The American Institute of CPAs is planning to host a combined financial planning and accounting conference called AICPA Engage.

The conference will co-locate five of the AICPA conferences into a single event focused on financial planning and public accounting from June 12 to 15, 2017 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. AICPA Engage will encompass the Advanced Estate Planning Conference, Advanced Personal Financial Planning Conference, Conference on Tax Strategies for High-Income Individuals, National Advanced Accounting and Auditing Technical Symposium and the Practitioners Symposium/TECH+ Conference.

Each individual conference will retain its core offerings and identity, but the AICPA said the co-located setting would permit more opportunities for collaboration and cross-pollination. More information can be found at

The AICPA has been hosting its Advanced Financial Planning Conference in Las Vegas this week. The Institute presented its 2015 Personal Financial Planning Distinguished Service Award to Sidney Kess, who has authored and co-authored hundreds of publications, courses, videos, and practice aids on income tax and financial and estate planning.

“Sid Kess has dedicated decades of service to the CPA profession, going above and beyond to raise the bar for CPAs who provide personal financial planning services,” said AICPA Personal Financial Specialist Credential Committee chair Susan Tillery.

In addition, James A. Shambo received the AICPA’s Stanley H. Breitbard Lifetime Achievement in Personal Financial Planning Award.  Shambo, president of Lifetime Planning Concepts, Inc. in Colorado Springs, was honored in part for the key role he played in launching the AICPA’s PFS credential nearly 30 years ago and most recently for his major writing contribution to The CPA’s Guide to Practical Retirement Planning.

“The value of Jim’s contributions to the establishment of the PFS credential and his role in increasing the awareness of the work CPAs do in personal financial planning is incalculable,” said AICPA vice president of member specialization and credentialing Jeannette Koger. “He was literally there from the beginning and continues to make a substantial impact on the AICPA’s personal financial planning initiatives to this day.”

Speakers at the conference included former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who discussed the deteriorating state of U.S.-Russian relations.

Jean Brunel, managing principal at Brunel Associates, talked about goals-based wealth management. “Traditional finance has trouble with the needs of individuals,” he said. “A new approach is required, but it will lead to change in the industry.” Brunel believes that to maintain or enhance margins, firms need to revisit their processes, staffing and structures.

Ryan Boland, vice president of the Complex Assets Group at Fidelity Charitable, and Julia Chu, head of philanthropy and a director of Credit Suisse, discussed charitable giving trends, such as donor-advised funds and donating appreciated private equity interests. They pointed out that more than 98 percent of high net worth clients contribute to charity on an annual basis, yet only 14 percent of advisors are likely to raise the topic of philanthropy with their clients.

Daniel S. Rubin, a partner in the Trusts and Estates and Asset Protection practice groups at the New York City law firm Moses & Singer LLP, gave a presentation on protecting one’s assets from a “future former spouse.”

“No one weds to later divorce, but most recognize at least the possibility that the person soon to be standing next to them at the altar might be a ‘future former spouse,’” he explained.

He discussed prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, along with the community property laws in different states.

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