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The Power of Learning & Development in 2024

Based on my conversations with talent and learning and development (L&D) leaders from firms across the country, the profession is finally starting to “get it.” Every individual within a firm needs to be upskilling and reskilling. Leaders from forward-thinking firms recognize the critical role that L&D plays in ensuring their teams are competent in their current roles and equipped with the skills necessary to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing environment.  


Upskilling and reskilling: it’s not optional anymore 

First, let’s ensure we’re on the same page about upskilling and reskilling. 

Upskilling equips employees with advanced skills and broader knowledge for their current roles, often through courses and training that expand their competencies. This enables them to handle greater responsibilities, achieve a vertical promotion or fill a skill gap. 

Reskilling involves employees gaining new qualifications to switch roles within an organization. The goal is not just to enhance their existing capabilities but to acquire new and relevant skills that are becoming increasingly indispensable in the profession.  

For example, the demand for expertise in data analytics is surging. Rather than immediately looking to hire new talent with these skills, firms should first consider the potential within their existing workforce. Many employees possess diverse interests and capabilities that, if nurtured, could significantly benefit the firm. 

Ignoring the latent potential within your team is a missed opportunity, especially when skills obsolescence is accelerating at an unprecedented pace. The Josh Bersin Company's HR Predictions for 2024 report highlights this trend, noting that professionals must learn new tools, technologies, and disciplines at "light speed" to remain relevant. This rapid pace of change underscores the importance of a proactive and strategic approach to L&D. 


Technology: The cause and the cure 

While technology is a crucial driver of the need for upskilling and reskilling, it is also a vital resource for L&D.  


Traditionally, most learning events in the profession took place on-site. Both of these options incur additional costs and result in lost productivity. Asynchronous learning can ensure learners have a baseline knowledge of the topic before attending a conference or other learning event. 


The Bersin report highlights innovative products like Arist and new tools from Docebo, Section, Sana, 360 Learning, or Uplimit that revolutionize instructional content creation. These platforms enable L&D professionals to develop educational materials in a fraction of the time it traditionally took, enhancing the efficiency and reach of L&D efforts. 


Platforms like Galileo can transform how firms disseminate user guides, policies, and other documents. They provide immediate access to a wealth of knowledge and offer virtual teaching or expert assistance on virtually any topic. This democratization of knowledge is a game-changer, enabling firms to rapidly equip their teams with the information and skills needed to excel. 


AI-based training systems are another emerging development in L&D. These systems will deliver personalized learning experiences at scale, allowing individuals to ask questions, receive answers, and access relevant videos or courses instantaneously. This on-demand, customized learning is a significant leap forward in how firms support their employees' development. 


Embracing the future of L&D 

As we navigate these new L&D technologies, the real opportunity is to leverage these tools to create a culture of continuous learning and development, where every member of the firm is empowered to grow and adapt to the profession's demands. 


By embracing the opportunities presented by technology and fostering an environment that values upskilling and reskilling, firm leaders can play an active role in shaping the future and ensuring their teams are prepared for it. The journey towards a more knowledgeable and resilient team begins with a commitment to L&D, and the time to act is now. 


Are you ready to upskill your team and transform your firm? 

The Boomer Learning & Development Circle is a peer group of learning and development professionals in the accounting profession who share tools and resources to properly support their firms’ learning and development goals. Apply now to ensure you’re focusing on the right skills, engaging learners and demonstrating value to other firm leaders. 


Sandra Wiley, Shareholder, President of Boomer Consulting, Inc., is a leader in the accounting profession with a passion for helping firms grow, adapt and thrive. She is regularly recognized by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her expertise in leadership, management, collaboration, culture building, talent and training.

Sandra’s role at Boomer Consulting, Inc. includes serving as co-director of the Boomer Leadership Academy as well as the Boomer Managing Partner Circle, the Boomer Talent Circle and the Boomer Learning & Development Circle. Her years of experience and influence as a management and strategic planning consultant make her a sought-after resource among the best and brightest firms in the country.


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