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The world of accountancy is evolving and it’s no longer a numbers and money-orientated business. The dynamics have changed with the use of digital technology in the sector and there is now greater emphasis on continued learning to avoid becoming marginalised.

Here are five ways businesses can retain and attract new talent by inspiring others to learn:

1. Great leaders are great learners

Great leaders are in my opinion also great learners. Some leaders make the mistake of thinking they need to have all the answers to succeed, but successful leaders never stop learning – especially when it comes to their mistakes. Three little words that I’m never afraid to use are “I was wrong.” While I am always humble enough to hold my hands up and admit when something hasn’t gone to plan, I am also committed to learning from those mistakes.

2. Trust makes a team great

While we all need to have one clear goal, everyone needs to be empowered in order to reach it. As a leader, you need to learn to trust your team which requires listening, exploring and keeping an open mind. It also means consistently asking for feedback from them yourself as a leader. They shouldn’t ever have to constantly look to you as a leader to make their next move. As with any sport, individual members of the team must play their positions effectively and all be focussed on the end goal.

3. We are consumers of learning

The traditional career paths of the accountancy profession are no longer the norm and the choices of how we learn are increasing. We are now ‘consumers’ of learning and the accountants of the future need to be armed with a diverse and broad range of new skills. They also need the support of their peers however, and this means taking a more flexible approach to development because businesses will only grow when we are all committed to growing and developing each other.

At Haines Watts, we have a Learning Development Programme (LDP) and Manager Skills Programme (MSP) which takes training, learning and development to a new level to enhance existing skills. After all, our titles and degrees are meaningless if we don’t bring continued learning to the table!

4. The changing face of the workplace

The workplace itself is also changing. At Haines Watts we have five generations working together and that’s a huge range of ages and people with different needs and expectations. That’s why we need to constantly challenge the traditional approach to skills growth and continue to leverage each other’s strengths and experiences along the way.

5.Learning is personal

Old assumptions about staying with an organisation for the long term, and aspiring to be the finance director or partner, are no longer valid. The development of our personal skillset in the workplace has never been more important and how we learn is part of a dynamic personal journey that we embark on. We need to take ownership of our own progress and embrace this if we are to ensure that we remain relevant to the profession and the community it serves.

Read more like this:

I can’t remember the last time I added something up by Donna Bulmer

What business owners can learn from the Premier Leagues youngest football team by Matt Perry

Find and contact your local Haines Watts office

About the author

Donna Bulmer

With over 20 years’ experience, Donna is Managing Partner in the North East. Having facilitated the growth of the region’s two offices and almost doubled turnover over a four year period, she is now helping to drive national strategy through her position on the Haines Watts board. As well as advising growing owner-managed businesses, Donna spends a great deal of her time working with voluntary sector organisations and, as such, is one of the leading voices for the not-for-profit sector in the Haines Watts group. She is a strong advocate of social issues and diversity in the workplace, and is using her board position to help businesses understand the importance of corporate social responsibility. On top of this, she is a Trustee and Treasurer for local charity Streetwise Young Peoples Project and sits on the Finance Sub-committee of national charity Changing Lives.

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