Career Training

FloQademy: Tackling the challenges of professional development

As the world of finance and accounting continually evolves, professionals in these fields are often faced with the challenge of staying updated, acquiring new skills, and ensuring compliance in an ever-changing landscape. In an era marked by technological advancements and a heightened demand for accuracy, efficiency, and transparency, the accounting profession calls for innovative solutions to meet these evolving needs. IAB’s Santiago Bedoya-Pardo reports.

FloQast, an accounting workflow automation software provider, has sought to address these issues by introducing a series of new features designed to enhance the way accountants work while also aiming to “revolutionise” the world of professional development in the accountancy field.

FloQast, which takes pride in having been “founded by accountants for accountants”, has presented a series of technology-based tools within its Accounting Operations Platform designed to tackle the educational and developmental challenges being faced by accountants around the globe. The platform is of note for the inclusion of the FloQademy hub, a service for continuing professional education (CPE) and continuous professional development (CPD).

FloQademy: Unshackling the stereotype of dry CPE 

When one thinks of continuing professional development courses, the image of long, tedious lectures, and dry, technical content often comes to mind. However, FloQast aims to challenge this stereotype with its approach to CPE/CPD through FloQademy.

Breaking away from the traditional mould, FloQademy has been presented as devoted to the mission of making learning engaging, entertaining, and fun. As further announced by its developers, FloQademy is available to the general public free of charge, a move that sets it apart from most CPE providers. This decision has been described by the FloQast team as, “representative of its commitment to revolutionising the way professionals access educational resources.”

Given the free to use availability of the platform for the general public, FloQast was asked about its plans to ensure the accessibility and usability of its services through cloud-based platforms for a diverse range of learners.

In response, they stated, “Making education free and accessible is a core principle of FloQast's approach and has been central to the development of FloQademy. Through cloud technology, the platform provides seamless 24/7 virtual access, ensuring that accountants can engage with content on their schedule and at their own pace. Regardless of geographic location or time zone, learners can delve into the rich content library when it best suits them. Given the cyclical nature of the accounting profession, this flexibility is paramount.

“Additionally, to enhance usability, FloQademy has incorporated features like centralisation of CPE/CPD certifications. This means that accountants can effortlessly access their certifications for completed courses directly within the platform, simplifying the renewal processes and eliminating the tedious task of searching for separate certificates across different sites.

“By merging cloud technology with an intuitive design, FloQademy ensures that a diverse range of learners, from novices to seasoned professionals, can navigate and benefit from its offerings effortlessly.”

At the heart of FloQademy's value proposition is its diverse and engaging content, which aims to cater to a broad spectrum of learning preferences. The courses, created by former accountants and approved by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the CPD Standards Office, provide both technical and non-technical knowledge, covering everything from accounting best practices to finance technology innovations, personal development, and even insights into business news and current events.

One of the most intriguing aspects of FloQademy is its blend of entertainment and education. The self-study courses feature content produced by FloQast Studios, a ground-breaking entertainment studio designed specifically for the accounting community. This approach offers learners a unique combination of humour and insights, making the educational experience not just informative, but also enjoyable.

When asked how they sought to leverage cloud technology to create a dynamic learning experience, the FloQast team commented, “Embracing the advances in cloud technology has paved the way for FloQademy to redefine the nature of continuing professional education (CPE/CPD). The cloud has made it feasible for us to offer a rich variety of content, on-demand, that is both stimulating and relevant, shattering the conventional idea that CPE/CPD content must be mundane. It also centralises this credit tracking, for added convenience.”

FloQademy's course offerings include entertaining thought leadership series, such as "Unqualified Opinions," a podcast-style panel that shares real stories from current or former auditors, offering insights into public accounting experiences. "The FinTech Flo Podcast," co-hosted by FloQast CEO Mike Whitmire, discusses trending news and media in the accounting and fintech world, making complex topics more accessible. "Audit Trails" offers a fresh perspective on public accounting life by sharing real stories from current or former auditors, while "Blood, Sweat & Balance Sheets," hosted by Whitmire, explores the modern accounting landscape and highlights individuals making material impacts in finance, accounting, and entrepreneurial adventures.

Commenting on how these formats will enhance the learning experience, particularly in the context of cloud technology, the FloQast team explained, “Multimedia formats, like podcasts, bring a more interactive and diverse approach to learning. They offer a break from traditional lecture-style content and can often provide deeper insights and better engagement with industry professionals.

“In the context of cloud technology, multimedia becomes incredibly accessible. Whether an accountant is commuting or taking a lunch break, podcasts and other multimedia content can be streamed directly from FloQademy's platform. This on-the-go learning approach leverages cloud technology to make professional development more integrative with an accountant's daily routine.

“Furthermore, series like Unqualified Opinions or Blood, Sweat & Balance Sheets offer a unique blend of professional insights and real-world stories, which not only enrich the learning experience but also foster a sense of community and shared experience within the accounting profession.

