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17 Dec 2014

Two Terms Frequently Confused

2QuestionsTwo terms that are often confused, which results in incorrect usage, are “certification” and “designation.” We take this blog post as an opportunity to share the distinctions.

CERTIFICATION 

From BusinessDictionary.com: Formal procedure by which an accredited or authorized person or agency assesses and verifies (and attests in writing by issuing a certificate) the attributes, characteristics, quality, qualification, or status of individuals or organizations, goods or services, procedures or processes, or events or situations, in accordance with established requirements or standards.

The Certification program for Certified Inventory Specialists, created jointly with the Inventory Institute, refers to the confirmation that you have completed the stated requirements. The association management standards are to confirm this accomplishment through either an external review, assessment, or education. This standard is met through the achievement of a stated number of CEUs along with passing the specified courses and the Certification Exam.

DESIGNATION

This is simply the letters you use after your name to indicate that you have successfully completed your certification. Doctors add MD and PhD after their name; nurses include RN, accountants proudly include CPA; the inventory professional earns the letters CIS, stating that they are a Certified Inventory Specialist.

So, in a nutshell, you use your designation letters (CIS) to tell your prospects, clients, other professionals, and fellow industry members that you have taken a leadership role and have achieved your certification, that you have achieved the designation of being a Certified Inventory Specialist.

03 Dec 2014

Po-ta-to, Po-tah-to

PotatoSince the National Inventory Certification Association implemented the revised and improved certification process, we have been asked for some clarification of the terminology. The most common question has been, “What’s the difference between earning a certificate and achieving certification?”

Though po-ta-to and po-tah-to, or to-ma-to and to-mah-to, are the same, certificate and certification are quite different. Briefly, once you pass a course developed by NICA, you receive a certificate naming the course, indicating your accomplishment. Certification is a process that consists of proving knowledge and expertise through years in business, taking courses, attending seminars, receiving credit for college courses, and other options.

Following are the key points for NICA certification that list the differences in accordance with association certification standards.

CERTIFICATE

  • Demonstrates knowledge of the course content.
  • Indicates completion of a course. (You receive a certificate from NICA for each course you complete.)
  • For both experienced and new professionals alike take offered courses.
  • Awarded by educational programs or associations.

CERTIFICATION

  • Based on standards set through an industry-wide process which requires knowledge and skills.
  • Typically requires some professional experience.
  • Indicates mastery and competence of the industry, usually through an application and/or exam.
  • Results in designation initials to use after one’s name (CIS).
  • Has an ongoing requirement to maintain certification via CEUs.

You receive a certificate indicating each course you successfully complete; you receive certification by going through a process, a piece of which is taking certificate courses that award CEUs.

25 Nov 2014

Durham, NC Inventory Professional Achieves Certification

National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Robert Woodson for achieving the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist.

WoodsonThe National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is pleased to announce that Robert Woodson, of Inventory Investments, Ltd., has recently earned the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS). Achieving this designation confirms his knowledge to provide quality residential and small business contents professional inventory services.

To apply for certification and membership with NICA, the inventory professional must agree to conduct business according to the established industry Code of Ethics. Prior to taking the exam, the applicant must meet CEU and other requirements. Achieving designation for the asset inventory industry is an elective process. Mr. Woodson stated, “I chose to be certified to communicate to my organization and clients, that our brand means excellence!”

Inventory Investments, Ltd. was established in 2009, providing commercial asset inventory services. Discussing his decision to enter into the residential market, Woodson explains, “After years of doing inventories for small businesses, we wanted to diversify our service offering by providing care to homeowners.

There is an increasing awareness of the necessity and benefits of having a prepared photographic and written record of one’s personal property. This knowledge creates a greater demand for a professional inventory service for both residential and commercial clients. Choosing to achieve certification will enable Woodson’s company to stand apart from other asset inventory professionals who have not yet achieved designation as a Certified Inventory Specialist.

