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A results driven program for firm staff, Career Development Series is designed to help firm members at all levels understand and embrace concepts vital both to their firm’s sustained success and to their individual careers

  • Overview
  • for pre-Managers
  • for Managers
  • for Partners
  • On-Demand Sessions

Career Development Series is designed to help accounting firms provide vital skill development training to firm members at all levels

Each year we present three series geared toward three specific firm levels: pre-Manager, Manager and Partner.


We start new live series each June, focused on helping firm members consistently improve their skills, confidence and abiltiy. The first session in each series for this year will start June 10, 2021.

Each series of eight one-hour webinars is led by Sam Allred, Jeremy Clopton and Heath Alloway. Upstream provides tools to help generate discussion and to encourage participants to immediately implement the lessons learned, establishing a skill development process of listening to learn, learning to do, and doing to become.

To ensure that as many people as possible receive value from your firm’s involvement in each series, there’s no limit to the number of individuals at that firm level who can participate in each webinar. Each series is $2,200 per firm ($1,800 for UAN Members).

Two weeks after the session, the firm also receives access to on-demand training to allow those unable to attend the live version the opportunity to catch up (and receive CPE). Participants will have one year to request CPE in this way.

Live sessions are held:

  • Pre-Managers at 8am Pacific, 9am Mountain, 10am Central and 11am Eastern
  • Managers at 10am Pacific, 11am Mountain, 12noon Central and 1pm Eastern
  • Partners at 12noon Pacific, 1pm Mountain, 2pm Central and 3pm Eastern

Your Satisfaction Is Our Goal

As with everything Upstream Academy does, your satisfaction with Career Development Series is guaranteed. If you are not completely satisfied with the value you receive, we will, at your option, either refund your money or accept the portion of those fees that reflects your level of satisfaction.

Career Development Series for pre-Managers

As a professional in the changing field of public accounting, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the firm, your firm members and your clients’ businesses. 

To make the most of your career you need to proactively and consistently improve your skills, confidence and ability.  During this series we’ll introduce you to skills important for your career development and provide best practices for improvement. 

All sessions will be held at 8am Pacific, 9am Mountain, 10am Central and 11am Eastern

When you purchase this series you receive access for all firm members below Manager to both live and on-demand training for one year.

Sessions included in the pre-Manager Series

Become a Great Team Player
Thursday, June 10, 2021

  Working effectively as a team can be challenging on a day-to-day basis, but maintaining a team attitude when the pressure increases can stretch even the most established team. Join us for a discussion of what Patrick Lencioni calls the ideal team player and improve your teamwork by seeking to improve your own qualifications as a hungry, humble and smart performer.
  • Stay Hungry
  • Remain Humble
  • Work Smart

WOW Clients with Every Interaction
Thursday, July 08, 2021

  Most firm leaders know intuitively that clients seldomóif everówalk away from truly exceptional service. So how do you not just serve clients, but provide the type of experience that creates raving fans? Join us for a discussion of ways to improve your client service, so every interaction leaves them saying ďwow!Ē
  • Understand the client experience
  • Use every interaction to help
  • Be responsive when communicating

Intentionally Develop New Skills
Thursday, August 19, 2021

  Early in your career it is important to have a plan for how you will grow. Many leave this to chance and take a strategy of hope when it comes to skill development. Join us to learn how to take an intentional approach to identifying skills and a plan to develop them.
  • Understand rapid skill development principles
  • Recognize the link between generalized knowledge and specific skills
  • Take ownership for your own skill development

Effectively Employ Social Media
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

  Love or hate it, social media is here to stay. So how do you create an engaging, dynamic social presence, while maintaining your professionalism? Join us for best practices for implementing an effective social media strategy to connect with clients, enhance business development and increase your professional presence online.
  • Understand options in social media
  • Use broad-based social media effectively
  • Use one-on-one social media effectively

Successfully Participate in Meetings
Tuesday, October 19, 2021

  Too often people view meetings at best as a necessary evil and at worst as complete time wasters. So how do you make sure that your involvement in meetings (as participant or lead) ensure theyíre more efficient, effective and helpful to team success? Join us for best practice on taking meetings to the next level.
  • Prepare for effective discussions
  • Learn to lead valuable meetings
  • Contribute successfully

Make a Difference on Client Engagements
Tuesday, November 16, 2021

  An exceptional engagement requires exceptional effort from every team member. So are you proactively doing all you can to ensure an effective, efficient and successful engagement? Join us for a discussion of how to plan your contributions to an exceptional client experience from initial engagement to the clientís evaluation.
  • Learn the vision for each engagement
  • Define client service excellence
  • Understand key engagement metrics

Effectively Integrate Work and Life
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

  The evolving nature of business and life can find you assuming new (less comfortable) roles, juggling complex (time-intensive) projects and struggling to meet the high (sometimes contradictory) expectations of work and life. Join us for a realistic look at how to meet expectations while ensuring work-life enjoyment.
  • Understand concepts of work-life integration
  • Communicate needs around work-life integration
  • Share ideas to benefit you and your firm

Discover New Service Opportunities through Client Service
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

  If youíre acting as a trusted advisor to your clients, business development isnít selling, itís helping. So how can you increase your ability to help clients Ė and the firmís bottom line? Join us as we discuss how create a true win-win by knowing both your clientsí needs and your firmís capabilities.
  • Learn your clientsí industry/business
  • Know your firmís resources
  • Identify opportunities to serve your best clients

Wouldn’t it be great if all firm staff embraced Business Development because they recognized the benefits to their firm, their clients and their careers?

Career Development Series for Managers

One of the most pivotal (but challenging) points in an accounting career is the advancement to Manager. When you become a Manager, you accept greater responsibility for the success of both your team and the firm.

Implied in this commitment is your best effort to proactively improve both your skills and your ability to contribute to firm success. 

All sessions will be held at 10am Pacific, 11am Mountain, 12noon Central and 1pm Eastern

When you purchase this series you receive access for all firm Managers to both live and on-demand training for one year.

Sessions included in the Manager Series

Maximize Othersí Careers
Thursday, June 10, 2021

  What's the difference between a good manager and a truly exceptional one? Great managers not only continually develop their own skills, but also help their team learn, advance and grow in skills, confidence and ability. Join us to discuss how you can help those in the talent pool see where they need to take their careers to become MVPs.
  • Recognize talents and challenges in those you lead
  • Provide career opportunities
  • Champion your team with others

Effectively Prioritize Responsibilities
Thursday, July 08, 2021

  Limited time and conflicting priorities can make it feel like you are constantly putting out fires. So how do you manage your time, attention and resources to ensure you prioritize the right clients, projects and team members? Join a frank discussion of how to differentiate campfires from three-alarm blazes Ė and treat them accordingly.
  • Understand your responsibilities in a firm
  • Proactively manage conflicting demands
  • Manage time to prioritize vital projects

Use Strengths to Create Career Success
Thursday, August 19, 2021

  Each person has a unique combination of strengths and talents, and playing to team membersí strengths will always produce the best results, both individually and for the firm. But how do you do that? Join us as we discuss how to identify your greatest strengths and then use those strengths to better serve clients and build the firm.
  • Understand the roles of strengths and weaknesses
  • Identify your strengths
  • Develop your strengths to benefit you and the firm

Provide Effective Constructive Feedback
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

  Properly given, feedback opens doors to professional and personal growth, strengthens the relationship between the giver and receiver, and ultimately improves the firm. Join us as we discuss how to not only provide meaningful, timely feedback, but also help those you manage effectively receive and benefit from that feedback.
  • Understand meaningful, timely feedback
  • Help others accept feedback
  • Embrace crucial conversations

Cultivate Loyal Client Relationships
Tuesday, October 19, 2021

  Too often firms wax nostalgic about how clients used to be more loyal, lamenting their fickle nature and the firmís declining retention rates. Instead letís talk about proactive steps to earn loyalty from clients by forging stronger relationships, providing more proactive advisory service and working to understand the clientís needs, wants and strategy for the future.
  • Understand client service
  • Build a stronger client relationship
  • Create deeper client knowledge

Effectively Transition Clients
Tuesday, November 16, 2021

  Done properly, client transitions strengthen the clientís relationship with the firm and provide development of younger staff. So what can you do to ensure the process is smooth, effective and efficient? Join us for a discussion of your role in an ideal client transition.
  • Proactively assist with client knowledge transfer
  • Build the relationship prior to the transfer
  • Safeguard the relationship after the transfer

Take an Advisory Approach to Business Development
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

  As the world of client service changes, what do you need to do to ensure youíre not just guiding clients through their accounting questions but also offering innovative strategies for business growth? Join us to explore how to take a more advisory approach to client service and business development.
  • Develop an advisory mindset
  • Analyze current service offerings and potential new client needs
  • Vetting and recommending innovative solutions

Drive Accountability with a Personal BD Plan
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

  Almost every process improves if you take time to develop a plan and put it in writing. Business development doesnít have to mean using high-pressure tactics to get clients to buy something they donít want. Instead, letís discuss how to create a personal business BD that plays to individual strengths, targets clients who need the services the firm can provide and lays out steps for success.
  • Analyze your own BD style and strengths
  • Analyze client needs and firm offerings
  • Create a proactive plan for BD improvement

Wouldn’t it be great if all firm staff embraced Business Development because they recognized the benefits to their firm, their clients and their careers?

Career Development Series for Partners

Making partner is a huge achievement, but the journey doesnít end with admittance to the partner group. For the firm to be successful, each partner needs to take seriously both their career advancement Ė and the development of other firm leaders. Letís discuss how to ensure you remain someone the partner group would pick over and over to join their ranks.  

All sessions will be held at 12noon Pacific, 1pm Mountain, 2pm Central and 3pm Eastern.

When you purchase this series you receive access for all firm Partners to both live and on-demand training for one year.

Sessions included in the Partner Series

Improve Your Client Advisor Skills Every Year
Thursday, June 10, 2021

  As a partner, your client skills, knowledge and ability should improve each and every year. So, do clients consult you in any major decision? Are you able to proactively identify their needs and consistently recommend innovative solutions? Letís discuss practical, proactive ways to switch from being your clientsí record keeper to a true trusted advisor.
  • Become more advisory in your approach
  • Match client needs to service offerings
  • Proactively plan for improved client relationships

Stay on the High Yield/Low Maintenance Path
Thursday, July 08, 2021

  The most effective leaders are both high-yield (able to meet and exceed standards) and low-maintenance (willing to put in the work and meet expectations without reminders, excuses or special considerations). Letís talk about the attributes of high performance partners and how to proactively work to increase your effectiveness as a leader.
  • Understand high-performance, low-maintenance
  • Ensure you meet (and exceed) firm expectations
  • Create a plan for long-term improvement

Maximize Productivity and Time Management
Thursday, August 19, 2021

  No amount of effort can earn you more than 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day. As a partner, the competition for those 24 hours is intense. Donít resort to adding hours to your work day. Instead recognize itís what you do with your work hours that will differentiate you as an effective leader, rather than someone trapped in a perpetual race against the clock.
  • Prioritize the right items
  • Eliminate the unnecessary
  • Plan for development time

Intentionally Develop Your Best People
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

  Crew members are never praised for the rugged individuality of their rowing. Moving a boat (or a firm) requires a team effort and your responsibility as partner is ensuring the next generation of leaders has the necessary skills, knowledge and desire. It wonít happen by accident, so letís discuss specific, practical and actionable ways to intentionally develop your best people.
  • Ensure the right shadowing opportunities
  • Delegate intentionally and strategically
  • Provide feedback that matters

Bill and Collect for the Value You Provide
Tuesday, October 19, 2021

  Too often firm billing becomes an exercise in justification, guilt and second-guessing. At best this approach leads to write-offs. At worst it leads to firm members discouraging questions from clients to avoid hours theyíre hesitant to bill. Letís discuss how to stop apologizing for billing and instead encourage clients to see (and pay for) the value you provide.
  • Evaluate your pricing strategies
  • Find a process for billing that works
  • Plan for improvement

Become a Recognized Expert in One or More Areas
Tuesday, November 16, 2021

  In the past, firm partners could expect reasonably successful careers as generalists. As client expectations rise and accounting options increase, generalists are in less and less demand. Expertise offers you more autonomy, a ready-made client and referral base, and the chance to focus on areas that excites you. Join us to discuss the why and how of building expertise.
  • Find your hedgehog
  • Create a plan to develop skills and knowledge
  • Proactively cultivate relationships and reputation

Provide Good Stewardship of Firm Resources
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

  When you became a partner you became responsible not just for your own finances, but also the firmís resources. Do you treat the firmís money, people, clients and time as the valuable (and limited resources) they are? Join us for a look at what good stewardship includes and how you can ensure you are working with a WITFBI attitude.
  • Ensure good financial management
  • Maximize benefits from your time and skills
  • Utilize your team effectively

Bring Unity to the Partner Group
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

  The combined horsepower of your partner group can accomplish almost anything Ė and a one-firm attitude not only gives clients more services and expertise than one individual can provide, but also ensures greater staff utilization, retention and engagement. Letís discuss how you can proactively work to increase partner unity.
  • Provide feedback without creating divisiveness
  • Cultivate partner relationships
  • Encourage a one-firm mentality

We have six recorded sessions for pre-Managers.
  • Effectively Managing Others
  • Maximize Your Career
  • Business Advisor
  • Professionalism
  • Effective Communication
  • Business Development

All six sessions will be available on May 1, 2021. Watch for more information coming soon!