The Maryland Association of CPAs wants to send a message to its members that it’s there to help them survive the turbulent economy.

The association’s home page, www.macpa.org, highlights several programs to help members cope with the recession and position themselves to take advantage of the economic recovery. Offerings include 24 hours of free continuing professional education; a new online career center for job placement; an economic resource center with articles and studies; shared-service purchasing programs offering substantial discounts on office supplies, printing and other necessities; the Maryland Business and Accounting Expo on June 16-17; and promotion and protection of the CPA license through public relations and legislative programs.

“We felt it was important to emphasize to our members that their association is right there with them at a very challenging time,” said MACPA CEO Tom Hood (pictured) in a statement. “A few of these six programs are actually ongoing, but all are adapted or refined to address today’s urgent financial and informational needs.”

He noted that the annual Maryland Business and Accounting Expo will combine specially priced CPE presentations with dozens of vendors and networking opportunities, focused on supporting the efforts of Maryland business to “collaborate, innovate and grow.”

MACPA is also trying several innovative approaches using new social media tools to help deliver more value to its members. The association will be using Linden Lab's Second Life virtual environment to bring national thought leaders to members and webcast those programs to increase accessibility and lower costs of delivery.

MACPA has also turned up its Web 2.0 and social media communications a notch, with daily blogs such as CPA Success and frequent messages on social networking sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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