By Stacie Clifford Kitts, CPA
Although I understand the tax blogosphere has decided to “ignore” this topic for varying reasons, I am going to throw out my last ball anyway.
In response to the comment at my post For Cry’in Out Load – Another Tax Blog Throw Down – here are my rambling thoughts:
First, I am a Certified Public Accountant, not a Certified Public Tax Preparer, so why in the world would I be threatened by unenrolled preparers and believe that they could in any way take from my education or my license as is suggested at the comment?
I propose that anyone wondering about what accounts really do, look at my post addressing this subject for more clarification.
True my CPA license does afford me the right to perform certain functions that non-CPAs cannot. However, these functions are not related to tax preparation. As a CPA, I can and do perform attestation engagements. In addition, I can represent a client in tax court. But I ask you – so what? This ability has nothing to do with tax preparation.
At the post comment, I am asked – if I believe a non-CPA rendering opinions on financial statements (i.e. attestation engagements) of clients is a professional accountant – well no – I would call them a criminal.
The person commenting at my blog appears to be confusing criminal activity with professionalism. Let us not confuse these terms. If society has determined that one must be “licensed” to perform a job function, then someone performing these functions without such a license would be a “professional” criminal.
Now ask me if I think someone working in the capacity of a corporate controller for 30 years is a professional even if he or she has no formal education- well yes – of course, I believe they are a professional – in this case the person would be a professional “controller.” For me the distinction lies in the substance of the job function. A person acting in the” capacity” of a professional is a professional – self taught does not equate to “not a professional.” A controller position requires advance knowledge of accounting. It is not the sort of job that someone could walk into. Of course, someone who has obtained the knowledge to be able to be in this position is a professional – regardless of how the knowledge was obtained.
Likewise, tax preparation requires advance knowledge but not a license. If a person has obtained this knowledge, then this person is a professional. The act of preparing the return does not make this person a professional, the knowledge obtained, which allows a person to prepare the return properly, is what makes the person a professional.
I wonder If the person commenting at my blog is trying to argue that tax preparation is not a profession. If this is the case, then I would like to hear more about how he has come to this conclusion.