Date posted: 9/03/2020 5 min read

Upskill what you need when you want

Could LinkedIn Learning help close a missing skills gap? CA ANZ membership lets you access 7000-plus courses, for no extra fee.

In Brief

  • CA ANZ members now have complimentary access to more than 7000 courses through LinkedIn Learning.
  • The courses and videos help CAs build essential ‘soft skills’ such as presenting and communication.
  • More than 8000 members have used LinkedIn Learning since CA ANZ launched the offering in July 2019.

By Meredith Booth

Chartered accountants know that progressing their careers requires both technical knowledge and soft skills such as good communication and people management. But for CAs juggling work and family responsibilities, or who work for themselves, finding the time or money to gain those extra skills can sometimes be a problem.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) is now providing a potential solution. It has launched a new membership benefit that gives all CA ANZ members complimentary access to more than 7000 non-technical courses and 200,000 videos through LinkedIn Learning. Conveniently, these online courses are available at any time.

The LinkedIn Learning access, worth more than A$350 a year, provides personalised course recommendations based on a member’s skills, experience and goals. It complements CA ANZ’s existing continuing professional development program and supports CAs to build the non-technical skills they need to help futureproof their careers.

“As the profession evolves, CAs not only need to keep up to date with their technical accounting skills but must also master new technologies as well as building ‘soft skills’ such as presenting and communication,” CA ANZ executive general manager, member engagement, Mark Rice says.

More than 8000 members have used LinkedIn Learning since CA ANZ launched the offering in July 2019. Acuity spoke to two CAs who have enjoyed the experience.

How to find time for training

Elaine Jackson CA Elaine Jackson CA. Image credit: Joshua Morris.

Elaine Jackson CA works three days a week at the Australian Taxation Office engaging with some of Australia’s biggest public companies and multinationals through the Top 1000 Tax Performance Program. A CA since 2005, and the mother of three young children, Jackson is busy, and her time-poor status demands she gets her relevant training on the run.

“I don’t have the time that I used to have,” she says. “If there’s a face-to-face training course at work, often it’s scheduled for a day I’m not in the office and I miss out… and if it is on a day that I am in the office, I often don’t have the luxury of a day to spend [on it].”

So she was very happy when she went to renew her CA ANZ membership and found it included complimentary access to LinkedIn Learning.

“In this period of juggling work and family responsibilities, the whole career-building aspect of my life can fall by the wayside because I am so time poor. I get in the office, try to execute as much work as I can and then I leave,” she says.

“The whole career-building aspect of my life can fall by the wayside because I am so time poor.”
Elaine Jackson CA

“The thing that I liked about the LinkedIn Learning platform was I could do it when it suited me at night. And I could watch half an hour, pause it and listen to the rest on the train during my commute so I didn’t have to consume it all at once,” she says.

She began a Writing in Plain English course to assist in preparing easy-to-read reports, and is already looking at other career-building topics, such as management skill courses and technology-based courses.

LinkedIn Learning courses are relevant to the profession

Jackson says the content on the LinkedIn Learning platform is curated and relevant to her profession, and it is a trusted source compared with “just jumping on YouTube and hoping for the best”.

“There’s a whole section on Word, Excel and other software applications. I found that quite interesting. Face-to-face courses can be very expensive and, now that I work part time, I just can’t afford to spend $500 on a day of training. If I did, I’d have to do some due diligence before fronting up to that if I was funding it myself.”

Looking ahead, Jackson is considering looking at a course on “risk in the construction industry” to benefit her casework.

“We work intensively on a taxpayer for a short period of time, trying to understand their overall business,” she explains. “I would tend to work on a taxpayer for four months in detail or I have multiple at the same time, so understanding their industry quickly is important.”

Upskill as a solo player

Michelle East CA Michelle East CA. Image credit: Joshua Morris.

After almost 18 years working for private clients with KPMG and The Myer Family Company, Michelle East CA is now working as a private clients consultant in Sydney.

“These days, it’s easier to work for yourself, the tax software is all cloud based… and my career experiences mean I can do so much with a computer, a desk, and my brain while drawing on the networks I have developed in my career,” she says.

However, with that independence comes the responsibility of being across the latest accounting, tax and business updates for her customers.

“I came across LinkedIn six months ago when I was looking up some content for a specific consulting engagement for a client,” East says. “I wanted to upskill myself for a retail client on supply chain management. I found LinkedIn Learning had good up-to-date material.

“I knew there was some advancement in technology for supply chain management but wasn’t up to date with the terminology.”

It’s essential for consultants working across multiple clients to learn subject matter quickly for each clients’ industry, she explains.

East initially signed up for LinkedIn Learning because she found it easy to navigate and saw other topics of interest, such as time management, leadership skills and interpersonal skills. These sorts of soft skills are “just as important as technical ones”, she says.

Now, with LinkedIn Learning access included in her CA ANZ membership benefits, East has signed on to study the two-hour Excel: Scenario Planning and Analysis course, to learn how to document projected business scenarios for her clients.

“Overall, I think LinkedIn Learning is great. And it’s good to see that the concept of professional development [for CAs] is seen to be broader than the core technical skills, recognising that the profession and the skillset we all need to develop is changing,” she says.

Find out more

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) is giving members access to more than 7000 non-technical courses and 200,000 videos through LinkedIn Learning. This complimentary access is worth more than A$350 a year. To find out more and register for LinkedIn Learning go to bit.ly/caanz-linkedin-learning

CA ANZ members get a LinkedIn Learning advantage

Need to brush up on some non-accounting skills? CA ANZ members can access professional development courses at no cost.

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