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.
By Stacie Clifford Kitts, CPA
I have said this before; the life of a tax preparer is not full of exciting workdays. Although I do derive satisfaction from a job well done like when an audit closes in favor of my client or when I complete a well thought out tax plan, the day to day activities of a tax professional which often consists of mulling over financial information or reading lengthy contracts doesn’t really qualify as an extreme sport – does it.
Obviously, if you are a drama junkie looking for an adrenalin rush, you are not going to find it in the tax preparation industry.
That is, unless you are a tax “professional” who has found a way to spice it up by creating a certain amount of drama and drawing attention by writing a blog post like this one, Who is a Professional where the author implies that many hard working people all over the world are not “professionals” and do not belong to a profession because they are not regulated like lawyers or CPAs.
Yeppers – how bored do you suppose this guy was to come up with that? Although his post really seems to be directed at unenrolled tax preparers, the post manages to be insulting to – well – just about anybody who has worked hard to obtain a position but did it without a college degree or a state license.
This blog post certainly succeeded in its attempt to stir up the tax blogosphere though. And I admit I have been slightly entertained watching the volley of posts being tossed around.
My take – as Robert Flach quotes me at his blog “His basic premise that you must be regulated to be a member of a profession is silly.”
If you are interested in catching up on the latest, “Throw Down” be sure to check out these related posts:
A little Professionalism, if you please by Bruce McFarland
For a complete unabridged account, be sure to read the blog comments at each of these posts.