Federal Issues

    GAO Study of Financial Planning 

    AICPA strongly opposes any moves to create a federal regulator for all financial planners.  CPAs are already comprehensively and appropriately regulated by State Boards of Accountancy and the IRS with regard to all financial planning activities.  An additional layer of regulation would be redundant and unnecessary.

    A provision authorizing a study by the General Accountability Office of the possible need for a financial planning regulatory agency is included in the "Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act," as enacted on July 21, 2010.


    The CFP Board, Financial Planning Association and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors have organized as the Financial Planning Coalition with the objective of having financial planning services subject to comprehensive federal regulation and having financial planning recognized as a legitimate and accepted profession.  Their stated goal is to subject everyone who offers “financial planning advice” (broadly defined to include those who, among other things, offer financial planning, tax planning and investment advice) to a fiduciary standard and regulation by an SRO.

    Barry Melancon has met with Kevin Keller, CEO of the CFP Board, and AICPA staff has met with staff from each of the three organizations on these issues.

    Legislative Action

    As part of the House Financial Services Committee’s consideration of bills to make changes to the financial regulatory framework, the Committee marked up the “Investor Protection Act of 2009,” H.R. 3817.  The Financial Planning Coalition met with Congressman Michael Capuano, a Massachusetts Democrat, regarding a potential amendment during the committee consideration of the Investor Protection Act that would create such a federal regulator.  The AICPA and a number of other interested parties also met with the Congressman during the committee meeting to express concern.  Congressman Capuano decided not to introduce his amendment.  Instead, he offered an amendment that provides for a GAO study to be conducted on the regulation and oversight of financial planning.  This provision was included in the “Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009,” H.R. 4173, as passed by the House of Representatives.

    The Financial Planning Coalition also met with Senator Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat, regarding a potential amendment to create a federal regulatory framework for financial planners.  As in the House, AICPA and other interested parties met with the Senator to express concern.  Senator Kohl did not introduce the amendment requested by the Financial Planning Coalition, but instead offered an amendment for a financial planning study similar to the one in the House-passed bill.  This language was included in the "Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010," S. 3217 as passed by the Senate.

    GAO Study

    The AICPA has met with the GAO on its study of financial planning to present the profession's point of view. The GAO released its study on January 24, 2011, entitled “Consumer Finance:  Regulatory Structure for Financial Planners Is Generally Comprehensive, but Consumer Protection Issues Remain."  The report summarizes the findings of the GAO’s study on the regulation of financial planning and lays forth their recommendations. The GAO essentially says that additional financial planning regulation or oversight would be duplicative. 

    An excerpt of the GAO’s conclusion (from page 37 of the report) is below:

    “Existing statutes and regulations appear to cover the great majority of financial planning services,and individual financial planners nearly always fall under one or more regulatory regimes, depending on their activities. While no single law governs the broad array of activities in which financial planners may engage, given available information, it does not appear that an additional layer of regulation specific to financial planners is warranted at this time. At the same time, as we have previously reported, more robust enforcement of existing laws could strengthen consumer protection issues associated with the oversight of financial planners.”

    The AICPA believes that Congress has accepted the conclusions of the report and will not act to add additional regulation on financial planners.

    GAO Report

    The January 24,2011 GAO report can be accessed through this link.

    Copy of Legislation

    A copy of the law is available on the Library of Congress's THOMAS website.  The law and all major Congressional actions leading to passage are available by using the advanced search function and searching for H.R. 4173 by bill number under the 111th Congress.  H.R. 3817 and S. 3217 are also available on THOMAS.

    Staff Contact

    Peter Kravitz
    Director – Congressional and Political Affairs

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    Congressional and Political Affairs Advocacy

    Overview The AICPA monitors and advocates on legislative and other matters that affect the accounting profession. Working with state CPA societies and other professional organizations, the AICPA provides information to and educates federal, state and local policymakers regarding key issues.
    Published on February 05, 2015


    Overview Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) used in financial and other reporting allows for easier access to more transparent information.  AICPA supports legislative proposals to utilize XBRL by companies, Federal agencies and recipients of Federal funds.
    Published on December 15, 2014

    AICPA Letter to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee re DATA Act Implementation Hearing

    Legislative Letters The AICPA wrote to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding the Committee's hearing entitled "Transforming Federal Spending: Implementing the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act."
    Published on December 15, 2014

    Federal Legislative and Regulatory Issues

    Federal Law This page highlights the advocacy issues in which the Congressional & Political Affairs Team is advocating on behalf of the profession, and also those issues that the team has recently followed.
    Published on October 28, 2014

    Accounting Partnership Retirement Practices

    Article In letters to members of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has asked commissioners to reject staff appeals to investigate and litigate against accounting firms regarding partner retirement provisions
    Published on October 21, 2014

    Preserving the Cash Basis Method of Accounting for CPA Firms

    Article The AICPA is opposed to certain provisions included in tax reform proposals that would limit the availability of the cash basis method of accounting.
    Published on September 29, 2014

    Cash Accounting Bipartisan Letter to the House of Representatives

    Legislative Letters
    Published on September 11, 2014

    Cash Accounting Senate Letter

    Legislative Letters
    Published on August 07, 2014

    Camp Letter On Cash Basis April 25, 2014

    Legislative Letters The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) voices strong opposition to draft legislation that would limit the use of the cash method of accounting for pass-through entities and personal service corporations.
    Published on May 08, 2014

    Convergence of International and US Accounting Principles and IFRS

    Article International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) set by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) in London is a response to worldwide demand from regulators, investors, businesses, and auditing firms for a single set of high-quality, globally-accepted accounting standards.
    Published on April 17, 2014

    AICPA Letter to SEC on Proposed Regulation Crowdfunding

    Comment Letter AICPA comments on the SEC's proposed new Regulation Crowdfunding under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to implement the requirements of Title III of the JOBS Act as published in SEC File No. S7-09-13.
    Published on February 06, 2014

    Jan 2014 - AICPA Statement for the Record regarding Conferences and Travel

    Article AICPA provided a Statement for the Record to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee in  response  to the hearing held on January 14, 2014 entitled, "Examining Conference and Travel Spending Across the Federal Government."
    Published on January 28, 2014

    Cash Basis Letter to Senate Finance Committee from Associations-Jan7-2014

    Legislative Letters Cash Basis Letter to Senate Finance Committee dated Jaunary 7, 2014 from American Council of Engineering Companies, American Dental Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Institute of Architects, American Institute of CPAs and S Corporation Association.
    Published on January 22, 2014

    Municipal Advisors

    Issue Brief The AICPA generally supports the SEC’s proposed rules as a means to strengthen investor protections in the municipal securities market.  The AICPA is concerned, however, because the proposed rule would require that accountants performing customary and usual accounting services would be required to register as municipal advisors.
    Published on January 07, 2014

    ERISA Fiduciary Definition - Appraisers of Employee Stock Ownership Plans

    Article The AICPA believes that the U.S. DOL should implement rules that would require appraisers of ESOPs to meet minimum qualification requirements, including holding relevant credentials and training, and comply with applicable professional valuation standards.
    Published on December 30, 2013

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