New York -- In a surprising endorsement, 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 for a boost in funding, suggesting that the PFS receive $4.6 million in excess of revenues through 2006, while $5.6 million would be earmarked for the CITP and $5.75 million for the ABV through 2008.

Council will vote on the issue at its Fall meeting in New Orleans, Oct. 20-21. The move comes as many designation holders were expecting the AICPA to either jettison some, or all, of the titles, or allow them to migrate under the auspices of other organizations.

At its Spring meeting, Council voted to allow the institute to explore an array of options, from keeping the designations within the institute — as the board recommends — to abandoning them entirely.

“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. This opens up an opportunity for us to work together.”

However, the recommendation to Council also stipulated that the credentials must break even — the CITP and ABV by 2008, and the PFS by 2006.

The board also called for a minimum number of credential holders by those dates: 3,600 for the PFS; 2,700 for the ABV; and 1,700 for the CITP. Currently there are 3,188 PFS holders, while the ABV and CITP have 1,536 and 527, respectively.

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

Regardless of what the institute does with its specialty credential programs, alternative plans are already being prepared by grassroots groups of credential holders.

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