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How do you stay current?

cfo continuing educationThe role of a CFO is ever changing.  The sub-aspects which make up our job change as well (such as new laws, policys, theory's and practices).

Since there is no requirement for continuing education for anyone save those with licenses/certificates and those continuing education classes may or may not servce the needs of the CFO; how do you stay abreast of all the changes as well as learning about areas you are not conversant in?

Do you buy books, use Proformative, take college classes, vendor sponsered events?

How much time do you devote to staying current with accounting industry trends on an average month? What about a good technology conference?

Answers

Anders Liu-Lindberg
Title: Regional Finance Business Partner
Company: Maersk Line Northern Europe
LinkedIn Profile
(Regional Finance Business Partner, Maersk Line Northern Europe) |

I think that if you don't prioritize this you will lose out in the long run so instead of making the normal excuses that your daily work doesn't allow you to have time for it make sure you put it on the agenda and prioritize it.

In terms of what to do I think on a daily basis you will find many good readings scattered all around the internet. There have been several good discussions on Proformative, LinkedIn etc on what sites to use so instead of starting the same discussion here I would recommend to re-read these. In addition to this there are several institutions offering great webcasts about various topics.

A couple of times a year you would probably want to attend conferences and seminars about interesting topics to also get the chance to network etc.

Currently I spend quite a lot of time on it because I recently transitioned into a new role but generally you should find yourself a good routine to make sure it becomes part of your professional profile.

Jeff Langston
Title: CFO
Company: Baxter Franchise Group
(CFO, Baxter Franchise Group) |

Pick out 5 areas that are completely new, yet important in the near future and try to reach a certain level of comfort with then. Pick ONE magazine/book and finish it (or the series). Allocate a certain amount of time and a certain time of the day to do this.

Meet and network with your peers at least once a month. Its amazing how many new things you learn from one meeting.

Consider everything else to be a distraction in the short term and see how this works out

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

For me, I am currently taking college courses. I am taking Financial Accounting and Reporting which is geared specifically towards the FAR section of the CPA exam.

I also find webinar's that are free, but useful. I read White Papers that are posted, mainly from Proformative.

I follow numerous professionals and professional organizations on Twitter.

I make the most use of items posted to Forbes relating to professional development and communicating with others.

I try to read relevant posts from the groups I am a member of on LinkedIn.

Last year I attended a Construction Accounting conference that the Tennessee Society of CPAs did. I am planning on going again this year.

I am a financial reporting accountant, it is what I enjoy. Since my ultimate goal is to become a controller then CFO I focus my continuing education efforts on growing my technical knowledge of accounting as needed for Controller, skills to effectively plan in advance as is required of CFO, and communicate effectively with people from the "shop floor to the top floor", which is needed regardless of which position is being held.

And books, I am currently reading "The One Minute Manager", I have to be read "The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey". I have read "Fast Close", portions "Corporate Financial Analysis", these are in addition to the numerous textbooks I have been reading over the past year and eight months.

Lynne Holloman
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Woodside Equine Clinic
(Accounting Manager, Woodside Equine Clinic) |

There are many sources of good reading that I try to stay on top of. Wall Street Journal, CMA's magazine called Strategic Finance, the non-fiction section of the NYT Best Seller List. NPR's Market Place is a great source of information and news. I also stay in touch with the faculty at my alma mater and get many good book suggestions from them that I might not otherwise hear about. It's been a great way to get a cross-pollination education from the different business departments. I am an Accounting Manager but have found much knowledge and wisdom from reading books about management, information systems, and economics that I would not have gotten by sticking to just accounting and finance literature.

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

Today in my AccountasWorld News some "Grumpy Old Accountants" posted a list.
There are many resources they listed. These may be some options for people looking for something currently to read. Whether is it fraud, analysis, reporting, case studies, the list has a little bit of everything for someone looking to expand their accounting knowledge.

Here is the link to their blog post: http://blogs.smeal.psu.edu/grumpyoldaccountants/archives/711#more-711.

It consists of the below and numerous others:
- Financial Reporting, Financial Statement Analysis, and Valuation: A Strategic Perspective by Wahlen, Baginski, and Bradshaw

- Financial Statement Analysis by Subramanyam and Wild

- Financial Statement Analysis and Security Valuation by Stephen Penman

- The Analysis and Use of Financial Statements by White, Sondhi, and Fried

- Financial Reporting and Analysis by Revsine, Collins, Johnson, and Mittelstaedt

- Financial Shenanigans: How to Detect Accounting Gimmicks and Fraud in Financial Reports by Schilit

Topic Expert
Deborah Godfrey
Title: Budget Administrator, Business Manager, ..
Company: Seeking Employment
(Budget Administrator, Business Manager, Project/Program Manager, Seeking Employment) |

Through the federal work in action funding, I am taking project management courses to pursue a PMP certification. This funding also allows me to take MS Project Management coursework to earn the MS Project Management Application certification. My next endeavor will be coursework to get my CPA certification.
I read alot, network and try to stay abreast on technology, business practices, economics and accounting, etc.
I also take free webinars and seminars when I can. There is alot of information in my field of study out there. The key for me is knowledge, networking and wisdom.

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

Differentiate yourself through education - degrees, licenses, certifications... Collect information any way you can. Experience is valuable in helping you integrate new rules and business practices, but experience without the continual education will leave you playing catch-up.

Set aside a certain amount of time every week for study - classes, webinars, reading.

It is incredibly important and a differentiator.

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