The National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) is nationally recognized as the official certification authority for the personal property/asset inventory industry. The certification and continuing education opportunities ensure that members have access to quality industry knowledge as well as business and professional development.

Based in Durham, North Carolina, Inventory Investments, Ltd provides residential and commercial asset inventory services throughout the Triangle Triad of North Carolina. For more information visit their website or contact Robert Woodson at 919-450-5272 or email contact@inventoryinvestments.com.

19 Nov 2014

Why Achieve Certification?

CertifiedCertifications serve a variety of purposes for a plethora of industries.  Some professions require designation to perform the chosen services, while others are elective. The asset inventory industry provides an elective process to achieve this status.

During the time you devote to accomplish your designation, you might begin to think that you’d prefer to spend the required time with family and friends, relaxing, or being involved in a multitude of other activities that are much more inviting than taking courses and tests.

So why achieve certification? For the asset inventory industry, there are some key things to consider when you are deciding whether to “bother” becoming certified:

  • The initials after your name tell current and potential clients that you are serious about your business – serious enough that you’ve taken the extra step to prove your knowledge and expertise.
  • Having a designation allows you to stand out among others in your industry. When someone is deciding who to call, the company with a certification will most likely be the one they choose to hire.
  • Putting forth the effort shows that you have chosen to be a leader in the industry.
  • Certification indicates that you are one of the best in the industry and that you care about excellence.
  • It states that you invested time on professional development, a key element of a quality asset inventory professional.

When others in your industry are not certified, you have taken the steps top place yourself in a very good position to be viewed at the leader in your service area.

05 Nov 2014

Inventory 101 Course Added to Curriculum

ContinuingEdMeeting the needs of the improved Certification process, two industry-related, foundation courses have been developed for the National Inventory Certification Association’s Continuing Education Program. These were designed to establish the industry standards under which industry professionals conduct business, and to provide an overview of the entire inventory industry. The Code of Ethics course was the first developed and offered for members and non-members alike. The second required foundation course, Inventory 101, was recently added to the curriculum. All courses are presented in an online, self-paced format.

 

The Inventory 101 course description follows:

More commonly known than personal property inventories, the manufacturing and retail industries have been documenting and tracking their assets for a much longer period of time.

At one time, a shopkeeper could keep track of his merchandise in his head. Craftsmen knew what raw materials they needed, and how much they had used. The industrial revolution altered the business world, requiring more sophisticated and systemized inventory tracking.

Small retail store owners were often able to function with a best guess, believing that they could get along just fine with a general idea of what they had in stock. As stores became larger, and a wider variety of products were made available to their customers, the shop-keepers soon noticed the benefits realized by large corporations’ asset tracking and followed suit.

Personal property inventory is fairly new compared to retail and manufacturing, but the financial and emotional benefits are being realized. Though there is still plenty of need for educating policyholders of the importance of this documentation, great strides are being made.

People have learned, usually too late, that an itemized list is required to file an insurance claim to help assist with an equitable insurance settlement. Insurance agents recommend an inventory to their residential and commercial policyholders. There are a plethora of apps, software products, books, and paper forms encouraging homeowners and business owners alike to complete their home and company inventories. Yet even with all of this knowledge and recent technology, many businesses and homes still lack this important documentation.

As the general public continues to learn of the need to protect what they own, they are seeking professional service providers to complete the task for them. The reality of the value for manufacturing and retail companies to track their assets is now transferring over to the personal property inventory industry as well. Having a complete record of contents and the associated values, whether for a company or an individual, is a must for the many life events when this information is required.

CEUs: 2

Module 1 – Introduction to the Inventory Industry

  • An Overview of the Industry
  • Determine Your Role
  • Insurance
  • Business Bond
  • License
  • Certification

Module 2 – Inventory Sectors

  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Personal Property (Contents)

Module 3 – Personal Property Inventory Niche Markets

  • Residential Inventories
  • Small and Medium Business Inventories
  • Related Inventory Categories
  • Benefits of a Third Party Inventory
22 Oct 2014

Certified Inventory Specialist Certification Program Improvements

certified RedDeveloped by the National Inventory Certification Association and operated in conjunction with the Inventory Institute, these two professional organizations have established a checks and balances to ensure an ethically developed and managed certification program. This is accomplished by the Inventory Institute assigning the prerequisites to achieve certification. NICA creates the education courses to meet those needs. Having one organization determine designation requirements, while another creates the education components with the CEU values assigned, helps ensure integrity in the program.

