Every year I am asked to speak at a variety of different business groups. And every time, before I get started, the first
slide in my presentation is “A Little About Me”. After some details about myself, I ask the group, “how many of you
know what an EA is?” Regardless, if there are 10 people or 45 people attending, there is usually only one arm raised in
the crowd. The Enrolled Agent status is the highest credential awarded by the IRS and is recognized across all 50 U.S.
states. Why is it that so few people know what an EA is?
A little history on Enrolled Agent. Did you know that the position of the Enrolled Agent was created in 1884? After the
Civil War, many citizens had difficulties settling claims against the government for property confiscated for use in the
war effort. Congress gave EA’s the power of advocacy to prepare claims against the government and from 1884 to today,
this statute remained unchanged.
In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson expanded the scope of the EA to include claims to monetary relief for citizens whose
taxes had become unfair. As the tax code became more complex, the role of the EA increased to include preparation of
the required tax forms. As a result of the complexity, audits rose, and the EA role further expanded to cover
representation of taxpayers, thus creating a series of statues that were combined into a single Treasury Department
Circular on February 19, 1921. We know this as Circular 230. Regarding CPA’s, the title and requirements to becoming
one passed in New York in 1896. We have been around for 12 years longer and still no one knows our profession?
You have heard the saying “It takes a village” and it is going to take a village if we ever want to be truly recognized! The
following is a short list of ideas I have that can help get our credential out:
1. Maximize your social media presence. Put information out on your website or Facebook page about what an Enrolled
Agent is. Have friends, clients, or family share this information on their pages.
2. Do a guest blog for other sites. Maybe you are an expert in real estate or day trading and have a contact with someone
in that business circle. Write blogs for those sites, including that information on what an EA is.
3. Boost posts. I just recently wrote an article of what is the difference between an EA and CPA and boosted that post, to
increase the visibility of it.
4. Correct your clients when they call you a CPA. Tell them exactly what your credential is and how you are different.
5. Speak to professional organizations. When you do, dedicate some time to explain the major differences between an EA
If we all do our part, we can make a difference. It takes a village to achieve any meaningful change!