I think the number of accounting credentials available today is getting out of hand. Don’t get me wrong. I am a big advocate of education. I even started an online education company. So, I get that credentials are important. They show that we have the proper education and training to do the job.

But, sometimes the number of initials trailing after a name looks a little over the top to me. And I don’t know that the lay person (aka potential client) really has a clue what all these initials really mean.

These are the credentials I see regularly, in no particular order:

• CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
• EA (Enrolled Agent)
• CMA (Certified Management Accountant)
• CFP (Certified Financial Planner)
• CIA (Certified Internal Auditor)
• Cr.FA (Certified Forensic Accountant)
• ABA (Accredited Business Accountant/Advisor)
• ATP (Accredited Tax Preparer)
• ARA (Accredited Retirement Advisor)
• ATA (Accredited Tax Advisor)
• CITP (Certified Information Technology Professional)
• CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst)
• CVA (Certified Valuation Analyst)
• ABV (Accredited in Business Valuation)
• ASA (Accredited Senior Appraiser)
• CFF (Certified in Financial Forensics)
• CPIM (Certified in Production Inventory Management)
• CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner)

And coming soon, all paid tax return preparers will be required to pass a competency test, take continuing education, and obtain a number. Will they put PTIN after their names?

Seriously, how many credentials do we need?