It is my belief that despite the various newsletters, publications and sections on the AICPA Website, what the AICPA is doing that directly impacts its members can be publicized better by the AICPA.
For example, if you visit the AICPA Media Center and check for recent press releases, you will find the following:
• More American Adults Delaying Major Life Decisions Because of Financial Concerns: AICPA Poll;
• Rep. Price Learns About AICPA Community Outreach in Durham;
• NCSU and AICPA Offer Workshop on Audit Committee's Role in Risk Oversight; and
• AICPA Wins Corporate Social Responsibility Award from PR News.
All very interesting, but what you and media representives don’t see is a press release announcing that, at about the same time, the AICPA issued revised standards for performing and reporting peer reviews. I found out about the new standards in one of the AICPA newsletters, the Weekly News Update of March 28th. It was also written up in the April 2008, CPA Letter.
The revised standards are applicable to all AICPA members’ firms subject to peer review, including members’ firms currently enrolled in the Center for Public Company Audit Firms Peer Review Program. The revisions, including changes to engagement and review, are described as significant, with a more principles-based approach. The reporting process is being reengineered to include a shorter and more concise peer review report. The revised Standards and Interpretations are effective for peer reviews commencing on or after Jan. 1, 2009, and are reproduced at aicpa.org/members/div/practmon/index.htm.
I respectfully suggest that the AICPA create a “What’s New” section on its Web site for items of major interest to members. It could be made accessible from the Media Center for the press, prominently displayed on the AICPA home page for others. The AICPA might believe that the newsletter mentions are enough, but I beg to differ.
----------------------Comment on earlier column and hyperlink--------------------
The text that follows is from an e-mail that I received commenting on my column from last week entitled “What's Obvious?”
Your article is accurate, but you should have considered telling "the rest of the story," which is for approximately the past ten years the AICPA and the CICA have had a joint task force working on aiding CPAs and CAs to become knowledgeable--indeed expert--with respect to providing services to the elderly and the tsunami of Baby Boomers who will be retiring.
The PrimePlus/ElderCare (PP/EC) task force upon which I have been sitting almost since its inception, has been a bellwether for helping AICPA financial planning section members and CPAs (and CAs) in general to gain the body of knowledge needed to provide these services. It has also helped CPAs and CAs to develop the practice structures and administrative ability to handle these clients. (http://pfp.aicpa.org/Resources/ElderCare+PrimePlus+Services/Introduction+to+ElderCare+PrimePlus+Services/)
Years ago we even made sure that the major E&O insurance carriers would cover CPAs performing pp/ec services. The task force has brought forth both the hard and soft issues of working with retirees and elders and has helped to develop marketing techniques that firms can use.
Here is a short laundry list of just a few of the things that the AICPA (and CICA) have done: courses (live, self study, and video); conferences; tracks at the annual Personal Financial Planning conference; articles, books, and guides; a. Web presence; marketing tool kit; e-newsletter; podcasts; and other technical resources.
The recently revitalized PP/EC task force has more on its agenda and will be there to educate CPAs (and CAs). The AICPA 2009 Personal Financial Planning conference will have a PP/EC--retirement planning track, as it has had for the past two or three years.
Mitchell Freedman, CPA/PFS, AIF®
MFAC Financial Advisors, Inc.
Mitchell Freedman Accountancy Corporation
Sherman Oaks, Calif.
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