Client Success Story
DeLeon & Stang
CPAs and Advisors
Allen DeLeon, CPA, Partner
Advancing to the Big Leagues of
Learning ...
leveled the playing field—offering big firm learning at
an affordable cost.
“Navigator has been a major game changer for us,...
Client Success Story
TGM Group LLC
Certified Public Accountants
Roy Geiser, CPA, Manager
On-Demand Learning Keeps
Firm Up-t...
As an audit firm, TGM undergoes regular peer review.
Geiser explained that part of the review process is
to identify outsta...
W
e’re far from perfect,” said Ron
Causey of the firm he leads. “This
is not Nirvana.”
It may not be Nirvana, but SC&H Gro...
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Business Learning Institute (BLI) Client Success Stories

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BLI is the learning and innovation center for the Maryland Association of CPAs. Three case studies that highlight a strategic and systematic approach to talent development and learning we call the 5 C's - Career Path, Competency, Curriculum, Cloud (e-leanring), and Compliance. The firms represented all implemented the AICPA Navigator LMS & CPE Compliance Tracker with a portfolio of on-demand learning and used high impact "success skill" training like our Leadership Academy and other top BLI programs. The firms are DeLeon & Stang, TGM Group, and SC&H Group. The last case study of SC&H shows how they used talent development to help win them Best Firm to Work for - large firm category by Accounting Today Magazine.

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Business Learning Institute (BLI) Client Success Stories

  1. 1. Client Success Story DeLeon & Stang CPAs and Advisors Allen DeLeon, CPA, Partner Advancing to the Big Leagues of Learning with AICPA Navigator Adoption of advanced learning management system proves to be a game changer for firm Allen DeLeon, CPA and partner at DeLeon & Stang, had his own vision for a learning management system (LMS) a few years before the firm adopted Navigator. He knew that his firm needed to move away from its manual, cumbersome learning approach to something automated. “Our firm had been working with the Maryland Association of CPAs [MACPA] to develop a sophisticated LMS. Our vision was to have curricula housed in a central location, where ongoing education and licensing information could easily be monitored and tracked,” DeLeon explained. “Once CPA2Biz entered the scene, this vision became a reality with Navigator.” Prior to using Navigator, DeLeon’s firm adhered to a manual learning management process, where each employee’s licensing information was tracked in a separate Excel spreadsheet and education classes were scheduled and monitored by an onsite staff member. “Like many firms, we had our own internal system in place, where we maintained curriculums, collected CPE certifications manually from employees, and tracked licensing. As we grew, this became a nightmare to organize and manage,” said DeLeon. “This also increased the risk of overlooking time-sensitive tasks like renewing licenses.” In the recent past, high-end learning systems didn’t come cheap. Based on cost, it was mainly large firms that were able to adopt these solutions. This is no longer the case. Today, advanced learning management systems, like AICPA Navigator, have Stats at a Glance Firm Profile Full-service CPA and business consulting firm serving clients in the Mid-Atlantic area Locations Gaithersburg, MD & Leesburg, VA Staff 40 “Navigator has been a major game changer for us. We’ve been able to implement a world-class learning management system that offers staff on-demand courses across learning tracks.” –Allen DeLeon, CPA Firm Partner AICPA Navigator Learning Management System 800.634.6780 | CPA2Biz.com/Navigator
  2. 2. leveled the playing field—offering big firm learning at an affordable cost. “Navigator has been a major game changer for us,” stated DeLeon. “We’ve been able to implement a world-class LMS that offers staff on-demand courses across learning tracks in a single platform. And we get all of this well within budget.” A Comprehensive Solution In the early phases of LMS implementation, DeLeon and his team mapped out the firm’s education requirements. With firms in two states, and associates with multiple state licenses, the firm required a rich repository of content. That meant pulling in curricula from several sources. “Our LMS houses courses from our own internal DS [DeLeon Stang] University, Maryland Association of CPAs, AICPA, and the Business Learning Institute,” explained DeLeon. Pulling from several sources, the firm’s staff has access to everything from technical content, such as audit and tax, to soft skills training, including courses on leadership, written communications, and public speaking. “Our system is built to offer the full circle of learning. We want to set our employees up for success, and education is a big part of that,” said DeLeon. Using the advanced Navigator platform has allowed the firm to develop a highly custom learning management system—complete with materials that span a wide range of disciplines. And with built-in tracking and alerts, the once cumbersome task of monitoring CPE fulfillment and licensing is now automated. Big-firm Learning, Small-Firm Cost “Years ago, having an advanced learning management system on site was simply not cost feasible,” DeLeon stated. “Systems like Navigator were really only affordable for large firms.” Today, Navigator brings big-firm learning