Certification Update: Change in Certification Certificate Delivery
January 28, 2011
In 2010, the Certification program spent approximately $32,000 on shipping/mailing costs. This expenditure includes shipping exams one-way to the various domestic and international exam locations throughout the year, shipping certificates to the successful new certified professionals, and shipping certificates to those who have successfully recertified.
The shipping/mailing costs appear, on the Certification program budget sheet, as one of the largest expenditures. It would be irresponsible of the Certification program if those expenditures were not reviewed and analyzed to determine if the budget was spent efficiently or if a change in process is needed that could bring about some savings to be realized in the upcoming 2011 program year. In order to do just that, a cost analysis was performed.
The following questions were asked and data reviewed:
What was shipped/mailed?
Why was it shipped/mailed?
Could it have been done more efficiently or differently?
If differently, would it increase the cost or identify savings?
Findings and Recommendations resulting from the review:
Currently, AACE ships certification exam packages to the person identified as the Main Proctor at each exam location. This shipment is a one-way shipment paid by AACE. It has been the policy of AACE Certification Program for the local Section or Main Proctor to be responsible for the return shipping of the certification exam package back to Headquarters.
The change starting in 2011, AACE will be responsible for shipping costs both ways -- to the main proctor and also the return shipping costs back to Headquarters.
Domestically, the return shipping costs will be via a pre-paid shipping label to be attached to the exam package being returned to Headquarters. Internationally, the return shipping instructions will be given to the main proctor and coordinated through Headquarters shipping department.
Over the past year, it has become more difficult for some local Sections to fund the return of the certification exam package back to Headquarters. Several local Sections have declined the opportunity to host certification exams because of their lack of funds to cover the return mailing. It is not the intent of the Certification program to burden the local Sections to a point where they cannot participate in offering certification opportunities to their membership.
Therefore, the Certification program feels this is a true win-win for all – the local Sections are not burdened with added costs and Headquarters can ensure all the certification exam packages are returned in a timely manner, without delay.
Currently, AACE mails all certificates to each individual who has been successful in passing the various certification exams or who has made application and recertified with the appropriate recertification credits.
During 2010, 1,723 certified professionals received individual hard copy certificates via shipping/mailing domestically and internationally. It is not hard to see that a large part of the $32,000 spent in 2010 was for the actual shipping/mailing of individual hard copy certificates around the world.
Effective January 2011, AACE will stop issuing paper or hardcopy certificates and offer a virtual certificate that can be downloaded and is suitable for framing. This certificate will be available immediately upon receiving passing exam results or when the recertification application has been verified and processed. The successful certified professional receives an immediate certificate without delay.
Knowing that some professionals will want a paper or hardcopy certificate, an option will be offered by AACE. If certified professionals desire a paper or hardcopy certificate, the actual cost of shipping/mailing that paper/hardcopy certificate to the individual will be passed on directly to the person making the request. No added costs or fees will be added to the shipping/mailing cost.
Below is a copy of the new virtual certification certificate.
The Final Analysis:
With these changes to the Shipping/Mailing budget line item, AACE Certification Program is able to maintain the current exam fees, without an increase. The Certification exam fees have not been increased in approximately 10 years, even while realizing a growth of approximately 22% more exam candidates in 2010 over 2009.
The future looks very promising for the Certification Program with new innovative testing opportunities being discussed and evaluated. The savings realized from the Shipping/Mailing budget, along with other cost reduction measures being worked, will enable the Certification Program to move forward into a new age of testing and certifications.