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One Thing No One Tells You About Maintaining Your CPA License

Aug 29, 2019

I have said a few times, kind of tongue in cheek, “Everyone wants to hire a CPA, but many don’t want to worry about the care and keeping of a CPA."

I remembered this phrase the other day when I was thinking about preparing for a CPA 101 Lunch & Learn we’ll be holding at INCPAS on September 19 for young professionals.

While I’ve said it jokingly, there’s a lot of truth in the statement. In my 17 years at the Society, I have seen time and time again how important it is to recruiters and employers to hire someone who has their CPA, but outside of public accounting, those same recruiters and employers have no idea what it means to maintain a CPA.

The CPA credential is one of the most trusted designations in the world for a reason – a lot goes into achieving the CPA and a lot goes into keeping it.

CPAs have some of the most demanding continuing education requirements of any profession and this takes time and money.

Some employers insist their CPA staff use vacation time to attend CPE and many won’t pay any registration fees. This means those members have no choice but to look for free or low-priced education and to find only options they can do online on their own time.

And this is more prevalent than you would think. I talked to a member last year who was doing great at his job and had just received a promotion but had been told that “corporate says you don’t NEED a CPA for this position so you have to pay for your own CPE and use vacation time.”

During the recession about 10 years ago I met many people who had similar experiences; they let their CPA license expire rather than take their own time and money to keep a license that wasn’t required by their boss. Then, when downsizing was rampant (I know it’s hard to believe given the current job market, but it was real, and it was rough) – these same people wanted to have that CPA on their resume because, again, everyone wants to HIRE a CPA.

I don’t believe this is an issue for most CPAs in public accounting, but when a young professional starts out they really have no idea where their career might take them.

At our CPA 101 event I plan to talk about this, along with information about the Indiana Board of Accountancy, the Indiana accountancy rules and statutes, the CPA enforcement fund, the professional code of conduct and other rules and guidelines all professionals should be aware, but that don’t usually get much attention from employers.

If you know someone new to the profession who should attend this program, please let us know.

Jennifer Briggs
About the Author
Jennifer Briggs, CAE, MBA is the Society's president & CEO. She joined the Society in 2002 and served in several roles before being named President & CEO in 2018. She earned a degree in marketing from Marian University and her MBA from Butler University. She is a Certified Association Executive and member of the American Society of Association Executives,  the Indiana Society of Association Executives and AICPA Future of Learning Task Force. In 2009, she was awarded the Association Professional of the Year award from ISAE.