to small firms. Because it’s a cloud-based solution, Navigator is available via subscription. For a per-employee fixed annual fee, firms of all sizes can easily adopt the system. “The value is incredible,” stated DeLeon. “For only a few hundred dollars per employee, per year, staff gets unlimited access to course content. We used to budget a lot more for learning, so out of the gate we are saving. The fixed annual fee also allows us to easily budget because we know exactly what we will be paying.” Final Words... The firm’s transition from a manual, complex learning management approach to an advanced automated learning management system has been a real game changer for DeLeon Stang. Operating within Navigator’s cloud-based platform and providing staff with a single, secure space for learning has proven successful. “Staff loves the new system,” stated DeLeon. “They can conveniently take on-demand courses at their own pace and from the comfort of their office. This has cut down on the need for travel because most courses are available in the LMS.” DeLeon and his team also love the breadth of information available. “Just today I received an email from an outside vendor for a time-sensitive tax course. I forwarded the email to an employee in our tax department. He found the same course in Navigator and will be able to complete it in time and without the added expense of outside registration and travel.” Moving forward, the firm plans to expand its use of the system—adding employee-specific development paths and alerts for timely content. Today, the team at DeLeon and Stang has definitively moved into the learning big leagues! Contact Us Today! Call: 800.634.6780 Email: groupsales@cpa2biz.com Learn more at: CPA2Biz.com/Navigator Client Success Story: AICPA Navigator - Learning Management System
  3. 3. Client Success Story TGM Group LLC Certified Public Accountants Roy Geiser, CPA, Manager On-Demand Learning Keeps Firm Up-to-date and Prepared at All Times AICPA Navigator supports on-the-fly education to help staff remain current on standard regulations and prepare for specialized engagements Roy Geiser, CPA and accounting and audit manager at TGM Group LLC, was a champion for the AICPA Navigator Learning Management System (LMS) implementation. Within his department, he led training and was one of the first to try out the system. “I think I was officially the first person to use the LMS in our department,” Geiser stated. “I took a few courses up front and encouraged my staff to do the same. The content is comprehensive and the system is very easy to use.” Using an all-in-one LMS was a big change for the firm. For years, ongoing education data was maintained in spreadsheets and staff were on their own to identify and register for workshops and events to fulfill annual CPE obligations. “It wasn’t a very efficient process,” Geiser said. “Staff would first have to find training, get approval from partners, and then work with HR to pay for it. It could be time-intensive.” This approach was also less than budget-friendly. “When you consider the cost of travel to send staff to events, it wasn’t economical. Navigator puts volumes of content in front of us, and courses can be taken on-the-fly when needed…without the travel.” Stats at a Glance Firm Profile Certified Public Accounting firm providing audit, accounting, tax, and business advisory services Locations Salisbury, MD Staff 40 “It’s so easy because all the content is right in front of you, accessible online all the time.” –Roy Geiser, CPA Accounting & Audit Manager AICPA Navigator Learning Management System 800.634.6780 | CPA2Biz.com/Navigator Certified PublicAccoun tants
  4. 4. As an audit firm, TGM undergoes regular peer review. Geiser explained that part of the review process is to identify outstanding areas of CPE fulfillment. “We meet with employees to update each on needed education. If it’s something time-sensitive, many courses can be completed immediately using the LMS,” Geiser explained. Just-in-time Learning Today’s fast-paced CPA firms are always searching for ways to save time—this includes ongoing education. And in the interest of time savings, what could be more valuable than a comprehensive cloud-based learning management system right at your fingertips? “It’s so easy because all the content is right in front of you, accessible online all the time,” said Geiser. “In Maryland, for example, CPA’s are required to complete four hours of ethics training a year. If you get down to the wire, you can quickly find the course in Navigator and complete it in the office. That is very convenient.” Geiser also explained the value of having content immediately available to better prepare for specialized work. “I was working on an engagement and an issue popped up that I was rusty on, so I looked up the topic in Navigator right then, found a course, and completed it in an hour. I got a refresher on the issue and earned CPE—none of it planned…all on the fly. It took just minutes to find the course in the LMS; it would have taken an hour alone to research the topic on my own. This is so beneficial because it offers a way to fully prepare for all aspects of an engagement.” Because Navigator is a cloud-based LMS, it fully supports a firm’s need for just-in-time learning. Users simply login to the system, search on a topic, and can immediately take the course. “With all that we have going on daily, this is one way we can save a lot of time,” said Geiser. Final Words... Geiser