Why do we invest in keeping staff skills up to date?
Obviously, it makes a contribution to securing a solid base of qualified staff, and it fulfils our training and CPD obligations. But on its own staff training is of no practical use to a firm if it fails to engage staff in a key activity – they need to use the new knowledge to directly benefit clients.
There are certain technical skills that make it easier for staff to undertake their work in a professional manner. For example, keeping abreast of changes to accounting standards and company law. Viewed in isolation, this information is of no direct use to clients. They will cheerfully let you take responsibility for making sure that accounts are produced compliant with legal and professional standards. The fact that you do this is taken as a given. It is expected.
Where staff training can make a difference to clients is updates to tax knowledge.
For example. In a recent tax case, David Keyl v HMRC, a claim to AIA was disallowed as the relevant asset was purchased in the final trading period. The claimants tried to wriggle out of their predicament but ultimately failed. Having read the judgement, it is difficult to see why this occurred. Advisors should surely have seen the issue arising and planned accordingly. If your staff were prompted to answer questions on this case it would serve as a timely reminder that AIA cannot be claimed in the final period of trading. More importantly, they could be encouraged to review their dealings with clients who were thinking of transferring their business to a company (or otherwise ceasing to trade) and were contemplating a sizeable investment in qualifying assets.
In this way new knowledge, or a reminder of past knowledge regarding tax matters, can be used to make a positive impact on client’s tax affairs.
The Informanagement InforLearning service can help. The final question in each tutorial encourages staff to make a connect with real client issues and feed these back as leads to the training partner. In this way you get the best of both worlds: increased tax skills and opportunities to cross-sell tax services to clients.