Those of us who are enrolled agents frequently hear "what is an enrolled agent?" from clients, the public at large, and sadly, other Circular 230 professionals. Occasionally, even IRS personnel get it wrong occasionally. I know many an EA who has copped out and refer to themselves as "tax accountants" simply because they are "tired of explaining it to people". My disdain for that laziness is for another post.
I maintain that if enrolled agents delivered the same message to the public at the same time, the same way, we could move beyond the 13% public recognition we currently enjoy. (A few years ago NAEA retained a marketing firm to determine our brand penetration with the general public. As of then it was 13%).
Where is my point? On warm summer days when I don't have client appointments, I like to dress down at work. Typically I look like Dr. Sheldon Cooper of the "Big Bang Theory" with a Marvel Super Hero themed tee-shirt. Today I wore my enrolled agent tee-shirt, which cost $6 at the Florida Society of Enrolled Agents conference last month.
I made three stops this morning, and three people asked me "What's an Enrolled Agent"? I offered up the quick elevator speech "Enrolled Agents are federally authorized tax practitioners who offer tax consultation, representation before the taxing authorities, and tax preparation". On a better day, I would have had business cards in my wallet to offer to these folks.
Today's moral: If we as enrolled agents don't tell the world who we are, who will ?