Professional training is the fuel that keeps your career in finance and accounting moving forward. It’s essential when you’re attempting to stay in touch with changing regulations and industry happenings. Conferences, courses and certifications are all great ways to show your employer your ever-increasing value.
However, costs for these professional training opportunities — in terms of both time and money — can get high. Although employers know that paying for professional development is a great way to retain employees, they won’t automatically rubber-stamp any paid training you ask for. That's why you should come up with a plan to get the training you need. Here are four ways to make it happen:
1. Write and submit a proposal to your employer. Whatever training you’re going for, be thorough with your cost estimates and research. Be sure to point out how the company will benefit from your personal development. If it’s a seminar or conference you want to attend, for instance, focus on the industry connections and potential clients you’ll encounter while you’re there.
2. Tie it to a specific and immediate need. If you can turn your professional training into an even more direct investment in the company’s current needs, you’ll likely improve your chances of getting your employer to pay for it. If, for example, your firm needs someone to take the lead on social media marketing, taking a course on business social media won’t just be generalized training for you. It’ll translate into an immediate benefit for the company. You can also tie continuing education to business needs by reminding your manager of how regulatory compliance concerns and laws change from year to year.
3. Go for a dollar-for-dollar match. Perhaps your company is too small to be spending thousands of dollars to develop multiple employees. If that’s the case, you can ask your boss to match your payments and essentially split the cost 50/50. It may not be a free ride, but sharing the cost might make the difference between getting your professional development and waiting for something that probably won’t ever happen.
4. Follow through. Once you’ve received your training or certification, use your newly acquired expertise on the job. Be sure you are delivering on the points you made in your proposal so your boss sees the tangible benefits of funding your training. Take it a step further and offer to share your knowledge with colleagues, maybe through some in-house training or mentoring.
Once management starts to see that the investment in you is paying dividends, they’ll likely be more inclined to subsidize your professional training in the future. With a successful track record and the support of your employer, you can keep up with the changes and demands of modern accounting without breaking the bank.
Have you found other ways to get the professional training you need at little or no cost to you? Tell us how you did it in the comments. Also, check out our accounting certifications and training resources here.