As an extension of its ongoing 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy effort, the American Institute of CPAs and the non-profit Ad Council have partnered on a campaign designed to encourage savings among 25-to-34 year olds -- a demographic, which encompasses roughly 40 million Americans.Titled, “Feed the Pig,” in a reference to the piggy bank, the multi-pronged media effort will include television, radio, print, banner ads and text messaging designed to help emphasize the importance of savings.
The campaign, which debuted during the second day of the AICPA’s Fall Governing Council meeting, was created by the Chicago office of Young & Rubicam and features Benjamin Bankes, a tuxedo-clad adult-sized pig who initially will appear in a series of four television sports.
Carl George, chief executive of Illinois-based Clifton Gunderson and chairman of the institute’s Financial Literacy Commission, told attendees that more than 2 million Americans filed for bankruptcy last year, while the country has the first negative savings rate since the great depression.
The campaign was released to 28,000 media outlets Oct. 25, while George said that 48 of the state societies have availed themselves of an opportunity to co-brand with the campaign and place their signage on the ad collateral materials.
In an update on the institute’s credentials, Bob Harris, chairman of the AICPA’s National Accreditation Commission, said that the Personal Financial Specialist designation, which had a target number of 3,627 holders for July 31, 2006, surpassed that level in May, and now has 3,844 certified holders.
Meanwhile, the Accredited in Business Valuation credential, which has a target number of 2,718 by July 31, 2008, now has 2,283 holders. The Certified Information Technology Professional credential is aiming to reach 1,732 holders by a July 31, 2008 deadline, and currently has 1,036. Harris said that projections indicate that both will reach their target numbers and that the marketing focus for the CITP will likely veer from pure IT consulting to “more on the audit side.”
Harris also revealed that the institute has resurrected discussions to develop a forensic credential, which initially had been proposed several years ago.
The fall meting also saw the election of Jimmy Williamson, of MDA Professional Group in Alabama, as institute chair for the 2006-2007 year. Williamson, who pledged to make such issues as financial literacy, interstate mobility and private company financial reporting priorities during his tenure, succeeded Leslie Murphy as chair. Randy Fletchall, vice chairman of Ernst & Young, was elected vice chairman.
Past AICPA chairman Bill Ezell, who now serves as president of the AICPA Foundation, said during the coming year the organization would make inroads in three strategic initiatives: diversity; financial education and accounting education, with the latter addressing the dearth of doctorial candidates.
Ezell told attendees that demand for accounting PhD’s was often 40 percent to 50 percent higher than the number of candidates in the pipeline. The foundation has assembled an advisory group to mull strategies to increase candidates over the next four years.
Meanwhile, noted accounting academic, William W. Holder, the Ernst & Young Professor at the University of Southern California and a member of the Governmental Accounting Standard Board, and Ronald S. Cohen, former chairman and chief executive at the Indianapolis-based firm of Crowe Chizek and former chair of the AICPA, were this year’s recipients of the AICPA’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Service.
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