A few months into her job as CEO of the CFP Board of Standards, Sarah Ball Teslik is aiming for sweeping changes in how the organization serves its certificants and the public.

     Among the expected changes at the CFP Board: a greater utilization of Web-based services, a streamlining of operations and more focus on reaching out to the public.

     That should include giving CFP's the ability to renew and check on their certifications online, as well as the possibility of taking the CFP exam itself over the Web, Teslik said. The CFP Board Web site will also provide more information and tools to the public, including audio-visual presentations, she said.

     "We're not getting to under served populations as well as we would like to," Teslik said in a recent interview.     

    "We're not there yet in terms of helping the public."

     Teslik didn't hesitate in making changes after taking over the CEO post on Nov. 1. Just a little more than a month later, on Dec. 13, she laid off a third of the organization's staff, which at the time numbered 78 employees.

     The hardest hit departments were in information technology and external communications, Teslik confirmed.  Noting that the CFP Board is growing and has "plenty of money," Teslik said the cuts were not to cut costs, but to improve efficiency. Those two departments in particular, she said, were rife with redundancies and duties that are easily outsourced.

     As one example, she noted that there were four people responsible for reading newspapers and searching for trademark violations and stories about the CFP Board.

    "They had the most redundancies," she said.

     There were also layoffs, but to a smaller extent, in the legal and finance departments, she said. The professional review department and the organization's core certification services were largely untouched, she added.

     At about the same time, the organization embarked on a four-year plan to upgrade its information technology infrastructure. The first phase of that plan, which involved centralizing all the organization's stored information into one central database, has largely been completed, she said.

     The second phase of the plan will be implemented between now and the late summer, when CFP's and the public should see a gradual increase in services offered over the Web. Certificants, for example, will soon have the ability make credit card certification renewals at the Web site.

     "You will see us trying to use the Web, which enables us to do things that we couldn't have dreamt of five years ago," she said.