Professional membership associations often provide the support and resources modern accountants need to thrive in today’s temperamental market. Besides acting as member advocates, these associations, many serving specific disciplines, can offer continuing education and credentialing opportunities, financial programs, employment services and a number of other benefits. In addition to state organizations, there are national associations for every type of accounting professional and every specialty within the profession. Here are links to and descriptions for some of the best:
American Accounting Association
The American Accounting Association promotes worldwide excellence in industry education, research and practice. Established in 1916 as the American Association of University, the group is a voluntary organization of persons interested in accounting education and research.
American Institute of CPAs
AICPA and its predecessors have served the accounting profession since 1887 as the national professional organization of CPAs. In addition to its advocacy and standard-setting roles, the AICPA also develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination. Member benefits include networking; continuing education; insurance and retirement programs; discounts for services; an online library, and The CPA Career Center, which is available for job seekers and recruiters alike. AICPA’s Trusted Business Advisor, provided by its marketing subsidiary, CPA2Biz, provides accounting solutions for small and mid-sized firms, including practice development and client assessment tools.
The Institute of Internal Auditors
IIA is the primary international membership organization for internal auditors, and issues standards and guidance to help auditors implement best practices. IIA provides onsite and online training, certifications and awards, and publications including online periodicals. Networking is available through chapters and an online networking tool, Member Exchange.
The Institute of Management Accountants
With more than 60,000 members, IMA, formerly known as the National Association of Accountants, identifies itself an association for accountants and financial professionals who work inside businesses and organizations. In addition to offering a Certified Management Accountant program, IMA promotes networking, professional development, best practices and career services through its proprietary online community, LinkUp IMA, and its 200 local chapters around the world.
The Association of Government Accountants
Describing itself as the only professional membership organization across all levels of federal, state and local government, AGA focuses on professional development, with many networking and CPE opportunities for its members. The organization also offers training and examination towards certification as a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM).
The National Society of Accountants
NSA helps its members achieve success in the profession of accountancy and taxation through the advocacy of practice rights and the promotion of high standards in ethics, education, and professional excellence. A chief objective is to promote self-regulation of the profession through oversight and the establishment and maintenance of professional credentials.
The Professional Association of Small Business Accountants
Known by its acronym, PASBA, this association represents CPAs, public accountants and enrolled agents who service small businesses. Its focus is on the accountant as a business owner, with resources to help build its members’ accounting practices. National meetings focus on marketing and management. In addition to practice manuals and downloadable forms, PASBA offers practice improvement consulting and a mentor program.