By Robert G. Epstein
In a profession suddenly surrounded by bad press, work on safeguarding your own professional image.
In recent months, accountants across the country have felt the repercussions of Big 5 accounting firm Andersen's struggle with the collapse of energy company Enron. The accounting industry is focusing on rebuilding its reputation with the public, but it's also crucial that every professional do the same. Here, we offer five tips that can help.
- Talk to Your Clients. It doesn't matter if your clients are large or small. Every single one deserves a personal phone call or email to reassure them of your performance and reemphasize the value of your services.
- Spread the Word in Your Community. Get out there and promote what you do! No matter where you are, make it a point to mention the special value of the CPA credential. Many people would appreciate a reminder-especially now-of the trust it can invoke!
- Volunteer with your local state CPA society or other accounting organization. Help promote their image, which will in turn strengthen your own-especially because they focus specifically on your region. Do more than join an organization; become a committee member or officer and focus on strengthening your local support mechanism. For more information about local accounting organizations, click here.
- Offer Volunteer Income Tax Services. Through programs like VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) you have an opportunity to share your skills and interact with many community members. It serves as a great example of how important the public's financial safety is to accounting professionals. Talk with the people you assist about your commitment to the profession; this can help grow grassroots support for repairing the image of the accountant. For more information about the VITA program, click here. Other volunteer opportunities are available through the Clearinghouse for Volunteer Accounting Services.
- Visit Local Schools and Universities to Discuss the Profession. Offer your time to speak with business and accounting classes in local middle schools, high schools and universities. In addition to discussing the basics of accounting education and starting a career, stress the importance of trust, honesty and integrity in the profession. It is important that we educate a new generation of professionals about the importance of accounting at its highest standards.
Robert G. Epstein, CPA, is the President and CEO and one of the original founders of CareerBank.com. He is a certified public accountant with more than 15 years of experience in the accounting profession and accounting/finance career placement industry. Robert writes articles covering the accounting industry, career development and staffing. He has been interviewed by CNN.com, Reuters, Accounting Today, Business Finance Magazine, Practical Accountant and many other leading business publications and news services.