STRAIT laid the foundation of its training program with the words of Benjamin Franklin in mind, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Our emphasis on continuous learning has helped us train our team efficiently, elevating their skills and knowledge base, and providing them with the tools necessary to progress through their careers and provide excellent service to our diverse client base.
To formalize our educational efforts, we created STRAIT University — a training platform that benefits both new hires and tenured team members alike. This sophisticated platform instills confidence in employees and supports their efforts to help clients succeed. It’s all part of our continued emphasis on the values of professional development and personal growth.
How STRAIT University Expands New Hires’ Skills
When staff and senior-level accountants join our firm, they all participate in the STRAIT University Fast Start training program. We designed this intensive 90-day “boot camp” to quickly immerse new hires in conceptual basics related to the alternative investment industry and investment company accounting. The program also introduces soft skills essential to professional growth.
On day one of the program, participants focus on an introduction to the firm and company culture, followed by a two week deep dive into Excel skills, internal technology tutorials, and a comprehensive alternative assets 101 module that covers industry basics and terminology. Participants then move into a series of modules that introduce fund accounting basics, journal entry standards, closing the books, preparing NAV packages, capital calls, distributions, and reading and interpreting fund offering documents. As new hires progress through the training, they gain exposure to our firm’s broader service offering, touching on concepts related to investor services and regulatory compliance.
For each training module, participants first learn a general concept, and then they must apply that concept to their specific client processes and calculations. All assignments must be completed with 100% accuracy before proceeding further. Throughout the program, participants frequently meet with their managers for Q&A sessions to ensure they comprehend each topic. The final seven weeks of boot camp cover advanced systems training and full client immersion. By the time they finish, new hires have experienced the full accounting cycle and the nuances specific to their clients’ requirements.
Why Continuous Learning Provides Value for Our Team Members
At STRAIT, we believe in the power of continuous improvement through learning. For example, we host quarterly knowledge-sharing events, where team members present specific topics. This provides professional development opportunities for our junior team members by encouraging them to become a subject matter expert in anything they feel passionate about, allowing them to teach their peers during firm-wide training sessions and presentations.
In addition, we encourage all team members to take advantage of the educational resources we provide to develop soft skills. This includes strong business communication — e.g., preparing and conducting productive meetings, leading a cohesive virtual team that’s focused on achieving results, negotiation and change management, and pointers for using effective language when communicating with clients and colleagues via email. This wide range of training is designed to equip employees with interpersonal skills that create lasting business relationships.
And now as part of Sanne, our team members can benefit from an extensive menu of professional growth opportunities through blended learning solutions with access to specialist expertise and resources. For example, team members can undertake bespoke jurisdictional training, and they can receive support when pursuing a professional designation such as a CPA or CAIA. From a leadership training perspective, Sanne offers a multitude of in-house resources and opportunities to prepare individuals for management or leadership roles.
Learning Opportunities That Benefit Employees
When we designed STRAIT University, we knew it would have to be a robust training platform. That’s because the employees we hire have something in common: They always strive to be the best, so they can be part of something great. To keep improving, our team members want to be continuously challenged. That’s why we knew the creation of STRAIT University was a smart decision.
We believe the benefit of continuous learning is two-fold. When employees have the skills to perform at their best, it increases their job satisfaction. With the confidence and capabilities they gain, our team members can help clients overcome challenges, instilling trust that allows them to focus on initiatives that help drive firm growth.
When We Invest in Training, We Invest in Success
At STRAIT, we believe in developing people for their personal growth. In fact, it’s one of our core values. We raise the performance bar by continuously learning, growing, and applying knowledge. STRAIT University is an essential part of this improvement process. By investing in our employees’ ongoing learning, we allow them to build their fund accounting skill set and knowledge, providing confidence to perform and advance their careers. In turn, with their newfound confidence, they instill confidence in our clients, enabling our clients to focus on their core business drivers.