The purpose of these requirements for certification indicate that the certified professional has shown a proficiency of the knowledge and skills deemed important to the benefit of both the industry and the professional.

Certified Inventory Specialist

In line with association industry standards, a member of NICA can achieve certification as a Certified Inventory Specialist by earning Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through experience, education, military experience, Continuing Education Courses, and more. When the determined number of CEUs are earned, the candidate can apply for certification to achieve this level of professionalism.

Non-members can also apply for and achieve their CIS designation.

Renewing certification designation

Remaining within the guidelines of association industry standards, Certified Members will have CEU requirements to maintain/renew certification every two (2) years. Full details regarding the number of CEUs (and the various options) for Certification and Renewal are included on both the Inventory Institute and NICA websites.

This improved program was launched on October 1, 2014, and we are pleased with the favorable response we have received from our members. Having a more comprehensive certification program provides our members with a designation of which they can be proud.

15 Oct 2014

Introducing Continuing Professional Education

The Nationceual Inventory Certification Association and the Inventory Institute have co-created the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) program, and are diligently working on additional courses. Designed to help you achieve your NICA certification, and to enhance your knowledge through continued professional development, Continuing Professional Education (CPE) provides options to achieve a depth and/or breadth of the asset inventory industry.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

Continuing Education Units are values placed on specific types of knowledge gained through various methods – industry experience, courses, formal education, etc. The CEUs assigned to each will be tabulated toward your efforts to achieve certification.

The NICA courses offered will have assigned CEU values. Four industry-specific courses are currently available:

  • Inventory 101
  • Code of Ethics
  • Residential Inventory
  • Business Inventory

Time Management, a non-industry course recently was recently released. Additional courses are currently being written and will be added to the curriculum soon.

A survey distributed to inventory industry professionals was beneficial, because their responses have helped determine the subjects as well as the order in which these education modules will be developed. All courses are presented in an online self-paced format so you can fit these key instructional courses into your busy lifestyle.

Course integrity

Courses provided in the Continuing Professional Education program are written by industry professionals who have experience and proven knowledge in their topic area. To ensure integrity of your Certified Inventory Specialist™ designation, all continuing education course exams are created and/or edited by instructional design or education professionals.

All NICA members receive the benefit of a 50% discount off all Continuing Education Courses and the Certification Exam offered through our website.

 

08 Oct 2014

Membership Made Easy

MembershipImprovements have been implemented to the membership process for the National Inventory Certification Association. In the past, an inventory professional would join NICA and immediately enter into the certification program. Actually there was no choice – you HAD to become certified to be a member.

A recent Board of Directors action approved a new process where an initial membership is obtained without need to achieve certification. Added to the application for membership is a requirement to pass the Code of Ethics Course within 90 days. Due to this revision, membership will now be placed in one of two categories – a Member or a Certified Member.

Member and Certified Member classifications

A Member is one who realizes the value of being in an organization of fellow industry professionals and chooses to invest in this opportunity of collaboration. By joining an industry association, you have the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits offered to members. You invest in yourself and your business – you can even say that you take responsibility to help the industry grow. Most members will pursue the ultimate goal of achieving Certification.

A Certified Member is a member of NICA who has chosen to be a leader in the industry by achieving their Certified Inventory Specialist designation.

Membership renews annually for only $200.

