As a tax professional, you are likely familiar with how learning and development are ingrained, necessary functions of your role. Additionally, no matter if you serve clients within a firm or as a freelance tax preparer, you may wish for a sense of professional community that can support you in times of complexity or challenge. One prominent answer to these charges in tax preparation is finding tax professional groups specifically designed for your needs.
Belonging to a reputable tax organization that certifies your professionalism is profitable for any tax preparer. Membership within these associations can have dividends of benefits, from knowledge expansion and network development to client relationships and resource accessibility. A professional tax organization can provide the support and opportunities that bridge the pathway to success as a tax preparer.
Read on for more information about the benefits of associating with a professional organization and explore examples of tax professional groups at both the federal and state levels. This guide will ideally aid you in navigating your options to intentionally select the association(s) that best aligns with your professional goals as a tax preparer.
There are plenty of worthwhile benefits that come as a result of membership within a professional tax group. To find benefits including training, client rapport, and networking, joining a tax preparer association can provide you with an abundance of resources that will ultimately increase the quality of services you offer.
- Educational Resources and Development
Many professional organizations offer resources for ongoing education, such as online courses, webinars, and academic publications. These opportunities can cover many different topics, most relevantly tax regulations and excellent practices maintained across the industry. Similarly, these courses can occur synchronously or on-demand, providing flexible opportunities for development depending on your educational needs. Remaining up to date in your knowledge of tax laws and any developments within the field will unavoidably prove to be beneficial, especially in assuring compliance with regulations.
Moreover, many tax professional groups monitor administrative forums allowing other members to ask questions, share ideas, and collaborate on particularly challenging scenarios in their tax preparation process. By utilizing access to these discussion boards, members have a highly specialized knowledge base that they can, in turn, apply to their own practice as a tax preparer. This helps to support a sense of confidence and empowerment for members as they learn to expertly navigate their roles as tax preparers.
- Networking Opportunities
Beyond education, tax preparers can maximize their membership within tax professional groups to practice networking and build a collaborative force of professionals that mutually benefit one another. Engaging in a supportive community of other tax preparers is an excellent method of sharing wisdom and practicing meaningful discussion with other industry professionals.
Likewise, these partnerships can be built online by way of forums or discussion threads, or in-person through conferences and events. Many professional groups offer classes, trade shows, seminars, and workshops to facilitate cooperation amongst tax preparers in a general region or area of expertise. Not only do these opportunities provide rich starting points for professional relationships to ensue, but they may also lead to mentorship or career development avenues in the future. These platforms for connection can ultimately help tax preparers to be better members in their business arena and contribute to a strong support system within their network.
- Credibility and Reputation
Yet another benefit tax preparers can reap when joining a professional tax organization is increased credibility and a heightened reputation. The basis of membership itself asserts each tax preparer as a professional committed to excellence, ethics, and relevance in regard to industry regulations. Associations typically only accept preparers for membership who have demonstrated compliance with required certifications, so becoming a member can immediately evidence your reliability in your field.
In addition to this, membership within a tax professional group is an eminent identifier that preparers can use to market themselves to clients. By being associated with a reputable organization, tax preparers can uphold that same level of distinction and become a dependable source of services for their clients. Success begets success, and providing outstanding services to clients is a surefire way to expand your impact and reputation as a tax preparer.
- Advocacy and Representation
Several different professional groups advocate for tax preparers at a national level. In participating within a cohort of other tax professionals, members can contribute a unified voice for the profession. When potential issues arise across the profession as a whole, tax associations can leverage their collective knowledge to advocate to regulatory bodies and legislators on behalf of tax preparers.
Certain organizations may even actively monitor any changes made at a legislative level and can utilize that information to influence tax policy decisions. These advocacy efforts can help positively influence any adjustments made in the industry to best align with what benefits preparers and their clients.
Overall, membership within professional tax organizations is not simply a great option for tax preparers; rather, it is a strategic decision that can exert optimistic influence on the course of a tax professional’s career and success. Tax professional groups offer a multitude of benefits, including access to educational resources, networking guidance and support, exposure to the industry, increased perceived credibility, and endorsement, often on a national level. Tax preparers can gain invaluable insights and experiences because of seeking membership in these professional associations, ultimately increasing your prospects within your career, maintaining a competitive edge, and providing excellent services to clients. Here are descriptions and links to some of the associations that we work with most.
