Jamming with Jason 36: A Candid Discussion About Certifications

Certifications are a necessary part of developing your professional career. Without them, you risk being held back in your career earning potential, and promotion possibilities.

In today’s job market, certifications are becoming more and more important … but often they can take 1 to 2 years (or more) to obtain using archaic methods typically used to limit the number of people who can obtain the certification. If you need need experience before you can get certificated, but need a certification to get experience, what do you do? Does’t make a lot of sense to me and there is a better way.

In this episode I speak candidly about what it takes to obtain a Big 3 certifications for internal auditors, some of the methods used to limit who can get certified, and what you can do to get yourself certified much quicker.

If you are the type of person who would rather spend 1 to 2 weeks getting a certification instead of 1 to 2 years, check out the new Certified Risk Based Internal Auditor (cRBIA) training and certification offered through cRisk Academy: https://ondemand.criskacademy.com/p/certified-risk-based-internal-auditor-crbia/?affcode=105582_jpp6czlf?product_id=1405370&coupon_code=EARLY

Don’t miss out on the 60% discount when you register during month of November and use coupon code: EARLY

Transcript

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Welcome to another episode of jammin with Jason. Hey, welcome back. My friends, this week I want to talk to you a little bit about certifications.

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Now professional designations or certifications are something that we need in our career development there and they are becoming a more and more important part of your career development. So I want to go through today and talk a little bit about that, about how to get certified

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In about some of the kind of fallacies or kind of the ugly side of certification sometimes that people don’t realize and also talk about some new options around certification as well so

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As I was was saying to begin with, you know, a lot of times, especially an internal audit, we need to have certifications. If we’re going to be long term internal auditor.

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So why do we need certifications well certifications prove that we understand certain knowledge have certain skills and competencies and so often, you know, again, if you’ve ever tried to find a new job.

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On your resume or CV, there’s usually a place for certifications. Now, having been a hiring manager myself for many years.

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One of the first things that is done and screening candidates for new jobs is do the candidates have certifications.

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So if you’re looking to change jobs, having certifications is an important thing to have on your resume or CV. Now besides that, you know, and again, having those things obviously gives you a leg up in the industry.

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For example, right. Again, if I’m a hiring manager and I’m looking at two different resumes and I have to screen out and decide who do I want to interview.

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There are certain things that I can look at. So, you know, years of experience where you’ve worked before. Maybe some of the, you know, if you have a degree or other things like that.

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But one of the main things that I’m going to use to screen is if two people, you know, effectively on paper are the same.

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But one person has a certification, the other person does not, I’m probably going to choose to interview the person with the certification.

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Now why am I doing that because the certification process helps to determine and prove that you have certain knowledge, skills and competencies

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Now, whether you have the certification or not. I know doesn’t necessarily mean that you are qualified

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But it is one of those things that often people will use to screen out applicants. So let’s talk about kind of the certification process.

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You know, you’ve probably heard some of the stuff that I’ve talked before about related to the what I call the big three certifications.

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And those are the CPA or a certified public accountant or in some countries it’s chartered accountant, the CIA, which is certified internal auditor.

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And this ISA certified information systems auditor, those are kind of the three main kind of gold standards, if you will, for certification. Those are the ones that most of the time if you have one of those. That’s a big deal. And I’ll explain to you.

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Why

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It’s actually a big deal to have those. I have two of those. I’m a CPA and a CIA and so I’ll go through and just kind of explain the process behind how you actually get those

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And in just kind of explain that. So like I said, those are and when I talk about the big three. What I mean by that is

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If you are planning to have a career in internal audit, I would suggest that you get at least one of those. Now do you need to have all three. No.

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Do you need to have more than one, probably not. I just chose to have to because I came from public accounting. So I was already a certified public accountant.

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Before I became a chief audit executive, but for me it was important that I also got the CIA, because I wanted to prove

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And show other people on my team that I understood internal auditing as well. Now I’m going to get into. As I said, some of the, the different tricks and other stuff around certifications.