Member benefits

Listed below are the key Member Benefits:

  • Affiliation with a nationally recognized industry association.
  • 50% discount off all Continuing Professional Education Courses and Certification.
  • Referral opportunities.
  • A listing in the Member Directory, which includes a live link to your website.
  • Association with other like-minded professionals.
  • Rights to include the NICA logo on your website and all marketing materials.
  • Upon achieving your Certification, NICA will prepare and distribute a press release announcing your accomplishment.

The Board of Directors are confident that this new membership process is better for all. Members are no longer required to be certified right away – in fact they don’t have to be certified at all! It becomes a choice instead of an acceptance of membership. Industry professionals can now join NICA and begin their efforts toward certification as soon as they join, or can take it slower to help them meet the demands of a busy lifestyle, while also gaining the knowledge required to help achieve success.

02 Oct 2014

A Big Step Forward

step forwardWhen an organization is created, decisions are made regarding the business model under which it will function. New leadership creates the opportunity to review current processes and make educated decisions about each of these processes. It is not an easy or quick decision to change how things have been, and replace them with new; it is a serious and arduous project. There must be a good reason for the changes and a smooth transition to make them true improvements. It is also important to take current members’ needs into consideration. All of this has happened, slowly and methodically, over the past year.

Implementing a Board of Directors, as announced in a previous post, was a major step in reorganizing the format under which the National Inventory Certification Association functions.  We know this is the right choice. Decisions and changes will not be made by just the Directors of NICA, but will be required to be approved by this Board of Directors.

Meeting higher standards

In our continued effort to conform to the standards of the association industry, thus providing NICA members and non-members with a nationally respected and recognized certification, we are implementing improvements towards this goal. (See the press release here.) After a great number of hours researching and discussing association industry standards with leaders in their respective associations, we found that our current membership and certification as an immediate, combined process, does not meet these higher standards.

New process unanimously approved

Therefore, we have presented the proposed revisions to the management of membership and certification to our Board of Directors who have unanimously approved the efforts we have given to this improvement initiative. Prior to being able to apply to take the certification exam, the inventory professional will be required to achieve 10 CEUs earned through life experiences, professional education, and courses offered through NICA. Two required courses are Code of Ethics (1 CEU) and Inventory 101 (2 CEUs). Additionally, an elective course offered through NICA is also required. This is to ensure that a solid foundation of industry knowledge is achieved prior to seeking certification. These new implementations were effective October 1, 2014.

 

 

01 Oct 2014

National Inventory Certification Association Improves Certification Process

To receive Certified Inventory Specialist designation, asset inventory professionals will earn CEUs through life experiences, formal education, and NICA-approved courses.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – The National Inventory Certification Association™ (NICA) has announced improvements to their Certified Inventory Specialist certification process. Creating these revisions for the asset (personal property) inventory industry places NICA’s professional development program within the standards established by the leading association organizations.

Developed by NICA and operated in conjunction with the Inventory Institute, these two professional inventory organizations have established a checks and balances to ensure an ethically developed and managed certification program. This is accomplished through the Inventory Institute determining the prerequisites to achieve certification while NICA develops the education courses to meet those needs.

In addition to passing the required online self-paced courses offered on the NICA website, the candidates will be able to also earn credits for formal education, seminar attendance, military experience, years in business, and other life experiences. These requirements indicate that the asset inventory professional has shown proficiency and skills deemed necessary for a quality inventory service provider. Upon earning the determined number of CEUs, the candidate can apply to take the certification exam to achieve the designation of Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS).

NICA Managing Director, Cindy Hartman, stated, “Our industry is growing. The timing is right to develop a quality, nationally-approved certification program to help bring cohesiveness and accountability to the asset inventory industry. An inventory professional will benefit by being affiliated with these two organizations and agreeing to conduct business according to the industry standard Code of Ethics. Achieving their CIS certification will gain them additional recognition as a leader in the industry.”

Non-members can also apply for and achieve CIS designation. All NICA members receive the benefit of a 50% discount on all Continuing Education Courses and the Certification Exam.

Remaining within the guidelines of association industry standards, Certified Members will be required to meet a set number of CEUs to renew certification every two (2) years.