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Career Development Series

Understand and embrace concepts vital to your firm’s success and to your individual career. Our Career Development Series is designed to help accounting firms provide vital skill development training to firm members at multiple levels.

Career Development Series

Series run June through January each year

Each year we present several series geared toward specific firm levels: Operational Professional, pre-Manager and Manager.

Each series of eight one-hour webinars includes tools for generating discussion and encouraging immediate implementation of lessons learned, establishing a skill development process of listening to learn, learning to do and doing to become.

To ensure that as many people as possible receive value from your firm’s involvement in each series, there’s no limit to the number of individuals at that firm level who can participate in each webinar. 

Two weeks after the session, the firm also receives access to on-demand training to allow those unable to attend the live version the opportunity to catch up (and receive CPE). Participants will have one year to request CPE in this way.



To ensure that as many people as possible receive value from your firm’s participation in each series, there is no limit to the number of individuals at the firm level who may join us for each webinar.

$2,500 per firm ($2,100 for UAN members)

for Pre-Manager

Sessions held at 8am Pacific, 9am Mountain, 10am Central, 11am Eastern

As a professional in the changing field of public accounting, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the firm, your firm members and clients’ businesses. To make the most of your career you need to proactively and consistently improve your skills, confidence and ability.  This series will introduce you to the skills you’ll need for career development and best practices for continuous improvement.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

The Cheshire Cat advises: if you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter which way you go. Avoid a career spent wandering without direction by proactively planning an exciting, fulfilling and profitable career.  Learn how to create a career map to help you develop the right skills, meet the right people and move in a direction that benefits both you and your firm.

  • Find a career path that excites you
  • Set meaningful stretch goals to ensure rapid development of the right skills
  • Get buy-in and assistance from key people

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

You don’t need to have a title to lead – and being seen leading greatly increases your likelihood of achieving the title.  But how do you lead when you don’t have the status that a title confers?  Let’s talk about how to speak up on important firm topics, help solve firm issues and become so valuable that a formal firm leadership title naturally follows.

  • Find your voice on key issues
  • Become a problem-solver
  • Build and use your network

Thursday, August 24, 2023

People often view meetings (at best) as a necessary evil or (at worst) as complete time wasters. So how do you make sure that the meetings you lead are efficient, effective and helpful to team and firm success?  Let’s talk about how to plan, conduct and follow-up so people start looking forward to the progress your meetings ensure. 

  • Know when to hold a meeting (and when not to)
  • Prepare for effective discussions
  • Set expectations and goals to ensure accountability and progress

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

When talking about catalysts for firm change, people often envision partners who consistent work to gain consensus for difficult but necessary policy changes.  But successful change efforts need advocates throughout the firm.  So how can you promote and support needed firm changes?  And, how can you best contribute your energy, time and ideas to positive firm change?

  • Promote the right changes in the right ways
  • Carry the change vision to others to build consensus
  • Help to make changes stick

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Harmony’s great, right?  Actually, no – if achieving harmony comes at the expense of open, honest discussion and resolution of important issues.  Too often people simply avoid discussing conflict –  creating ambiguity, repressed irritation and impaired teamwork.  Let’s talk about how to successfully discuss and resolve conflict in a way that moves toward understanding, respect, common purpose, and better relationships.

  • Hold a respectful, relationship-building discussion
  • Listen and be heard
  • Determine when a third-party is needed

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Many CPAs like to refer to themselves as “trusted advisors” but unfortunately, too often they fall into a reactive, compliance services role instead. Let’s talk about how to adjust your mindset, so you are constantly looking for new advisory opportunities, can develop expertise that is relevant and valuable to your clients, and can proactively identify needs so you can consistently recommend innovative solutions. 

  • Cultivate a proactive, forward-looking approach
  • Develop expertise
  • Contribute innovative ideas

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Everyone talks about the importance of mentors, coaches, advisors, sponsors, etc.  But all the coaching in the world won’t make an impact, if the advice isn’t implemented.  Let’s talk about how to be an ideal coachee, by opening yourself up to improvement, determining how a mentor can help, asking for and listening to the feedback you need, and doing the hard work to improve. 

