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Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation President, Wanda Goodson, describes the Accredited Business Accountant Credential and its Value in the Workplace

Written by AnonymousMarch 2, 2012
Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation

The Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation (ACAT),, is the regulatory and certification board for the Accredited Business Accountant (ABA) Credential and provides specialized information, training and support for prospective and current ABA credential holders. More information about ACAT can be found on the National Society of Accountants web site at

ABA Accredited Business Accountant®  is ACAT’s trademarked designation for Accreditation in Accountancy. The ABA is a prestigious professional accounting credential that demonstrates to clients, potential clients and employers that the credential holder has a thorough knowledge and proficiency in financial accounting, financial reporting, financial statement preparation, taxation, managerial accounting, business law, and ethics for small- to medium-sized businesses. 

The ABA is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), an independent resource recognized as the authority on accreditation standards for professional certification organizations and programs. recently spoke with Wanda Goodson, CPA, ABA, ATA, President of the Accreditation Council of Accounting and Taxation. The ACAT President presides over the ACAT Board which is made up of six accounting and tax practitioners, two educators and one public member. The Board certifies the exams, oversees the panels who maintain the exam test banks, works with ACAT’s psychometrician to assure that the ACAT exams are reliable and valid, performs tests for content accuracy and handles issues related to credential holders and their clients. 

ACFD: When and why was the Accredited Business Accountant (ABA) credential established?

WG: In 1973, a group of leaders from the National Society of Accountants established ACAT, the Accreditation Council for Accounting and Taxation, as an independent credentialing body to provide a standard of competency in public accounting.  The Accredited Business Accountant (ABA) credential is available to both licensed and unlicensed accounting and tax professionals.  It is a credential that is tailored for the “main street accountant”.  At the time the ABA was established, the main accounting credential available was the Certified Public Accountant, which was available only to college graduates.  The Accredited Business Accountant can be earned by anyone that has experience in the field of accounting and taxation and passes a rigorous examination.

ACFD: What special knowledge does someone have who has earned the ABA credential?

WG: The exam for the Accredited Business Accountant is developed from a Job Practice Analysis (JPA) which accountants nationwide use to determine the knowledge that a professional accountant should have at all stages of practice.  Therefore, someone who has earned an ABA has demonstrated through testing a general knowledge of all phases of accounting and taxation for the small business accountant and tax professional and has a number of years of experience putting this knowledge to practical use.

ACFD: How do those who have earned the ABA credential contribute value in the workplace?

WG: The value of an ABA credential is two-fold.  It demonstrates to prospective employers of ABA holders that they have a knowledge that is above and beyond that of other candidates for the job, and that they have voluntarily obtained their credentials, which shows the pride the applicant has in the profession.  For ABA credentialed individuals in public practice, the credential demonstrates a commitment to professional excellence to clients and prospective clients.

ACFD: Thank you very much!

Check out more interviews at Accounting Careers for Dummies Interview Series.