is a full-fledged fan of Navigator, and working to bolster use of the system at TGM Group. “People don’t tend to like change; you have to ease them in. I hold regular meetings to brainstorm with staff on learning opportunities and move them toward a development track. I will also outline certain course material for staff to take that will better prepare them for certain jobs, like a bank audit.” The firm also maintains regular training for staff, so that they are better equipped to use Navigator moving forward. Additionally, partners and managers use the system regularly and continually promote it in order to create a buzz. “We are taking a staged approach to implementation,” explained Geiser. “The first stage is all about creating awareness, and once word begins to spread there will be an explosion in use. It’s an excellent system; people will see that right away.” Contact Us Today! Call: 800.634.6780 Email: groupsales@cpa2bizcom Learn more at: CPA2Biz.com/Navigator Client Success Story: AICPA Navigator - Learning Management System “If you get down to the wire, you can quickly find the course in Navigator and complete it in the office. That is very convenient.” –Roy Geiser, CPA Accounting & Audit Manager
  5. 5. W e’re far from perfect,” said Ron Causey of the firm he leads. “This is not Nirvana.” It may not be Nirvana, but SC&H Group is as close as you’re likely to get — a status validated by its being one of our Best Firms to Work For for six years, and by its elevation to the top spot in the Large Firm Category in 2014 — and its refusal to be complacent has no doubt contributed to that. “We make mistakes,” Causey admitted, “but we really do try to listen. When we do make mistakes, I like to think we can admit tothemandsaysorryandthenmoveonpos- itively together.” Of course, the firm doesn’t need to make mistakes to find out what its roughly 300 em- ployees think. It conducts annual staff sur- veystolearnexactlythat,andto findouthow individualleadersaredoing.“Notonlydowe gettheirinput—weactonit,”Causeysaid.As a case in point, consider the Maryland Asso- ciationofCPAs’LeadershipAcademythatthe firm sent staff members to: They liked it, but wanted more. “The academy has been effec- tive,butit’sonlyafewdays—that’sgood,but thefeedbackfromourfolkswas,‘Thisisgreat, we like it, but it’s not enough.’ They want something that’s more comprehensive and ongoing.” In response, the firm has begun to develop an even more robust leadership program that will work in conjunction with the MACPA academy to give firm employees a wide range of leadership skills as they rise through the ranks. A FOCUS ON CULTURE Professional development opportunities aren’ttheonlywaythefirmshowshowmuch it values its staff. “It’s how we treat our people,” Causey ex- plained,“andinhowoftenwesaythankyou,” sometimes in little ways — like the ice cream cart during busy season, the massage tables, the go-kart outings — and big, like group community service activities, or the annual trip SC&H takes all staff members on. This year the trip was to Jamaica, and last year to Puerto Rico, and employees are allowed to bring along a significant other. “Any one of those things would be nice, but when you put them all together, it becomes more and more meaningful.” In the end, they add up to a valuable culture, and to reinforce that, the firm has a Culture Committee that is run entirely by volunteer employees — none of the firm’s 21 partners are allowed. It was the committee that established the firm’s milestone awards, which recognize employee anniversaries, and it chooses the finalists in the quarterly peer recognition awards, where employees nominateco-workersfortheircontributions. “It’s hard to maintain a culture over time, but if you work hard at it, it can be done,” said Causey. “Firms do change over time, so it’s a good thing to focus on the culture and to work at it.” That focus on culture is not sur- prising, given that the firm was founded in 1991 by three former tax managers from An- dersen, which practically invented the idea of accountingfirm culture.Butitalsoquickly developed a strong core of services early on inareaslikestateandlocaltax,audit,tax,and consulting, to which it has added over time. “Wewerefortunateenoughtofocusonthe right kind of service offerings from the very beginning,” according to Causey. “That focus hasbeenonhighly-sought-after,value-added services which results in profitability, which has allowed us to invest in other service of- ferings and other talented professionals who can start service offerings for us. Those new services, in turn, are often more intellectu- ally stimulating to our people, which allows us to attract and retain some of the best and brightest in the profession.” It has also allowed the firm to expand be- yond its base in Maryland, first to Northern Virginia, and more recently to Atlanta, Flori- da, Denver and Phoenix. In summing up the firm, Causey said, “We really care about our clients, colleagues and our communities that we serve. Doesn’t everybody say the same things? Everybody does, but I really believe that we’re so pas- sionate about it — so we deliver, and have evidence to support what we say.” Mark their position on this year’s Best Firms list as Exhibit A. — Daniel Hood 16 accounting today | December 2014 Sponsored by In Maryland, pretty near perfect The Best Accounting Firms to Work For Best Large Firm: SC&H Group 016_ACT1214 16 11/18/14 2:45 PM

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