The Life of a CPA

CPA

Developing the Practice

There is a great deal of pride working as a professional. When I think back to my school days I never really had a practical class that taught me how to develop my own practice or market myself to grow a client base so I feel that we need to approach our days in school as important in the sense that we need the formal education. We also have to have a vision and be open minded to what our education means to us. In college I remember we learned all the basics and fundamentals of accounting and mixed it with some psychology, calculus, English literature and tennis. No where in school was there a class that stressed the importance or options of developing a practice as a self employed CPA.

I remember it was routinely emphasized that we strive to attain our CPA by studying for the state licensing exam and seek employment with a large, regional or small CPA firm or secure a job in private industry. As I approach a new stage in my life and I have a son who will be going to college in about 7 years I need to focus on growing professionally and being resourceful in a down market. It seems the job market has changed considerably and there are a lot of unemployed professionals today. Even college graduates are not finding many opportunities as they had hoped. Due to the changing economic landscape it is now more important to consider options and alternatives. It seems there is way too much competition for lesser and lesser jobs. This is a big problem today and it seems that it will continue for some time. I just feel that college graduates should be more aware of this as they plan for their future.

The first thing every practicing CPA should do once they become certified is to join the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) where they are fully committed to their CPA members and are always there for each and every one in good standing. They are a much needed resource to the working or any category of CPA and they have many programs and services that are simply there for each and every CPA for whatever reasons needed. I am truly proud and very fortunate to be a member of the AICPA. They have really came through for me in many big ways.

For those who have worked many years and all of a sudden find themselves back in the job market after being displaced it can be a bit stressful, intimidating and a blow to their self esteem. I feel this is why it is so important to teach entrepreneurial skills and to have back up plans and to learn to be more resourceful in your career choice.

I believe that a CPA who has good training and is self confident surely can find opportunity but there is so much more competition for lesser job opportunities. What this means is that accounting professionals/CPA's have to also think about the prospects of working on developing a client base. It does not happen overnight and will take a great deal of patience and personal sacrifice. It is not something you want to have to do as a result of a layoff or change in work status. I believe that a recent college graduate could deal with the time it takes to build a practice because they have time on their side. As you get older it becomes increasingly more difficult to take that leap of faith and go out on your own. You need to establish contacts and make sure that you are actively searching and marketing yourself for your very own survival.

As a CPA knows it is mandatory to keep up to date with your training and maintain your CPE credentials each year. There are so many changes in the tax laws and clients need to always be properly advised, especialy in down times like today. Small businesses are finding it increasingly more difficult to obtain bank financing as a result of the continual downturn in the economy.

If you are faced with the reality of having to market yourself whether it is for a job interview or a prospective client interview you need to distinguish yourself and your abilities. This can be somewhat challenging and very frustrating if you find yourself falling short in the process. You have to be upbeat and in control and not give a vibe that you need the job. The reality is you most likely do need the opportunity but you have to stay level headed and distinguish yourself from the pack.

A CPA needs to always stay current and should always entertain the thought of eventually creating a base of clients that they can build upon. This is now more critical than ever and it seems like it is almost a necessity.

In my experiences working as a CPA for the past 20 plus years I realize that your situation can change in the blink of an eye and you have to be truly ready to ride out the storm. It is with the promise and hope that a CPA can find the resources they need to avail themselves of so they can meet the current challenges today.

I was fortunate to have worked for several companies and CPA firms that I enjoyed being associated with and found the staff and management were very helpful and accommodating. I also enjoyed each company and firm and what they were all about and the type of industry they served which was quite interesting. Since I had a background in both accounting and engineering in college I had flexibility in my roles.

Due to several life changes recently I am now away from the work force as I suffered a breakdown due to my recent job loss, my medical need to transition from male to female, my son's situation with his struggles with autism and our desperation in trying to find him a suitable residential school setting where he can hopefully get back on track, our realization that we are facing foreclosure and most likely will be forced from our house by mid December 2013. I also struggle with severe depression, gender dysphoria (identified as a girl since age 4), sadness in that I can not help my son, my dad's recent suicide and feelings of hopelessness. I am really trying my best to hold on but sometimes feel like going to sleep and never waking up due to all these recent developments in my life that have contributed to my sickness and loss of self esteem. I am happy as Emily but all other aspects of my life are caving in around me and I feel I have no control. I need help desperately.


As a professional I realize how important it is to maintain your career and stay devoted to your employer and I also realize how important it is to reinvent yourself and to be resourceful in developing your talents and skills so you have more options. I believe the ability and interest to create your website and your own opportunities is equally as important. Never give up on your dreams. The life of an accountant can be challenging at times but if they have a plan and they stay focused then things will get better over time. You just need a little patience and a lot of heart and to be a participating member of the AICPA. You can not get discouraged and you have to be tough minded and know how to advise in such financially difficult times. That is what life is all about.

Edward D. Iannielli III

aka Emily Iannielli

AICPA Profiles

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