Illumeo: Accounting, and Corporate Finance Finally Get Training Just for Them
Illumeo founders Greg Stout and John Kogan seem to have a perfect combination of backgrounds for bringing new technology solutions to training for accounting and corporate finance professionals. John is a many-time CFO with almost three decades in corporate finance and accounting, including extensive training leadership. Greg is similarly deep, but in technology, leading many companies’ development teams to build scalable, usable, class-leading solutions in a variety of product areas. When a prior company they worked at together was sold, they joined forces to solve a problem that has vexed accounting and corporate finance professionals seemingly forever – the challenge of high quality, continuous and affordable professional development for the millions of professionals in those critical corporate functions.
Today’s business environment runs at a dizzying pace. People who were hired for certain skills yesterday soon find themselves trapped with yesterday’s skills. That’s not good enough. To be truly effective one has to have skills that are up to the minute, and even ahead of the crowd. This enables working professionals to survive their jobs today and thrive in their careers tomorrow. It also allows their companies to stay ahead of the curve. Although most people don’t think about finance and accounting as areas of competitive advantage, they definitively are – and if not, they should and could be. Effective skills in these areas allow companies to get their leadership and stakeholders more insightful information, faster, enabling quicker and better decisions. That’s enough to turn an average business into a great business.
As in so many facets of life, education makes the difference. Not basic education, though, as virtually everyone in accounting and corporate finance is already highly educated, many with advanced degrees like an MBA, or certifications such as CPAs. But the difference is continuing education in highly practical and effective areas that directly reflect one’s work needs. This is what Illumeo provides and why it has been adopted so quickly by so many leading global companies. There is a clear trend of companies looking to upskill existing personnel as it’s far less expensive than continuous firing and hiring as new skills are needed – it’s far quicker and easier to provide advanced training to existing, great employees.
Illumeo has a highly unique combination of a massive course library, custom competency assessment and development planning, continuing education credit, and compliance monitoring – all focused on the highly specific needs of accounting and corporate finance, delivered through the cloud on a modern platform with an intuitive UI.
Traditional live training for these functions just can’t compare. It’s too slow, requiring months of advance planning; too generic, forcing people to consume the pre-determined agenda of a large conference rather than identifying and addressing their particular needs; and it’s certainly too expensive, costing thousands of dollars per live training event, as opposed to online, on-demand training which can cost less than $100 per person per year for unlimited, focused and immediate learning.
There is a clear trend of companies moving to online training, following the likes of Udacity and Pluralsight, who provide online training for software developers, among many others. The idea is not to entirely avoid live training, but to provide more timely and targeted training at far lower cost, which actually allows companies to have far more effective team or organization-wide offsites, allowing for team-building and strategic development instead of spending most or all of the development budget on core skill-building.
Illumeo, based in Silicon Valley, has brought an ‘EdTech’ culture to online learning for accounting and corporate finance, and has used that to develop the most modern and complete platform in its space. Illumeo has brought together disparate technologies in unique ways to provide better learning solutions with incredibly rapid delivery of new features and functionality, along with leveraging newer ‘social’ elements such as course ratings, written reviews, and even direct, asynchronous instructor interaction, all of which makes it easier to find and take just the right courses, and to thoroughly understand what is being taught. That technology-driven approach has clearly set Illumeo apart in its very large niche.
Speaking of technology and rapid development, Illumeo has a host of automation, compliance, and machine learning/AI capability coming down the road, keeping the platform not only ahead of the game, but continuously improving professional development outcomes for the accounting and corporate finance professionals served.
Illumeo’s core offerings are a learning platform for individuals, and an “LMS for CPE®” for audit firms and corporations. The individual offering provides over 1,000 on-demand courses, more than 100 live webinars per year, over two dozen CPE varieties with thousands of CPE credit hours, and an unmatched Compliance Monitor™, all in a simple subscription format. The corporate/firm offering provides all of that along with class-leading collaboration capabilities, learning controls and user management, and is used by many of the largest, most successful corporations and firms around the globe.
Illumeo is doing what Silicon Valley does best, which is disrupt players who have been moving slowly for decades by providing tech-enabled, massively improved and personalized experiences for the individuals and companies that need to keep moving their knowledge forward in order to get, or stay, on top.