The 'XYZ' Credential - Comments and Questions

Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Following AICPA Chairman Kathy Eddy's presentation and Q&A session regarding the proposed global business credential, AccountingWEB members gathered in the AccountingWEB chat room where they conducted an informal analysis of the presentation. Here is the transcript of that session. Questions posed during this session will be forwarded to the AICPA's global credential committee for response.

Open Discussion

Kelly McRae: Let's continue with this conversation. Does anyone have questions or concerns?

Charles: Is it a copy of the ACCA in UK? Is it just a dream for students in low-waged countries? Is it an extension of US hegemony at no-initial cost investment?

Kendall Wheeler: Was there any new information that anyone gleaned from that session? I am concerned about the question I asked regarding reimbursement - doesn't look like it's going to happen.

andrew blackman: well..I asked some follow ups that were not addressed

Kelly McRae: I am sure we will get all the answers after the transcripts are posted live in AccountingWEB

Michael Platt: We had a number of questions that we couldn't get to today - they will be forwarded to the AICPA for follow-up

David: I asked 2 questions and saw neither of them....anyone else in the same boat?

Marianne Brams: I think today's discussion is probably most interesting for the questions that were not answered. For instance, I asked: "Have you already talked to the 'experienced providers' who will fund development of the new credential, and, if so, who are they?" I'd especially like to hear other questions that were not answered.

Charles: Doesn't look like anything more than a chance for the proposers to get a promotion in their annual evaluations!

Kelly McRae: We did have limited time, I am sure all questions will be forwarded to the AICPA

andrew blackman: yes..I had follow-ups that were not asked

Larry Kropp: they ignored my questions. regarding marketing. probably too embarrassing

Kelly McRae: AccountingWEB will forward all questions and hopefully we will get the answers
David: Where do I need to look for answers to my questions?
Kelly McRae: AccountingWEB will post them in the story about the session.
David: Thanks

Charles: Why is there no research into what is going on in England and Scotland? Proposers are totally naive!

andrew blackman: the query I asked about getting a legal opinion to peruse this was sort of side-stepped...as long as it fell under strategic planning it was ok

Kendall Wheeler: Good question one asked...How are we to vote if we don't know the requirements? If they are too lax or too stringent after the vote it might have influenced me to vote a different way.

Gail Okon: I am also interested in who the "experienced providers" are.... where they are coming from? Academia?

Charles: They will continue to ignore all questions. This is not a serious proposal.

andrew blackman: but nothing direct about having a legal opinion...guess they felt it was not needed

Kendall Wheeler: I asked about England and Asia but no response.

Marianne Brams: I would be interested in starting a list on Kendall's listserv of all our unanswered questions. And I would like to thank Kendall for starting the list and reminding us all to attend this mornings session; I would have missed it otherwise.

Charles: Exactly, they want to take us for idiots. Any group of examiners will not be able to test all skill sets for all countries.

andrew blackman: I asked about having naysayers on the panel...why no opposition people involved?

Charles: This is just American globalism, and it will go nowhere.

andrew blackman: was this not supposed to be an open workshop?

Kendall Wheeler: If you are interested in an on-going email discussion and information on both sides of the issue, please visit www.xyztalk.com for instructions on how to sign up.

Charles: Opposition people won't get you a promotion at evaluation time.

Michael Platt: This was an opportunity for the AICPA to state their case in a focused session - the "open forum" was the questions afterwards.

Marianne Brams: It didn't seem particularly open to me, especially given the number of unanswered questions.

Kendall Wheeler: There are downfalls to this credential and the AICPA is not presenting those.

Charles: If you want the FAQS go to August 2001 Journal of Accountancy. AICPA cannot defend this case as they have not researched it.

andrew blackman: I wondered how many people they hoped to reach...I think this was just a showcase to present...try to show AICPA is trying to be open....just a positive spin in the campaign

patricia meyer: Kendall, about your question on British and Asian participation, I do know that ICAEW and the Institute in Scotland were both involved at the beginning, but decided the CA was superior to whatever would be developed.

P T: Can AccountingWEB please list all of the unanswered questions somewhere on their site, rather than just forwarding them to the AICPA?

Charles: More like a cynical wish. Like wishing the world would speak Esperanto.

Kelly McRae: That is why we are having this session now!

andrew blackman: this will appear differently if you sign on and read the transcripts than what actually occurred

andrew blackman: more spin control

Charles: Right, there is no accountability if the questions are not itemized. Ask Bill Clinton. Maybe he will chair the AICPA.

Kendall Wheeler: so, Kelly, how about it? Can you post ALL of the unanswered questions?
Kelly McRae: We will post as many questions as we can. We will not post any foul comments only questions pertaining to the credential.

