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In July 1997, the AICPA, in conjunction with Alamo Learning Systems, an ISO 9000 training consultant, began a series of introductory training programs to prepare CPAs to assist companies in obtaining ISO 9000 certification and to conduct pre- and post-certification audits.

The half-day training program, held in New York, Philadelphia, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco featured an overview of ISO 9000, implications for U.S. businesses, consulting opportunities for CPAs, and the suitability of CPAs to provide this critical service to client companies.

ISO 9000 certification is a series of quality system standards requiring that any activity affecting output, either through manufacturing a product or providing a service, has its quality standards planned, controlled, and documented, in order to achieve consistency. Widely accepted among European businesses, ISO 9000 is expected to have a major impact on U.S businesses in the near term. According to the AICPA, the Big Three auto manufacturers require all of their suppliers, regardless of their size, to be ISO 9000 certified, and this trend is expected to soon extend to U.S. businesses of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy.

The AICPA is promoting this area of service because the core skills and strengths of CPAs, specifically in the areas of documentation, auditing, and analysis, along with their reputation for integrity and objectivity, make them the ideal professionals to provide this consulting and assurance service.

Following completion of the introductory training programs, the AICPA intends to implement a comprehensive, four-day training workshop as part of a turnkey program with Alamo Learning Systems titled, Train the Consultant. *

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