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Question: Is becoming a licensed enrollment agent worth the effort? What aspects of the effort are least and most value? Do taxpayers value the designation?

Background: For a CPA Candidate, with ambitions to practice in a state with no income tax, this exam seems real appealing to sharpen skills, and provide professional designation to represent clients. The current price is $327 for all three parts, a fraction of the price of the CPA exam, fees and prep materials (I'm currently paying off debt for the accounting degree). The format, multiple choice, seems like it's designed to minimize abigity and interpretation error. Having had worked as an accountant for businesses with CPAs, it seems this is an opportunity for taxpayers to leverage. When I talk to accounting professionals, most of them don't know what it is.

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Your question is largely a matter of opinion. Personally, my impression is that, if you are already a CPA, most people will not perceive the Enrolled Agent status as a major plus. As you said, it is much less widely known. A reason for obtaining the certification would be that Enrolled Agents are legally allowed to provide tax advice and represent a taxpayer in dealings with the IRS. However, as a CPA, you will already be able to do that, so the benefit to you is minimal. Having extra letters and titles after your name could impress some people, but I've never heard anyone say they chose one CPA over another because the one was an EA and the other was not.

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  • @brenbarns thank you. Not a CPA, just qualify to sit. – user289394 Oct 30 '16 at 21:14
  • @user289394: I guess I misunderstood your question. I thought you were saying you were already on the road to becoming a CPA and were wondering about the EA as an additional certification. Are you saying you're trying to decide whether to get an EA certification instead of becoming a CPA? – BrenBarn Oct 30 '16 at 21:24
  • i didn't say or mean "instead". – user289394 Oct 30 '16 at 21:53
  • the CPA seems more comprehensive, expensive, and as their standard board markets "prestigious". The EA seems like a cost effective, at least initial, set of exams to take in the field for any accounting student, not offered a position with an accounting firm. – user289394 Oct 30 '16 at 22:04

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