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And here is one. So a lot of the traditional certifications that have been around for a long time. They are used as a way to limit the number of people who are certified

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And the whole thinking behind that is the fewer people that have this certification. So the tougher. We make it

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For people to get the certification means that it must have more value for the people that actually do have it.

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And so again, if you think about supply demand if you limit the supply, but the demand is high than the price of that product goes up.

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And so again, that is, is kind of the, the, the mentality that a lot of times certification bodies have when it comes to certifications.

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So let me let me talk about. And like I said, because I’m a CPA and a CIA. Let me explain to you kind of how that process works and how that is actually done with both of these

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So I’ll start with the CPA because that was one that I that I got first so Certified Public Accountant in the United States is actually a license.

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It’s not necessarily a certification, but it is a license to do business in public accounting that’s issued by the individual states in the US. So I’m a CPA in California and in Idaho.

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Now in order to be able to take the CPA exam and I took it many, many years ago and they actually made the requirements harder after I

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Took the CPA and so again the, the group of CPA said, look, we want to make this tougher, so fewer people have it. And by doing that, we’re going to make the value of the CPA greater

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Or at least that’s their thought and I’ll share with you later. I don’t agree with that. But this, this is the thought process.

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So if you wanted to become a CPA, there’s certain things that you have to do you have to get a college education.

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Now when I went through. You had to have a bachelor’s degree and it had to be in accounting or you had to have a certain number of accounting credits.

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That you took in order to be able to sit for the exam. That’s changed. Most places now. Now, you usually have to have a master’s degree or 150 hours of college.

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Course underneath you. So that’s the first thing that limits. So people have to have a college education to become a CPA. So that’s the first limiting factor.

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Then there’s there’s also years of experience. And so again, when I went through this. You had to have a minimum, you have to work underneath and other CPA for a minimum of two years.

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Before you could actually become licensed as a CPA. Now, there’s also an exam at the time that I took it. There were four different parts and you had to pass all four parts of the exam.

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In order to be able to become a CPA and you have to go through and take an ethics exam and do some other stuff afterwards as well. But this is why for most people.

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To go through and get the CPA is something that takes at least half a year to maybe one or two years just to be able to pass the exam.

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By the time you add on the experience requirements, you know, again, you’re looking at a two to three year process at least

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Before you can actually get the CPA designation. So obviously it’s tough. It’s very difficult to pass those exams, the first time.

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And so again, people have to usually take those exams, more than one time, which again increases the length of time before they can become certified

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So again, that’s kind of the process for CPA. And so as I said, you can see that it’s very difficult to actually become a CPA.

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And so as a result of that people believe that adds more value to the CPA itself. So next time we talk about the CIA.

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And so the certified internal auditor very similar because a lot of it is kind of been based on or wanting to appear equivalent to the CPA.

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And so again, with the CIA, you have to have formal education. They’ve changed the requirements, a little bit, but you still have to have some college some combination of

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college degree plus years of experience to be able to sit for the exam and to become certified

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You also have to go through and pass. Now it’s three parts. When I took it. There were four different parts. So you have to take three different exams pass those exams.

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And so, again, very similar to the CPA. This is a certification that takes years to accomplish.

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So again, by the time that you go through two years of experience you study for and pass these three different exams.

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It takes a while to get there. And so again, both the CPA and the CIA are ways of kind of limiting who can get certified and come into the certification club, if you will.

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Now along that whole journey. In addition to it, taking a lot of time. It also takes a lot of money.

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And the time and money aspect to it is something that a lot of times people don’t understand when they first get into this

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So again, here’s the reality right if you’re going for one of these certifications like CPA or CIA, you’re going to spend probably two to $3,000 at least

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Just in testing fees and buying some books to be able to study. So before you even start studying you’re into it, two to $3,000

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And some of you might go what, just a minute. Well, as an example, right, the CIA usually again to get study materials you’re looking at probably $1,000

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You’ve got an application fee which I believe is around $250 and then you have to pay for each exam. Another $250 per part. So again, you’re into it at least $2,000

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Before you have even started studying now the time aspect of it is really where a lot of people kind of forget or don’t think about this.

