Dear Professional brothers and sisters I have a thought in my heart that what is the definition of PRACTITIONER and what is his ‘ROLE IN BUSINESS SOCIETY”. So, I am preparing this article for dedicated to my professional brothers and sisters. Kindly read and think I am correct or not and kindly give your valuable suggestions, add to my article.

Definition of Professional: Professional means relating to a person’s work, especially work that requires special training. You use professional to describe people who do a particular thing to earn money rather than as a hobby. If you say that something that someone does or produces is professional, you approve of it because you think that it is a very high standard. A dedicated professional who worked harmoniously with the cast and crew . A profession engaging in an activity for gain or as a means of livelihood and extremely component in a job . A professional engaged in, or worthy of the high standards of a profession. A professional is being such in the manner of one practicing a profession. A person who does something with great skill .

The term ‘Tax Practitioner” covers a diverse group of individuals, business structures and professional groups who provide a range of tax services for their services. The tax practitioners and includes tax professionals, tax prepares, tax agents, tax accountants and tax lawyers with the terms being used interchangeably.

Since there is no statutory definition of the words “Tax Accountant’ or Tax Practitioners” it effectively allows anyone to setup a business as a tax consultant or tax practitioner without having to satisfy any legal requirements.

A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns their living from a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowledge and skills necessary to perform their specific role within that profession. In addition, most professionals are subject to strict codes of conduct, enshrining rigorous ethical and moral obligations .Professional standards of practice and ethics for a particular field are typically agreed upon and maintained through widely recognized professional associations. Some definitions of “professional” limit this term to those professions that serve some important aspect of public interest and the general good of society.

Although professional training appears to be ideologically neutral, it may be biased towards those with higher class backgrounds and a formal education. We observes that qualified professionals are less creative and diverse in their opinions and habits than non-professionals, which he attributes to the subtle indoctrination and filtering which accompanies the process of professional training. His evidence is both qualitative and quantitative, including professional examinations, industry statistics and personal accounts of trainees and professionals.

A key theoretical dispute arises from the observation that established professions (e.g. lawyers, Tax professionals medical doctors, architects, civil engineers) are subject to strict codes of conduct. Some have thus argued that these codes of conduct, agreed upon and maintained through widely recognized professional associations, are a key element of what constitutes any profession.

A tax practitioner’s role in tax compliance lies between satisfying the taxpayers and the revenue authorities. The services of tax practitioners have a significant influence on taxpayers voluntary compliance behaviors’ and minimisation of compliance and administrative costs. The tax practitioner’s knowledge of tax laws and procedures is much greater than that of an ordinary taxpayers and the purpose clients use a tax practitioner’s services is to avail the benefit of this knowledge and expertise. Tax practitioners can be considered important gatekeepers to the tax system for taxpayers. Tax practitioners have a duty to uphold the integrity of the tax system and the vast majority of tax practitioner’s work involves helping their clients in complying with regulations.

If the tax practitioners makes an incorrect computation r provides incorrect information to the Revenue, the client may insist that the tax practitioner rather than the taxpayer themselves suffer the monetary consequences. In this circumstances , client may feel compelled to issue legal proceedings against the tax practitioner as they are dissatisfied with the quality of tax services received.

Others have argued that strict codes of conduct and the professional associations that maintain them are merely a consequence of ‘successful’ professionalization, rather than an intrinsic element of the definition of professional(ism); this implies that a profession arises from the alignment between a shared purpose (connected to a ‘greater good’), a body of knowledge, actual behavior in terms of actions and decisions, and expectations held by societal stakeholders.

Thus, as people became more and more specialized in their trade, they began to ‘profess’ their skill to others, and ‘vow’ to perform their trade to the highest known standard. With a reputation to uphold, trusted workers of a society who have a specific trade are considered professionals.

Profession is a vocation founded upon specialized educational training, the purpose of which is to supply disinterested objective counsel and service to others, for a direct and definite compensation, wholly apart from expectation of other business gain. “those practiced on the basis of relevant professional qualifications in a personal, responsible and professionally independent capacity by those providing intellectual and conceptual services in the interest of the client and the public”.

It has been said that a profession is not a trade and not an industry.

Major milestones which may mark an occupation being identified as a profession include:

1. an occupation becomes a full-time occupation

2. the establishment of a training school

3. the establishment of a university school

4. the establishment of a local association

5. the establishment of a national association of professional ethics

Although professions may enjoy relatively high status and public prestige, not all professionals earn high salaries, and even within specific professions there exist significant inequalities of compensation; in law.

