by Matthew Pawson CTA *
The impact of technology on the way we do things has been no more evident over the past decade than in the delivery of education services in the professional sector. The Tax Institute is not immune from this trend. In fact, our Institute has responded to member demand by actively improving our online delivery platforms for its structured education, continuing professional development (CPD) and information products.
Members vary in their preferred method of engaging with education programs and CPD events. For example, many of our senior members favour the historically popular method of face-to-face delivery. Our Gen Y and Millennial members, however, increasingly demand the now-entrenched online (primarily webinar) delivery model.
Personally, I straddle these two demographic pillars. I appreciate the time and cost efficiencies offered by digital delivery and can see their appeal to consumers and employers. In fact, I regularly engage with webinars and other online delivery channels. However, I also enjoy getting out of the office and the city, when I can, for face-to-face events. I also don’t mind pulling a book off the shelf every now and then, when I need to look up the law!
As the preference for online delivery grows, I believe we will see a range of long-term pros and cons arising. On the positive side, I’m pleased to report that The Tax Institute is constantly seeking to improve its online delivery models in response to member demand. We are always mindful of delivering time-efficient, cost-effective services to members and other consumers. I therefore commend the way our education and member services teams embrace technology in response to the data collected about our members’ purchasing and engagement trends.
However, an inherent risk of the increasing consumption of digital content is that there may be a loss of important professional soft skills arising from the fact that we may have less human interaction with each other. Like many commentators suggest in relation to, for example, the voracious use of tablet devices by children, I don’t think the effects of these emerging trends are yet fully understood. It may be a generation or more before we can accurately determine whether they are beneficial for us, or otherwise.
Perhaps the biggest advantage The Tax Institute offers to our broad base of members, for the time being at least, is simply the ability to choose how they want to engage with us. Recent technology upgrades have significantly enhanced the online member experience for those who wish to be fully digitally oriented.
We will also continue to offer a wide range of face-to-face events and hard-copy publications for those who prefer these delivery media.
Our premier opportunity
Notwithstanding the increasing demand for digital, The Tax Institute’s annual National Convention remains our flagship face-to-face event and 2017 will be no different, as we gather in Adelaide on 15 to 17 March.
The National Convention offers participants the unique opportunity to:
• hear from Australia’s best and brightest minds on all things tax;
• receive education from a broad range of tax technical materials;
• network with friends and colleagues (old and new); and, hopefully
• become enlightened and motivated to continue your journey with us in the tax profession.
The Tax Institute’s National Convention truly is the peak event among our CPD offerings. If you’ve attended previously, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
* Matthew Pawson CTA is President of The Tax Institute.