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And again, if you value your time then you also need to be thinking about this. And so again, for both of these, you’re going to be spending hundreds of hours studying

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And so I usually tell people, for example on CIA when I’m helping people pass and become certified as a certified internal auditor.

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I tell them, look, you need to probably spend 80 to 100 hours per part, that means that you’re going to be spending, you know, 250 to

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300 hours and at $20 an hour, all of a sudden you start to see that your time investment is worth again additional two to $3,000 for every exam that you’re taking

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And so that’s why, again, if you, if you look at some of these, you’re going to be investing probably close to $10,000 worth of time and money.

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You know, over the course of multiple years in order to get these certifications. Now again, I’m not saying this to discourage people or anything by that means

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Just trying to explain to people kind of what the process is because the next question might be, you know, you may be asking, Well, Jason. Why

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Why, if it takes years and 10,000 plus dollars in order to to get certified become a CPA or CIA. Why would anyone do it.

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Well, the reason. Again, as I talked about at the beginning of the podcast is, this is one of those things that screens people out of jobs.

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And so it makes it easier for you to get a job. If you have certifications, but also you usually make more money.

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And so again, somebody that is kind of in a staff level position or senior level position that can maybe move into that next role like a manager role or move to a different company.

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It’s not untypical for people to get a 20 to $40,000 a year raise once they become certified. And so again, the time, the effort the money that you’re putting into it.

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And and and kind of proving to everybody else that you do understand your stuff does pay off financially in the end. Okay.

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So, and again, that’s why I say these are kind of the big three certifications CPA CIA CIA, NSA

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Because they take time to get, but there is a big financial payoff usually that goes along with it as well.

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But again, just be aware that you’re going to be spending a significant amount of time and money in order to be able to receive or get those certifications. Okay, now

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Let me go through and talk a little bit more about some of these other things. Because again, as I as I talked to people and you know on on some of the exams, for example.

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They’re very difficult. Some of the questions are very tricky and they use mechanisms like curving of an exam.

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Putting in questions that are actually not graded because they’re trying to, you know, find out and create new practice questions for the next round.

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It makes it difficult usually again for people to try to understand where is it that I need to be and how many of these questions. Do I have to get correct

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So again, you know, a lot of times there’s a gray area of, you know, if you score up to this point, they can tell you your score, but then there’s this gray area in the middle.

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That, you know, you may have gotten enough. But the problem is because of a curve or only allowing a certain number of people to pass each time that the the exam is given over a time period.

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Means that you may actually miss out if everybody did better on that particular quarter, then you know you don’t get to that magical number of whatever it needs to be for you to pass.

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Like I said, I only bring that up because I’ve heard a lot of people, you know, asking me questions about, you know, how is it actually calculated how many of the questions. Do I have to get right.

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The problem is, yet I don’t know because they don’t really tell you know teach us or tell us about that. Some of the questions are worth more points and others.

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Some of the questions are graded, some are not. And so again it’s it’s it’s frustrating. A lot of times for people

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In trying to be able to figure out and understand why they’re not passing and this usually comes up, especially, you know, people often reach out to me.

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Especially for the CIA when they have not passed 234 times and they can’t figure out why. And there’s usually some common reasons, and I’m not going to get into all of that today.

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But there’s, there’s a lot of questions around the scoring of the exam and and trying trying to help them understand you know how they actually get to that point so that they can pass this next time.

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Okay, that was a little bit of rambling. But let me let me get in now and talk you know about some other things because those are not the only certifications that are out there.

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And so what we are seeing are some changes that have been happening is there’s a lot more certifications that are coming about.

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And again, it’s like I said before, those were kind of the big three. But what do you, what do you think about these other certifications. Are they valuable and the answer is yes.

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So if you go back to what we talked about at the top of the podcast, you know, again, it’s better to have some certifications on your resume. Then have nothing.

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So for example, if you’re in the process of studying for the CIA exam.

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It may be a good idea to get some other, more topic specific certifications that don’t take as long to be able to get so that at least you have some certifications on your resume.

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Because again, if you’ve been in your career for, let’s say, five, six years you’re looking for a new job.