“Moreover, FloQademy provides on-demand webinars covering technical accounting topics and best practices, ensuring that accounting professionals can access valuable knowledge when it suits their schedules.”

FloQademy: Education where and when you need it

One of the significant advantages of FloQademy is its accessibility. Displaying awareness of how accounting professionals often work in demanding roles with tight schedules, FloQademy has been designed to offer 24/7 virtual access to a library of self-paced courses. This means that professionals can learn at their own pace, anytime and anywhere. Catering to both early birds and night owls, the flexible approach to learning provided by the platform ensures that its users will be able to access educational resources whenever its most convenient to them.

Referring to how they have sought to integrate new technologies, including cloud, in their quest to provide on-demand access to their services, they commented, “Cloud technology is the backbone of FloQademy's on-demand approach. By hosting the platform in the cloud, FloQast ensures that content is available 24/7, breaking the constraints of traditional classroom settings or fixed webinar schedules. Accountants, often working with unpredictable schedules and tight deadlines, can access courses, webinars, and other content formats when they find the time, ensuring continuous learning doesn't disrupt their workflow.

“Moreover, the self-paced nature of courses means that accountants can progress at their own speed. Whether they want to deep-dive into a topic or take a course in smaller chunks, the cloud-based platform supports their preferred learning style. FloQademy meets accountants exactly where they are, facilitating a tailored and engaging professional development journey.”

The importance of such accessibility cannot be overstated. In an era where professionals are often juggling multiple responsibilities and where the accounting profession itself demands adaptability, the ability to learn on personal terms is a game-changer. It empowers accountants to keep up with industry trends and developments without compromising their work responsibilities.

FloQademy's flexibility extends beyond the time of learning to the content itself. With a wide range of courses available, accountants can choose the subjects that are most relevant to their roles and interests, ensuring that they get the most out of their educational experience. This customised learning approach adds immense value to the education and training of accountants, enabling them to acquire knowledge that directly benefits their careers and organisations.

Mike Whitmire, FloQast CEO

Value beyond education: Strengthening compliance management

While FloQademy takes the spotlight, FloQast's commitment to enhancing the accounting profession doesn't stop there. The new features introduced within the Accounting Operations Platform include "Strengthening Compliance Management," an area designed to address the increasingly vital issue of compliance in accounting and finance.

Compliance management is crucial for organisations, as it ensures adherence to regulatory standards, enhances financial controls, and ultimately reduces the risk of non-compliance. FloQast's Compliance Management solution, which has garnered over 90 customers, offers a seamless and efficient way to manage these critical aspects of finance and accounting.

The newly introduced features in Compliance Management include "Flowchart (Visio) Integration," which allows seamless integration with Microsoft Visio, enhancing scalability and agility of compliance programs. This feature ensures that compliance procedures are efficient and up-to-date, streamlining financial controls for an always-on audit-ready compliance environment.

The "Narratives and Flowcharts Performance Status Dashboard" offers increased visibility into the progress of uploads, allowing for easy status checks and the identification of missing controls. This dashboard provides a real-time overview of the compliance status, enabling finance, accounting, and audit teams to make informed decisions quickly.

The "Narrative / RCM Two-Way Sync" feature is another testament to FloQast's dedication to flexibility. It allows users to work with either process narratives or the FloQast Risk Control Matrix (RCM), ensuring that professionals can choose the approach that best suits their needs while maintaining up-to-date and accurate audit evidence.

Through these innovations in Compliance Management, FloQast demonstrates its commitment to providing accountants and finance professionals with the tools they need to navigate the complex world of compliance with ease, efficiency, and confidence.

Commenting on this Whitmire said, “Whether it's further automating time-consuming tasks, centrally managing and integrating compliance into business processes, or helping accountants have a little fun with continuing professional education requirements, FloQast remains dedicated to empowering accountants to work better together and grow their strategic role within the organisation.”

A step forward for accountancy education and compliance

The introduction of FloQademy within FloQast's Accounting Operations Platform marks a significant milestone in the realm of accountancy education. By breaking free from the traditional, dry approach to CPE, FloQademy provides a breath of fresh air for accountants seeking to expand their knowledge and skills while enjoying the process. The combination of self-paced courses, engaging content, and 24/7 accessibility is a testament to FloQast's commitment to empowering accounting professionals to thrive in a dynamic and demanding industry. By offering this service free of charge, FloQast sets an example for other organisations in the field, emphasising the importance of accessible and engaging education.

Moreover, the strengthening of Compliance Management through innovative features underscores the company's comprehensive approach to supporting the accounting profession. By streamlining compliance processes and enhancing audit readiness, FloQast's solutions address the essential need for accuracy, transparency, and accountability in today's financial landscape.

FloQast's visionary approach to generative AI further indicates that the company is committed to staying at the forefront of technological advancements in the accounting sector. By automating routine accounting tasks, such as data entry, account reconciliations, and financial statement preparation, FloQast is positioning itself as a pioneer in shaping the future of the industry.

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