Why Training is a Valuable Way to Grow Your Accounting Practice

While a fear of public speaking ranks up there with the fear of death, speaking and training is a valuable opportunity to grow your business. Seminars and webinars are an excellent way to show off your expertise and improve your visibility for new clients.

Put your knowledge to work

Delivering group seminars can be a valuable learning experience for your participants, but an even more valuable learning experience for you. You’ll find that providing group trainings promotes a synergy in your own learning. You may be asked a question that you’ve never thought of before. It may cause you to research the answer after the training or a participant might have the answer for you. Additionally, as you teach a topic, a participant might provide an additional example for you to use in future trainings.

While group presentations may not be as financially lucrative as consulting or other engagements, it is a way to reach out to a larger audience, filled with potential clients. Consider teaching an adult education class. Your local community college or adult education program is always looking for more teachers and more content.

Choose the right topic

Before you begin, consider your audience. Do you want to teach new QuickBooks® users? Do you want to be industry specific or more general? What will differentiate your training from all the other trainings out there?

Once you select your topic, create learning objectives. Creating learning objectives is easy. Simply finish this sentence: “After participating in this class, the participant will be able to .…”  Creating learning objectives will help you set your training goals. It is also a great place to start when describing the presentation in any marketing material.

Because there is so much potential content, creating a series of classes is a good idea. Classes with shorter timeframes (such as two hours) over several weeks will aid in participant retention. Another benefit is that with a series of classes, you can build a strong relationship with your participants. You can continue to show off your knowledge and adjust the pace based on the participants’ feedback. This is why an adult education program is a great way to get started.

Types of trainings

There are two types of live seminars; lecture-based (stand and deliver) and interactive (hands-on). Stand and deliver training works for larger audiences and provides the ability to deliver more content. However, participant retention is limited and it is more difficult to gauge the level of comprehension of your participants in a lecture-based training. Hands-on training engages the participants and promotes higher retention, yet be aware that the content delivery is much slower with hands-on training. That being said, many potential clients prefer hands-on training; in fact, many of them expect it. You may create a lecture-based session, only to find that the majority of participants have brought their laptops and plan to follow along.

Online training has become popular as well. The time saved for participants is significant, since they can take the training right from their desks. Your potential number of participants is greater since you can market to a much larger audience. However, the market is filled with online trainings and participants are less likely to be willing to pay for this training. Creating online training is challenging – you must find ways to actively engage the participants. Using polling questions is one way to keep them involved.

The stories are remembered

No matter what type of training you chose to provide, it is crucial to create ways to keep the participants involved. Using real world examples and interesting stories to clarify concepts will bring home the point. Participants often remember the stories more than the concepts.

For example, do you have an interesting story about a mistake that a client made and what the consequences were? Have you ever worked with a client who made an incorrect assumption on how to enter data and you had to spend hours fixing it? Have you ever had a client who hired you to clean up their mess? You can you use their mistakes as a learning opportunity for your participants. These types of real-life examples are the best way to bring home your points. Just remember that you should never disclose names (or tell your participants that you will change the names to protect the innocent – or guilty.)

This brings home the point with a story and helps the participants understand the value of not only performing monthly bank reconciliations, but reviewing them as well

Just get started

The QuickBooks ProAdvisor® Program is a membership program that includes all the QuickBooks software you need to serve any client, training modules to help you train your clients, as well as many other benefits. Learn more about the To learn more about the program at the ProAdvisor website.

The opportunity is out there. With a little research, preparation and marketing, you can be on your way to creating group trainings to grow your practice.