Disaster Guide Press Release 

    by PFP Section and AICPA 
    Published October 25, 2004

    COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE OFFERED TO PEOPLE AFFECTED BY DISASTERS TO HELP THEM RECOVER FROM FINANCIAL LOSS

    CPAs to Offer Financial Planning to People Affected by Disaster

    New York, April 16, 2003—The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) today announced they have jointly developed a new, broad-based guide to help people affected by natural and man-made disasters recover from financial loss. Disaster Recovery: A Guide to Financial Issues is being offered as a public service of the AICPA, AICPA Foundation, American Red Cross, and NEFE to aid people affected by disasters and their families.

    "Prior to this guide being produced, there were no comprehensive, easy-to-understand resources that guide people affected by disasters through the three key stages of recovery—the days immediately after a disaster, the months following that period and the future," said Terry Sicilia, executive vice president, American Red Cross Disaster Services. "NEFE and the AICPA have developed a very valuable tool that our American Red Cross volunteers and employees can use in their local community outreach following a disaster to help get people affected by disasters back up on their feet quickly. CPAs can play a central role in the process as well, providing much needed financial planning advice so that families can recover as soon as possible."

    The colorful, 32-page Disaster Recovery: A Guide to Financial Issues addresses several pertinent topics in three parts:

    • Part I defines the steps to take immediately following a disaster, such as restoring household stability, managing an injury or disability and financial decisions after death;
    • Part II identifies steps to take in the weeks and months after disaster has occurred to help people affected by disasters try to settle into a more normal routine by establishing a steady flow of income, handling expenses and debt, and working through potential lawsuits or other settlements;
    • Part III illustrates the steps to take in planning for the future and moving on with life in areas such as assessing financial needs, getting retrained for a job, and estate planning.

    "We're extremely pleased to have the AICPA and the American Red Cross as our partners on this project," said Nan Mead, NEFE Director of Communications. "The AICPA and its CPA members have brought an extraordinary wealth of financial planning experience and technical expertise to the booklet’s development."

    "When people experience a disaster, they have to deal with certain things very quickly," said Mitchell Freedman, CPA, PFS, principal with Mitchell Freedman Accountancy Corporation and MFAC Financial Advisors, Inc. "Many times people affected by disasters feel lost and don’t know who to turn to for help. In the past, they had to go to numerous resources spread over a wide range that is a struggle for them at best. This comprehensive guide was prepared to bring order to the process and put everything in one place. It gives people a roadmap so that they can sit back, take stock and make decisions as to how they should proceed."

    "The AICPA Foundation is pleased to be a sponsor of the disaster planning and recovery guide because it fits with one of our key missions to provide valuable financial literacy tools for the public," said Kate Forbes, CPA, Chair of the AICPA Foundation and Chief Financial Officer of eTec. "This strategic partnership continues to build upon our ongoing mission of the AICPA Foundation to support the Certified Public Accountant in protecting and serving the public interest."

    "NEFE works tirelessly to educate Americans about the importance of financial well-being," said Anat Kendal, AICPA Director of Financial Planning. "For people who've suffered because of a disaster, the right kind of advice and guidance is even more critical. This Guide outlines the steps people affected by disasters should take to recover, and more importantly, includes a checklist of proactive steps to plan for the event of a possible future disaster and minimize the risk of loss."

    The guide will expand on previous publications issued by NEFE, the AICPA and the American Red Cross. After Disaster Strikes: How to Recover Financially from a Natural Disaster was issued by NEFE in 1997 in collaboration with the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Regaining Financial Balance was published by the AICPA specifically for people affected by the September 11th terrorist attacks.

    For more information about Disaster Recovery: A Guide to Financial Issues or to request a copy of the guide, visit the Red Cross online or contact your local chapter. Local CPAs that are members of the AICPA may also have copies available.




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