Strategy & Leadership

BDO Consulting Academy in the pipeline

November 30, 2015

The contours of the BDO Consulting Academy for Trusted Advisors (TAs), a co-creation by BDO and TIAS, are becoming clearer. A&B Chairman Huub Gijsbers and TIAS Academic Director Geert Desmet were recently interviewed together on this subject.

The BDO Consulting Academy is a co-creation by BDO and TIAS. Together, we are developing a training program that serves the needs of both BDO and the TAs. Geert Desmet: "In the past, TIAS already provided three courses of the SME business coach master program for a total of about 50 employers from the BDO accounting firm. The BDO Consulting Academy is an extension of these courses. The SME program was aimed at senior management and partners and focused on teaching scientific knowledge. The Consulting Academy is broader in scope and goes beyond theory. We want to give the right tools to all Trusted Advisers who are willing and able to grow in their advisory role. Of course, acquiring knowledge is part of this process. It also includes a number of skill modules, which reflect the practice, such as customer focus."

Anyone can participate

Another difference with the SME program is that the new training program consists of several layers. Anyone can participate – from partner to junior consultant. It is based on the three profiles within talent management: talent profile, management profile, and partner profile. The themes are set in consultation with teachers and partners and are discussed in a certain period at all three levels of the Consulting Academy. Of course, this is done differently at each level. These are topical themes that change after a certain period. "We can really speak of co-creation," adds Geert. "There will be teachers from both TIAS and BDO. They will be deployed depending on the level within the Consulting Academy. More TIAS teachers will be deployed at the partner level and more BDO teachers at the junior consultant level."

Dynamic training program

It is a dynamic training program for all levels aimed at applicability in practice. Huub Gijsbers: "All Trusted Advisers must possess certain skills. They can develop them further in this training, in combination with on-the-job training. Colleagues learn gradually this way and put new skills directly into practice, instead of waiting until the end of the program. Furthermore, it is a wonderful way to acquire knowledge and share it with colleagues at all levels."

Topical themes

The use of the aforementioned topical themes is the showpiece of the training program. Huub: "That is how we connect with the outside world. The consulting themes are refreshed regularly. What is important to our customers and prospects in the market, what do they need? Think of efficiency, strategy, and marketing or operational management. We do not have to decide on all the themes in advance. We can be truly responsive to their needs and the current situation. For example, if there are fundamental changes in legislation, we will react to that."

The BDO Consulting Academy will be an ongoing process. Geert: "As it stands now, you can follow the entire program at one level in three to four years. When you continue to grow as a Trusted Advisor, you also advance to the next level within the Consulting Academy. New themes will be discussed there, and so it always continues. You can therefore participate continuously, even at the partner level."

Customer workshops

The Consulting Academy should become a regular part of the Trusted Advisors' daily work. Continuous acquisition and transfer of knowledge. Huub: "I think this appeals to them very much. As a generalist, it is difficult to keep up-to-date in the daily flow of information. The Consulting Academy helps greatly with that."
The Consulting Academy can even reach the customer. "It stops where BDO wants it to stop," says Geert. "Suppose a certain theme has become topical and we want to make the customer aware of it too. It is possible to organize workshops at the customer's premises or for a group of customers." We thus create added value. Huub: "Co-creation means that we can look at this together with TIAS and decide which step to take next and which themes are suitable for this."

Starting

The BDO Consulting Academy is currently being set up by a multi-disciplinary steering group on the basis of design sessions. In addition to accountants, tax advisors and consultants are also involved. There is also a sounding board group made up of Trusted Advisors from all job levels. All this is now being crystallized, after which the first lectures will be planned. Huub: "We will start with a group of 20 partners in early 2016, then the rest of the Trusted Advisors will follow gradually."
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