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The CPA as specialist.

PFS and ABV may soon have some companions. The AICPA council approved the report of the special committee on accreditation of specialization, which calls for new ventures in accreditation. Says the report, "The committee believes that the implementation of an accreditation program is critical as a membership economic necessity."

The report describes areas where new accreditations might help CPAs compete in today's marketplace by clearly separating them from non-CPA practitioners. New services could be catalysts for new designations. Under Eldercare, the proposed new assurance service, CPAs will determine whether objectives and criteria for care of the elderly are being met. A designation could help distinguish CPAs in this area from others providing similar services. However, the report stresses that no accreditations are necessary where CPAs are already well known. "We're preeminent in tax and audit work," said Robert Israeloff, committee chairman and former AICPA board chairman, "so it makes no marketing sense to go through the considerable effort to create accreditations in those areas. But, with new services, we have a chance to add to our public image."

The report also calls for partnerships with those offering already existing accreditations if the details can be worked out. "Let's not reinvent the wheel," said Israeloff. "If another group already has a designation, maybe we can work together." Both the PFS and ABV designations were preceded by accreditations that CPAs and non-CPAs alike have taken advantage of.

Next steps

The report calls for the creation of a senior committee tentatively titled the national accreditation commission (NAC). The NAC will recommend new accreditations, the board will approve them and council will ratify them. The commission also will have strong monitoring and sunset responsibility. "If an accreditation isn't working, we'll get rid of it," said Israeloff. The Institute will hire at least one full-time staff member to work with the new committee.
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Article Details
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Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Aug 1, 1998
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