In the accounting profession, there is no shortage of opportunities for continuing education. Conferences, webinars and in-firm trainings are common opportunities. These opportunities for continual learning certainly have their place in our professional development. That being said, peer groups are a different type of opportunity that can contribute to your ongoing professional development, access to resources and pathway to important relationships.
What is a peer group? A peer group is a group of individuals who share similar interests and roles and meet to work toward common goals. We believe so deeply in the importance of peer groups, we’ve built our entire organization around them. Currently, our organization oversees seven different peer groups serving the accounting profession.
While there are many benefits of being a member of a peer group, this article will highlight just three.
The benefit of others that have “been there, done that”
Nobody wants to recreate the wheel. There are better ways to spend time and money. However, we see many firms “spin their wheels” trying to solve a problem, unaware that a similar-sized firm just 300 miles away solved the same exact problem six months earlier. How much time and money would you save by having access to the knowledge and experience of firms that have struggled with the same challenges your firm is having?
At our various peer group meetings, members regularly show up with a few key objectives they are looking for help with. Inevitably, during the meeting, they get connected with other members who are working on the same problem or have recently found a solution. The connection to these relationships have exponential benefits to our members.
The benefit of peer accountability
Sharing projects, desired results, actions steps and due dates for goals with peers strengthens commitment. It can be much more difficult to tell peers that the ball was dropped than it is to tell coworkers. Especially when peers are expecting to hear about what was learned. Peers can more easily ask the tough questions and help align projects and expectations.
During these accountability conversations, we often uncover others with experience in projects that you are just starting. Identifying peers you can reach out to with questions between meetings helps keep projects moving forward, making achieving progress exponentially more likely.
The benefit of fun and relationships
I’ve never met someone investing in a peer group that wasn’t a hard worker with lofty goals. Being a high-performer, and interacting with other high-performers, is fun and energizing. It’s a great way to stay positive by being reminded that you aren’t alone in experiencing challenges.
Most peer group members will tell you that there is just as much value in having dinner and drinks with peers as there is in attending the meetings. Truly getting to know peers increases the value of the relationships and the group. Having fun along the way is a great byproduct.
While I could write many more pages on the power of being a member of a peer group, I will instead challenge you to find a peer group and try out a meeting. Experiencing it for yourself is more powerful than anything you read in an article or blog post. If you’d like to explore one of our seven different peer groups, please visit boomer.com/us-services. Our “Circles” are tailored peer groups designed to provide you the context and content to improve in your role.
Jon Hubbard, Director of Business Development at Boomer Consulting, Inc. is certified as both a Kolbe™ Consultant and a Five Star Client Service Consultant. He is an enthusiastic speaker with experience providing leadership for multiple facets of BCI’s overall sales, marketing and communications strategy.
Jon thrives as a careful planner and strategic thinker. He is a talented researcher who is skillful in translating knowledge into strategy, and he has studied and implemented marketing strategies focused on websites, social media and digital communications.