AICPA starts push to help industry's tarnished image

NEW YORK: The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has launched its campaign to bolster the post-Enron image of the profession.

NEW YORK: The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has launched its campaign to bolster the post-Enron image of the profession.

"Many of our members feel they have gotten a black eye unnecessarily," said AICPA VP of PR Geoff Pickard.

Full-page ads ran in USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, reading that the 350,000 men and women CPAs are "passionate about getting it right" and "intolerant of those who break the rules."

This week, the AICPA will offer strategies for answering media questions to PR people from all 50 state offices via conference call. The AICPA retains The Weiser Group for crisis help.

The changing regulatory landscape is particularly tricky. "We don't want our PR strategy to get ahead of the political strategy,

said Pickard.

"If you aren't working the issue every day - and some of our state associates aren't - we need to make sure the right thing is being said."

Last week, the WSJ reported that the Justice Department would file criminal charges against Andersen if it does not plead guilty to felony charges for shredding Enron documents. Deloitte Touche Tomhatsu and Ernst & Young both pulled out of merger talks with Andersen.

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