Larry Kropp: I think the concept is great. BUT does AICPA have the ability to pull it off? In the past, accountants seem overly hung up on details, form over substance. Also, the marketing by the AICPA has been hokey in the past (the logo, for example) hopefully we will have some good marketing consultants who are willing to "step out of the box" and market this so the public can understand it

andrew blackman: yes...please...that should be done

Kelly McRae: This is the forum to post comments if you wish, please feel free!

patricia meyer: I would like to know if law students were surveyed, like accounting students were, and what they said. If law students are not interested, there may be a big hole in potential XYZ candidates.

Charles: Should not we have international cooperation? Rather than just another exam that no one has heard about?

Gail Okon: Does anyone know what is meant by "experienced providers?"

andrew blackman: where will reimbursement come from for all the money spent if XYZ does not go forward?

Charles: Is this not just a worthless project for some group to take credit in AICPA?

Kendall Wheeler: If we have been discussing this issue in detail and many of us still don't understand the credential, how do they expect college students to understand the credential in a 1 paragraph question?

Kelly McRae: Good questions, keep them coming folks.

Charles: Is there a syllabus even?

Charles: Will it be published in Esperanto?

Kelly McRae: Kendall, please see the transcripts of today's session. Ms. Eddy explains a lot of what you are asking.

David: Is the IASC involved?
Kelly McRae: David, good question. We will forward that on.

Kendall Wheeler: I was at the session and the questions are still unanswered.

andrew blackman: I think Kendall was there and if he is still asking questions, the explanations were not up to par.

Charles: So how is it international?

Marianne Brams: I specifically asked who the "experienced providers" are, and my questions was not addressed.

Kendall Wheeler: If this is truly a global credential - will it not fail if all countries are not involved - esp. the UK and Asian countries?

Gail Okon: The AICPA must have some idea of who the providers are.......

Charles: Anybody can be a provider, if there are paying students. But will there be? Answer: no!

andrew blackman: I would love to know how many internal pages of documents exist on popularizing the XYZ?...What about making all internal memos public accessible?

Gail Okon: I think worldwide the US CPA is actually the most respected designation

Charles: Is this just an Anglophone credential? Let's forget the French, Germans, etc.

Marianne Brams: I also asked, as of today, how much the AICPA would expect to be reimbursed.

Gail Okon: thousands of foreign accountants sit for the CPA exam each time

Kendall Wheeler: It sounds like only a few individuals will be reimbursed for their "contribution" to the project - wonder what THAT is valued at?

P T: Does anyone know why the AICPA is waiting until after the fall council meeting to start the member vote?

andrew blackman: What rights do members have under charter to get a hold of all internal strategy documents?

Larry Kropp: I think the credential should be a subset of the CPA designation. I fail to see the value in allowing no-CPAs to be part of this. most other financial professionals are better marketers than CPAs, and I think the CPAs will get run over

Kendall Wheeler: They waited because at the last council meeting it was voted on to discuss this with members at greater length. I believe initially the vote was to take place this summer.

andrew blackman: What is not being made public?

Bob Mann: What information is available regarding the criteria for XYZ certification? When will the requirements be finalized? How are the requirements being established? Is there participation form other countries?

Gail Okon: I agree about the marketing comment

Liz Corson: Why is this a good idea?

Kendall Wheeler: If you haven't already, please visit www.xyztalk.com for more information about the credential than you could possibly imagine - thanks Susan Bradley!

andrew blackman: What will be the result of this current exchange?

Marianne Brams: It seems that whenever we get down to specifics about sources of funds, requirements, etc., the answer comes down to "trust us." But I am hesitant to trust an organization that has done a marginal job of implementing some very good ideas such as WebTrust.
Kendall Wheeler: Yeah, what a fiasco WebTrust was. No marketing - no clients - BIG waste of resources.

andrew blackman: I just want to know if this will be culled and posted someplace?

andrew blackman: Who will do the culling?

Charles: Culling (censorship) wont matter, since AICPA can choose to ignore the whole thing!

Charles: Who was fired at AICPA for proposing WEbTrust?

Kendall Wheeler: Kelly, is this discussion copyrighted?
Michael Platt: Kendall: All transcripts and discussions are property of AccountingWEB.

andrew blackman: this seems to be more of the same...if XYZ is voted down...no reimbursement to AICPA from anyone....great deal of time and money wasted....doesn't that make it seem like the insiders have to insure XYZ goes forward?

andrew blackman: what an embarassment to Melancon and Eddy if XYZ is rejected....

Charles: You seem to be the only one attempting answers at questions. Does anyone at AICPA know that the ACCA has already done this?

