The Enron debacle and general debate over auditor independence has shown one thing. The American Institute of CPAs, with its 330,000 members, is a body that has little public recognition. Its lack of an image is largely the result of its own policies-it has a president who seems loathe to deal with the press except on his own terms. In many cases, the AICPA either declines comment on major stories, or it simply seems invisible-the national press does not turn to this organization because the AICPA has chosen not to participate in public debate or to establish its own authority.

For the AICPA to be an effective membership organization, it needs to develop an image of importance to the business community and the public at large. To take its rightful place as the body representing CPAs, it needs to embark on a program that brings more power to its membership by presenting an image of authority about accounting and business issues.

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