Accountants for the Public Interest
This is a non-profit organization aiming at encouraging accounting professionals to volunteer accounting services. The objective is to instill financial management knowledge to people and firms who may not afford to hire a professional accountant.
Accountants for the public interest (API) Details
Hiring professional accountants may be an uphill task in most charity organizations and individuals. In this case, getting help with accounting knowledge is critical to improving financial management. Establishing the API benefited the public. The API's purpose is to help various organizations prepare financial statements and carry out financial analysis of various non-profit organizations at no cost.
Other accounting services offered by API include filing tax returns, financial planning, bookkeeping, auditing, and other accounting services. Accounting remains one of the most sought services across the world. Every individual requires accounting to help in finance management. In this regard, understanding an organization's financial health is essential to aid in scaling up and making informed financial decisions.
Professionals created accountants for the public interest (API) to help individuals and NGOs understand their financial health. The role played by the team of over 60,000 accountants under API across America can therefore not be underscored.
Hypothetic example of Accountants for the public interest
Assuming that John is an API assigned to a particular firm, his role is to provide reliable opinions on the audited financial statements and advice to third parties to a symbolic discourse that protects the accounting profession from outside interference. He will also have a voluntary role to play for the career and the public interest in determining economic resources regulation and distribution.
John, as an accountant for the public interest, is also expected to play the following roles:
· Management services
· Valuation or appraisal services, fairness opinions, or contribution-in-kind reports
· Broker-dealer, investment advisor, or investment banking services
· Actuarial services
· Outsourcing services in internal audits
· Human resources
· Expert and legal services related to the audit
Significance of Accountants for the public interest (API)
Generally, accountants for the public interest (API) play a critical role in helping non-profit organizations with their accounting needs. Notably, accounting is one of the essential elements to establish a basis for measuring an organization's financial health and guide individuals and organizations on how to manage their finances. This information is only attainable through working with professional financial experts to offer professional accounting solutions.
Therefore, Accountants for the public interest (API) through a network of accounting professionals are instrumental in guiding non-governmental organizations and small entities on important financial management aspects.
Some of the essential aspects of accounting include tracking expenditures and income, statutory compliance, and assisting entrepreneurs and various entities with crucial financial information to help in decision making. However, proper accounting prevents misuse of assets, controls costs, improves productivity, and boosts an organization's overall performance.
Though charity organizations, individuals, and non-governmental organizations may not afford the services of a qualified accounting professional, the lack of checks and balances in finance management causes the failure of most organizations.
Poor financial planning and lack of a clear operational strategy make it difficult for an organization to plan and predict future outcomes and lead to a lack of financial checks and balances. Through API, various entities can help their accounting issues to ensure they can achieve their set objectives.
Accountants for the public interest (API) vs. Accounting for public interest
Many times the two terms are easily confused. Though they may look similar, they have distinctive differences. Accountants for the public interest (API) consists of several accountants mandated to offer free accounting services to non-governmental organizations. These individuals require accounting services, yet they can't afford them, charity organizations, and small businesses.
Additionally, the accounting professionals serving under API dedicate their careers to volunteer in offering accounting solutions to anyone in need. The concept creates a focus on financial analysis and society by providing free accounting solutions.
On the other hand, accounting for public interest serves many purposes, including guidance, development, enforcement processes, and developing technical and behavioral standards to ensure accounting standards.
The ideals' purposes are to promote thought leadership by impacting society through various aspects of guiding and mentorship. In other words, while accountants for the public interest (API) primarily focus on offering free accounting services, accounting for public interest deals with mentorship and shaping opinion through thought leadership to impact the target population through various aspects of knowledge.
Under this context, the accounting professionals carry out various accounting research and recommend several ways in which the research findings can create a foundation for individual decisions. Experts in this area contribute to the policy formulation and the general outcome of set objectives.
Accounting in the public interest is viewed as an occupational practice seeking to serve the public's interest and as an institutionalized form of social control. The practitioners are expected to act in such a manner that honors the public trust, serves the public interest, and demonstrates a commitment to professionalism. Unlike other professions, the accounting profession plays a significant role in regulating and distributing economic resources. This role has a significant impact upon a wide range of individuals broadly defined as the public interest.
To determine whether the accountant serves the public interest, defining what the public interest means is essential. The public interest is the collective well-being and satisfaction of the institution and the community which the profession serves, including the business, the governments, clients, employers, credit grantors, investors, and the entire financial community, relying on the objectivity and integrity of the accountants to maintain the orderly functioning of the institution.
Accounting in the public interest ranges from providing reliable opinions and advice to third parties who rely on audited financial statements, to a symbolic discourse that seeks to protect the accounting profession from outside interference, to a role in determining the outcome of social conflicts through the regulation and distribution of economic resources.