The AICPA governing Council has decided to retain the Institute’s three specialty credentials and provide financial support for them, the underlying disciplines and the membership sections. The vote came on the final day of Council’s fall meeting in New Orleans and followed six months of exploring whether to keep the specialties inside the AICPA.
Council approved a resolution submitted by the AICPA Board of Directors. The Board recommended keeping the three credentials – Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) and Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV). It also advised that support of the three underlying disciplines would benefit all AICPA members who either practice in or have interest in those areas.
In its resolution, the Board offered funding recommendations for Personal Financial Planning ($4.6 million in excess of revenues through 2006), Information Technology ($5.6 million in excess of revenues through 2008) and Business Valuation/Forensic & Litigations Services ($5.75 million in excess of revenues through 2008). Council followed these recommendations.
"We’re pleased that Council affirmed our approach,” said Bruce Harper, Chair of the National Accreditation Commission, which oversees the credential programs. “We firmly believe that support of the underlying disciplines is in the best interests of the credential holders and the general membership."
Council also agreed with the Board’s determination that retention strategies should not include a national branding campaign because of the costs and effort required to achieve that level of recognition. Instead, the AICPA will develop marketing tools to help credential holders promote the designations in their local markets.
In addition, Council concurred with the Board’s recommendation that the three credentials must break even as well as achieve a minimum number of credential holders by a certain date. CITP and ABV must reach the break-even point by July 31, 2008 and be held by 1,700 and 2,700 members, respectively. PFS, the AICPA’s oldest credential, must break even by July 31, 2006 and reach 3,600 members. Currently, the PFS designation has 3,188 holders. ABV has 1,536, and CITP has 527.
The AICPA will develop a variety of resources to help credential-holding practitioners deliver services to their clients and employers. The National Accreditation Commission (NAC) will coordinate its activities with the executive committees of each underlying discipline to achieve an integrated approach that will help members succeed in their specialty areas.