The American Institute of CPAs has revised its Certified Information Technology Professional designation, redefining the credential’s body of knowledge to more closely align with IT expertise as it relates to auditing and attest services as well as financial analysis and data reporting.

“This basically goes back to our core values,” explained Jim Bourke, a partner at New Jersey-based WithumSmith + Brown and CITP Credential Chair. “Because when you think about it, what do CPAs really do?”

The announcement was made at Tech + 2009, the AICPA Information Technology Conference, here.

Bourke and Steve Winters, director of specialized communities and practice management for the Institute, said the revisions to the CITP began in earnest about one year ago and revealed that an exam based upon the new body of knowledge would be ready in about one year.

Until the test is developed, the requirements for the designation will include a valid CPA license and five years experience in accounting, 1,000 hours in areas that pertain to the bodies of knowledge including internal controls, risk assessment, fraud, financial analysis and business process improvement. In addition, 75 hours of education are an additional prerequisite for designation.

The nine-year-old CITP has 1,460 holders.

The conference also included a live demo of the virtual world of Second Life. The session was led by Tom Hood, executive director for the Maryland Association of CPAs, whose organization was among the first in the profession to move to Second Life with its CPA Island, and Byron Patrick, of Hosted Solutions Inc.

From a remote location, Hood appeared as his Second Life identity, “Rocky Maddaloni,” and led a roundtable discussion with several remote users including accounting professors, the creator of XBRL and a representative from Financial Executives International. They regaled attendees with how they deploy the virtual world in both educational settings and for meetings.

The demo included a guest appearance from Second Life founder Phil Linden, who said that SL now is 600 square miles in area and contains 200 terabytes of user-created content. Linden said the average user is 32 years old, and 65 percent of users are not from the U.S.

Linden also explained how a university in Canada has set up a training school for its border patrol agents on Second Life that allows them to enact a number of real-time situations.

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