IIn 2009, the AIRA celebrated its 25thAnnual Bankruptcy and Restructuring Conference. For over 33 years, AIRA (formerly titled AIA, Association of Insolvency Accountants) and its predecessor, NAAI (National Association of Accountants in Insolvency), have been in the forefront of the field in serving professionals in business turnaround, bankruptcy and restructuring practice.
In 1979, after the 1978 Bankruptcy Reform Act had been passed, a series of meetings were held in Minneapolis by professionals wanting to start an association for accountants interested in working in the bankruptcy area under the new legislation. In 1982, the NAAI was formed. In 1984, the steering committee decided the organization would be based in Chicago and changed its name to Association of Insolvency Accountants (AIA). The current title, Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors, was adopted in 1999 to reflect the broadening of its identity as an association of professionals involved with distressed businesses.
FOUNDING OF THE CIRA PROGRAM
Key to the accomplishment of its mission, the Association developed and initiated the Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor (CIRA) program in 1992, “to recognize those professionals that demonstrate a high level of competency through not only the completion of a course of study and examination but by providing evidence of comprehensive experience.” Through successful completion of the three-part course of study and comprehensive examinations, candidates demonstrate ability to:
THE MANNY KATTEN AWARD
At its October 1999 meeting, the Board voted to establish the Manny Katten Award, which is bestowed annually on an individual selected by the Board who has demonstrated exceptional leadership, dedication and service to the bankruptcy, restructuring and turnaround field. Manny was the Chairman of the first AIA Annual Conference and a founding Board Member. A former partner and friend of Mr. Katten attested, “Manny was a big, affable guy who liked everyone and in return was loved by all. He left us way too soon.”
FOUNDING OF THE CDBV PROGRAM
In 2004, AIRA launched its second certification program, the Certification in Distressed Business Valuation (CDBV). Before the inception of the CDBV program, there was no professional designation to recognize those who were skilled and experienced in distressed business valuation work or expert valuation testimony in bankruptcy litigation. The CDBV was designed to provide specialized training and certification, uniquely and specifically formulated for the performance of services encompassing valuation of underperforming assets, including distressed and/or bankrupt companies. Valuation has always been at the core of financial restructuring because it helps determine “how big is the pie?” and “how big a slice am I entitled to?” Valuation analysis is critical throughout bankruptcy proceedings to determine
TWO IMPORTANT FACTORS
At the beginning in 1979 and throughout the years, two factors have distinguished AIRA from similar organizations in the field:
If the tumultuous economic environment starting in 2007 is any indication, AIRA’s second 25 years will be as eventful and noteworthy as the first. Because of its founding principles of service and education, and the contributions of dedicated leadership and members, AIRA is well prepared to serve the profession as it meets the challenges of the future.
AIRA and its members have made significant contributions to legislative issues and the development of professional standards impacting the bankruptcy practice field.