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The image of the accountant.

As an independent accountant in practice for more than 25 years, the time seems right to address some common issues relevant to all men and women who serve others under the title of "accountant.

At the outset, one issue which seems to consistently arise is the misconception of what an accountant does. Ask someone you know and you will find the answer quite interesting.

In response to this question, I would submit a threefold answer. The independent accountant is:

1 . A professional,

2. A technician, and

3. A connoisseur of finance.

Let's develop this definition a bit. The accountant as a professional is one who is an educated person either through college training or on-the-job experience. He is required to have continuing education experiences and must be constantly updated. He has a thorough understanding of basic recordkeeping, federal and state tax law and general business and law. He must be ever-peering at the future to be aware of new innovations and trends.

As a professional, the accountant is also a technician. Not unlike the modern electronics expert, the accountant must know the ins and outs of money. He must know taxability of transactions and also what is a taxable event. He must be sensitive to the delicate moves of the current tax law and adjust quickly to position himself for the benefit of his clients. He must have a watchful eye on economic conditions and how they may effect the necessity for tax planning.

Lastly, the independent should be a connoisseur of finance. Why is this important? Obviously, the elements of a tax return or financial statement are none other than finance.

How fortunate a businessman is who can meet with the man who knows finance. The accountant is the best one to fill this role. From capitalization of a business to the nuts and bolts of everyday business, the money market is in desperate need of the accountant. His consistent, conservative methods seldom fall short of their intended mark. A connoisseur of money, indeed, but much, much more. He is a human being monitoring our great country's growth and stagnation.

While delving in the emotion-charged and electric area of money, let me briefly address the issue of the accountant's compensation. Being aware of surveys and businessmen's jargon, unfortunately, our profession is notoriously misjudged. We accountants must look in the mirror and make some hard choices. Does the service we perform merit high compensation? If we are professional, technical and connoisseur's of finance, do we not deserve respect and high compensation?

It is my thinking that too often we undervalue ourselves and demand too little. Let's continue working, struggling and striving for a better image to be seen by the public. (TABULAR DATA OMITTED)
COPYRIGHT 1991 National Society of Public Accountants
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Debits & Credits
Author:Williams, John R.
Publication:The National Public Accountant
Article Type:column
Date:Jul 1, 1991
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