The Specialized Communities & Firm Practice Management group is responsible for helping CPAs practitioners achieve success and personal career satisfaction through specialization and best practices.
The specialty areas consist of:
- Personal Financial Planning (PFP) section and the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential;
- Information Technology (IT) section and the Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) credential
- Forensic and Valuation Services (FVS) section, the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) credential and the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) credential.
Some level of Firm Practice Management, providing guidance on running a public practice, is encompassed in all of the Specialized Communities sections. Furthermore, the Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) is a firm membership section of the AICPA whose main function areas consist of Firm Practice Management and advocacy for small and medium-size CPA firms.
Personal Financial Planning and PFS
The Personal Financial Planning (PFP) Section provides information, tools, advocacy and guidance for CPAs who specialize in providing estate, tax, retirement, risk management and investment planning advice to individuals and closely held entities. Many CPAs venture into PFP because it is a logical extension of tax and accounting services. It also broadens the scope of a CPA's practice and provides new opportunities for generating revenue. As such, for CPAs that want to enhance their success as a financial planner, the AICPA’s Personal Financial Planning Membership Section provides resources and support that keep PFP practitioners at the forefront of the profession.
Some of the most publicized benefits of the PFP section include full access to the Forefield Advisor, which is a client education and communication tool to help PFP members disseminate timely information to their clients, as well as access to the AICPA/Moss Adams CPA Firm Financial Planning Practice Study landmark survey results.
The Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential is granted exclusively to CPAs with considerable personal financial planning (PFP) experience who want to demonstrate their knowledge, skill, and experience by earning this exclusive credential. The requirements for achievement of the PFS include a minimum of 3,000 hours of financial planning business experience, in addition to continuing education within the last five years and a comprehensive and rigorous personal financial planning exam.
Learn more about the PFP section and PFS at https://pfp.aicpa.org/
Information Technology and CITP
The AICPA Information Technology (IT) Membership Section was formed in 1991, in recognition of the profound impact that technology has on the accounting profession. Technology plays a prominent role in ensuring that organizations' regulatory, compliance, security, privacy, assurance and attestation needs are being met, mandating that the CPA perspective become an essential component of IT governance. IT members have access to an impressive array of resources to help them as they strive to implement new technologies that more efficiently serve their clients and maintain their competitive advantage. Benefits of becoming an IT section member include web seminars, practice guides, a subscription to the CPA Technology Advisor, IT community podcasts and networking opportunities.
A Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) is a CPA recognized for his or her unique ability to provide business insight by leveraging knowledge of information relationships and technology to effectively manage information while ensuring the data’s reliability, security, accessibility and relevance. Unlike other certifications that recognize on a wide scope of skills, the CITP credential is an accounting professional that focuses on information assurance and management, making a CPA among the most trusted business advisor.
Learn more about the IT section and CITP at http://infotech.aicpa.org/
Forensic and Valuation Services, ABV and CFF
The Forensic and Valuation Services (FVS) Section is designed to provide CPAs with a vast array of resources, tools and information in the areas of FVS to stay current and communicate with their clients. Some exclusive member benefits include access to specialized information (e.g. Practice Aids), networking opportunities and member discounts (e.g. web casts, Daubert Tracker subscription).
The Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) credential is for CPAs who specialize in valuation and who demonstrate considerable expertise in valuation through their knowledge, skill and experience. The mission of the ABV program is to provide a community of business valuation experts with specialized access to information, education, tools and support that enhance their ability to make a genuine difference for their clients and employers. The ABV Credential program allows credential holders to brand or position themselves as CPAs who are premier business valuation service providers. ABVs differentiate themselves by going beyond the core service of reaching a conclusion of value, by also creating value for clients through the strategic application of this analysis. To obtain the credential, the CPA must be a member of the AICPA, hold a valid and unrevoked state license, must pass a rigorous exam and meet certain minimum experience and education requirements.
The Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) credential combines specialized forensic accounting expertise with the core knowledge and skills that make CPAs among the most trusted business advisers. The CFF encompasses fundamental and specialized forensic accounting skills that CPA practitioners apply in a variety of service areas, including: bankruptcy and insolvency; computer forensics; economic damages; family law; fraud prevention, detection and deterrence; financial statement misrepresentation; and valuations. To qualify, a CPA must be an AICPA member in good standing, have at least five years of experience in practicing accounting, and meet minimum requirements in relevant business experience and continuing professional education.
Learn more about the FVS section, ABV and CFF at http://fvs.aicpa.org/
PCPS - Firm Practice Management
PCPS’ mission is to make practicing CPAs and their firms successful through education and advocacy. PCPS is the home at the AICPA for small and medium-sized CPA firms in that it ensures the voice of these practitioners is heard at standard setting level. For example, the Technical Issues Committee or TIC is a sub-committee of PCPS. TIC reviews technical issues affecting small businesses and the CPAs who serve them and delivers feedback to the applicable parties. Additionally, PCPS supports firms by providing firm practice management guidance and tools in the form of complete resource centers (e.g. Human Capital Center, Succession Planning Resource Center), free web forums, networking opportunities, the PCPS/TSCPA National MAP Survey (benchmarking study) and technical toolkits that assist firms in communicating new standards with their clients.
PCPS is a firm membership section. Dues are $35 per CPA in the firm, up to a maximum of $700. Because it is a firm membership, any team member of a PCPS member firm is eligible to gain access to PCPS exclusive content.
Learn more about PCPS at http://pcps.aicpa.org/