CPA 2.0 

    IT Specialization for Career Enhancement 
    by James Bourke, CPA.CITP 

    If you are a CPA looking to take your knowledge and interest in technology to the next level, the AICPA has created a specialty credential that would be a perfect fit. The Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) credential is definitely a career-enhancement tool and one that will differentiate you from the crowd!

    A CITP (Certified Information Technology Professional) is a CPA who:

    • Is credentialed by the AICPA for their understanding of a broad body of Information Management knowledge.
    • Is a member of a very select group of fewer than 2,000 CPAs who have been recognized for their unique ability to provide business insight by leveraging knowledge of information relationships and supporting technologies.
    • Has achieved a combination of life-long learning, business experience, technology/forensic-related certifications, degrees and industry specific continuing education, providing them with a wide range of documented IT competencies.

    The CITP credential holder possesses a breadth of business and technology experience. The CITP Body of Knowledge is distinguished by five dimensions:

    • Risk Assessment
    • Fraud Considerations
    • Internal Control and IT General Controls
    • Evaluate, Test and Report
    • Information Management and Business Intelligence

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    For many years the CITP credential focused on the CPA who was immersed directly "in technology." In June 2009, the AICPA's CITP Credential Committee brought the focus of the credential back into the space that we "own" as CPAs.

    Now, as evidenced by the above depiction of the body of knowledge, the credential compliments the CPA with a focus on the impact technology plays on the information that we audit, evaluate, test and work with on a daily basis. This is a credential from which nearly every CPA can benefit. A true career-enhancement tool, this specialty credential spans the industries and fields in which a CPA can be found.

    The Value of a CPA.CITP in Public Practice

    Whether working as part of an external-audit team or supporting an organization's internal risk-management and compliance efforts as an advisor, a CPA.CITP's knowledge of financial reporting, accounting controls and the IT systems that support the reporting process helps in identifying and assessing financial reporting risks accurately. For businesses looking to reduce their exposure and ensure compliance with reporting requirements, or for audit firms looking to perform more effective audits and employ IT experts to help assimilate risk-based standards into their existing audit methodology, the CITP credential is the only specialty credential available to CPAs that is NOT available to non-CPAs that may sometimes compete with us in this environment.

    The Value of a CPA.CITP Providing IT Consulting Services

    CPA.CITPs understand the abilities and limitations of today's accounting solutions and how software and formalized processes can support internal control. They can help businesses assess their risk and employ software and IT capabilities to embed controls in financial processes.

    CPA.CITPs can help businesses tailor their financial reports and reporting processes to maximize their ability to react to market pressures and make intelligent, informed decisions regarding business activities.

    They understand that business owner/managers need to devote most of their time to operations and can help streamline critical financial processes, so that the owner/manager can spend less time in the back office and more time growing the business.

    The Value of a CPA.CITP in Industry

    In today's businesses, all financial information is stored, gathered and analyzed through the use of technology. IT and accounting are linked critically with each other. Having a CPA.CITP on staff provides an organization with a resource who can translate technical information into results-oriented business language that key decision-makers can understand. The CFO's role in industry often crosses over into the information technology arena, as technology plays a significant role in the outcome of performance results for a business. The CPA.CITP CFO is well equipped to handle the technological challenges that may be presented in the financial area. The CITP Body of Knowledge gives the CPA.CITP in industry, the ammunition to help an organization streamline business processes and maximize productivity while simultaneously managing risk.

    For more information on obtaining the CITP credential to enhance your career, here are some additional resources:


    On an annual basis, the AICPA hosts TECH+, the AICPA's premier conference for CPAs in Public, Consulting and Business and Industry. 

    This year's conference (co-located with the AICPA Practitioners Symposium), will be held at the new Aria in Las Vegas, NV, June 11th - 13th. The conference offers a one-stop learning experience that addresses the impact of our changing economy and the challenges that lie just over the horizon. In this intensive three-day event, you'll learn about:

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    • Current and future technologies to enable you to make efficient, cost-saving, smart technology investments;
    • IT Strategies for a Controller;
    • Optimizing Your Social Networking Strategy;
    • How the rapid shift towards mobile and cloud-based technologies will change the way you conduct business;
    • IT Governance for Small Business and CPA Firms;
    • Where to find the next growth opportunities;
    • What new accounting, audit or tax changes mean to you and your business, and more!

    This conference is a great way to meet other CPAs, like you, who want to understand the role that technology plays in everything that we do. Come out and mingle with those CPAs who have enhanced their careers with an IT specialization


    Conclusion

     

    So, take the next step with an IT Specialization: gather facts on the CITP credential using the above links, come out and visit with other CPAs/CITPs at TECH+ and join our IT family where you can be part of a wealth of content surrounding the important role of understanding how technology impacts everything we do as CPAs!

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    James C. Bourke, CPA.CITP.CFF, is a partner at WithumSmith+Brown where he is director of Firm Technology. He is a past president of the New Jersey Society of CPAs and currently serves on AICPA Council and the Chair of the AICPA CITP Credential Committee. He has been continually named by Accounting Today as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the Profession.




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