After more than a year’s worth of promotion around the refocused Certified Information Technology Professional credential, interest in the title has risen significantly, and the American Institute of CPAs is ready to launch a beta exam to select credential holders, which will ultimately become a requirement to obtain CITP status.

The CITP Committee has been working with an undisclosed third party to create review classes to better prepare potential test-takers. The exam questions are currently in the final stages of review before they are issued to specified CITP members, according to AICPA director of specialized communities and firm practice management Mark Koziel.

At the 2009 AICPA Tech Symposium, the CITP and IT Executive Committees announced a refocus of the credential to promote a new “body of knowledge” to better define the CITP. Since then, there has been the largest growth in CITP membership in the credential’s history, according to Koziel.

“Now is the time for experienced assurance individuals to obtain the CITP before the exam, though we don’t want [the exam] to be a deterrent. Experience and education drive the CITP and we want to give firms the ability to have that unique differentiator,” said Koziel. “This exam is for every CPA to prove they can get [the CITP credential]. Even if they go into business, industry and government, it’s very applicable in those fields as well.”

At press time there were 1,730 CITP credential holders and 1,671 section members, who are CPAs that have an IT interest area, but have not yet obtained the credential. These, Koziel claimed, will be the first target group to take the exam once it is complete.

The five primary dimensions of a CITP as defined by both executive committees include risk assessment; information management and business intelligence; the ability to evaluate, test and report; internal controls and IT general controls; and fraud consideration.

James Bourke, chairman of the CITP Committee and a partner at WithumSmith+Brown, claims these are abilities and duties that many CPAs already possess.

“If I’m a CPA, I’m already immersed in these areas,” said Bourke. “This [credential] helps me do my job better, given how prevalent technology is in our environment today. Every CPA in practice should understand the CITP body of knowledge. There are lots of IT guys out there, but the breakdown is they don’t understand audit and accounting. It’s not about being ‘a techie.’ It’s about CPAs that want to differentiate themselves with the knowledge of technology.  I sell myself and my team as a CITP. It gives me a talking point and shows I’m different, how I understand your system, and how it will impact your audit.”

Current CITP holders will not have to take the exam and will still be subject to regular CPE and fees. Credential holders must pay an annual fee of $350 and meet CITP recertification requirements every three years.

To obtain the credential up until the exam is released, an individual must:

•  Possess AICPA membership in good standing;
•  Possess a valid and unrevoked CPA certificate issued by a legally constituted state authority;
•  Complete 60 hours of lifelong learning activities credit over the preceding three years in topic areas related to the CITP body of knowledge; and,
•  Submit a written statement of intent to continue to comply with all recertification requirements.

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