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Is Getting a CITP Worth It?

Sometimes, your career troubles are so massive that you can no longer afford to buy a few rounds of drinks to convince your buddies to listen to you complain for the fifteenth night in a row. That's when you man (or woman) up, open up an email and let GC steer you in the right direction. We're about as useful as your most alcoholic friend when it comes to sound advice but hey, it beats telling the bartender how miserable your life is.

Curious if you guys can write/field an article with regards to the Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) certification offered by CITP. I passed the CPA, and am looking to take the CISA next June. Was wondering if this is either a) a certification also worth getting, or b) a shameless cashgrab from the AICPA (Optional $200 IT Section Membership and/or $300-500 for the exam, on top of the $215 AICPA membership).

Ah, certifications, gotta love 'em. It's not enough that many of you sat for and passed one of the most difficult professional examinations on the face of the planet to become CPAs but you'd be some kind of underachieving loser if you didn't pursue at least a dozen or so additional certifications right? Well, not always.

The CITP has been around since 2000, meaning even if it is fundamentally a cashgrab (that is up for debate), it's certainly not going to get the kind of giggles you'll hear if you tell people you just got your CGMA. Over 1600 professionals hold a CITP and in 2009, it saw a 90% increase in new credential-holders over the year previous. It probably helps that the AICPA gave the CITP a bit of a makeover in 2009, announcing at the 2009 AICPA TECH+ conference “the revised credential will concentrate on information technology expertise relating to audit and attest services and financial data components, analysis and reporting. The holder of the revised credential represents a CPA who provides assurance to financial information or insight to business data, process or reporting.”

Jim Bourke – who we totally respect – is a CITP and the past Past-Chair of AICPA CITP Credential Committee so maybe he's a little biased but he lists the benefits via NJSCPA as the following:

  • Only CPAs can be CITPs, differentiating your unique blend of skills in the marketplace
  • As a CPA/CITP you offer a unique blend of business acumen and IT expertise
  • CITP is the mark of excellence for CPA business technologists who are leaders in industry, public practice, government and academia
  • CITP gives you the opportunity to move into new technology-related roles and opportunities
  • CITP elevates the CPA business technologist to the executive level as an integral part of business planning
  • CITP gives you access to a community in which you can share, debate, network and communicate with other CPA business technology experts
  • CITP creates opportunities for additional billable hours by opening up services that in the past the firm was unable to offer

Now that you have to take an exam to get your CITP, I'd say it's slightly more valuable than, say, a CGMA but ultimately – like with any credential – it comes down to what you actually want to do with it. If you are some kind of ninja in your current position and your employer knows it, getting a CITP probably won't earn you any extra points with the old boss. If, however, you're dipping your toes in the job pool looking for new opportunities, a few more letters after your name can never hurt. A CITP does show a commitment to your specialty and will offer you networking opportunities you might other miss but if you've got to bend over backwards for one and plan to stay in your current position for the next two decades, I'd skip it if I were you.

I'm sure our cynical readership will tell you the CITP isn't worth half what the AICPA thinks it is but hey, what's the harm in having four more letters to slap after your name on your resume?

While we're on the subject of our cynical readership, the Peanut Gallery is invited to provide their $0.02 for or against in the comments. We expect nothing but brutal honesty from all of you.