Expand your network, build your skills, and uplevel your career with membership in organizations for accounting professionals.
Owning an accounting or bookkeeping practice can feel isolating. You don’t always know who to talk to about the challenges you’re facing, or how you compare to other similar firms. When you have questions, it can feel like there’s nobody to help you answer them. Or you may fear some stigma attached to asking “too many” questions.
Joining a bookkeeping organization is a perfect way to connect with other accountants and bookkeepers who understand what you’re going through. It’s a way to get that support and, in some cases, a community that can keep you engaged and moving forward in your career.
Benefits of Joining a Professional Organization
One of the key reasons for joining a bookkeeping organization or association is access to resources that can help you grow your accounting practice. This includes training, certification programs, and networking opportunities.
You may also get discounts on products and services, such as continuing education courses and accounting software.
These organizations also offer community and support that can be invaluable for your business growth.
Finally, membership in associations and professional organizations can set you apart from competitors and indicate to potential clients that you’re serious about your practice and that you’ve invested in becoming the best accountant possible.
Types of Professional Organizations You Can Join
Bookkeeping and accounting organizations and associations come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the most popular include:
- Professional associations, typically for CPAs
- Trade bookkeeping organizations
- Accounting industry-specific or group-specific organizations
- Accounting software partner programs
In addition to these, you can join your state board of accountancy in the U.S. They are responsible for licensing and regulating CPAs and bookkeepers.
A Nod to Informal Groups and Programs
Professional organizations that offer credentials or certifications can boost your career. But joining more informal groups can also be beneficial in terms of learning, mentorship, and community.
These include Facebook or Slack groups created by and for accounting professionals. Software partner programs may have active online groups, too. (FreshBooks’ Accounting Partner Program has an active Accounting Partner Community, for example.)
Another valuable resource for community and learning? Like-minded accounting professionals who run peer mentorship groups. For example, the Women in Accounting platform, founded by FreshBooks Accountant Channel Director Twyla Verhelst, CPA, offers supportive mentor and mentee opportunities. Kellie Parks, CPB, offers cloud technology coaching. And bookkeeper Kate Johnson has developed the Bookkeeping Side Hustle online community for virtual bookkeepers.
Professional Accountant Associations
Typically for certified public accountants (CPAs)—though not always—professional accountant organizations offer resources such as continuing education and certifications.
AICPA members receive a complimentary subscription to the Journal of Accountancy, ongoing skills training, and discounted AICPA products and services.
When you join the NSA, you can access the online community and get member discounts, a listing in the online directory, and continuing education.
AFP is a global organization that provides live and on-demand training, virtual roundtables, and a collaborative community for members.
Trade Bookkeeping Organizations and Associations
By joining one of these associations for bookkeepers, you gain access to training, networking opportunities, and more.
The NACPB offers the Certified Professional Bookkeeping (CPB) certification in the U.S. It has two membership tiers: for employee bookkeepers and bookkeeping business owners.
As a member, you get continuing education, professional development opportunities, invites to exclusive networking events, and more.
The AIPB is one of two U.S. organizations offering a bookkeeping certification. As a member, you get a discount on fees to become a Certified Bookkeeper (CB), continuing education discounts, access to a support phone line, and more.
Institute of Certified Bookkeepers USA (ICBUSA) – U.S. and Worldwide
ICB is the largest bookkeeping institute in the world. It was created to promote and maintain bookkeeping standards and provide a “trusted benchmark” for the bookkeeping profession. Once you join, you can expect certification at all stages, global recognition, and access to templates and ICB communities.
The CBA is an association for Canadian certified bookkeepers. Membership includes professional recognition, Registered Professional Bookkeeper (RPB) designation, continuing education, and a listing in the member directory.
The CPB Canada, also known as the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada (IPBC), is for Canadian certified bookkeepers.
As a member, you receive access to the CPB Canada community, the Very Important Bookkeeper Advantage program, and bookkeeping certification.
Digital Bookkeeper Association (DBA) – Worldwide
The DBA is made up of digital bookkeepers around the world. As a DBA member, you can earn the Certified Digital Bookkeeper designation, be listed in a public directory, and connect with other DBA members.
Accounting Industry/Group-Specific Organizations and Associations
These organizations are focused on one specific area in accounting or for a particular demographic of accountants.
ACFE is the world’s largest anti-fraud organization. Members receive access to Fraud Magazine, ongoing professional development training, Fraud Examiner certification, and more.
Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) – Worldwide
The IMA promotes management accounting and financial professionals. Once you join, you can earn CMA and CSCA certification and take advantage of continuing education and leadership opportunities.
Financial Women’s Association (FWA) – Worldwide
The FWA is an association for women in finance. They have a three-tier membership based on your role and experience.
Receive access to a community of women who support one another in finance careers through networking, discounts, and exclusive job alerts.
The NTA membership is for accounting and tax professionals, students, and government agencies. Members have the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of tax policy and public finance, get a subscription to the National Tax Journal, receive heavily discounted entry to tax conferences, including the Annual Conference on Taxation, and more.
The NABA is an association dedicated to bridging the opportunity gap for black accounting- and finance-related professionals.
Members receive networking, mentoring, volunteering, and other skills training and development opportunities. Other benefits include discounts for NABA events and access to a private LinkedIn Group.
ASWA helps women succeed in the accounting profession. Members receive access to a network of women who support one another, business listing in AFWA’s online directory, continuing education, and discounted registration to the AFWA national conference.
Asian Pacific CPA Association (APCPAA) – Worldwide
The APCPAA is an association for Asians who are CPAs and non-CPAs. Members receive access to a network of Asian accounting and other professionals and business referrals.
The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) – U.S. and Canada
The IIA is an association for internal audit professionals in North America.
Members receive discounts on continuing education and Certified Internal Auditor designation, networking opportunities, and access to up-to-date trends for internal auditors.
The PASBA is an association for CPAs, accounting professionals, and enrolled agents who work with small businesses in the United States.
Members receive networking opportunities, access to peer advisory groups and meetings, vendor discounts, listing on an online directory, and a blueprint for success.
Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) – Canada
The CPA is an association for payroll professionals and students pursuing a career in payroll.
Members receive discounts on continuing education, access to unlimited resources on payroll compliance, job opportunities, and the professional community.
Accounting Partner Programs
Accounting software partner programs focus on helping accounting professionals work with their clients on a collaborative level using specific accounting software.
FreshBooks Accounting Partner Program
The FreshBooks Accounting Partner Program is for modern accountants and progressive bookkeepers interested in the collaborative accounting model and building a cloud-based practice. It’s free to apply and join the program.
Partners receive access to FreshBooks certification and ongoing skills training, opportunities for referral bonuses, an invitation to be listed in the FreshBooks partner directory, and access to an exclusive online Accounting Partner community.
Advance Your Career with Professional Memberships
Joining an accounting or bookkeeping association is a great way to connect with other accounting professionals. You can learn from their experiences, exchange ideas, and find mentors who can help you grow your own practice.
These communities are an excellent resource for finding new clients and staying up-to-date on the latest industry news.
Have you joined a professional organization yet? If not, what’s holding you back?
about the author
Dana Thao is an accountant turned writer. She has a knack for making complex accounting concepts easy to understand. When she’s not writing about accounting, she can be found creative writing, sipping on green tea lattes, and playing video games with her family. You can learn more about her work at danathao.com.