New York (Oct. 3, 2003) -- In a surprising endorsement for the trio of AICPA specialty credentials, the board of the American Institute of CPAs has recommended to the Governing Council that the institute retain the Personal Financial Specialist, the Certified Information Technology Professional and the Accredited in Business Valuation designations.

The board has also petitioned Council to boost its incremental funding toward the designations, with the PFS credential receiving $4.6 million in excess of revenues through 2006, and the CITP receive $5.6 million through 2008, while $5.75 million would be earmarked for the ABV though 2008.

The AICPA Council will vote on the board’s recommendation at its Fall meeting in New Orleans, Oct. 20-21. The move comes as many holders of the designations were expecting the institute to either jettison some, or all of the titles, or allow them to migrate under the auspices of another organization.

“This is welcome news,” said James Shambo, president of the Association of CPA Financial Planners, a group comprised of PFS credential holders who sought to take over management of the credential. “We do, however, recognize that there are details to be worked out and the devil is always in the details. There are key relations issues that have to be resolved, but this opens up an opportunity for us to work together.”

However, the board’s recommendation to Council also stipulated that the credentials must reach a financial break-even point — the CITP and ABV by July 31, 2008, and the PFS by July 31, 2006.

The board’s retention strategies would not include national advertising campaigns due to limited resources. Currently there are 3,188 PFS holders, while the ABV and CITP have 1,536 and 527 holders, respectively.

Bruce Harper, chair of the AICPA’s National Accreditation Commission said in a statement, “After studying the issue from a variety of perspectives, we determined we could retain the credentials if we shifted our focus from trying to achieve national market recognition to supporting the underlying disciplines.”

-- Bill Carlino

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