  • Understand the coach/coachee roles
  • Elicit the help and feedback you need
  • Show progress and gratitude

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

How do you foster the kind of client relationship that ensures you’ll be the one your clients think of when they need advice, when they need assistance with their business, or when someone they know needs a recommendation?  Let’s explore ways to make your client relationships deeper, more profitable, and more enjoyable (for both you and the client).        

  • Develop better listening skills
  • Find resources for clients
  • Take a deeper dive into the client’s business

for Managers

Sessions held at 10am Pacific, 11am Mountain, 12noon Central, 1pm Eastern

One of the most pivotal (but challenging) points in an accounting career is the advancement to Manager. When you become a Manager, you accept greater responsibility for the success of both your team and the firm.  Implied in this commitment is your best effort to proactively improve both your skills and your ability to contribute to firm success. 

Thursday, June 22, 2023

CDS M 01Maintaining an upbeat, friendly, open and engaging attitude can help you forge strong relationships, motivate your team and earn raving reviews from clients.  But remaining consistently positive can feel draining (if not impossible) when time and energy are in short supply.  Let’s discuss steps you can take to improve and maintain your own positive attitude. 

  • Understand the benefits of positivity
  • Show positivity and help your team remain positive
  • Maintain a positive attitude when stressed

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Saying “yes” to opportunities can open doors to interesting work, help you build strong networks and create team synergy.  But saying “yes” to everything can leave you (and your team) overwhelmed, exhausted and focused on the wrong things.  Let’s talk about creating guidelines and boundaries to ensure “yes” is accompanied by opportunity and won’t simply consume your valuable time and energy without meaningful outcomes.

  • Set guidelines for when to take on new work
  • Communicate boundaries successfully
  • Saying “no” professionally and firmly

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Studies show engaged employees perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave, which can make a huge impact on your firm. When employees are engaged they feel trusted, empowered, appreciated, respected and challenged. A tall order, right?  Let’s explore what engagement means and how you can proactively work to help your team and yourself re-engage.

  • Understand engagement’s role in business
  • Recognize the key components of engagement
  • Proactively create more on-going engagement

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 

Rather than recreating the wheel each year, most firms have processes in place for key functions (tax returns, time reporting, setting up and running engagements, etc.).  Processes improve efficiency and consistency, provide ways to quickly train others and help firm leadership analyze and improve everything from costs to hours allocation to client services.  Do you understand your firm’s key processes and how to apply them? 

  • Understand your firm’s key processes
  • Improve your ability to follow and improve processes
  • Create your own processes               

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Once you become an advisor to clients, you can’t rest on your laurels.  Becoming (and remaining) a vital component of your clients’ success is an on-going activity.  So how can you ensure that when clients plan a change to their business, they reach out to you? Join us to discuss how to improve your ability to help clients in new ways each year.

  • Understand what a proactive advisory mindset entails
  • Develop a process for continually improving your advisory skills
  • Find new ways to contribute to clients’ success

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Don’t lament the difficulty in finding and retaining top talent. Instead let’s talk about how to proactively build an environment that makes it easier to envision a long-term career at your firm. We’ll talk about processes to improve engagement and retention, discuss how to mitigate capacity challenges and help you create a compelling vision of your firms’ benefits and opportunities.   

  • Understand how retention, engagement and capacity interact
  • Create processes to create career excitement and engagement
  • Share a vision of the benefits of a long-term career at your firm

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Too often firms wax nostalgic about how clients and employees used to be more loyal, lamenting their fickle nature and the firm’s declining retention rates. Times have changed, but relationships are still key to a successful career.  Let’s talk about proactive steps to earn loyalty from clients, team members, firm management and referral sources by forging stronger relationships.

  • Show vulnerability and cultivate a sense of belonging
  • Listen to understand needs, goals and communication styles
  • Ensure effective two-way communication

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Managing those on your team can be challenging, but trying to manage those you don’t work with every day (who don’t know your working style, processes or team) can be doubly so.  So how do you quickly create the clarity, trust and shared purpose necessary to successfully manage someone outside your team?  And what are the pitfalls to avoid?

