Consultant or Asshole – Which Are You?
Consultant or Asshole – Which Are You?…how is that for a greeting to start a cocktail party conversation. Well, permit me to begin will an illustration of the outcome for a CPA, CA or other accounting/tax professional that takes advice from an ASSHOLE on how to manage their practice.
I seem that social media is flooded with self appointed “expert” consultants spreading the gospel about how professional accounting practices [a professional accountant has the legal right to put CPA, ACA, FCA, CA or CTA after their name. If anyone needs further schooling in what constitutes a “professional” we have addressed that topic before and you can read about it here. If you would like better understand why EA [and I exclude those EA’s sufficient accounting credits to meet IRS hiring criteria for an entry level Revenue Agent, you can find that here. Finally, the way to “fix Circular 230” can be found here. ]
The environment that professional accountants ply their craft in requires a wide assortment of skills. The basic level skills are:
- Appropriate education from a high quality university program that offers training in accountancy, taxation, and computer science. Such a program will usually have accreditation from the AACSB, and they publish a list you can find here. A proper education accountancy, taxation, or computer science includes the receipt of a GRADUATE DEGREE – MST, MCS, MAS. The requirement for 150 hours of university education was mandated in the US in 1983, over 30 years ago.
- Completion of appropriate professional exams – CPA, ACA, CA, CTA, and EA is the individual meets the thirty hours of accounting and the experience requirements.
- Most states in the US require two years of experience to be licensed. If you are going hire someone or use them as a consultant the place to check them out is CPAVERIFY.COM.
There are very good reasons why professionals are trained by other professionals, consider medical residencies a great example..one doesn’t become a surgeon by apprenticing with a butcher or a plumber.
The individual or group that you retain to consult about the deployment of technology, “value pricing”, coaching, feng shui or soothsaying may be completely competent on of those areas, but if they aren’t an accounting professional with actual significant experience managing a professional practice, they are aren’t a consultant, which puts them in the “other category” of yep…ASSHOLE.
The consultants you select should have significant and demonstrable experience with:
- Application of applicable AICPA Professional Standards, State Board of Accountancy statutes, and in appropriate cases SEC, PCAOB, and IFRS.
- Practical application of Know Your Customer, FINCEN, Banking, GLBA, FINRA, HIPAA, and privacy statutes.
- Professional Liability Insurance practice requirements, risk evaluation, etc
- Recruitment, hiring, retention and termination of employees and contractors.
- Human Resources and Employment Practices Law and when to use outside advisors.
- Financial acumen and experience in actually managing a practice, paying employees and vendors, and collection from clients.
- IMO – it take a minimum of twenty years in professional practice to reach a point where an individual has the experience and expertise to offer advice to others on how to manage their practice.
A couple of examples of outstanding skilled consultants for professional accounting firms:
I have a list of “assholes” but I am going disappoint all of you and not publish it here. However, I you have watched or identified an “asshole” impersonating an consultant for professional accounting firms, you can nominate the by posting them on Twitter to @asshole_scout.
We look forward to your thoughts, and make no apology for our choice of language….it is what it is.