and create opportunities for inclusion
    • Analysis of current flaws within recruitment and onboarding
    • A new approach to recruitment: specifically aimed at maximising your return - getting and holding onto the best graduates

    Join Kaplan and Investment2020 for this webinar, which ought to be a lively and thought provoking session.

  • Creative Disruption: Innovation through Intrapreneurship

    by Dr Ian Stewart, and Andrew Perkins | Feb 22, 2017

    Businesses are like sharks: if they stop moving they die.

    In a traditional team, everyone knows their job and what’s expected of them. This is certainly true of the pit crew of a Formula 1 car team, for example. However, for the team charged with innovating and eliciting change in a fast moving and ambiguous environment, clarity of this order can be counter-productive.

    Consider how differently that same F1 team’s R&D team might operate. Rather than have team members focus on personal roles and responsibilities, the innovative team needs to take a broader, collective view. They share and seek responsibilities, looking for new challenges and opportunities.

    The team must be driven by a shared sense of strategic purpose and be empowered to make decisions that will stretch and challenge the organisation - as well as themselves.

    "When all think alike, then no one is thinking." – Walter Lippman

    Companies that don’t see a need to challenge themselves, once they are mature businesses, can potentially impact their brand in negative ways. Sometimes they see the need once the decline in revenue has begun, or when customers start to leave, but that is often too late. The innovation story-line needs to start as companies are in growth mode and have not yet matured.

    Applied appropriately, there are a plethora of benefits ascribed to successful innovation: higher profit margins, reinvigorated products or services, a striking re-positioning of your brand, reinforcing long term relationships, and adding value for the customer.

    At Kaplan, our Professional Leadership & Development team have compiled a list of innovations to inspire you: Download our innovations sheet

    Intrapreneurs: The Facilitators of Innovation

    For those who aren’t acquainted with the term ‘Intrapreneurs’, Global Director of Kaplan’s Leadership and Professional Development, Andy Perkins, offers an explanation: “Intrapreneurs are people within a large corporation who take direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable new business unit through assertive risk-taking and innovation.

    “Intrapreneurs are trusted within the business. They are what George Akerloff calls insiders, people who get it, who are intellectually, professionally, and emotionally engaged with the project. For us, this is the importance of a professional identity – a clear sense of personal and collective responsibility for the project.

    “They are not outlaws... they are pioneers. Intrapreneurs, like entrepreneurs, have to be temperamentally optimistic.

    Intrapreneurship can be regarded as the practice of innovation, at a company:  “The means by which large, mature corporates can develop and harness the commercial energy that will grow the business in a constantly changing and fiercely competitive environment.”

    A Case Study

    At Kaplan, we designed and delivered an innovation program at a global bank, as well as other financial services companies, in various iterations tailored for their specific organisation.

    The brief was always similarly themed: '”We are challenged to do more with less, to create new value for our proposition, and to do this in an environment of organisational and structural change.”

    The LPD approach was to use teams and team leadership to weave through this input on innovative tools and techniques, as well as giving them an understanding of the psychology of change that runs through all of this.

    The results in the classroom were always positive - plenty of engagement, lots of 'aha' moments and they left with 'team plans' and individualised action points. The results in the business were harder to assess, but the feedback we collected from participants was often that the business wasn't receptive to doing things differently.

    One might then make an assumption that although the external pressures to change may be present, the psychological transitions to utilising a more innovative lens on business strategy, may be slower to follow.


    Contributions from Dr Ian Stewart, and Andrew Perkins, part of the Senior Leadership & Personal Development team at Kaplan.

    Does your organisation need to create or revive it’s intrapreneurship spirit? Speak to us.

  • How to win the engagement and retention battle

    by Melissa Vuernick | Feb 20, 2017

    Losing the battle on employee engagement and retention is the surest road to business failure. Employee turnover not only undermines long-term client relationships, but replacing employees can also get very costly—generally 20 percent of annual salary for mid-range positions (earning £25,000 to £40,000 a year). It also takes a new employee a full one to two years to reach the productivity of an existing person and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee length of stay at a job is only 4.4 years.

