Late last year Susan Bradley, a CPA in Sacramento, commented that after becoming a Certified Information Technology Professional, all that she had to show for it was her certificate and a T-shirt she received at the AICPA's Tech 2001 conference. The AICPA was not promoting its own program.

Bradley is not one to take things lying down. She began a discussion group called CITP Talk. She’s probably done more to promote the CITP credential than the entire AICPA technology division has.

Her action underscores what is needed to make the AICPA work, or at least make it for someone other than Big Five firms. CPAs, who want their profession to thrive, and perhaps even survive, must become more involved in finding solutions and promoting them.

Some have said that one of the good things stemming from the controversies surrounding the global credential and CPA2Biz has been that average CPAs are starting to become more involved with their professional organizations.

I believe this involvement is essential. One of the reasons that CPAs have ended up with the sad series of disasters proposed by the AICPA is that too many members have gone along with things as they have been. Over the years, I have repeatedly heard the comment from members that all they get for their dues is the AICPA’s insurance program.

With membership groups, you don’t get what you pay for—you get what you put back in. Life is crowded and it’s tough to find time for volunteer effort. But more CPAs have to make themselves heard if they want to change things.

They need to elect state society officers who do more than go along with the AICPA leadership. Members should find out what positions their elected representatives took on the global credential and make their views known. And if members don’t like those positions, they should do something about it.

Reconstructing the CPA image is not going to be done by the recent haphazard advertising from the AICPA that was described by an official with one large state society as pleading "We’re CPAs. Please love us."

A new image, the ability to reach out to students, the ability to redefine the CPA, is going to come from professionals getting more involved and working through the problems, not waiting for word from on high at AICPA headquarters.-Robert W. Scott

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