Chair's Letter - September 2011 

by Paul V. Stahlin, CPA, Chairman, AICPA Board of Directors    
Published September 20, 2011

As I near the end of my very exciting and rewarding year as AICPA board chairman, I want to talk a little about introductions. That may seem like a strange topic to bring up so late in my tenure, but I’m not talking about myself here. Rather, I’m addressing how we CPAs introduce ourselves to others. Each time my name is printed, I seize the opportunity, where appropriate, to have the all-important letters, CPA, appear. The CPA credential represents someone who has worked hard to earn and maintain a professional distinction that is highly respected by business decision makers. So my final column is dedicated to encouraging you to display your CPA credential whenever possible, to benefit yourselves and the profession as a whole.            

Of course, earning a CPA credential is typically just the beginning of a career that features numerous other accomplishments. I’m sure many of your current business contacts and colleagues may already know and respect you based on your current job performance and various highlights of your résumé. I hope, though, that you also will always remember to use your “CPA” credential not only on your correspondence and business cards, but also wherever your name is printed. It makes a difference. AICPA research consistently confirms the fact that CPAs are the most trusted financial advisers of all the professions. In fact, we’ve found that 74% of business executives and 76% of investors say they are more confident in a job done by a CPA than by an accountant who is not a CPA.

I realize many CPAs have additional respected credentials, such as the AICPA’s Personal Financial Specialist, Accredited in Business Valuation, Certified in Financial Forensics, and Certified Information Technology Professional. Some of you may be poised to add CGMA, the new Chartered Global Management Accountant designation we are developing for launch early next year through a joint venture with the London-based Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Each one builds more luster to the strong value of your CPA credential, so display them all!

I also would urge you to leverage your CPA status as much as possible. Doing so will both serve the public interest and expand your career possibilities. My CPA credential and the skills it symbolizes have been an entry to become involved in a number of gratifying endeavors outside my job as a bank president. They have included vice chairman of a medical center board of trustees and board chair for my alma mater’s foundation. The expertise CPAs have to offer is understandably in high demand by a wide range of corporate, community and charitable organizations. I can tell you from experience that working with such groups is extremely rewarding, both personally and professionally. It also reinforces the very positive public perception that business decision makers have about CPAs.            

As a CPA, I have enjoyed the privilege of serving as your AICPA chairman for the last year. It has been an honor and a pleasure, and I am most grateful for the opportunity to take on this role and meet our outstanding members who contribute to advancing the profession. I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow CPAs to address the many important issues facing our profession, especially the long-overdue and much-needed changes to private company financial reporting.             

Thank you.


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