    The fundamental aspects of this model are inclusion, control, and affection, either expressed or desired. In other words, how you behave toward others, and how you would like others to behave toward you.

    If we look at our own career arc and recall the time we were new hires, we often remember those first few months. We know who was kind to us, who helped us navigate the company’s political landscape, and who showed us how to effectively use the tools and resources introduced to us during our onboarding period. If we pause and reflect, we may also come to new understandings of why we stayed or left our jobs. So why is this conversation still relevant, if not more so today than ever before? Aside from all the technological advances we’ve made which keep people connected and engaged, there are still basic tenets that, when applied to new talent, enhance levels of engagement and retention of that talent within organisations.

    I have coached many people who, two years after being hired, still wrestle with feeling as if their input doesn’t matter. They believe that if they keep their head down, produce, and don’t ask too many questions, all will be fine. If we expect an employee to have the desire to go the extra mile, be productive when external pressures of the day are volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, or make the best decisions for the company, not just themselves, then we must pay greater attention to the beginning of their story with us or they will end up as squandered talent.

    When you speak to managers and ask them how they know their direct reports are engaged, they may give answers pointing out how often the employee meets deadlines, shows up on time for meetings, complains (or rather does not) and attends company-sponsored events. While these are indicators, they don’t paint the full picture.

    Will Schutz, renowned American psychologist and author, introduced a model in the late 1950s to assess group dynamics that is still widely used today: the FIRO (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior) instrument. The fundamental aspects of this model are inclusion, control, and affection, either expressed or desired. In other words, how you behave toward others, and how you would like others to behave toward you. When we include new hires in sharing their perspective on which piece of marketing collateral they think works best to which client needs the most focus that week, we are allowing them to flourish, take their skills and life experiences to the next level, and go home satisfied that they contributed well.

    Even when that individual is on a steep learning curve, it is imperative to tap into their perspective because it guards against groupthink—the innate desire for group harmony without questioning norms that may be detrimental to the desired outcome. When we talk over new hires in meetings, use curt tones when answering their questions, or forget to recognise efforts that yielded great payoff for the organisation, we slowly aid their disengagement.

    Just think about how many times you were busy and grunted an answer without a second thought or left someone off relevant email chains because you were going at breakneck speeds. Give more thought to how many talented people didn’t realise their potential and left because they were excluded. Slowing down and taking the time to dialogue may be just the secret to keeping new hires engaged.

    Today, employees demand more rewards, more learning opportunities to expand their careers, more mobility, and more opportunity. So, we must keep up with these challenges and create learning cultures that not only attract and engage talent, but also retain talent.

    Organisations can address concerns through experiential exercises during the first month, such as business simulations, cohorts or structured communities, and mentoring schemes. They can facilitate learning pathways that promote the least amount of down time between learning something and its real-life application. All of this will go a long way in sustaining a people agenda aimed at engagement and retention and keeping your company competitive.

    How are you retaining your talent? Contact us to find out about Kaplan's talent retention programmes.

  • ​​Kaplan acquires Genesis Institute

    by Sharon Cooper | Feb 13, 2017

    Newly formed Kaplan Genesis to offer CFA® and Leadership and Professional Development programmes in Middle East.

    The deal was signed at the Genesis headquarters in Dubai by Kaplan UK Chief Executive Officer Peter Houillon and Binod Shankar, Managing Director of Genesis Institute. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Genesis and its team will trade under the name Kaplan Genesis and will continue to be based in Dubai and operate across the GCC. It will now be able to integrate the world-class Kaplan Schweser CFA® materials into its already exceptional CFA programmes. The organisation will also offer preparation for other financial and business qualifications, as well as leadership and professional development programmes for corporates.