  • Understand the challenges in managing non-team members
  • Use a process to forge a good working relationship
  • Provide on-going working course corrections

for Operational Professionals

Sessions held at 12noon Pacific, 1pm Mountain, 2pm Central, 3pm Eastern

Our profession is unique and making a positive impact on the firm and your firm members means understanding what makes accounting firms tick and your role in the firm’s success.  During this series, we’ll focus on how you as an operational professional (HR, L&D, COO, Firm Administrator, etc.) can make the most of your career by proactively and consistently improving your skills, confidence and ability. 

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Your business network (or lack thereof) will have a major impact (positive or negative) on your firm, your opportunities and ultimately your career.  Networking doesn’t have to mean attending endless mixers or selling yourself on social media.  Let’s talk about how to take a strength-based, process-assisted approach to building your ideal business network that is helpful, diverse and enjoyable!

  • Follow best practices for building a strong business network
  • Maximize the time spent during business development activities
  • Get more from your network

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

You may not have the shareholder title, but as an operational professional, you often have the authority and responsibility of one.  So how do you affect positive change, speak up on important issues and effectively wield the power of shareholder without the title?  Join Courtney as she discusses how to become an extension of firm leadership. 

  • Find your voice to contribute ideas and information
  • Know when to lead and when to seek counsel
  • Become a problem-solver

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Do you know how clients would describe their experience with your firm – not just during the service delivery stage, but during all their interactions?  If your clients see the relationship as transactional, output-focused and distant, they are less likely to stick with the firm.  Let’s talk about how you can help create a “wow” experience that makes it unlikely they will ever want to walk away. 

  • Understand the client experience
  • Use every interaction to create a “wow”
  • Differentiating your approach

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Too often people act like the dog in the manger, ruthlessly protecting resources – hoarding work, monopolizing people and withholding information.  This short-term, soloed mentality limits opportunity for collaboration, growth and career success.  Let’s talk about how to cultivate an abundance mentality that allows you to create more win-win situations, build networks and relationships, and grow beyond your own small manger.

  • Understand how an abundance mentality helps you and others
  • Use best practices to avoid a scarcity mentality
  • Encourage others to join you in abundance 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Delegation can be difficult, time-consuming and disappointing (if those you delegate to don’t rise to the challenge).  So why delegate? If you can’t learn the art of delegation, not only do you deny less experienced firm members growth opportunities, but you also remain securely in your comfort zone.  Don’t cheat the firm (and yourself) out of seeing how far your potential can take you. 

  • Determining what to delegate
  • Finding the right person to take the right work
  • Ensuring a successful experience for everyone involved

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Accurately interpreting communications from team members, clients, prospects, and others is essential to your success in today’s business environment. But this can be a daunting task when people communicate differently, multiple communication methods exist and communication has become more virtual.  Join us for a candid discussion of some of the barriers to effective, efficient and relationship-strengthening communication.

  • Learn the fundamental challenges of communication
  • Explore the connection between good communication and strong leadership
  • Use the right communication at the right time with the right people

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Too often firms fall into a reactive, compliance services role with clients. Forward-thinking clients want more than just assistance meeting obligations.  They want someone who can help their business succeed.  Let’s talk about how to adjust your mindset, so you are constantly looking for new advisory opportunities for clients, can analyze current and future client needs and can consistently recommend innovative solutions. 

  • Cultivate a proactive, forward-looking approach
  • Identify current and future client needs
  • Contribute innovative ideas

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

No matter your position in the firm you undoubtedly deal with competing demands, tight deadlines, stressful personal interactions and challenging work.  So how do you keep from becoming overwhelmed, stressed or burnt out?  Let’s talk about danger signs to watch for, tips to maintain perspective, the key principles that govern work/life integration and ways to increase your work enjoyment and restore balance. 

  • Redefine success
  • Avoid the pitfalls found in striving for balance
  • Create strategies to address work/life integration in your firm

Meet Your Instructors

Director At
Upstream Academy

Director At
Upstream Academy

Satisfaction Guarantee

As with everything Upstream Academy does, your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you are not completely satisfied with the value you receive, we will either refund your money or accept a portion of those fees that reflects your level of satisfaction.

Upstream Academy is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: