But, because things are changing so fast, it is increasingly difficult to keep up to date. The problem is serious enough in public practice, but for those large numbers toiling away in industry and commerce it is much worse - largely because they are working in at best small groups isolated from similarly trained souls.
It is a situation summed up by Brian Cooper, of the Institute of Chartered Accountants' accountancy business group, as 'People don't know what they don't know.'
Mr Cooper, business adviser at Wolverhampton Enterprise, has for the past four years been chairman of the working party that decides what goes into the refresher courses for accountants in industry and commerce.
He says there is great demand for information on financial reporting, which is going through great changes, and taxation. But courses that are not so obviously appealing often prove even more useful.
The working party that Mr Cooper heads this year includes members from companies as varied as BT, Kodak and Glaxo.
To make the event as accessible as possible, it is held at different locations. This year, between mid-September and early December, there will be events at Milton Keynes, Bristol, Newcastle and Bournemouth.Reuse content