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The hiring manager is probably going to be screening based on certifications. So if you’re in the process of passing the CIA, but you have not

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And you don’t have any other certifications on there, there’s a good chance you’re going to get screened out and not even have an opportunity to interview for the job. So let’s go through and talk about

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That the other certifications. Now there’s lots of different certifications that are out there, and I am not an advocate for you to just go out and get any random certification.

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There’s a lot of different certifications. There’s some that are worth the price. There are others that are just a complete waste of your time and money.

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And and part of that is because of who is doing it the content of it. Other things like that that you that you want to be careful of.

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The other thing is to make sure that the certifications that you’re going after some of these that are more topic related actually relate to what you’re trying to do.

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And so I’ll give you an example of somebody that I talked to that he was he was really hot on trying to get some certifications.

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And so he said you know there’s there’s really kind of three that I want to get. I want to get the CIA certified internal auditor the CFA Chartered Financial Analyst and the CFP.

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Certified Fraud examiner and so I stopped and I said, why do you want to get those three well because they all kind of interest me

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Well, they all interest you, but all three of them do not really help you necessarily in your career. So as an example, that the CFA is one that is usually

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Gotten by people that are in the financial investment industry. So people that are brokers, because it relates more to actually managing people’s finances investing in the stock and bond market really has nothing to do with auditing.

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Same thing again. Well CFP can be great if you’re going to be focusing on fraud or forensic accounting. But again, if that’s not the direction that you’re trying to make your career go

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Then, really, it’s kind of a waste of time and money to be able to go after those those other certifications. So again, you want to be thinking about

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What is it that you want. What’s your end goal. Where do you want to get to and is the knowledge, skills and competencies that you’re going to learn from this particular certification.

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Is it something that’s actually going to help you in your career. So again, if we take a step back and you know people are asking me, Hey, you know what’s. Let’s look at the big three Jason

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Which are the big three. Should I actually get. And I’ll say, Well, what do you want. Where do you want your career to go

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Well it audit really excites me. I really like that. I like it. Okay, great. Then the CIA, NSA is probably better for you.

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Or if somebody says, Hey, you know i i really like kind of the financial accounting controls.

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Internal controls around financial reporting socks type stuff. Great CPA is probably going to be better for you.

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Or if you look at it and say, hey, I want to be a general auditor. I want to be an internal audit. I don’t know exactly. For sure if I’m going to specialize in an area.

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But I want to do internal auditing. Okay, great. The CIA is probably better for you because that’s one of the takeaways that I want you to have here is to realize that

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Not everybody needs all the certifications and you should pick ones, as I said, that are are that makes sense based on where you want to take your career.

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Now, okay, at the beginning, I told you that I was going to kind of tell you a little bit about some of these other options.

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Because again, getting the big three is going to take you years to be able to get done. So what can you do in the short term.

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And again, I told you at the beginning, I am not personally have the belief that many others are that say if we limit how many people can get it.

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Then that means the value for everybody who is certified goes up, I don’t agree with that. I believe that the more people who are actually certified

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Have the knowledge, skills and competencies that go along with that particular search certification. I think they’re better off. And I think our organizations are better off.

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The more people who get certification. So what does that mean, right. Well, again, from my perspective, I don’t believe that there should be these educational

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Years of experience or crazy exam curves and weird tests to try to trick people so that they don’t pass the exam.

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I think if somebody understands the information is able to pass the exam. I think they should get certified. I don’t think there should be all of these other limiting things in the way

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So as an example, I’m a smart guy. I’ve taken lots of law over the years. In fact, one of the whole parts of the certified

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Of the CPA exam is about law. So I understand a lot about contracts, everything else. Well, if I decided that I wanted to be a lawyer.

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I can’t just go down and take the local bar exam pass and become an attorney, even though I could pass the bar exam.

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They would not allow me to be an attorney. And the reason is I didn’t go to law school. There’s a requirement that you have to graduate from law school.

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Before they will allow you to take the exam. To me, that’s silly. If you can pass the exam, you should be able to practice law.

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And so I think it’s the same way in our profession as well. If you can pass an exam, you should be able to get the certification.

