Remember those Club Rush days in high school and college when all the organizations on campus lined up along the quad trying to sell you membership? Normally, you would be attracted to the table divvying out free cookies and pencils regardless of what their stance was because, lets face it, cookies are awesome and pencils are much needed for scantron test-taking. But whether or not you enlisted or just considered becoming part of a club, most of our motivation for doing so was the same: this will probably benefit my future career goals academically, professionally, and personally somehow.
And now that youre on the path to becoming a CPA, the rules about joining an organization actually havent changed all that much. Joining a CPA organization not only gives you great connections to job opportunities, other CPA professionals, and financial resources to help you along your journey, but also tips and up-to-date information regarding education requirements to sit for the exam as well as the accounting industry. Here are a couple organizations you should consider joining in order to reap the benefits of membership!
Because, as you know, each state has different requirements for what it takes to sit for the CPA exam, each state also has whats known as a CPA society. Collectively, all of these societies specific to each state is called state societies. While each state will have its application for membership, many of them ask that you pay a fee in order to have access to their resources while others will offer membership for free. Here are some of the great benefits you can expect to receive:
1. Career Development: You can gain access to job listings, banks, or posts for the latest openings and opportunities across public and private sector firms or businesses. They also notify you of events in which you can network with other young professionals or mentors who have been in the business for a while. Career resources also include great advice and insight regarding anything from successful business writing strategies to interviewing techniques to resume reviews to accelerating a career in public accounting.
2. Education: While there is plenty of guidance on how to sit for the CPA exam and what it takes for licensure, state societies also give members education regarding other relevant topics such as financial literacy or onsite/webinar learning programs and courses for businesses or personal knowledge, such as GAAP Updates, Leadership, Multistate Taxation, or Communications. Education for CPAs also includes up-to-date information regarding changes on the exam or in the industry, advocacy in strengthening relationships with legislators, and often times provides continuing professional education for exams and requirements that need to be met in order to maintain CPA licensure.
3. Discounts & savings: As a member, youll also be eligible for discounts and savings for prices, products, and services that arent available anywhere else in the marketplace. For example, CalCPA, Californias state society, offers their members discounts with ADP; a CalCPA Bank Americard which earns cash back for purchases; 10% rate discount on auto & homeowners insurance; and UPS shipping & delivery services, to name a few. And, last but not least, savings on yours truly: Roger CPA Review course! Roger CPA partners with many state societies in the nation. So if youre a member (or if youre not, sign up!) to not only get great discounts for services you already use/need, but also for your CPA review course! Yeah!
4. Community: All state societies are essentially looking to do one thing: provide support for CPAs as well as encourage its members to provide quality professional services to serve the public interest. As such, state societies offer its members with a great community where its all about connecting with others and advancing the profession positively. This is done by creating events to connect members from different chapters across the state through networking and education, as well as partnering up with other organizations and participating in the advancement of their projects. Members will find great opportunities to contribute to causes, volunteer, and participate in a myriad of committees within state societies to help regulate affairs, implement initiatives, and support the development of current and future CPAs.
Likewise, what better institute to offer great membership benefits other than the American Institute of CPAs themselves? Serving the accounting profession since 1887, AICPA offers membership that equates to invaluable career investment.
1. Advocacy: Similar to state societies, AICPA protects and represents the CPA profession while protecting the public interest and promoting public awareness and confidence in the integrity and competence of CPAs. Examples include analysis and recommendations on tax forms related to the Affordable Care Act and urging Congress to provide the IRS with funding to administer tax laws and give timely assistance to taxpayers and practitioners.
2. Development: A leader in professional development, technical guidance, and learning opportunities, membership contains access to over 300 self-study courses, web events, and virtual conferences that aid in continuing professional education, on-site training for firms, and events to build networks. In addition, AICPA also offers members with tools such as a career center, peer review, womens initiatives, and work-life balance services to optimize growth and exposure to the industry.
3. Discounts: Again, similar to the state societies, AICPA offers great discounts on great brands and services ranging from travel, technology, office supplies, shipping, insurance, banking, and more. For instance, AICPA members receive double discounts on Dell for select laptops desktops, or monitors. Sales and deals through various businesses such as these are pretty fantastic for CPAs just starting out or others who need some upgrades or other important services in their lives.
4. Community: Because the AICPA is the leader for all things CPA related, youre sure to be the first to know when it comes to any news or update regarding the industry. They provide great literature in their news and publications which include guides/alerts, practice-building resources, and magazines/newsletters. In addition, if youre looking for some guidance such as key developments, hot topics, new rules, and emerging trends in the CPA profession, there are hotlines you can call that will educate you and offer advice as well as answer inquiries (in which you can also attend a resource center specific to your area of curiosity). Or, if youd like to connect with other AICPA members, check out one of their conferences, apply for a volunteer opportunity, or join the Young CPA Network.
So if youre looking for an awesome way to advance your career, we highly recommend joining one or both of these CPA organizations. Being active in them not only opens doors to the many areas of assistance they provide, but also definitely gives you a leg up for your future endeavors.