AICPA Reviews Specialties, Reassures Credential Holders

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants announced last week its plan to evaluate the future of the organization's specialty credentials to determine if they should be strengthened, redesigned, remain status quo, or discontinued.

Accreditations being reviewed include the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) credential, the Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), and the Personal Financial Planning Specialist (PFS).

Credential holders received a letter from Bruce Harper, AICPA's National Accreditation Commission (NAC) chairman, who indicated the NAC plans to analyze the allocation of resources to the CPA credential versus the specialty credentials and to assess the market competitiveness of the specialty credentials. One option being explored is whether each of the various specialty credentials would be better served under the umbrella of other related organizations.

Specialty credential holders reacted hotly to the news. "They are killing the PFS and the CITP because they cost too much money," said a source quoted in Bowman's Accounting Report.

"We are not abandoning them," AICPA board member Harold Monk said. "We are trying to see if we can attrition them into other organizations or continue to make them work in some way. They are terribly expensive to support."

Meanwhile, the AICPA responded with a promise this week to continue supporting any member who holds a specialty designation, regardless of the future of the credentials.

Speculation abounds that the CITP and PFS credentials will no longer be offered by the AICPA but that the organization will continue to build the ABV credential. It is important to note that all the facts are not yet in on this issue, and the question of financially supporting the credentials is just at the assessment stage.

The issue of the ongoing viability of supporting the various specialty designations will be addressed and debated at the AICPA Spring Council meeting April 27-30, 2003.

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