Case Study: SMS Latinoamérica: Training and Development

SMS Business School

Professional development, quality, innovation, and experience are today the pillars that define our Escuela de Negocios SMS or SMS Business School, comment administrators and trainers from SMS Latinoamérica

The development and launch of a Business School is not an idea that arises very often. The SMS Business School was officially launched in September 2020. It started operating through the virtual campus in January 2021.

At SMS Latinoamérica, we were faced with specific challenges and needs on how to train the staff of our organisation in a correct and unified manner while following the guidelines of IAESB. We questioned how we can ensure that our experts stay at the forefront of the accounting profession and how to get our clients to understand the application of our processes and identify the value of our services.

With this view, we set out to create a Business School, looking for tools that allow us to train our professionals, accompanying them in the learning process so that they can implement the best solutions in business and in their own professional careers. With practical, strategic and innovative training, the objective was to make the School the means for each person to achieve their professional and institutional development in a continuous and up-to-date manner.

Image: SMS Latinoamérica

The COVID pandemic just accelerated a challenge that we had already set ourselves: Given the diversity of countries where our network of firms is present, how to achieve this virtually and enable the knowledge of our professionals to cross borders and diversify.

With this in mind, we managed to develop a virtual campus, where each person became the protagonist of their own training. All the content and thematic areas were uploaded to new digital platforms. Enrolment is done by each person, as if they were signing up for university courses, thus promoting autonomy. The new campus allowed access to online classes, recorded material, previous reading material, surveys, questionnaires, certificates… all in one place.

“For us, the SMS Business School is a professional growth opportunity. We can find all the courses assigned according to our professional category. We sign up and download the calendar to have the access data. We have the activities online. Then we also have access to answer a survey and download the certificate of attendance”, says Rocío Pazos, member of the professional staff of SMS Buenos Aires.

Rocío Pazos
member of the professional staff of SMS Buenos Aires

“The topics addressed are always at the cutting edge of industry themes and learning. Today, it is crucial to know about sustainability, green finance, social bonds; not to mention following emerging tax news in the region and topics relating to digital transformation. Everything is part of the professional curriculum that is designed to meet clients’ demands”, adds Martín López, member of the professional staff of SMS Buenos Aires.

Martín López
member of the professional staff of SMS Buenos Aires

In this sense, the work of the Business School for firms and/or companies that seek to train their professionals and staff of collaborators, is to work side by side with the Human Capital area. “For us it is important to rest confidence in the framework we have created at the Business School, because it allows us to record who attended each meeting and how they are progressing on the different topics”, comments Brenda Lafranconi, Manager of the Human Capital Department of SMS Buenos Aires. “We take the specific need that we have as a Firm, and the School generates the curriculum, the exhibitors, the dates, the calls. Without a doubt, it is an excellent ally”.

Brenda Lafranconi
Manager, Human Capital Department, SMS Buenos Aires

“Not only is the training given internally to our staff, but the virtuality also takes advantage of the development of webinars and in-company activities for clients,” says José Luis Frank, Partner at Frank & Asociados, SMS Suardi. "In this way, we can reach contacts in a different way and even retain our own clients, by presenting them new topics explained by experts in each field."

José Luis Frank
Partner at Frank & Asociados, SMS Suardi

Our allies and institutional collaborators are the institutes and federations of the countries where we have firm members. We have also worked with the Integrated Reporting Council and recently joined Grupo Clarín (the largest multimedia chain in Argentina and the world’s largest readership newspaper in the Spanish language) as allies in the creation of an academy for SMEs. In addition, we take references in accounting matters for the preparation of the programmess for IFAC, ACCA, SASB, IASB.

Approximately 1500 students have enrolled on our courses. This includes collaborators from our firm members plus participants from external courses, free webinars and in-company activities where we provide to our clients and all people interested in business news and new regulations.

Since the beginning of the SMS Business School in January 2021, 6 cohorts of the SMS Latinoamérica network have graduated. Some of them from Buenos Aires, San Salvador de Jujuy (Argentina), Panama and Mexico, among others.

Also, other companies outside the network trust in SMS Business School training programmes and 10 cohorts have passed out with certifications in leadership, team building, tax and compliance.

Through our courses we have granted certificates issued by the Integrated Reporting Council (now the VRF); Academia Pymes Clarín SMS and other certificates issued by the SMS Business School as a training unit.

In total, 50 trainers from our professional staff have delivered 15 client in-company activities, 24 free webinars open for the community and around 126 training courses (including technical courses, leadership skills and personal development) totalling 394 training hours.

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