Kendall Wheeler: Thanks - Michael - just asking.

andrew blackman: is that a conflict of interest with them spending so much "to make it happen"?

Charles: Kelly McRae, are you aware that the ACCA in Glasgow has already done this internationalization, and it does not extend very far beyond the Commonwealth?

Larry Kropp: The cost is a minor issue. This is the most positive thing the AICPA has done, in my memory. My concern is whether they can pull it off

Kendall Wheeler: The ball is rolling for promoters of the credential - and they aren't about it stop it at this point - at ANY cost I'm afraid.
andrew blackman: ...well Kendall...that seems like having the wolf guard the chicken coop

Charles: Internationalization might mean US and Israel and that's it. Who is promoting this?\

Kendall Wheeler: Guard the chicken coop? The chickens are already inside the wolf - they just THINK it's the coop!

Larry Kropp: I am concerned about ongoing assessments of competency, once one attains the GBC. how will a sole practitioner like myself prove the experience part? and what will keep the shlocks from lying on the self-assessment?

andrew blackman: listen...we should get back on track....WHY WERE THERE NO XYZ OPPONENTS ON THE PANEL TODAY?

bK: the leaders of AICPA should be proud that this is forward-looking.

Larry Kropp: agree with bK

Charles: Isn't colonization a thing of the past? It's backward-looking!

bK: you can't have progress without risk

andrew blackman: listen...specialization was forward looking too...but they failed to promote it adequately...so I have to question the motives of why XYZ?

P T: Kathy responded to David's question that asked why the AICPA was involved by stating that XYZ is a new credential, not a new profession. Would it help if we tried to distinguish why XYZ is causing so much more controversy than other AICPA sponsored credentials?

andrew blackman: the answers keep coming up XYZ is good for Melancon ...and other insiders

Kendall Wheeler: Yes, it is forward-looking. But at what cost to the CPA profession. I was involved in the Vision process and was excited to see the possibilities of what could happen with my CPA credential. I had no idea it would turn into a separate credential that would be in competition with me.

alicia lee: I'm glad the AICPA is trying to help to make this profession attractive to young people. Recruitment and retention is a major issue for this profession. Kudos to AICPA leadership!

Michael Platt: Andrew: This session was intended as an opportunity for the AICPA to state its case. Perhaps we can extend an offer to both pro- and con- panelists to debate the issue in an upcoming forum.

andrew blackman: forward looking was embracing specialization...but they moved too slow...and too late....this is something that should have been the focus....not XYZ

Larry Kropp: andrew: I think the specialization was an example of form over substance. this has the potential of being real. the AICPA brochure was well done, and the concept is great.

Charles: Good idea for a debate, but there should be non-AICPA members on the panel.

Kendall Wheeler: Alicia, will you give up your CPA credential to become an XYZ?
alicia lee: I don't have to. I think having both would be great.
Kendall Wheeler: Alicia, my point exactly, the XYZ should be a sub-credential of the CPA and then clients get the best of both worlds.
Larry Kropp: agree, Kendall

Larry Kropp: why include no-members, Charles? they have nothing to say about it

andrew blackman: I disagree Larry...specialization was the substance...did you ever Read the initial report from the Stevens Commission?..it is from 1978 but still rings true
Larry Kropp: andrew: no never read it. but my point is that I wouldn't waste my time qualifying as a specialist. no marketing benefit

Charles: I ask the AICPA to look around the world before reinventing it.
Kendall Wheeler: Charles, agreed. Just like the name Cognitor. It should have been real easy to type in www.cognitor.com and see that a company already exists with this name and has been around since 1997 - not a lot of research there!

Charles: You need someone from the ACCA or the Comptables Francaises, because AICPA will do this and say it is successful, and no one will even know or care about it. All for a promotion at evaluation time?

Larry Kropp: and allows CPAs to enhance their value without letting in competition

Kendall Wheeler: As much I wish to stay, I must also go. I hope a transcript of this session is available from AccountingWEB. See you all on XYZTalk!

Larry Kropp: I think it is positive to have a credential that is experience-based. the profession is trending (mistakenly) toward greater emphasis on academic credentials. this is a welcome change

Michael Platt: Any other comments, questions, suggestions, concerns that anyone else wants to air before we close down this chat room?

Larry Kropp: strongly suggest we use LETTERs to designate
Larry Kropp: ie, "cognitor" sounds hokey.
Larry Kropp: the consuming public loves letters'
Larry Kropp: CPA, MBA JD etc

Michael Platt: Thanks for your feedback. We will send through a transcript of this session to the AICPA and will post all responses that we receive. We appreciate your participation in the debate and encourage you to gather as much information on this controversial issue as possible in preparation for a vote later this fall. Thank you!

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