National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP)
The National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP) is a significant tax professional group. The NATP is notable for its widespread support of tax preparers, helping them thrive by offering training materials, tools for research, and informative publications. Members can take advantage of these resources to maintain an up-to-date understanding of relevant tax regulations and industry expectations.
NATP hosts both national and regional functions that help tax preparers remain well-trained, including webinars, conferences, and workshops. Members of this association benefit from the guidance of industry experts, professional discussions, and updates on pertinent tax developments. The NATP prides themselves on providing connections, wisdom, and advice for every tax preparer, so that clients receive an unmatched quality of services and preparers experience reduced instances of tax liability.
National Society of Tax Preparers (NSTP)
The National Society of Tax Preparers (NSTP) has been serving tax professionals as a non-profit since 1985, equipping tax preparers to provide effective services to their clients. The NSTP seeks to help its members achieve expertise, competency, and proficiency in tax preparation, primarily through live education.
Members of the NSTP can profit from educational newsletters, a Tax Helpline, special offers and discounts, and reward points that accrue with purchases and can reduce future education costs. The association also offers comprehensive tax liability insurance, federal tax update seminars, and customizable client newsletters.
National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA)
The National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) prioritizes research, leadership development, career outlook, and diversity amongst tax preparers. The NAEA specifically advocates for enrolled agents in the governmental arena, promoting the right for tax preparers to practice quality services and taxpayers’ rights to tax representation. In addition to empowering enrolled agents in government affairs, the NAEA supports members through educational resources, networking opportunities, exclusive discounts, and journal publications.
American Insititute of CPAs (AICPA)
Membership associations for certified public accountants (CPAs) include The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Although the organization’s focus is not fixed on tax preparation, their mission seeks to promote prosperity across the accounting and finance industries; this is accomplished by empowering professionals with support, insight, and skills that are curated with intentionality to match the demands of the current landscape of the field.
For CPAs, this looks more tangible like educational opportunities, specialized tax journals, networking events, and webcasts. The AICPA offers specialized resources for both Taxes and Accounting & Financial Reporting. These tools include annual compliance kits, a subscription to a tax news magazine, IRS support, and continuing professional education courses.
Latino Tax Pro
Latino Tax Pro seeks to guide tax professionals through their entire career, from beginner courses to intermediate and advanced courses in both English and Spanish. Their mission is to provide knowledge, professionalism and community to those who serve the Latino taxpayer. Once a preparer is ready to expand and start increasing their income through other sources, Latino Tax Pro will even help them start their own tax school. Other training opportunities include Latino Tax Fest, a very popular annual event, and various live webcasts throughout the year with industry leaders.
Negozee is a group that seeks to support Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs with education, information, and professional networks. Specifically for tax preparers, negozee offers Emprende Tax, an entrepreneurial education program that supports financial independence and acclimation to industry best practices. Negozee offers many virtual and live events throughout the year bringing their members together with industry professionals for education and networking purposes.
In addition to the largest nation-wide tax professional groups outlined above, there are many other wonderful organizations that operate at the state or local level, or even virtually, to polish tax preparers’ skills and expertise. Like their national counterparts, these organizations provide training and networking opportunities, as well as resources shaped by any state tax laws.
Membership or involvement in these associations can yield excellent benefits for tax preparers who must comply with state regulations. Likewise, the networking connections yielded by such groups can be closer-knit communities that enhance your services and client relationships. We recommend locating these resources by searching your state’s Department of Revenue website.
In sum, there are many tax professional groups that exist to cultivate a supportive community, provide edifying resources and learning opportunities, and increase the quality of services for clients in which tax preparers can seek membership. In addition to access to a wealth of useful tools, tax professionals can benefit from membership in such groups through enhanced professional credibility and substantial networking connections. These groups can exist on a national or state level to provide the best advantages for each individual tax preparers’ needs. Through the resources outlined above, we at Drake Software hope to connect you and your business to the tax professional group that will progress your professional development and serve you in your tax preparation services.