Helping a Big 4 firm respond to the PCAOB with industry-specific training


Client challenge

When the dust began to settle from the Great Recession, the PCAOB wanted to know what role audit firms played in the economic breakdown — and what the firms could do to make sure nothing like this ever happened again. Sure, all of the firms provided industry-specific training to their managers and above, but what about less experienced auditors?

Turns out, auditors below the manager level needed more industry-specific training — and fast — or firms would be enjoying all the fun that comes with a PCAOB inspection deficiency.

Our long-time client, a Big 4 accounting firm, knew there had to be a light at the end of this regulatory tunnel. They wanted their employees to be the best-trained auditors on the planet and wow the PCAOB with a fast, proactive response. But without clear directions from the PCAOB on what content to include in the training, our client had to worry about deciding:

  • How many training days the program should include?
  • Which key learning objectives should the program focus on?
  • What topics will best share the knowledge staff and seniors need?
  • How to structure so attendees will engage with the training program?

Building the program in house was a recipe for wasted time, lost billable hours, and delayed implementation. Our client knew better than that.


Our solution

One of the firm’s Learning & Development partners immediately contacted GAAP Dynamics because they wanted to “hit a home run” by responding to the PCAOB’s requests within a few months. We stepped in to design the entire financial-services training program:  a 16-day banking, insurance and investment management program for all of their staff and seniors, covering key financial industry accounting and auditing topics.

Resources were limited within their internal Learning & Development (L&D) and technical accounting group. No worries. With our financial industry expertise and educational acumen, our client could sit back and relax (or really just focus on one of their million other priorities!) while GAAP Dynamics:

  • Advised on the learning objectives and course timing,
  • Designed and developed all course materials, and
  • Facilitated the course to their professionals.

Only three months after the PCAOB’s initial inquiry, we completed the first Intermediate Banking course and helped our client rock their training.


Their transformation

Attendees rated the three-day program a 4.86 out of 5 for business results — the firm had rarely seen scores this high after training. Comments from a focus group conducted after the training speak to its success:

  • “I learned more here than at any other training.”
  • “One of the most useful trainings I have been to.”
  • “This was the more relevant training to date I have attended.”
  • Instructors were top-notch. They made the class fun and interesting. I would strongly recommend having the same instructors or those of equal quality in the future. I don’t think the training would be nearly as effective with lesser instructors.”

We rolled out the complete 16-day training program less than a year after our client first received the PCAOB inquiry.

But wait, there’s more! Our support:

  • Saved approximately 4,800 internal man hours by outsourcing content development to GAAP Dynamics
  • Answered the PCAOB’s request by delivering in only three months, not years, the typical timeframe for such a request
  • Satisfied their L&D and technical accounting group by engaging a training partner with deep educational and accounting expertise
  • Contributed to the organization earning two #1 rankings for accounting firm training:  learning and development, and formal training

Perhaps most importantly, we helped one of the world’s largest accounting firms stay on the PCAOB’s “good side.” And we can help you, too

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