The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) this week announced an Internal Control Certificate Program that offers financial professionals, including internal auditors and CPAs, the opportunity to earn a professional certificate in the 2013 COSO Internal Control-Integrated Framework.

The program is a combination of self-paced learning and a hands-on workshop, followed by an online examination. Upon successful completion of all three components, candidates will receive an official COSO certificate that demonstrates their ability to design and implement an effective system of internal control utilizing the COSO Internal Control-Integrated Framework.

This unique course can be offered only through one of COSO’s five sponsoring organizations:American Accounting Association (AAA), American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), Financial Executives International (FEI), IMA-The Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business, and The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). The IIA and AICPA are offering the three-day workshops throughout 2016, AAA plans to train its staff on the Certificate, and the other sponsors are actively promoting the benefits of the offering to their members.

“An internal control system requires the use of judgment to monitor and assess its effectiveness, and it must provide insight on the application of controls. The new Certificate, through a blend of self-paced learning and live classroom training, offers a unique opportunity to develop expertise in designing, implementing, and conducting an internal control system,” said Robert Hirth, COSO chair. “The certificate is much like a diploma, and can be earned through completion of training and an end-of-course examination.”

This program, which counts for 25.5 CPE credits, takes the user through the Framework from start to finish using real-world scenarios, allowing participants to:

Understand the principles-based approach

Identify and analyze risks

Develop a confidence in the internal control system

Learn from experts and share their experiences with peers

"[T]he Certificate provides great value to risk and control professionals including chief audit executives (CAEs) looking to enhance their staffs’ qualifications,” Hirth said. “The goal of the online learning component is to introduce key framework concepts to participants and to start them thinking about it in the context of their organizations.”

"A competency-based certificate on COSO's updated internal control framework shows the profession's commitment to enhancing quality in its programs," said Charles Landes, vice president of professional standards and services for the AICPA. "It's an ideal way to demonstrate proficiency and expertise for staff, consultants and others who play a role in this critical area."