A profession arises when any trade or occupation transforms itself through “the development of formal qualifications based upon education, apprenticeship, and examinations, the emergence of regulatory bodies with powers to admit and discipline members, and some degree of monopoly rights.

Professions tend to be autonomous, which means they have a high degree of control of their own affairs: “professionals are autonomous insofar as they can make independent judgments about their work”. This usually means “the freedom to exercise their professional judgment.

However, it also has other meanings. “Professional autonomy is often described as a claim of professionals that has to serve primarily their own interests…this professional autonomy can only be maintained if members of the profession subject their activities and decisions to a critical evaluation by other members of the profession The concept of autonomy can therefore be seen to embrace not only judgment, but also self-interest and a continuous process of critical evaluation of ethics and procedures from within the profession itself.

One major implication of professional autonomy is the traditional ban on corporate practice of the professions, especially accounting, architecture, medicine, and law. This means that in many jurisdictions, these professionals cannot do business through regular for-profit corporations and raise capital rapidly through initial public offerings or flotation’s. Instead, if they wish to practice collectively they must form special business entities such as partnerships or professional corporations, which feature (1) reduced protection against liability for professional negligence and (2) severe limitations or outright prohibitions on ownership by non-professionals. The obvious implication of this is that all equity owners of the professional business entity must be professionals themselves.

This avoids the possibility of a non-professional owner of the firm telling a professional how to do his or her job and thereby protects professional autonomy. The idea is that the only non­professional person who should be telling the professional what to do is the client; in other words, professional autonomy preserves the integrity of the two-party professional-client relationship. But because professional business entities are effectively locked out of the stock market, they tend to grow relatively slowly compared to public corporations.

Professions enjoy a high social status, regard and esteem conferred upon them by society. This high esteem arises primarily from the higher social function of their work, which is regarded as vital to society as a whole and thus of having a special and valuable nature. All professions involve technical, specialized and highly skilled work often referred to as “professional expertise. Training for this work involves obtaining degrees and professional qualifications (see Licensure) without which entry to the profession is barred (occupational closure). Updating skills through continuing education is required through training.

All professions have power. This power is used to control its own members, and also its area of expertise and interests. A profession tends to dominate, police and protect its area of expertise and the conduct of its members, and exercises a dominating influence over its entire field which means that professions can act monopolist, rebuffing competition from ancillary trades and occupations, as well as subordinating and controlling lesser but related trades. A profession is characterized by the power and high prestige it has in society as a whole. It is the power, prestige and value that society confers upon a profession that more clearly defines it. The power of professions has led to them being referred to as conspiracies against the laity. On the other hand, professionals acquire some of their power and authority in organizations from their expertise and knowledge. As such they can bend rules, reduce bureaucratic inertia and increase problem solving and adaptability.

Here is considerable agreement about defining the characteristic features of a profession. They have a “professional association, cognitive base, institutionalized training, licensing, work autonomy, colleague control… (and) code of ethics”, to which Larson then also adds, “high standards of professional and intellectual excellence,” “professions are occupations with special power and prestige”, and that they comprise “an exclusive elite group,” in all societies. Members of a profession have also been defined as “workers whose qualities of detachment, autonomy, and group allegiance are more extensive than those found among other groups…their attributes include a high degree of systematic knowledge; strong community orientation and loyalty; self-regulation; and a system of rewards defined and administered by the community of workers.”

A profession has been further defined as: “a special type of occupation… (possessing) corporate solidarity…prolonged specialized training in a body of abstract knowledge, and a collectivity or service orientation…a vocational sub-culture which comprises implicit codes of behavior, generates an esprit de corps among members of the same profession, and ensures them certain occupational advantages… (also) bureaucratic structures and monopolistic privileges to perform certain types of work…professional literature, legislation, etc.

A critical characteristic of a profession is the need to cultivate and exercise professional discretion – that is, the ability to make case by case judgments that cannot be determined by an absolute rule or instruction.

Professional development is learning to earn or maintain professional credentials such as academic degrees to formal coursework, attending conferences, and informal learning opportunities situated in practice. It has been described as intensive and collaborative, ideally incorporating an evaluative stage.[1] There are a variety of approaches to professional development, including consultation, coaching, communities of practice, lesson study, mentoring, reflective supervision and technical assistance.

