5 professional associations you need to join

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Where we put our hard-earned dollars from running our practices, especially when we’re running smaller organizations, is no doubt a decision made with great discernment. Considering how many kinds of organizations are out there now, you could easily find yourself going broke paying everyone a seemingly harmless $49.99 a month to be a member.

So, with the multitude of options, which professional associations actually give you the biggest bang for your buck?

Here are five to consider:

1. National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP)

Basic membership starts at only $105 for the year and even includes your ethics CPE. For only $685 a year this membership will give you a huge web library of resources, print and digital publications, access to webinars and business practice education. You can also be listed on their website so clients looking for your help can find you as a trusted resource.

The NATP also promotes vetted EA testing materials and can be a great place for less experienced staff to get involved with an organization.

2. American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)

The AICPA offers a wide array of benefits to its members but definitely checks in at a higher price tag and is devoted to specifically the CPA community. In addition to boasting a huge CPE training library, numerous in personal conferences throughout the year, and a strong history of advocacy in politics, the Institute also offers its members access to benefits like group premiums on life and disability insurance, as well as liability insurance.

The AICPA brings even more to the table with special interest groups for specific focus areas as well as its renowned leadership academy. www.aicpa-cima.com

3. National Association of Enrolled Agents

If you are an EA this is specifically designed for you. Like its counterpart above, NAEA is specifically designed to provide education, advocacy and leadership to the EA community. This association has a close relationship with the IRS as they are dedicated to tax professionals which makes all their education and focus more pointed for the tax preparation community.

4. National Society of Tax Professionals

The associate membership starts at only $129 a year but for an extra $50 annually you can start receiving a limited number of “helpline” calls. Helpline offers tax preparers the ability to call and ask questions and obtain professional guidance on the matter. A steal for $50. This group also offers discounts on group rate insurance premiums as well as education opportunities and the ability to list your practice on their site. www.natptax.com

5. State Societies

Joining a state society is a great way to get more involved in your industry within the community that you live in and work. Most state societies offer education opportunities as well as discounts on various services and products your firm may need.

These organizations offer critical networking opportunities and can often offer job opportunities and access to specifically needed local partnerships with other organizations like banks and attorneys. Not to mention, this is a great opportunity to step into a leadership role in the profession.

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