Navigating the Firm:  Essential Leadership Skills for Public Accountants

Program Dates:  TBD
Program Fee: $2,800*

*discounts may apply

Many public accounting firms are seeking strategies to accelerate junior members of the accounting team into higher levels of management responsibility.  Whether they are leading their own teams, piloting new practices or policies or engaging others in important dialogues about products, services or performance, participants in this course will take away new skills to increase their effectiveness in the workplace.  Emphasis will be on practicing new skills during the course through interactive role plays and other experiential exercises.

Accountants who are taking on new roles in the firm because of a promotion or shift in their practice focus will benefit from the frameworks presented and demonstrated in this course.  Recommended for accountants with at least 3 to 5 years of experience who have or anticipate supervisory responsibilities.

This program is suitable for accountants seeking a Basic level of programming.  Novices will learn fundamental skills to advance their effectiveness in the fields of study.  Mid-level accountants who may be new to the material will deepen their understanding and applicability of concepts presented.

At the end of the following modules, participants should be able to:

  • Aligning Leadership and Strategy
    • Map their own organization’s leadership-strategy-culture alignment, identify strong connections, diagnose weak ones, and create a targeted plan to build on strengths, manage weaknesses and improve alignment.
    • Speak with clarity and specificity about what changes are needed and why
    • Build buy-in to organization changes by sharing a path, demonstrating progress, and managing “the dip”
  • Leadership Style
    • Name and understand (embrace!) their leadership style and the strengths that accompany it
    • Identify gaps in the leadership skills needed in their practice or firm and create a plan to bridge them (this will include a personal growth plan (autocentric) and an organization plan (allocentric))
    • Lead with improved presence based on learnings and practice from the classroom
  • Leading the Team
    • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of team composition, tasking and procedures
    • Understand pitfalls of team dynamics that can undermine team performance
    • Build success into team structures and processes through proactive leadership
  • Motivating Individual and Team Performance
    • Identify A, B, C and D players in their units based on the performance/attitude matrix (or some other diagnostic tool)
    • Create a plan to motivate and manage employee performance depending on their classification and the strengths they bring to their work
    • Consider the dominating strengths across the entire unit and identify what is missing and what needs to be developed to improve unit performance and productivity
  • Essential Communication Skills
    • Take home knowledge of your communication preferences and how to better interact with others to get your message across
    • Instill confidence in firm leaders and clients by developing strong communications and delivering them with presence
    • Utilize the language structures of business to convey competence and build trust
  • Difficult Conversations
    • Prepare for a difficult conversation, setting up a customized opening statement and identifying an approach to bridge communication gaps
    • Move away from dispositional conversations (“You are lazy.”) to behavior-based conversations (“You missed the deadline.”)
    • Increase their bandwidth during difficult conversations by following a framework for the conversation, identifying strategies for the beginning, middle and end.

Stay tuned for course details

Richard Broome, MSU JJCBE Instructor of Management

Bill Brown, MSU JJCBE Professor of Management

Scott Bryant, MSU JJCBE Professor of Management

Karen Cates, Director of the MSU Jabs Executive Education

Tammy Olsztyn, MSU JJCBE Assistant Teaching Professor of Management

Amber Raile, MSU JJCBE Associate Professor of Management

Continuing Education Credit

Montana State University 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 web site:

This program is a Group Live program offering a total of 25.2 CPEs that addresses multiple fields of study including Business Management & Org (12.6 CPEs), Communications and Marketing (9.0 CPEs) and Personal Development (3.6 CPEs).

There are no pre-requisites for this course. There will be pre-course work including advance readings.  About three weeks prior to the course start date, participants will be provided with access to a course web page with assignments and other information.
For more information regarding administrative policies such as complaints and refunds, please contact our office at 406-994-4677.

Other available courses include: