Illinois CPAs Give 'Thumbs Down' to XYZ Designation

The Board of Directors of the Illinois CPA Society has voted unanimously to oppose any further development of or investment in the XYZ credential, the financial credential that has been touted by the AICPA as the global designation of the future.

The designation, which has been referred to as "XYZ" and "Cognitor," has met with obstacles on an international level as well. Last fall, all of the accounting organizations in the United Kingdom pulled their support from the designation.

The Illinois group cited four reasons for its decision to oppose the credential:

  1. A random survey of ICPAS members shows strong opposition to the concept. The results are nearly identical to a study conducted by the New York society.
  2. Advocacy of the XYZ credential (or even a neutral stance) by ICPAS means the disregard of the opinions of most of our members and an abrogation of our responsibilities as a representative organization.
  3. The negative reaction of our membership toward the AICPA's initiative is spilling over to ICPAS to the extent that the two are perceived as complementary organizations.
  4. In pushing this initiative, the AICPA has put the ICPAS in the position where only strong public opposition will mitigate the risk of a substantial loss of state society memberships

In particular, the Illinois CPA Society expressed the following concerns:

  • When asked by Council to conduct research on the opinions of members, the AICPA used a public relations firm to launch an educational campaign and interview only 400 members including officers and leaders of state Societies and Council members. That means the opinions of practitioners who use the CPA title every day in their business activities were heavily discounted and ignored
  • CPAs want their dues invested in their credential, not in one that gives a select few a competitive advantage over them, and certainly not in one that is widely open to non-CPAs.
  • A bottom-up education and discussion process, such as that used in the visioning program, works well with professionals. A top-down process, such as this one, suggests arrogance and is being resisted.
  • The AICPA routinely allocates matching funds to state societies for CPA image enhancement. However, when a state like Illinois determines that the real need for focused image enhancement is among students, proposals for even modest amounts are rejected. Such myopia is evidence of an association that is increasingly disconnected from its constituency and CPA firms.
  • The vigor of the opposition to this proposal suggests the loss of a significant number of members to organizations which are positioning themselves as better attuned to the goals and aspirations of those in the profession.
  • The anger reflected in the written comments of 750 members over the AICPA advocacy of the XYZ credential is startling. It is evident that such advocacy is draining the reservoir of goodwill and support among the small firms and sole practitioners that we need to ensure the success of the portal.
  • Were a ballot on the credential to be distributed today, 75% of Illinois members would vote to reject the concept.
  • Those survey participants who describe themselves as "clearly understanding" the XYZ concept were even more negative about the credential than respondents who knew less about it. This fact suggests that an educational campaign will only solidify the opposition.
  • The sole practitioner segment in Illinois is the most knowledgeable about the concept, the most adamant in their opposition to it and the most resentful of the extension of the credential to non-CPAs.
  • The premise of the initial questions in the study commissioned by the AICPA is the "working with sister organizations in other countries…" In fact, nearly all sister organizations in other countries have withdrawn their support.

You may like these other stories...

The Auditing Standards Board of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has issued two new audit interpretations intended to help auditors navigate the pension accounting guidelines for state and local governments that were...
The responsibilities of the CFO and other finance professionals have moved way beyond just corporate accounting and financial reporting. Finance teams must now be well-versed in such areas as strategic business planning, IT...
The number of CPAs and financial executives who are optimistic about the US economy has surpassed the 50 percent mark for the first time since the recession, according to results of a new survey released by the American...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 16
Hand off work to others with finesse and success. Kristen Rampe, CPA will share how to ensure delegated work is properly handled from start to finish in this content-rich one hour webinar.
Jul 17
This webcast will cover the preparation of the statement of cash flows and focus on accounting and disclosure policies for other important issues described below.
Jul 23
We can’t deny a great divide exists between the expectations and workplace needs of Baby Boomers and Millennials. To create thriving organizational performance, we need to shift the way in which we groom future leaders.
Jul 24
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.