PLANNING NICHE GROWS FOR CPASFinancial planning has helped fuel an increase in revenues at CPA firms, according to a new study by the American Institute of CPAs and CPA firm Moss Adams. The survey found an average financial planning practice size of $460,000 among the 431 CPA firms that responded, with an average yearly growth rate of 34.9 percent between 2004 and 2006. Respondents anticipated a 20.6 percent increase in assets under management in 2007.

Average revenue for the firms surveyed in fiscal year 2006 was $1,619,224, an increase of 16.9 percent from the previous year. Thirty-eight percent are affiliated with an independent broker/dealer, while 28 percent are affiliated with an insurance agency/broker, 47 percent are listed as a registered investment advisor, and 26 percent have no affiliation.

Despite the positive trends, CPA planners and advisors still face challenges. “Even with their higher levels of growth, the majority of practices are currently smaller than those in the broader industry, which may place them at a competitive disadvantage,” said the report.

Some CPAs seem to have hit a few stumbling blocks in their financial planning practices, the survey also found. On top of growth-related challenges, 52 percent of the respondents who keep financial planning and advisory services in-house are challenged with successfully integrating these services with their broader CPA firm business.


The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have issued proposed regulations to provide funding guidance for single-employer defined-benefit plans.

The proposed regulations offer guidance for employers sponsoring single-employer defined-benefit plans related to the determination of the minimum required contributions under new funding rules enacted as part of the Pension Protection Act of 2006. The proposed regulations, together with three earlier sets of proposed regulations, enable plan sponsors to determine the contribution requirements that apply to their defined-benefit plans under the new funding scheme, including the application of quarterly contribution requirements.

Although the new funding rules are generally effective for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2008, the new regulations are proposed to be effective for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2009. Plan sponsors, however, can rely on the proposed regulations for purposes of satisfying the minimum funding requirements for plan years beginning in 2008.

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