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So why am I bringing all this up to you, because there’s actually some exciting stuff that we’re doing with see risk Academy, because again, I’m not the only one that feels this way.

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We’ve actually kind of joined up with C risk Academy and I have taken a lot of the information that I’ve used because

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Not only do I have lots of certifications. You know, I have more than the CPA and CIA

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In fact, I’ve never list them because it’s a little embarrassing because there’s eight or 10 of them. And I feel like it’s alphabet soup. If I put them everywhere.

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But I’ve gone through the certification process a lot myself. I have a lot of certifications. But I’ve also helped to develop a lot of Industry Certifications

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That are used by thousands and thousands of people all over the year. All over. All over the world, not just the year, but the world. Okay.

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So I’m excited that I’ve been able to actually take an update some of the information that I’ve done related to risk based internal auditing.

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You know, I’ve been teaching risk based internal auditing for many, many years. I’ve written a book on it. I’ve taught thousands of people all over the world, how to do this.

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And now I’m excited that it’s actually coming out as a professional designation and certification that people can now get

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And so again, there’s no education requirements, no years of experience requirements. It’s the fact, you know, you take the course you understand the information

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You pass the exam, you get the certification. None of the garbage that a lot of the other people are trying to do to limit the number of people.

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But really allow anybody and everybody who understands the information and can pass the test to be able to get certified

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Now, I love this because instead of taking one to two years to get certified. You can do it in one to two weeks to get the difference years

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Versus weeks I think people should be able to study learn pass an exam within one to two weeks and be able to prove that they understand the information instead of having to spend one to two years and 10s of thousands of dollars of time and money in order to get that

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Got a little tickle in my throat today.

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And so again, excited that that is out there and so

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That’s just the first one. See risk is working on some other ones. Currently, and I know there’ll be announcing some of that stuff shortly.

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But wanted to make sure that you were aware of that. Because here’s the other exciting thing I’m putting the finishing touches on everything and getting it finalized. We’re getting it accredited through the International

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Certifications organization. So it gets a stamp of approval as well and can be accepted internationally.

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But see risk is also running a special on this certification course during the month of November. And so, in fact, if you sign up and pre register during the month of November.

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You save 60% off the course. And so again, want to make sure that

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If you’re the kind of person that wants to get another certification you’re interested in risk based internal auditing, you’re either trying to design or improve

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What you are doing from a risk based standpoint in your organization really excited to be able to have this out there and available for people

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And sharing this again with you now, because as I said at the end of November, the 60% discount goes away. So if this is something that you know you want to do.

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Information is down below in the show notes for you to go out. Check it out and make sure that you end up getting registered before the end of November.

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All right, let me check my notes and make sure that I that I got everything and kind of give you a little summary here at the end so

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Again certifications are a very important part of your career development. In fact, if you do not have them you will probably be looked over from promotion.

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It’ll end up costing you money in that you will not be able to have the career advancement and earn additional money or

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Not get the promotion or not. Get some of the other jobs. And again, it is important and becoming ever more important in our current work environment.

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That not only do you have to go to college and learn, whatever you need to do, but the certifications afterwards are becoming more and more important.

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And so again, talked about the big three certifications. If you’re somebody that’s serious about a career in internal audit.

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You should be working on at least one of those, you need to probably it again, in my opinion, have at least one of those

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But supplement what you’re doing. And while you’re going after the big ones. Make sure that you’re also able to get some of these

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Other topic related certifications that are in alignment with where you want your career to go that can allow you to get certified in a shorter period of time.

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Like the Certified Risk Based internal audit one that I’m talking about where you can get certified in one to two weeks.

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Instead of one to two years, you know, because I’m guessing you don’t want to have to wait two or three years for your next job promotion or being able to move to another company.

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And so, again, the sooner that you’re able to you know just buckle down due to the training invest the time and money.

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And get through and get the certifications, the quicker your career can actually take off and get going, where it needs to go.

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All right. Well, with that, my friends, I think I’m going to sign off for this week. It’s been a pleasure talking to you. And again, check out the show notes for all the different links and I’ll catch you on a future episode of jammin with Jason. Have a great rest of your day.

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