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Tips for upskilling your finance team

Research shows that South Africans view a good financial qualification as one of the best ways to get a footing in the business world. As a result, there are more and more people competing to fill accounting spots at universities. There’s increased competition in the marketplace. And there are more people to choose from when forming your finance team. You’ll be able to cherry-pick each member of your team from a large number of candidates. But even if your employees were at the top of their game when they joined your finance team, they need to ensure they stay that way by keeping their skills up to date.

An employee with ambition and focus will seek a workplace that allows them to upskill regularly. As an employer, your job is to create that environment and to channel the worker’s desire for learning into useful endeavours. For example, your employee might have a keen interest in cross-stitch, but it would probably help your business more to send them on a course about the latest tax regulations. Here are some tips for upskilling your finance team in a way that benefits all of you.

  • Incentivise your finance team to sharpen their skills. To create a learning environment, your employees should know that you value the learning process. Come up with a scheme that makes learning inviting and easy for your employees. For example, the company could pay for appropriate studies that are completed within a certain period of time successfully. Or, you could explore a more elaborate learning programme. For example, if a member of the finance team meets a certain KPI, they might earn a certain number of “points” towards studying a course free of charge.
  • Tie up learning with career planning. A happy, motivated employee feels like she is driving the direction of her own career rather than having it mapped out for her. Your finance team members have already proven they are intelligent and driven by landing the job. Help harness their drive by carrying out meaningful career-planning sessions with them. Have a specialist pinpoint which courses would best help them develop the skills they need for the direction they would like to go in. Of course, you can shape this process by helping them recognize positions within the business they can work towards.
  • Give your finance team a number of learning options at the beginning of every year. This helps to strengthen the learning culture within the company. Every so often, spend some time (perhaps with a human resources or training professional) to determine useful and appropriate courses for your finance team to attend. Then, hold a seminar or meeting explaining each option to them. This will help ensure that you’re spending your money in the right areas, and also increase their enthusiasm for what’s on offer.
  • Look for Skills Development and BEE points. A number of structures allow companies to get Skills Development rebates for money spent on qualifying candidates, and Black Economic Empowerment legislation allows your company to score Skills Development points on your BEE scorecard for the right kind of training. It’s worth determining what courses will earn these points before you embark on your training programme. Often, you’ll be required to track mentoring and on-the-job training as part of the process. Put systems in place to get maximum recognition for expenses you would have incurred anyway. It’s worth bringing in a training or BEE professional to help you set this up.

Many members of your finance team need to get a certain number of continued professional development (CPD) points in order to stay accredited members of professional finance bodies such as the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). Others will benefit from keeping their skills up to date. If you plan and structure it right, upskilling your finance team will keep your employees motivated and benefit your business as well. Contact The Finance Team if you are looking for mentoring from a seasoned finance executive as part of this process. Our associates can assist your company for the period of time that you need them.

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