Author: Merry Beth Ward, NASBA Communications and Electronic Media Specialist
Professional organizations provide a foundation for networking and offer information and resources, such as training and mentoring, which can aid in career advancement. If you are a newly licensed or aspiring CPA, or have been in the industry for a while and want to get involved with professional organizations, here are a few to consider to help jump start your career.
American Institute of CPAs (AICPA): The AICPA is the world’s largest accounting member association, with more than 412,000 members in 144 countries. AICPA members represent many areas of the accounting practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting.
The AICPA sets the ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination and offers specialty credentials for CPAs who concentrate on personal financial planning, forensic accounting, business valuation and information management and technology assurance.
There are multiple benefits with being a member of AICPA, as it provides professional development (including CPE goals) and professional guidance providing information on rules, trends and resources. Also included with membership are publications and news about the latest developments in the accounting profession, as well as discounts on products and services including travel, technology, office supplies, shipping, etc. Members also benefit from email announcements about issues impacting the profession.
American Accounting Association (AAA): This association is the largest community of accountants within higher education. AAA promotes excellence in accounting education, research and practices. There are many opportunities for AAA recognition and awards in research and findings. AAA also hosts annual and regional meetings, publishes a variety of publications and provides outreach opportunities.
Beta Alpha Psi: This honors organization targets students and professionals who have a financial focus in their education and career. The primary objective of Beta Alpha Psi is to promote the study and application of accounting, finance and information systems, as well as provide self-development services to members and practicing professionals. Beta Alpha Psi also advocates ethical, social and public responsibility. The organization hosts competitions and an annual meeting and sponsors over 300 chapters on college and universities campuses with over 300,000 members.
Young CPA Network: This organization was created by AICPA for aspiring CPAs to seek advice from their professional peers. The Young CPA Network provides learning opportunities about the CPA profession, as well as education about challenges that could be faced. Through the Young CPA Network, young professionals can further develop their interpersonal skills and understanding of the field of accounting. Their E.D.G.E. Conference provides education to promote what it takes to stand out amongst others, professionally, and a chance to make valuable networking connections. The Network also provides an opportunity for individuals to earn up to 27 CPE credits.
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