Our lives are filled to the point of overflow. When’s the last time you thought to yourself, hmmm, I have an open evening or free hour in the afternoon, why don’t I join my professional organization? As a CPA with a large firm I never felt the need to join my national professional organization, the AICPA. When I started my own firm, I had babies to care for and clients to answer to 24/7. Between trying to fit in my responsibilities at work and at home, I could certainly justify not having time to commit to anything else, let alone a professional organization that may be of little value. I paid my dues to the AICPA each year, which is what is expected when you hold the CPA credential, but what in the world did they have to offer back?
Boy, was I wrong! Once I made the time and put the energy into getting involved with the AICPA, doors opened, everywhere. I had to fit it in, just like other priorities in my life, but what I have gotten back is tenfold of the time I put in. I wish I had gotten involved not just day one of the big firm, but even earlier, because now many professional organizations offer support to high school and college students!
Here’s a list of all the benefits of not just being a member but truly getting involved, not just on paper by paying dues so I can list:
- Platform to demonstrate and provide leadership
- Media training and national exposure ranging from print to radio to television
- Advocacy involvement for the importance of personal financial planning
- Networking groups to learn and expand my practice
- Understanding of all the resources of the membership
- Opportunity to have a voice in the future of my professional designation: CPA/PFS
- Great friends and colleagues I never would have met without this involvement
- Speaking opportunities to gain new clients
So go ahead, volunteer, join a committee that interests you, mentor a younger professional, attend a conference, or just spend time on the website. You will get back much more than the time you put in. I promise! And for those of you who are already involved in your professional organization, what has your experience been?