In a broad sense, professional development may include formal types of vocational education, typically post-secondary or poly-technical training leading to qualification or credential required to obtain or retain employment. Professional development may also come in the form of pre-service or in-service professional development programs. These programs may be formal, or informal, group or individualized. Individuals may pursue professional development independently, or programs may be offered by human resource departments. Professional development on the job may develop or enhance process skills, sometimes referred to as leadership skills, as well as task skills. Some examples for process skills are ‘effectiveness skills’, ‘team functioning skills’, and ‘systems thinking skills’.

Professional development opportunities can range from a single workshop to a semester-long academic course, to services offered by a medley of different professional development providers and varying widely with respect to the philosophy, content, and format of the learning experiences. Some examples of approaches to professional development include:

  • Case Study Method – The case method is a teaching approach that consists in presenting the students with a case, putting them in the role of a decision maker facing a problem .
  • Consultation – to assist an individual or group of individuals to clarify and address immediate concerns by following a systematic problem-solving process.
  • Coaching – to enhance a person’s competencies in a specific skill area by providing a process of observation, reflection, and action.
  • Communities of Practice – to improve professional practice by engaging in shared inquiry and learning with people who have a common goal
  • Lesson Study – to solve practical dilemmas related to intervention or instruction through participation with other professionals in systematically examining practice
  • Mentoring – to promote an individual’s awareness and refinement of his or her own professional development by providing and recommending structured opportunities for reflection and observation
  • Reflective Supervision – to support, develop, and ultimately evaluate the performance of employees through a process of inquiry that encourages their understanding and articulation of the rationale for their own practices
  • Technical Assistance – to assist individuals and their organization to improve by offering resources and information, supporting networking and change efforts.

The tax practitioners role involves dealing with financial affairs of clients and also a legal obligation to abide by the tax laws and responsibilities to the profession and to society. Given this intangible , ambiguous and technical nature of tax practitioners’ services and tax practitioners fulfilling the need for non-technical or soft skills , such as communication can reduce uncertainty and vulnerability in terms of client trust and increase satisfaction with services received.

The influence of client satisfaction with services received and trust results in variations in their relationship commitment. Tax payers are concerned with filing an accurate return, and have been found to be more risk averse than their practitioners which may explain why they rely on practitioners for help to legitimately minimize their taxes. Once taxpayers know what they want, they set out to look for a practitioner that matches their needs. It is interesting to note that there are also tax practitioners who gave more conservative advice desired and advise received. Sometimes, taxpayers expectations are not clearly communicated to practitioners or taxpayers themselves have conflicting expectations. Accordingly, different taxpayers are bound to have different motivations, expectations and preferences and taxpayers expectations may not always be congruent with their experiences of practitioner’s service.

There are two possible outcomes when taxpayers expectations are not met and they are not satisfied with the service of a tax practitioners . The taxpayers could resort to putting more pressure on the practitioner to comply with their requirements. Should this fail, then the outcome may be dissatisfaction with the service and loss of trust on the practitioners, at least in the near future. But this may not necessarily be the case. In my experience the clients intentions to retain or dismiss their practitioners were not influenced by their preference for type of advice and service received. There may be other considerations which clients take into account when deciding whether to retain or change their practitioners. However , the literature to date is not clear whether those who were dissatisfied with the service or lost trust on their tax practitioner in fact changed practitioners or would change practitioners in the future and the role of other relevant factors.

Owing to the complex nature of tax practitioner service, variations in their relationship commitment might be stronger or weaker than other service sector and a good relationship is critical to both clients and tax practitioners. It is conceivable that explaining behavior moderate the effects of service satisfaction on relationship commitment. The limited attention from tax and accounting researchers on the variations in relationship commitment restricts our understanding of the tax practitioner and client relationship .

It also inhabits our understanding on how to develop and maintain a healthy relationship. Indeed , more research is warranted to provide further insights into roles of service satisfaction trust and explaining behavior in determining clients relationship commitment to their tax practitioner.

To Evaluate the impact of tax practitioner’s explaining skills in the context of client relationship commitment. However, it is essential that tax practitioners must keep devoting sufficient time to preparing working papers and notes for clients to evaluate their tax issues and treat clients in a similar manner whether the amount involved in a given issue is large or small. Working papers will help the clients to understand a tax practitioner’s explanation of ambiguous areas of tax laws involved and the associated risks. The smaller tax practitioner firms tend to deal directly with the tax payers who have a financial stake in the result of tax advice provided and so they re likely to placed under greater pleasure.

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January 2021