The American Institute of CPAs has opened a PFP Practice Portal for CPAs who are interested in becoming personal financial planners and earning the AICPA’s Personal Financial Specialist credential.

The portal is also open to the public. “The strategy here was to basically have a place where people can go at different levels, from beginner to advanced, and get resources,” said Michael Goodman, president of WealthStream Advisors Inc. A member of the AICPA’s PFP Executive Committee, he headed the subcommittee that developed the portal.

The portal includes a number of links where users can find out more information about personal financial planning. The technology link, for example, includes articles about the technological components of a successful PFP practice, tips for developing a technology plan, and software and hardware that practitioners may need.

The regulatory link offers a general overview of the regulatory landscape for financial planners, although Goodman admitted that the information isn’t necessarily up to the minute as the Obama administration sets about overhauling the SEC and other financial regulators.

Users can also join a networking group via the portal and find out about upcoming events such as live meetings of the various groups.

Also available through the portal is information about the PFS credential and what accountants need to do to obtain it. Credentialed members get access to a PFS referral database via the portal.

Another link provides information on professional responsibilities, including objectivity, integrity, disclosures and independence. The educational section of the portal offers information about upcoming conferences, courses and Web seminars, along with different publications from the AICPA and client resources such as guides to disaster recovery and disaster planning.

The practice management section provides practice guides, an archive of past Web seminars, and a set of white papers covering subjects such as recruitment and retention. Also in this section are a marketing toolkit, and a study by Moss Adams and the AICPA on the issues confronting CPA financial planning practices.

Goodman hopes to make the portal more interactive in the future. “We want to have a dialogue where members of the section can post comments on things that are happening, for example in the technology area,” he said. “A PFS or PFP member could say, ‘I’ve used this software and it’s great, or I’ve had problems with this piece of software.’”

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