Securing and preserving professional credentials is the foundation for successful career development and effective practice management for architects, engineers, landscape architects, and all other licensed built-environment professionals. Proficient professional credentials management is a cornerstone function in progressive A/E/LA practices.
Successful credentials management begins with complete, correct, and current licensure and professional membership organization information. Critical maintenance tasks necessary in successful credentials management include collecting, verifying, organizing, and reporting time-sensitive requirement information. Maintaining a secure and centralized document storage area with easy access for retrieval is integral for audit purposes. These processes are vital to a firm’s image and are necessary for efficient and effective marketing efforts. Many typical in-house systems fall short of these goals.
What credentials maintenance method is your firm using? Is shuffling of spreadsheets and file folders the norm? Do the principals assume responsibility for credentials management, or are the tasks delegated to an executive assistant?
Professional marketing staff performance is clearly impacted by a firm’s credentials management protocol. Their duties, including preparing RFP submissions, require access to accurate, current, and complete credentials compliance information. We recall human resources and marketing staff at a large international multi discipline firm running from workstation to workstation and even contacting branch offices searching for continuing education certificates confirming license renewal proof while the principals in charge were on an overseas flight, all because of the firm’s policy of “we do not outsource.” Another client said, “We always have difficulty completing RFPs with key project personnel because we do not keep a central list of who is licensed where.”
Staying current with continuing education, license renewal, and professional organization membership requirements is obviously best before negative issues and destructive consequences occur. Is your firm prepared to endure major financial losses for failed recordkeeping, like fines in excess of $20,000 and embarrassing public exposure on a state licensing board website?
Violation, or the voiding of contracts due to an expiring license, is different from state to state. Some states have statutes that treat residential contracts different from commercial contracts—and hold the residential contract void for lack of a license. In some states the unlicensed contractor or professional can recover no fees for the services performed without a license.
It’s best to know what the laws are in the states where your A/E/LA firm practices. Or better yet—don’t let licenses lapse!
For professionals of the built environment, the future of career development and credentials requirements promises an even more complex and challenging path ahead. Already in the 21st century the requirement of “proof of competency” upon completion of continuing education courses/credits exists. Competition between disciplines for project commissions presents additional fierce challenges for A/E/LA professionals and the marketing professional, too.
The question to marketers is, does your firm have an effective and accessible credentials management process for you to prepare accurate RFPs and advance your firm’s public image?
About the Author: Lexi Selvig, president of LS Credentialing Services, provides A/E/LA professionals and firms individual professional credentials management services. She can be reached at [email protected] or their website http://www.aecredentialing.com.