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16 free learning opportunities to take advantage of this summer

Shutterstock_633002651It’s summertime. The days are getting longer, the temperature is warming up and your most hectic time of year — workwise — is behind you. Congratulations! Now you can relax, at least a little. Summer is also the perfect time to hone your skills in preparation for fall busy season. We’ve assembled a handful of our favorite free resources to help you brush up on your skills and add a few new ones to your toolbox.

Find your niche

Search for that new service offering you’re passionate about. Once you find it, study up and absorb all there is to know about it. Home in and focus so you can really master it and add it to your suite of services. Here are some ideas to get started:

Learn something new

Reach outside your comfort zone and explore an area you don’t know much about. You may end up incorporating some of what you learn into your practice — thereby benefiting your organization and your clients’ businesses.

  • Facebook Live on agile finance — Watch this video to learn how you can leverage new technologies and skills to transform your organization.  
  • Audit data analytics microlearning video — You can upgrade your financial statement audits with audit data analytics. Check out this video illustrating how you can apply audit data standards formatting to a data set and use the programming language Python to create routines that will help you analyze that audit data standard-standardized data set.
  • Small Firm Philosophy podcast series — Small firm practitioners share their tips on a range of topics including growing their practices and building a strong firm culture.  

See the big picture

The accounting profession is transforming at an unprecedented rate, so staying on top of all the changes can be difficult for you — and your clients. Be prepared for whatever lies ahead with podcasts that address a wide-range of accounting topics.

  • Journal of Accountancy podcast — The Journal of Accountancy is the ultimate resource for today’s CPA, and these podcasts are an on-demand way to learn about the key issues affecting the accounting profession.
  • FM magazine podcast — The Financial Management (FM) magazine podcast series features conversations with executives and thought leaders in management accounting. Podcast topics include governance, risk management, performance management, technology, corporate strategy and leadership.
  • Go Beyond Disruption podcast — Technologies like blockchain, robotic process automation and artificial intelligence will forever change the way accounting is done. Stay ahead of the accounting and finance curve while learning how to reset, redefine and reskill with these weekly updates.

Take a deeper dive

As a CPA, you’re an expert in your field and a trusted adviser for your clients. But it doesn’t hurt to brush up on the latest issues affecting your practice. These free learning resources take a deeper dive into specific parts of public accounting. Pick out one (or all!) to find out something new and master your area of expertise.

  • PFP podcast — Don’t miss an episode of this essential financial planning resource. Get information and insights on practice management topics and updates on professional issues from nationally known experts and thought leaders.
  • Risk assessment microlearning videos — Brush up on the key components of proper audit risk assessment by watching these microlearning sessions. These short videos — each less than three minutes long — share best practices you can apply to your audit engagements. 
  • Tax reform podcast library — It can be tough to keep up with all the changes happening in tax. These short podcasts can help. Learn about the key tax reform issues affecting your clients so you can remain their most trusted adviser. (Note: some podcasts are locked to Tax Section members.)
  • Deeper dive in peer review audit review documentation webcast — This encore session from the 2017 AICPA ENGAGE conference examines the audit standards’ documentation requirements. You’ll also have a chance to hear what peer review is discovering based on the expectations of the standards and the peer review program.
  • At a Glance summary document on new auditor reporting standard — It’s an exciting time to work in the auditing space as standards are changing to keep up with the times. This two-page document provides an overview of changes to Auditor Reporting and Amendments, Including Amendments Addressing Disclosures in the Audit of Financial Statements (SAS No. 134).

Free resources for next generation CPAs

You can point those studying for the CPA Exam in the right direction by recommending the following:

  • CPA Exam blueprints — Share this free resource with CPA Exam candidates at your firm. It outlines what information is covered on the CPA Exam.
  • CPA Exam sample tests and tutorials — Encourage CPA Exam candidates to take these sample tests. Since they use the real CPA Exam software, candidates will have an opportunity to become familiar with the format and functionality of this software before taking the Exam.

No matter where your interests lie, the AICPA has useful resources available to guide you in your learning journey. We’re always looking out for something new, so check back in with us often!

Alexis Rothberg, Manager, Communications - PA, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

Allison Carter Fanney, Manager, Communications - Tax, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

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