Monday 8 September 2014

Tax training: How regularly should you invest in training your staff?

It’s perhaps unsurprising that those who spend much of their time assessing the merits of various forms of investment also tend to be enthusiastic about spending to develop human capital. After all, the return offered by a competent, well-informed staff member is obvious enough to have even the most tight-fisted executive reaching for the company chequebook.

Here, four senior staff members from leading accounting and financial services firms explain why money spent on tax training, such as the CTA1 Foundations, is money well spent.

Good staff demand it

Firms seek to recruit quality candidates and quality candidates seek firms that will provide them with the opportunity to develop themselves professionally.

“Our preferred candidates come from the top two universities and we look for graduates who present professionally, have good passes and are articulate in both written and oral forms of communication,” says Anne Goode, associate director at Moore Stephens.

Ross Forrester, a director at Westcourt who is similarly interested in recruiting high-calibre graduates, argues such individuals place a premium on training. “Young staff are hungry for knowledge, so much so that they place more value on a firm that will invest in helping them develop their career than one that will offer them a bigger salary upfront.”

Firms require it

“Accounting and financial services firms are knowledge organisations,” says Forrester. “An investment in staff training is needed to remain competitive in the marketplace.”

While noting all staff can benefit from tax training, Forrester points out that the returns are particularly high for those in the early stages of their career. “Staff coming from a low base of knowledge generate a better outcome per training dollar spent.”

Clients expect it

“Our clients have high expectations of our staff and assume they will be competent tax advisors,” says Leigh Dyson, senior manager at Barringtons. “We invest in training our staff in the expectation they will remain with the firm and develop into technically competent advisors. And while training is important for everybody, that first two to three years in someone’s professional development is probably the most critical period.”

Which course?

There’s no shortage of options when it comes to tax courses, but the Tax Institute’s CTA1 Foundations is highly endorsed by tax professionals.

“We looked at quite a few different courses but found CTA1 is something our graduates could apply immediately,” says Daleen Van der Merwe, HR Manager at DKM Group. “They feel they’ve learnt something, their self-confidence grows and the company is reassured that they’re being provided with a consistent standard of education.”

Many employers claim their staff are their most valuable asset, but the ones who are sincere demonstrate it by providing those staff with opportunities to develop their skills through a range of training options.

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