Where are all of the positive stories about professional accountants?

Many of you may have seen the article on the front page of the Dallas Morning News last week that an “accountant” was giving orders to provide hospice patients drug overdoses in order to cause the patients to die.  The financial incentive to do so is a bit convoluted, and it is unclear if the orders were followed, but none of that really matters.  This report is just one example of many that show accountants in a negative light in the press.  In fact, at best, press reports on accountants are neutral, an accountant is commenting on a subject, but as indicated, a majority of the press reports are actually negative.  The press reports on accountants often talk about frauds and other problems caused by accountants. This one is even worse because now accountants are trying to kill people.

This one bad accountant trying to kill old people is what people are hearing about accountants instead of the thousands of accountants that are helping seniors stay independent by providing services to help and protect them financially from the many predators that are out there trying to steal from our parents – including in some cases our siblings.  These accountants are in an extremely sensitive position and our professional ethics about putting the interests of the public first above our own personal interests is a key differentiator from other financial service providers.

There are two key points we need to address as a profession:

  1. We need to work hard to differentiate between accountants and professional accountants to help people understand there is a night and day difference between the two.
  2. We need to look for ways to get the message out on all the good that accountants do.  Part of this is changing the way we deal with media, but the reality is media loves scandal so that may be difficult, if not impossible.  There is an alternative.  In the democratized internet world of today there are many ways to directly get our positive message out that don’t require the cooperation of the traditional media.

We all need to see what we can do to promote the good things going on through the many social media channels we work through.

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