The career path of a solo CPA can be an exciting blend of autonomy, creativity, and growth. However, the journey is not without its own set of challenges, especially for those who may be used to the networking, support, and resources that would be available when working for a larger accounting firm.
In this comprehensive guide, we aim to explore how to maintain a sense of community when working as an independent accountant, the importance of doing so, as well as the various ways by which Harness Tax can help you along your solo CPA journey.
Table of Contents
- The Power of Community in Professional Development
- Finding the Right Community for You
- Harness Tax: Your Community for Growth
The Power of Community in Professional Development
According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, maintaining a sense of community in the workplace can lead to improvements in both productivity and overall employee engagement. The article states that “when people had a sense of community at work, we found that they were 58% more likely to thrive at work, 55% more engaged, and 66% more likely to stay with their organization.”
Having a sense of community can also help reduce stress and prevent burnout by offering support and camaraderie that can be difficult to replicate when working independently. This can be particularly important given the high-stress nature of the accounting industry, especially during the busy season.
Professional Benefits of Maintaining a Strong Community
A strong community can also offer more tangible professional benefits, particularly in a service and relationship-based industry such as accounting. Through effective networking strategies and the exchanging of advice and ideas, a strong community plays a pivotal role in business growth. Beyond business development, leaning on the expertise of peers can be invaluable. For instance, when unique client circumstances arise, having a community to consult prevents the risk of clients seeking solutions elsewhere. This collaborative approach not only enhances service quality but also fosters client retention.
Finding the Right Community for You
As a solo CPA, you have the freedom to choose how you run your business, and building your professional community is no exception. From industry events to local business groups, here are some ideas to help you get started.
Industry Events and Conferences
There is an abundance of accounting industry events, conferences, and trade shows held year-round and throughout the country. Here are a few events to consider attending:
- AICPA Engage: A multi-day event hosted by the national professional association of CPAs, covering various accounting topics and offering networking opportunities.
- Digital CPA Conference: Another event managed by the AICPA, this conference focuses exclusively on forward-thinking accounting and client advisory solutions.
- QuickBooks Connect: Ideal for those who use QuickBooks and want to learn more about optimizing the software.
- NATP Taxposium: Offering CPE credits, making it particularly helpful for National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP) members.
- Women Who Count Conference: Aimed at empowering women in the accounting field.
- NABA Annual Convention & Expo: Organized by the National Association of Black Accountants, this event focuses on professional development, networking, and celebrating diversity in the accounting field.
The internet offers a plethora of platforms where you can connect with like-minded professionals. Here are some online communities to consider:
- Reddit Accounting subreddits: There are several accounting-specific subreddits to explore, such as r/Accounting, r/TaxPros, and r/Bookkeeping, where professionals discuss industry trends, share experiences, and seek advice.
- #TaxTwitter: A hashtag-driven community, #taxtwitter is an easy way to connect with peers and ask questions.
- AICPA Online Community: Exclusive to AICPA members and offering specialized forums.
- LinkedIn Groups: Various accounting-focused groups offer discussions and networking.
Local Professional Interest Groups
Local groups can offer more personalized connections. Here are some types of local groups to consider:
- Meetup Groups: Search for accounting or business-focused groups in your area.
- State-level AICPA Chapters: Offers localized resources and events to members.
- Local College Alumni Groups: Connect with fellow alumni in the accounting field.
- Local DEI-focused Chapters: Many national DEI organizations have local chapters that offer events, workshops, and networking opportunities tailored to the community’s needs.
Many events, online communities, and local groups offer solo CPAs opportunities for growth and networking. Harness Tax, however, stands apart by providing not just networking opportunities but also a comprehensive suite of software, resources, and a dedicated support system, all designed with the solo CPA in mind.
“The Harness Tax platform has allowed me to stay autonomous as a solo practitioner, but now I’m also part of a community of fellow advisors where we draw upon each other’s expertise and share ideas and best practices.”
— Doug Waite, CPA, Harness Tax Advisor
Harness Tax: Your Community for Growth
Harness Tax is a comprehensive platform that combines a modern software suite, in-house support staff, and a community of experts to provide you with a best-in-class solution to run your growing accounting firm.
When you join the Harness Tax community, you gain access to the following:
- Harness Tax Advisory Council: This council brings together a network of industry leaders to provide expert advice to our advisors. Whether you have questions on tax law or need guidance in other disciplines, the council is there to assist you.
- Continuing education resources: We know how important it is to stay up-to-date on the ever-changing tax code. Get access to industry-leading tax research and continuing professional education tools so you can build your expertise.
- Expert peer support: From roundtable meetings to lunch-and-learns on popular tax topics, you can share best practices and get the support typically found in a large firm while maintaining your own practices.
Growing Your Accounting Firm With Harness
Beyond the community elements of Harness Tax, joining the platform also provides you with the resources you need to stay up-to-date and competitive with the way you run your accounting business.
- Our software suite offers you access to industry-leading resources, including Wolters Kluwer CCH Axcess, Thomson Reuters SurePrep, and Bloomberg Tax.
- Our in-house support staff helps you handle operational and administrative tasks from client servicing to e-filing, freeing up valuable time from your daily schedule.
- Our sales and marketing support will help you get matched with potential clients that best align with your expertise and service offerings. In-depth blog articles, such as this one, and other forms of digital marketing will bring potential clients to our website.
- The Harness Concierge team ensures that once potential clients sign up, they are promptly booked for a meeting with you through our Harness Marketplace.
Becoming a solo CPA or the founder of a small accounting business is indeed exciting, but it takes a lot of support to get things right. Building and maintaining a strong network can be the missing piece to your success. If you’re considering taking the next step in your entrepreneurial accounting career, and are interested in what Harness Tax has to offer, join our growing platform and community today.