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Death By Credentials!!

Is it just me or is the trend for credentials, credentials, credentials getting rather crazy? How much is too much?  How often are these ‘credentials’ just a way for an organization or association to make more money annually on renewal fees?  I am a CPA. It used to be a CPA was all that was needed to begin a robust career in accounting and finance. The education for the Bachelors Degree took 4 years.  Your first job out of college would be at a public accounting firm and you were set.

Now that same degree takes 5 years.  Often people are getting their Masters on top of this degree which is yet another year and then strive to pass the CPA test and work requirements.

Very recently a new credential for the accounting profession starting gaining strength, the CGMA, Chartered Global Management Accountant.  Those with enough accounting and finance experience can be grandfathered in until 1/1/15 upon which time this credential, like most, requires passing a difficult test. Herein lies the problem….  Do you not take advantage of the grandfathering and risk the new credential gaining strength causing your credentials to appear weaker without it?  As an owner of a recruiting company, I have been seeing a steady trend towards more and more people listing CGMA on their resume. I know they have all been grandfathered in because the testing doesn’t even start until 1/1/15.  Yesterday, I bowed to pressure and obtained my CGMA credential.  I had to pay close to $600 to an organization and have annual renewals.

Credentialing is an issue in many professions.  Human Resource professionals know all too well the turmoil going on in the credentials world.  The PHR, SPHR and GPHR credentials have basically been turned on their head as the Society of Human Resource Professionals is now coming up with their own credentials.  Of course, they will grandfather in those with the previous credentials, but the story continues.

Credentials have many positives as well. They are a way to, in effect, confirm by an outside source, the person’s skills and knowledge.  You can review a resume and ‘trust’ this as extra proof they have the experience and skills needed. But how much is too much?  Degrees, advanced degrees and now credentials, credentials, credentials…oh my!

Renee Fulton, CPA,CGMA, Talis Group Staffing