The AICPA’s Personal Financial Planning Division supports CPA financial planning practitioners or those who simply have an interest in the financial planning niche. Benefits such as information, education and networking are available through the Personal Financial Planning (PFP) Membership Section. Additionally, the AICPA recognizes experts in this area via the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) Credential. In 1986, the PFP Membership Section was established to serve CPAs that work in a range of financial planning areas, including estate, tax, retirement, risk management, insurance, eldercare and investment advisory services. The mission of the Section is to broaden the competency of CPA financial planners by providing them with timely information on developments in the profession and tools to assist them with their practice and revenue growth. In 1987, the AICPA created the PFS Credential to distinguish CPA financial planners with expertise in PFP. The credential is granted to CPAs who have demonstrated proficiency in financial planning and have a broad base of knowledge, skills and experience. With anticipated growth in financial planning services, the PFP Division is committed to supporting CPA financial planners and will continue to endorse the establishment and maintenance of the highest standards of quality and competency.
Consistent throughout our efforts has been our focus on meeting four core objectives:
- Building a sense of Community among CPA financial planners
- Enhancing Competency of CPAs who provide personal financial planning services
- Improving Communications & Outreach Programs to members as well as external audiences
- Increasing Practice Profitability for CPA financial planners by assisting in the enhancement and improvement of their practices
Looking forward, we remain steadfast in our pursuit of these goals! Learn more about AICPA PFP staff.
If you’re not a member and want to join, visit www.joinpfp.org.
Having a strong sense of community has been such an important piece of the puzzle for our PFP section members and PFS credential holders. So many CPA financial planners have told us that they want a "home" or a place in which they can share, collaborate, and network with their peers, and with financial planners who have similar professional interests. They are looking for support and a foundation that will help them come together as a tightly knit community of financial planners. And not just any financial planner, but CPA financial planners.
The AICPA Personal Financial Planning Division continues to focus on the areas of professional standards, ethics, and integrity for CPA financial planners. With effective and meaningful standards of practice, a solid code of ethics, and a strong sense of integrity, we are at an advantage in the marketplace.
The PFP Executive Committee continually reviews and updates the AICPA PFP Statements on Responsibilities (SORs) that have become the de facto standards for our profession and will help maintain the CPA Financial Planner on the cutting edge of today's competitive environment.
The committee explores beyond this, looking at such things as: When is a CPA subject to the SORs? Do they cover CPAs who are giving investment advice that is incidental to their practice of accountancy? Do they cover CPAs who are not members of the PFP Membership Section?
The executive committee also focuses on the fiduciary responsibilities of CPA financial planners: When is the CPA acting as a fiduciary? If the CPA is acting in a fiduciary capacity, should he or she be following the prudent investment processes detailed in our Prudent Practices for Investment Advisors. The discussion around fiduciary responsibility will likely lead to robust debate on the issue of ethics and integrity for our profession—to what standard should CPA financial planners be held?
You have witnessed an expansion of the communications and outreach programs by the AICPA to support our community. Some of these activities involve reaching out to strategic alliance partners to bring you important benefits such as our media outreach efforts through which the AICPA positions CPA financial planners as subject-matter experts on various financial planning topics in interviews with television, radio, and cable stations as well as newspapers and magazines. To those of you who have participated in these media interviews on such topics as disaster recovery, fiduciary responsibility, tax matters, and more, thank you for serving as an expert!
Other activities are designed to help our profession fulfill another important part of its mission: to protect the public interest. In this case, the AICPA has launched several prominent financial literacy programs for the American public, including "360 Degrees of Financial Literacy," which looks at financial matters affecting individuals at numerous stages throughout their lives.
These programs help raise the financial literacy of consumers and more closely tie CPAs to the issue as experts to whom consumers can turn for help. Not to mention that these programs also subtly raise the awareness of CPA financial planners in the public's mind. New developments and program enhancements keep CPA Financial Planners at the forefront in the area of financial literacy and the AICPA is committed to supporting you in this endeavor.
The PFP Executive committee continues to commit resources to providing information, supporting alliances, developing management processes and assisting with industry issues in the furtherance of assisting Section members in the enhancement and improvement of their practices. Visit the PFP Practice Portal at aicpa.org/PFP/PracticeCenter.