New York (Feb. 17, 2003) - The American Institute of CPAs sent its specialty credential holders an ominous message this week, indicating that support for their programs may soon vanish to save the Institute some cash.

Among those rumored to get the ax: the accredited in business valuation designation, the personal financial specialist and the certified information technology professional.

The letter, from National Accreditation Commission chair Bruce Harper, said the AICPA Board of Directors has asked Harper to conduct a review of the credential programs "to determine how best to allocate resources." He will report back to members sometime after discussing the matter at the March Regional Council and April Board of Directors meetings.

Harper said the Institute is seeking to understand how best to promote first the CPA brand and then specialty credentials, determine which specialties are best poised for a "dominant market position" and assess the ‘value and support’ offered through the AICPA’s member sections which support each credential.

"These analyses are done with the understanding that specialty credential programs may be strengthened, remain the same, redesigned or discontinued," Harper wrote. "We are currently investigating all strategies, including potential exit scenarios as necessary."

While Harper sought to reassure credential holders that if an exit strategy is deemed best, the Institute would continue to offer support for its members who hold them, some credential holders were already drawing up contingency plans.

"If this is true, I am saddened and disappointed that this credential has never been given the ability to rise to its potential," wrote CPA/CITP holder Susan Bradley in an e-mail to her fellow credential holders via an online group she pioneered to share ideas and promote the CITP. "It never had its own 'committee.'  It never had the champion at the Institute it should have had (or the stature) that should have been given to any credential put forth by the AICPA," she added.

-- Tracey Miller-Segarra

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