In fields such as teaching, accounting, and acupuncture, certification is a formal process of making certain that an individual is qualified in terms of particular knowledge or skills and has the relevant experiences as well. Certification programs are often prepared by or supervised by some certifying agency, such as a professional association. In some instances, certification can only be access by members of such associations only. Other requirements for certifications includes academic qualifications, knowledge of a particular trade as per the certifying bodies Book of Knowledge (BOK), certain years of documented experiences, references from employees and many other prerequisites.

Professional bodies such as accountancy bodies begun to realise the importance of certification given the trend of recruiting graduates into professional. Such graduates will not be willing to spend long periods as interns and learn while studying. A quicker way for them to establish themselves is to get certificated in some specialised area such as management accounting, internal audit or forensic accounting. See List below for examples of such certifications.

  • Certified Internal Auditors (CIA) by Institute of Internal Auditors
  • Certified Commercial & industrial Accountants (CCIA) from the Institute of Commercial and Industrial Accountants Malaysia
  • Certified Internal Control Management Professionals (CiCMP), GRC Sox Group
  • Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

Certifications can benefit individuals as well as the organizations they work for. Benefits for organisations includes the possibility of staff being trained to a consistent skills level and well as having skills that are benchmarked to recognised criteria. Certificated people are typically more productive and work to consistent standards. Certification can reduce downtime, because staff members have the skills needed to cope with issues as they arise – and that certified people made more use of a product’s advanced features and could deploy new products with greater ease. Gaining certifications can be aligned to performance-related pay allowing companies to have readily available benchmarks to base such decisions on. Other benefits includes lower staff turnover and better customers satisfaction.

On the individual level, certified people are more employable: according to an IDC white paper, “Sixty-three percent of hiring managers believe certified individuals are more productive than their non-certified counterparts[1].” Certified individuals could earn more: a survey of MCPs by IDC found that 43% got a pay rise after gaining their certification[2]. Some certifications make you part of a professional network, for example, Microsoft Certified Professionals belong to a community that only they can access.

Issues in Certifications

Certification confers to the recipient a recognition that carries with it economic value as the certified personal is in a better position to get a service contract or charge more than another similarly skilled person without certification. This places much importance on the quality of the certification itself and the due process that goes into it to ensure that the certified person is of the prescribed standard and is in position to maintain it. Webster[3] suggested that the most fundamental due process is the right to reapply for certification or retake the certification exam. Indeed, re-examination virtually eliminates the possibility of recurring clerical or computational errors. Accordingly, most certification bodies requires certified members to maintain or improve their skills by submitting themselves to Continuous Professional Development. For example, Certified Internal Auditors of the Institute of Internal Auditors Malaysia (IIAM) need to obtain 80 hours of training every 2 years[4]. Some professional bodies like the Board of certified Safety Professionals requires their Certified Safety Professionals to be recertified [5] every 5 years.

[1] Source: Quality Assurance (QA Limited ) website

[2] Source: Quality Assurance (QA Limited ) website

[3] Paper on Legal Issues in certification, presented by Hugh K. Webster at the CESB 2000 Certification Symposium held February 8, 2000 in Alexandria, Virginia.

[4] Source: Institute of Internal Auditor of Malaysia

[5] Source: Board of Certified Safety Professionals

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