CPA Exam Review › CPA Exam Forum › I Passed the CPA Exam, CPA License & Ethics › Ethics Exam, CPA Certificates, Work Experience & Licensure › Using CPA in e-mail signature
September 14, 2016 at 7:03 pm #836056
So I know this is probably a weird question because we all have worked so hard to become CPAs that not putting CPA after your name probably seems ludicrous…
That being said, I am the Controller at a small non-profit. My boss (the CFO equivalent) is a licensed CPA (although in a different state), and I am currently waiting on my application for certification to be approved by my state's board. My boss doesn't put CPA after her name, and it makes me feel awkward about wanting to put it after mine. We are the only two in our organization that have (or need) the certification. I worked in public for a year and noticed some of our clients in industry didn't put it after their name either, but they were licensed.
So my question is: what is your experience with putting the CPA designation after your name in your e-mail signature?September 14, 2016 at 7:51 pm #836098
I work at Big 4, and nobody is allowed to put CPA on their email signatures or business cards. Most of my colleagues put it on their LinkedIn though. In regards to my clients, I've seen a mix of my clients' CPA team members include CPA in their signature or not. However, it seems noticeable that the CPA's on my clients' staffs have their CPA certificates displayed on their office wall.September 14, 2016 at 7:51 pm #836101
It's one of those things that loses its shine after awhile, probably. Your boss would also have to designate the state in the signature, so that looks weird.
I could see people in industry doing it if they sent a lot of external emails.
It comes down to whether it's relevant to your email audience…and how it comes off to others.September 14, 2016 at 9:41 pm #836188
I just added it to my signature and I've been licensed for 4 years. My boss (no accounting background he's an engineer by training) felt it added a bit of “clout” as I negotiate contracts. I also have my PHR in my signature just to remind the employees that I do actually know my stuff.September 15, 2016 at 12:40 am #836317
I work in Industry and everyone has their designations on their email and cards.
That being said, i can only think of 3 people with certificates framed. Maybe i havent been paying attention. im definitely not framing anything ..September 15, 2016 at 7:08 am #836368
I'm in industry, but in higher ed (college), so it's a slightly unique part of industry when it comes to things like letters after people's names in their signatures. Many of the employees on campus are professors, who of course have “Dr.” in front of their name and “Ph. D.” after their name, and may have a few other things too. Upper administration, especially on the academic side, is likely to have letters after their names as well. So, in my last industry job, CPA would have been one of the very few people with letters after their name, but in this industry job, letters after your name is common, and is common in email signatures.
That being said…the first few months on the job, I had CPA in my signature. I'm the Controller, I was 24 when I started the job replacing someone who had just retired, and I wanted that extra bit of “clout” to give people internally – who largely had a string of letters after their name – a validation that I might know what I was doing. Then after a few months, I took it out, because I'd established my reputation on campus and it seemed kind of weird having it there. My boss (CFO/VP of Bus and Fin) isn't a CPA, and don't put MBA in his signature (which I'm glad of – Master's don't belong in signatures lol), and so without the precedence in my reporting structure, it felt a little weird. However, I'm considering putting it back now. I've had a few conversations via email with people referencing “I know a CPA who…”, and realized that CPA means more to them than 25-year-old Controller. I've heard, though, that if you have CPA on your email, then your license is more liable for anything you say, and even though I try to always do things correctly, I'm not sure if some vanity is worth risking my license for the emails that I send at the end of a 16-hour day when I might not be at the top of my game. So, I'm thinking about putting CPA back in my signature (and have also seen that it's common for many other people in my position at other colleges), but haven't done so yet.
Oh, when I got my CPA at my prior industry job where no one had letters after their name and I was in a more entry-level position, I didn't add it after my name. It didn't seem appropriate in that setting. That was largely due to being in a lower-level position, though.September 15, 2016 at 8:56 am #836425
You can also put UFA in your signature.
Your Name, CPA, UFA
UFA= Undrafted Free Agent.
Technically if you haven't been drafted in the NFL draft, you are an Undrafted Free Agent.September 15, 2016 at 9:21 am #836443
You better believe I'm putting it in my signature. Heck, I might even get it tattooed on my body! 🙂
My boss is a CPA and doesn't have it in hers. Our boss (VP of Finance) is not a CPA.
I work for a smaller tech company though so there's a lot of leeway to do what you feel without breaking etiquette rules.
I also work in billing and head up AR and I'm thinking it may halt some of the back and forth with some external communications when I have to get involved.September 15, 2016 at 9:30 am #836452
Thanks everyone! The responses make me feel better about feeling like I am overthinking this.
@Lilla, I am in a similar situation. I am 24 right now in a Controller position because the Controller that got hired when I was hired as a staff accountant epicly failed at her job and was eventually fired. Until then, I was pretty much doing both of our jobs, and we were already so screwed when they let her go that they promoted me to the position instead of hiring someone new. At first I had a hard time with the staff at my work (astronomical research institution so a lot of science types) trusting that I knew what I was doing. It has helped since I passed the exam, my boss announced it to the whole staff and I've noticed slightly more respect since then.
The reason this came up is my husband thinks I'm crazy to even think not to put it, but you guys have confirmed my thinking. I don't interact a lot with external people, so I can always add it if the situation arises, otherwise I just feel like I'm bragging. But coming from the public accountning firm I worked for, where everyone had both their diploma(s) and certificates framed and displayed prominently in their office, I felt like that was more the norm.September 15, 2016 at 10:00 am #836461
I will say that I do have my CPA certificate framed and on my wall. It's in a simple little frame, cause I like the simple style – the frame is probably less than 1/2″ wide, same as the simple frames on the simple art that I have on my walls (which I just finally got put up about a month ago, and I've been at this job nearly 2 years now…). When I finish my MBA, I'll probably frame that diploma and put it up, too, same as my boss (CFO) has his MBA diploma framed, but I don't have my Bachelor's framed – it's sitting in the filing cabinet at home. But, this may be partially due to being in an educational environment – displaying one's education is standard here, because the whole point of the institution is that it exists because it believes education is important. I'm sure no one can read my CPA certificate when they're sitting in my office, cause it's on the wall behind my desk, but it still lends a bit of “she's got something at least” to my office. haha.
If you're having some issues with people not respecting your position, it might not hurt to add the CPA for a bit. It does reinforce to people that you've attained a certain standard. Or you can just add it on a one-by-one basis to certain emails – I have been known to add or remove it in the past depending on who I was emailing. 😛September 15, 2016 at 12:07 pm #836548
This is so interesting. But I just want to offer what I know. I work in corporate and we do have a lot of CPAs here. My manager is a CPA and she puts it after hers. HOWEVER, another manager in my dept does not. ALSO, my senior, who is a CPA, does not as well.
Also, I've seen other senior accountants in my office that do not put CPA after their name. I want to say it has to do a lot with position and preference.September 15, 2016 at 1:06 pm #836575
I really like UFA, gonna attach that everywhere!
Joe Smith, UFA (MLB, NFL, NBA)September 15, 2016 at 9:17 pm #837010
Everyone has CPA next to his or her name in the signature where I work.. I felt left out or incompetent so I added M.S after my name. lolSeptember 15, 2016 at 9:19 pm #837013
I'm gonna put A – Z, that way I cover every possible combination of letters out there.
In CA you could use the certificate as a blanket, so it's kinda hard to miss.September 15, 2016 at 9:33 pm #837025
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