New Credential Is a Natural Fit


  

SPECIAL REPORT: THE GLOBAL BUSINESS CREDENTIAL

New Credential
Is a Natural Fit

So say most business and industry members.

usiness and industry members, the AICPA’s largest and fastest growing constituency, seem to have a natural affinity for the proposed global business credential.

“I’m not aware of anyone in industry who has taken a strong negative stand,” says Gary Lubin, an executive at Merck Capital Ventures in Montvale, New Jersey, and chairman of the AICPA’s Business and Industry Executive Committee. “What really hammered home its value to me were the survey results showing that senior management would view this credential not only as a distinguishing characteristic, but one that would be valuable within their organization.”

“I view the new credential as a complement to the CPA, which would help to recognize what we in industry and public practice are already doing,” adds Timothy M. O’Brien, president and CEO of the Colorado-based American Humane Association. “We know that CPAs do more than the traditional bean counting, but that perception still persists. I also like the idea that this new credential would be responsive to the marketplace, not the state licensing process.”

“It would allow us to move out of the niche other people have placed us in,” agrees Stuart Benton, vice president of finance at MAC SYSTEMS in Avon, Massachusetts. “There are still plenty of people in management who think CPAs can’t see the big picture or think strategically.”

CPAs in business and industry are well aware that some of their colleagues in public practice would prefer that the AICPA concentrate instead on stretching the CPA brand because they fear a new credential could create competition from nonCPAs. “I can understand and appreciate their concerns, but I have to disagree,” says Ken Askelson, internal audit manager with JC Penney Company. “The CPA profession is facing stiff competition with or without this new credential. There is nothing wrong with stretching the brand, but this is intended to elevate the brand, not just stretch it. Adding this global designation to a CPA would do a lot more than just say, ‘Here’s an extra service under the CPA umbrella.’”

Mano Mahadeva, director of valuations at the $1.7 billion, Texas-based health care company, U.S. Oncology, particularly likes the global aspect of the new credential. “The international networking opportunities this new credential offers are phenomenal,” he says. “It will be fascinating to hear different business perspectives from other parts of the world.”

Support for the new credential is not unanimous even among CPAs in business and industry. “I do not believe that an additional credential will enhance the CPA profession,” says Donald Walczyk, treasurer and controller at the New Hampshire-based Geophysical Survey Systems, Inc. “I’m afraid it will only be confusing to nonfinancial people, who often are in the position of doing the hiring. It could also dilute rather than enhance the CPA brand.”

Many CPAs in business and industry support the new credential even as they recognize it will take some time for it to make an impression in the marketplace. “At my career stage, this is probably not going to have any affect on me at all,” acknowledges Timothy O’Brien, who spent six years in public accounting and a dozen as the State Auditor of Colorado. “But I have two kids in high school. What’s the old saying? ‘A wise man plants the seed for a tree even though he will never enjoy its shade.’”

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