An interview with
the COO of the
JofA: Youre a CPA yourself. Some CPAs are vehemently against opening up the credential to other professions. What would you say to them?
Trepeck: I understand their concern, but I believe its unwarranted. There are three reasons to make this credential inclusive to other professions. First, by definition this credential is about integrated knowledge and multiple business disciplines. No ONE profession can do it all. Second, talent attracts talent and this credential will gain credibility by attracting the brightest and the best from a variety of professions. Third, competition is building and the competition is not likely to be held accountable to the high ethical standards that will absolutely be the case if this credential is infused with CPAness.
JofA: What evidence do you have that competition is building?
Trepeck: During the past few months theres been a wave of accelerated activity. Universities are getting on the bandwagon. Stanford and Harvard Business School are looking into a partnership that would offer a credential over the Internet. Michigan State University, along with Esperti-Peterson and the American General Financial Group, has launched something called The Academy of Multi-Disciplinary Practice. Our colleagues in England and Wales are looking at an Enterprise Programme. And Strategos Institute, founded by renowned consultant Gary Hamel, is focused on offerings very similar to the global business credential. Our research said the window of opportunity wouldnt be open long and its proving prophetic.
JofA: If AICPA members approve it, the Global Institute, an independent body, will oversee the credential. What say will CPAs have in that organization?
Trepeck: While the Global Institute will be independent, self-governing and self-funding, it will receive heavy-duty advice and input from the CPA profession. CPAs will be well represented on the Board, on the Advisory Committee and on the Council of National Credential Granting Organizations. As a result, CPAs will be both advisers and decision-makers regarding worldwide competencies, ethics and admissions standards for the credential. This is part of the early adopter advantage that has been discussed.
JofA: Is involvement by other organizations growing or waning?
Trepeck: Definitely growing. Our global credential steering committee meeting in May was attended by founding members: Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States, as well as Italy, France and South Africa. As of July 1st, Italy has become an ongoing steering committee member, with voting power and participation in funding. There is also interest among other European countries and Mexico.
JofA: Are there any incentives to being an early adopter?
Trepeck: In addition to setting the requirements and standards of ethics for the credential, early adopters will enjoy other advantages. For example, early adopters will be exempt from the examination if they meet the other credentialing criteria. Theyll also benefit from lower membership dues. We also are proposing an ongoing royalty to the founding institutes in recognition of their outstanding efforts on behalf of the credential.
JofA: The naming process has been problematic. Where are you with it?
Trepeck: We plan to have a proposed name by the end of the summer. This time we are going about it quite differently. The name will not be a made up word. It will be descriptive and designed for ultimate flexibility in usage and presentation. Credential holders could use letters after their name, a tag line under their name and/or a moniker/seal on their letterhead and business cards.
JofA: What are the real advantages of the credential to a practitioner?
Trepeck: There are two heroes in this effort. The first is the credential itself. It will tell the clients, employers and customers that the holder has the capabilities to take strategy and innovative thinking to a level that enhances economic value. The second hero is what we call the Knowledge Resource. It will make available to credential holders information that was previously inaccessible in one place. Additionally, an expert panel of advisers and well-known thinkers, not previously accessible to this group, will be established. It also will create a global share group unlike any that exists today.