Tips to Strengthen Your Reputation as an Accountant

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

You may like these other stories...

By Michael Alter Participating in social media is rapidly becoming a necessity for businesses. In 2013, we're seeing discussions among business owners shifting away from why to participate to where and how to get...
By Jeff Davidson You've had those days: nothing is working and your frustration is mounting. Resilient individuals, however, manage to find their way back on track. They apply ingenuity to daily tasks, long-term...
By Curtis C. Verschoor, CMACourt cases and events involving whistleblowing are appearing in news headlines with greater frequency, and awareness about the importance of speaking up, when witnessing wrongdoing continues to...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.
Apr 30
During the second session of a four-part series on Individual Leadership, the focus will be on time management- a critical success factor for effective leadership. Each person has 24 hours of time to spend each day; the key is making wise investments and knowing what investments yield the greatest return.