    Peter Houillon, Chief Executive Officer of Kaplan UK, said: “The combination of Kaplan’s distinguished learning heritage and global reach with the Genesis brand and local expertise provides exciting opportunities to build a highly competitive offering. Many of Kaplan’s UK and US clients, already with a significant presence in the region, will benefit from our combined expertise and global network.”

    Andrew Perkins, Global Director of Kaplan Leadership and Professional Development, said: “At Kaplan, we approach learning and development differently: we combine the development of technical competence and behavioural confidence that enables better decision making by individuals, teams and organisations. We will now tailor these programmes to support the development of regionally based talent for our GCC, UK and US clients.”

    Binod Shankar, Managing Director of Genesis, said: “Being part of Kaplan gives us the resources and infrastructure to enhance the fantastic student experience we have worked hard to create at Genesis. This is great news for our current and future students.”

    Kaplan UK Chief Executive Officer Peter Houillon and Binod Shankar, Managing Director of Genesis Institute

    About Genesis Institute

    Genesis Institute, founded ten years ago, leads the CFA examination market in the UAE and is a leading provider of financial training solutions. It was set up by highly qualified and experienced professionals who are passionate about the delivery of relevant, high quality and effective financial education.

    Genesis Institute’s innovative programs are structured to combine the right balance of practical case studies and insights from business reality to hone both the skills and knowledge of participants. Genesis offers a wide range of courses for Finance and Non-Finance Professionals working at entry, mid-career, or senior level positions.

    For more information about Kaplan Genesis, please contact:

    UK - Andrew Perkins, Director, Leadership and Professional Development, Kaplan, +44 (0) 7768 876 255, andrew.perkins@kaplan.co.uk

    GCC - Binod Shankar, Managing Director, Kaplan Genesis, +971-527775611, binod.shankar@kaplangenesis.com

  • The Future of Accountancy

    by Kieron McDonnell | Dec 21, 2017

    We recently attended the Future of Accountancy conference at London’s Southbank University, joining key figures from the world of accounting education to discuss what the future may have in store for our industry. Against a backdrop of fast paced change, not only is it important that these conversations are taking place but that we, as a tuition provider, are present to consider how we will need to react in the years to come.

    Although all sort of topics were covered across the day - from Brexit to blockchain - key themes that came up consistently were the needs of employers, the shifting ambitions and aspirations of the next generation, and the dynamic nature of the environment in which all stakeholders currently find themselves in. Of course, these will also impact the professional bodies and tuition providers such as Kaplan.

    Challenging questions were asked as to what the future might bring, such as:

    • Will we still need financial statements in their current form, or could shareholders and governments not simply access accounting records directly?
    • Do we need changes in corporate reporting to help shareholders better understand how value is generated and sustained?
    • What is the value of trust in a business relationship? Is it not trust that wins contracts, generating cashflows leading to a more sustainable business?

    Of course, professional bodies are not immune to change, as we’ve seen recently with the merger between CIMA and AICPA to create the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) or the way in which all of the bodies have had to respond quickly to the developments of the Level 7 Professional Accountant Apprenticeships.

    Against a backdrop of increasing change and new challenges, professional bodies have to create an exam framework that will test the finance professionals of the future in subjects that will still be relevant 10 years from now, ensuring those who pass will be able to thrive in an uncertain world.

    We weren’t able to touch upon how training providers such as Kaplan will be able to better teach these new subjects on the day, but we are seeing changes here as well.

    It’s very encouraging to see a greater recognition of the importance of collaboration between the professional body, employer and tuition providers. Our expertise in the area of knowledge transfer and behavioural changes will be an essential component in creating better accountants of the future.

    We can’t predict exactly what the future will have in store, but as a tuition provider we can join the conversations as we look to the future with imagination and scepticism, asking what changes might happen and how will we respond to them to ensure that we continue to train accountants for the challenges they will meet in the years ahead.

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