There has been a lot of discussion lately about core competencies, changes to the current CPE model, the future of learning, and new and enhanced skills for CPAs. Developing these competencies becomes more important with each passing year as complexity in the CPA profession and business continues to evolve. As a CPA and a professional, you need to evolve at the same pace (or faster) as the world around you does. After all, CPAs are the most trusted business advisors.

Core Competency Benchmarking Survey Executive Summary CoverThe CPA Center of Excellence® conducted a first-of-its-kind national benchmark survey earlier this year to identify gaps that CPAs have in the core competencies — leadership, critical thinking and the like. Read an executive summary of the survey findings — released here first. This survey determined where CPAs are today with their competency levels and compares it to where they need to be (the core competencies were determined through the AICPA’s CPA Horizons 2025 report released in 2011).

More than 600 CPAs from 30 states participated. Many of these CPAs ranked themselves low in most of the core competencies. The results were not surprising based on other recent studies, but is significant in that it provides a baseline for the CPA profession in the advancement of core competencies. Most who participated thought it was important to know where they stood, and a majority also felt that the current CPE system does not meet their needs.

One recent survey that supports the results is the PwC annual Global CEO Survey. It showed that 73 percent of CEOs are concerned with finding the broader skills (the core competencies) needed to support growth, and 80 percent agree they need to equip employees with new skills.

And, the People Puzzle jointly conducted by Robert Half and the AICPA surveyed staff and potential hires. It found that these groups are seek to enhance their skill set. Nearly one-third said they want the opportunity to learn soft skills such as public speaking, management and communications.

So where do CPAs looking to enhance their competencies start? And how do you do it? The new Insight HR & Career Development Toolkit from the CPA Center of Excellence® answers both questions. It not only tells you where you stand, but creates a plan to help you get to where you need to be. There is a free self assessment where you can get some basic information about yourself, or the full 360 degree tool that offers a more comprehensive assessment as well as the opportunity for peers to rate you as well. Both individual and group pricing is offered. All you need to do is register.

We’re not aware of any resource quite like Insight, at least in the CPA profession. The CPA Center of Excellence® continues to be a leader in all aspects of making you a better CPA – assessing your skills, understanding your skills, improving your skills, enhancing your skills, and sharing your skills. The Insight Toolkit also links to other CPA Center of Excellence® products such as the Quick Start Guide and the online interactive courses.

I encourage you to try Insight out and see where it leads you.