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Avon Just Broke Off From Its Trade Group, Would CPAs Ever Follow Suit?

Earlier today, Colin and I were talking about things within the profession that are overrated. The billable hour, Excel, Big 4 firms… you know what we mean.

Someone threw the CGMA out there and we all had a long laugh about the failed XYZ credential, which we recently called the CGMA of its day. Even saying that doesn't quite do it justice.

Trust me, I'm going somewhere with this. Let's check out the news from Avon:

Avon Products is leaving the trade association it helped to found more than a century ago, writing in a letter to other member companies last week that the group's bylaws might not adequately protect consumers from fraud.

"We felt like it was a good moment to get some clarity around our business model and the things that Avon believes in," said senior vice president Cheryl Heinonen, who previously represented Avon on the board of the group, the Direct Selling Association.

In other words, Avon wasn't really feeling the direction of the trade association it helped to create 100+ years ago, so they just walked away.

Your trade association — the AICPA — is a bit different in that it (allegedly) represents and protects a single group: CPAs. It's no secret that many of you feel the AICPA doesn't adequately represent your interests as a CPA, certain GC comment section trolls' opinions on the CGMA aside.

I know what you're thinking. "But Adrienne, the AICPA owns my credential! Without them, I wouldn't be a CPA!" To which I would respond "are you dumb? The state board owns your credential."

How many of you have allowed your AICPA membership to lapse? Did a white van pull up to your office and steal away your CPA certificate off the wall in the middle of the night? No.

Back to Avon for a moment:

The letter from Avon also criticized the trade association's agenda for being "overly focused on the issues of a few specific brands rather than industry-wide challenges." Asked whether this phrase meant Herbalife in particular, Heinonen said that it referred to opportunities and innovations in multilevel marketing generally. "It's really an exciting place to be right now, and I think that as an industry, I think that's where many of us would like to be focused," she said.

You could swap out "Herbalife" for "CGMA" and suddenly you see the connection.

Of course, CPAs would never go rogue and create the Anarchist Institute of CPAs but hey, just something to think about if you're that bent out of shape about the AICPA drifting away from its stated mission. Which, if you're rusty, may be found here.