American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Author:Barry Melancon

Page 24

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is a leading national organization for certified public accountants (CPAs) in the United States. It traces its origin to a meeting of accountants in 1887. The AICPA's Web site (, offers the public a comprehensive source of information about the profession.


As of 2005, AICPA membership included more than 327,000 CPAs. Approximately 43 percent worked in business and industry, nearly 40 percent worked in public accounting firms, and others were employed by government bodies and agencies and educational and other not-for-profit institutions. In addition, some members worked in the legal profession, offering consulting services. Some were retired. The membership includes associates (those who have passed the Uniform CPA Exam and

Page 25

are fulfilling other requirements to become CPAs in their states), accounting students, and international affiliates. In total, membership in 2005 was approximately 350,000.


The AICPA's primary mission is providing leadership, resources, and information to enable CPAs to perform services in a professional manner for the benefit of the public as well as for employers and clients. Activities are broadly characterized as advocacy, communication, recruitment and education, and standards and performance. To carry out its mission, the AICPA works with local CPA societies in fifty-five accountancy jurisdictions (the 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands).

The AICPA represents CPAs before governments, regulatory bodies, and other organizations in protecting and promoting members' interests while preserving public confidence in the financial reporting system. It also promotes public awareness of and confidence in the integrity, objectivity, competence, and professionalism of CPAs. As part of its efforts to enhance the public's understanding of the skills, knowledge, and character of CPAs, the AICPA launched the CPA Ambassador Program, which has provided public speaking and media training to more than 600 CPAs across the nation.

As individuals, CPAs take their public interest responsibilities seriously. The profession, with the leadership of the AICPA, has taken many steps to uphold the faith of investors in U.S. financial markets. Those efforts have...

To continue reading