Most discipline have professional organizations, including those in the financial sector; as such, there are many professional accounting associations to join. Which are the best is not always clear, in no small part because there are many options available, ranging from local to global organizations. The information below is offered to help make easier the task of selecting which associations deserve the investments of time and money that membership requires.
Many localities – larger cities and metropolitan areas, as well as states in the United States – will have their own accounting organizations, whether independent or affiliated with larger groups. Joining a local association is beneficial, as it creates local networking opportunities and facilitates community integration, upon which successful business depends. There are far more such organizations than can be listed here, but they can typically be found easily through an internet search of the name of the locality and “accounting organization.”
It is not only at the local level that professional accounting associations can be found; there are many others that are regional, national and even global in scope. Joining a larger association provides connections with accountants across the planet in the shared enterprise of tracking money more effectively. Two of the more prominent of the global organizations are the Institute of Internal Auditors and the Institute of Management Accountants, both of which offer much to their members.
The Institute of Internal Auditors focuses on the auditing aspects of accountancy. With more than 180,000 members worldwide, professionals are connected to a large, global community of individuals dedicated to ensuring that accountancy is conducted ethically and honestly. Membership also ensures that professionals are highly trained and upright individuals who merit the positions of trust they occupy. Among the institutes many services are continuing education, thought-leadership and the awards of such certifications and credentials as the Qualification in Internal Audit Leadership and the Certified Internal Auditor.
The Institute of Management Accountants focuses on the interactions of managerial work and accounting. With more than 70,000 members worldwide, this association offers the professional networking tool LinkUp IMA, as well as many opportunities for continuing education in accountancy and the publications Strategic Finance, Management Accounting Quarterly and IMA Educational Case Journal. Most notably, it offers the Certified Managerial Accountant credential. Its members thus have access to elite certifications and the distinctions that accompany them, improving their professional prospects.
While there are more professional accounting organizations available, it is important to consider the benefits that membership will provide upon joining. Associations that provide networking opportunities, continuing education options, and prestige in the industry are best to consider. It is also important to consider organizations not specific to accounting, as this membership will provide additional networking, general skill development, and business development opportunities. Knowing which professional accounting associations are best to join, however, will do much for an accountant’s professional development, including both increase in job skills and networking, and that is certainly worth doing.