The (fairly) Simple ROI of Professional Development for Finance and Accounting

John Kogan's Profile

Is It Worth It?
That’s the question every finance, accounting and L&D leader must ask themselves, and too few do it with real numbers. In a recent whitepaper, entitled, "The (fairly) Simple ROI of Professional Development for Finance and Accounting" we lay out the case for professional development in corporate finance and accounting organizations in a clear and concise fashion, and then we quantify it as simply as possible. Now I know some of us don’t like doing the math, even if we’re in finance and accounting, but we have attempted to make it as straightforward as possible and we have included a link to a downloadable spreadsheet which does most of the number-crunching for you.

To make our case that professional development does, in fact, bring a very strong ROI for the Office of the CFO (the “OOCFO”), we look at the following factors in detail:

• A definition of “IMPACTful Training” – the thing we’re all trying to provide our employees
• Cost of such training - the “I” of Investment
• The “gain” elements that form the basis of the “R” - or the Return - on Investment

With these factors we lay out a case for ROI that covers most of the main elements any finance or accounting leader, or their HR/L&D support professionals, should consider when it comes to investing in the professional development of your largest single expense item: your people. You may still add costs and benefits as appropriate to your company’s situation, but this will get you most of the way there. And to make it all easier, we give you an actual financial model you can use.

The results will actually vary once you put real numbers in and make your case, but the fact is that there is a clear ROI for professional development in these functions if done properly. However, the numbers are tilted by the expense of 'high cost' training, such as live conferences and 'specialty' hired-in, consultant-led trainings for an organization, and by the low benefits of non-measured training. The former is obvious, as that can drive the cost side of the equation up quickly. But that latter part, the part about non-measured training, is epidemic. Most organizations don't have a clear - much less stated - strategy when they dial up training for their folks, and this leads to people paying for training that neither benefits them nor their company. It's all in the white paper "The (fairly) Simple ROI of Professional Development for Finance and Accounting" for you to lay out and analyze. Good luck!

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John Kogan is the co-founder and CEO of Illumeo. Prior to Illumeo he spent over two decades building and running companies as CFO or CEO, and in a variety of corporate finance and accounting roles at large, publicly-traded companies.