New Orleans (Oct. 21, 2003) -- The governing Council of the American Institute of CPAs voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to retain the trio of specialty designations - the Personal Financial Specialist, Certified Information Technology Professional and the Accredited in Business Valuation - as well as earmarking $16 million in funding for the troika, at its annual fall meeting.

The council also approved a last-minute resolution to kill an annual review of the credentials by the board, but left intact mandates that they become self-supporting at separate dates, and attract a minimum number of credential holders.

The CITP and the ABV must hit break-even by July 31, 2008, while the PFS must reach that target two years earlier on July 31, 2006. At their break-even dates the PFS must have 3,600 holders, while the ABV and CITP must have 2,700 and 1,700, respectively.

"I think this shows that there’s enough interest in the programs and we listen to our members," said Robert Harris, managing director of Harris, Cotherman & Associates of Vero Beach, Fla., and incoming chair of the National Accreditation Commission, which oversees the credential programs. "Council obviously feels there’s a lot of value in them."

He added that for the CITP, which currently has the lowest membership numbers with 527, each credential holder would be responsible for bringing in at least one new member.

Harris explained that credential holders would receive annual statements on each designation as a quasi- progress report and that the NAC would coordinate with the executive committee for each designation to map out implementation and marketing strategies.

-- Bill Carlino

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