Professional Certifications: Pay Now, Reap the Benefits Later

Professional Certifications

Warning: If your company does not reimburse employees for receiving or maintaining professional certifications, you risk losing them to organizations that do.

In a recent survey, 77 percent of accounting and finance professionals said their company pays for professional certifications, according to The People Puzzle: Building and Retaining a Talented Accounting and Finance Team, a joint report by Robert Half and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

If you’re not already doing so, consider making space in your budget for continuing education for your employees. Spending more, especially if your organization is trying to tighten its purse strings, may seem counterintuitive. However, establishing a career development program in which you subsidize or pay in full for employees to obtain and maintain important professional certifications can benefit the entire organization. Here’s why:

1. It keeps your staff up to date. If you want your employees to continue to stay on top of accounting trends and new compliance mandates, you need to arm them with the necessary tools. There are also a lot of new accounting software programs on the market and cloud-based applications that can improve productivity. Professional certification programs can expose employees to tech trends so they can make educated decisions about what would work best for your organization — saving you time and money in the long run.

2. It’s essential for attracting top up-and-coming talent. The People Puzzle report shows that employers are focusing on attracting the most skilled of the Millennials. The report also found that 47 percent of Millennials cited advancement opportunity as a top priority when considering a job offer. If you don’t offer professional development at your organization, you may have difficulty attracting top candidates.

3. It makes or breaks your retention strategy. Because advancement is a key factor in job satisfaction, you run the risk of losing prized employees if you fail to write training into your staffing budget. By subsidizing or paying for professional certifications, you send the message that you value and respect your employees and want them to succeed and grow with your company. As a result, they will be less likely to look for opportunities elsewhere. 

4. It fosters innovation. Every company wants employees to evolve and push themselves to find new solutions to problems, but workers who don’t grow will stagnate. Encouraging professional certification enables your staff to step away from old and tired methods and venture into uncharted territory, where they’ll feel energized. What’s more, the resulting creative solutions can help advance the organization.

5. It makes employees happy. Workers are most satisfied when they’re making progress. Paying for them to start, complete or maintain a professional certification is one way you can help them advance their skills. Happy workers are also more loyal and industrious — especially when they recognize that your financial support is integral in the realization of their goals. With the resulting boost in morale and productivity, your initial investment will pay off in dividends.

Does your organization pay for professional certifications? If so, what are the benefits you have noticed?

Professional Certifications