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6 ways a professional association can boost your career

June 18, 2024

The workplace has come a long way. As expectations have shifted — allowing for more flexibility and requiring less formality — you might be wondering if joining a professional organization is still relevant or just part of the old-school workplace culture.

While being a part of a professional organization like OSCPA can definitely have some tradition behind it (we have been around over 100 years!), there are numerous reasons it’s still a relevant, effective way to invest in yourself and your professional development.

 [OSCPA membership is] a must for Oregon CPAs, a great supportive resource"

The goal of professional organizations is often simple: connection! By becoming a member, you’re joining something bigger than yourself and connecting with people who share similar skills and passions.

This is especially true for those who might be an “island” in their organization. Are you the only CPA or a one-person finance department? Connecting with peers through a professional organization is critical for building relationships, having people to be sounding boards and give recommendations, and to have a greater overall connection to your specific field.

It’s also important to remember that the old adage is true: At the end of the day, it’s not what you know, but who you know. Joining an organization with peers and leaders alike expands your network. You never know when one of those connections will have your next career opportunity.

Want to connect to someone who has been there before? Professional organizations present you with multiple ways to meet and engage with others. Be sure to look for and take advantage of all benefits available that can connect you, including in-person and online events, communities (like the OSCPA Bridge community), committees and more.

The pulse of the profession
Life as a CPA can be fast-paced and require you to keep up with ongoing changes and developments, including:

  • Updates to the CPA Exam and licensure requirements
  • Changes to tax codes and industry regulations
  • Emerging technologies and new in-demand skills
  • Overall trends and best practices in the field

Being a member of a professional organization like OSCPA directly connects you to the latest updates you need to thrive in your career — especially when it comes to what you need to know on a local level.

Your membership will also support ongoing advocacy efforts on your behalf and critical updates on legislation that can impact you, your community, and your clients.

Tailored learning & professional development
Learning never ends, especially if you want to set yourself up for long-term success.

Joining a professional organization gives you access to free and discounted learning opportunities, but it doesn’t stop at one-off CPE courses. You’ll also have access to more high-quality and in-depth learning experiences and programs designed to meet your unique professional needs.

At OSCPA, this includes programs like the OSCPA Leadership Academy (LEAP™), a specialty program created to give the next generation of the profession’s leaders tools and skills they need to grow into their future roles. Explore the program here and register by September 25!

Volunteer & leadership opportunities
A surefire way to grow as a professional and leader? Volunteering.

Joining a professional group gives you access to numerous volunteering and leadership opportunities. This can include one-off volunteer opportunities like helping plan single events or more formal ongoing experiences like joining committees and boards.

Taking part in these types of experiences will help you build communication and leadership skills like delegation and planning. You’ll also become better known as a leader in your community and beyond — a true boost to your resume and professional journey.

Resources for every stage of your career journey
Whether you’re a college student who just declared your major or a seasoned veteran approaching retirement, every stage of your career comes with unique needs and challenges. No matter where you are in your career, professional organizations are equipped with resources, events and other opportunities that meet you where you are and help you achieve your goals.

For OSCPA members, this looks like:

  • Complimentary mock exams to practice for the real thing
  • Opportunities to enter quarterly drawings for free exam review courses
  • Leadership events like the OSCPA Leadership Academy (LEAP™) and a variety of conferences
  • VIP entrance for student members to the OSCPA Career Showcase recruiting event

 This organization is critical to your overall advancement in the profession, from education, to networking or leadership."

Explore your membership possibilities
Are you a new member and not sure how to begin? Are you considering joining OSCPA for the first time? Visit our Join page to learn more about the benefits and our different levels of membership.Email or message us on LinkedIn. We are always here for you!

Reprinted with permission of the Indiana CPA Society.

Want to get more involved in your professional association? Connect with Megan Drennen, OSCPA Engagement & Events Specialist, at or 503-641-7200, ext. 4.