Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's called Training, not Travel

………the education and training variable is the most significant predictor of an organization's success as compared to price-to-earning ratios, price-to-book statistics, and measures of risk and volatility.   Laurie Bassi, McBassi & Company

There was an article in the paper this week regarding the agenda for a Royal Oak City Council meeting.  On the agenda was the question of funding education for employees.  The proposal was to limit training to only those sessions necessary for someone to maintain a required certification or license.

The issue of training was one that came up often when I was on the Board in West Bloomfield.  The Board had discontinued any out of state travel for education.  Another proposal was to limit the distance someone could travel to get to a conference or training.  Comments were made by trustees that employees were going on 'junkets' with taxpayer monies.

Many finance professionals are not required to have up-to-date certifications or licenses.  CPAs, if they are not practicing where their license is required, can put it in escrow.  Township Treasurers have absolutely no requirements to do their job, other than qualifying for a bond to collect taxes. 

My CGFM designation was a result of my desire to keep myself current on financial matters.  My interest in the profession is what kept me involved in state and national committees.  Without on-going training I would never have performed at the level I did while in office.  I would have had to constantly rely on an audit firm to make sure I was fulfilling the basic requirements.  I went to as much training as I could and I adopted each advanced pronouncement by the Government Accounting Standards Board if it affected my office.  I tried to stay ahead of my peers.

Everyone who reads the paper and gets upset about the financial condition of their local unit should look at the people working in the finance and treasury departments.  Are they trained and current on 'Best Practices?'  Can they effectively discuss all aspects of their job or are they just putting numbers in columns with little idea of the big picture?

Training and education are extremely important.  And sometimes that training is best found out-of-state.  Spend now and train or suffer the consequences later.

The perception among many senior leaders that training isn't "mission-critical" is often the reason why the training budget is the first on the chopping block when companies look to reduce expenses. But as previous American Society of Training & Development and i4cp studies have shown, cutting the training budget is a practice most associated with low-performing organizations; high performers generally keep it intact.   Kevin Oakes, CEO i4cp

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