New York (May 30, 2003) -- Separate grass roots groups of practitioners are reaching out to the American Institute of CPAs with their own plans for the institute’s two specialty certifications that have come under scrutiny - the Personal Financial Specialist, or PFS, and the Certified Information Technology Professional, or CITP.

Representatives of the National Association of CPA Financial Planners, created last year to represent the 3,000 PFS holders, have scheduled a June 30 meeting with AICPA officials to present their plan to take over management of that certification.

Separately, a CITP holders group hopes to meet with institute officials at the AICPA Tech 2003 technology conference, June 23-25 in Las Vegas, to discuss providing assistance to help maintain that designation within the AICPA.

“We hope to show how we can do what the AICPA has not been able to do with PFS,” said James Shambo, the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based CPA/PFS president of the NACPAFP. He plans to present the AICPA with a multi-pronged business plan for expanding market awareness of PFS and attracting more CPAs to it.

The CITP group plans to present institute executives with a plan to defray the AICPA’s costs for managing that designation. Holders would pay more annual fees to support the designation, and the group would be an information link between the institute and the 500 CITP holders.

“I want to legitimatize what’s already been started with CITP and look for additional ways to enhance its value to CPAs and to the market,” said the CITP group’s founder, Susan Bradley, CPA, CITP, and partner with Tamiyasu, Smith, Horn and Braun in Fresno, Calif.

Their proposals emerged in the wake of a vote by AICPA Council in April authorizing the institute to research new strategies to enhance the PFS, CITP and the ABV (Accredited in Business Valuation) certifications. PFS and CITP have attracted more attention because their membership counts and market recognition are the lowest of the three, and the AICPA once considered ceasing involvement with them altogether.

Whether either group gets the nod is questionable because the institute has been considering two other potential alliance partners for the PFS and three in total for the CITP.

While the AICPA is not commenting, informed sources speculate that the PFS organizations being considered are the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and the CFP Board, manager of the Certified Financial Planner designation. The potential suitor most often identified for the CITP is the Information Technology Alliance, which had been an AICPA membership section until May 2002. ITA joined the AICPA in 2000 as part of the plan to launch the CITP.

-- John M. Covaleski

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