Competitive advantage: a strong learning culture

Written on Sep 09, 2016

OSCPA staff report

Culture is key when it comes to learning.

That’s one of the early findings from an extensive study of CPAs’ learning plans, attitudes and behaviors being conducted by The Ohio Society of CPAs, CPA Trendlines Research and Michael Ramos +Associates .

In reviewing the early results comparing responses from high performing organizations and lower performing organizations, OSCPA Vice President of Learning Josh Goldman, CAE, said a pattern shows that “high performing organizations appear to have a strong learning culture and the differences regarding how they view learning are significant.”

Though the Society-sponsored research was largely completed by those working in professional service firms, the findings can apply to all CPAs driving business results. In a separate study, Bersin by Deloitte in 2008 examined 40,000 businesses and discovered those with strong learning cultures are 17% more likely than their peers to be market share leaders. Those organizations continuously drive development of the skills needed to succeed in the market.

In reviewing both studies, the Society said CPAs can foster a business growth strategy by building a strong learning culture through the following key elements:

· Treat learning as a competitive advantage.
·  Align learning to the company vision and the business strategy and  customize it to the employee.
· Train leaders and managers to model learning and reinforce it as important to the organization.
· Incorporate both formal and informal learning practices, and derive it from the work itself

· Balance business needs with learner wants and needs as part of the organization’s learning strategy.

OSCPA, CPA Trendlines Research, and Michael Ramos + Associates are continuing to review the results and are creating resources to help professional service firms and CPA leaders in other businesses position learning as a business strategy.

Want to learn more? Complete the survey to receive a free report of the top-line results and additional articles and education related to learning strategies to drive results.

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