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5 Advantages of Being a Member of a Professional Accounting Association

Written on Jan 9, 2023
Advantages of Being a Member of a Professional Accounting Association

                (Vlada Karpovich / pexels)

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” That African proverb rings in my mind regarding our career field.

Like paddling a boat, I can go faster without passengers to weigh me down–but only for so long. To go farther, I need others to help me row. Our strides are more powerful as we row together, and we remain in constant motion even when taking turns resting.

This analogy embodies what it means to belong to a professional accounting association. We advance further when we do it together.

Professional accounting associations, like The Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA), provide a host of benefits for you and your career in finance and accounting. Whether you’re in college and still working towards your certifications, fresh out of college and starting your career or a seasoned professional with decades of experience under your belt, professional accounting associations, like OSCPA, have something for everyone, including:

  • Employment and internship opportunities
  • Learning and CPE
  • Industry criteria
  • Ethical guidelines
  • Legislative advocacy

Employment and internship opportunities

Networking. Mic drop–enough said!

Employment and internship opportunities top my list of the best reasons to belong to a professional accounting organization. It’s a competitive job market out there. Your membership affords you the capability to “rub elbows” with those in positions to affect hiring decisions.

The old adage “It’s not what you know but who you know” isn't cynical. It’s natural that in a sea of applicant resumes and faces, yours stands out because you had an illuminating conversation with or worked alongside someone in a company who can vouch for your work ethic and personality–traits that go above and beyond calculating numbers.

Your foot gets in the door for employment or internship opportunities before the general public. Furthermore, a membership at the state level gives you the convenience of meeting local people looking for local talent. An entire state of opportunities lies within grasp as you meet, socialize and work alongside a diverse group of people in your career field.

Suppose it's you looking to hire a new employee or intern. Or you learn of a position opening up within your company. Wouldn’t you rather work with someone you know and like? You have a more satisfying career when you get along with your co-workers.

Continuing education credits for accountants (CPE)

To maintain your career credentials in accounting or finance, you must meet certain continuing professional education (CPE) requirements. Professional accounting associations understand this obligation and offer a plethora of quality continuing education courses for accountants and finance professionals.

Accounting encompasses various knowledge bases and skill sets–everything from tax to technology. Without the continuing education that accounting associations provide, it would be much harder for accounting professionals to stay updated with their CPE independently.

In addition, accounting associations, like OSCPA, offer CPE education credits at vital times of the year and in diverse ways. For example, you can find quality CPE concerning taxes right before tax professionals hit their busy season, with the convenience of learning online or in person.

Best practices

Accounting has its standards, rules, requirements and practices. Not only do accounting and finance professionals need to keep up with changes in best practices, but sometimes we run into situations where we need help.

When we come together within an association, we gain a network of friends and peers we can turn to when our tasks get complicated and we’ve entered unfamiliar territory. We have more tools—like knowledge and experience of others—at our disposal to help us solve complex problems.

We have more opportunities to compare, contrast and adopt best practices based on what our peers have done. It’s much easier to find out what’s worked and what hasn’t. Furthermore, working as a team, we can improve ideas for everything from taxes and staffing to technology and software. Together, our ability to keep up with advances in our field is enhanced.

Ethical guidelines

With every new technology and venture, there’s an ethical dilemma waiting around the corner. Cryptocurrency and the metaverse are just two of the most recent examples.

Having a group of colleagues to turn to when knowing the right thing to do becomes a dilemma is invaluable. When you belong to an industry association, you gain the advantage of staying current with ethical guidelines through CPE ethics courses. In addition, you can connect with industry peers for advice on ethical dilemmas.

Policy updates

Accounting policies can change in the blink of an eye. Compliance issues and tax laws are a few examples of accounting branches requiring professionals to stay on their toes and in the know to best serve their clients. Accounting associations make it their job to keep their members up to speed on everything affecting their industry.

In addition, when accounting professionals come together, they become an influential unit, ready to make changes that affect the accounting world. You and your constituents can present policy changes to government entities based on common concerns. Specifically, when you join a state-wide organization, you have more say in those changes.

Bonus benefits

The advantages of belonging to a professional organization like OSCPA don’t stop at employment and internship opportunities, education or policy changes. There's solidarity in coming together. Only other accounting and finance professionals can understand what you go through–the toil, care and hours you put into your career, the pride you feel at doing your job well and helping your clients. This companionship can help carry you through a difficult day. Mentors and leadership roles abound. Not to mention, association members enjoy discounts on everything from CPE and learning events to well deserved family vacations.

Start your search

You may decide to belong to different groups fulfilling different needs. Look into local, state and national associations for their various advantages. Check out The Ohio Society of CPAs to learn more about us and the myriad of professional benefits we offer. We have a year full of online and in-person educational events for accounting professionals. You’ll boost your network, knowledge, and career while having fun and making friends.