Many CPAs belong to a local or state accounting society for all the right reasons, but simply belonging to one is not enough. Why?
If you want to grow your practice this usually means adding more clients who need what you have to offer: professional accounting and value-added services. You need to market and joining a professional association in an entirely different field can provide the access you need in a comfortable environment where you have a decent chance of picking up more clients.
The Joy of Associate Memberships
But you say, “Stop right there. I’m not an anesthesiologist or an engineer. Why are they going to let me in?” Many professional associations offer associate memberships to people (and firms) not directly employed in the field. They are welcome because they provide services used by members of that profession. Banking and insurance are good examples. So is accounting.
You’ve been down this road before. You joined the Chamber of Commerce and became active. Why? Woody Allen famously said: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” Then you discovered 15 accounting firms were represented. You want better odds.
As an anonymous example, let’s use a manufacturer’s association in a larger Texas city. It has 493 members including 91 associates. How many accounting firms in those 91 associate memberships? Just one. That’s an ideal situation!
The county medical society tells a similar story. They have a “Circle of Friends” including 45 firms paying $ 3,000 - $ 10,000 annually. Lots of banks and law firms. One accounting firm.
What’s My Game Plan?
“In it to win it” is used to rationalize buying lottery tickets. The same rule applies in professional associations. You want to attend meetings, become a worker bee and look for opportunities to speak. Here’s a roadmap: