As part of its multi-pronged educational effort on financial literacy, the American Institute of CPAs has launched a consumer Web portal that offers information and articles organized by a series of life stages, such as college, entrepreneurship, marriage, parenthood, home ownership and retirement.
Located at www.360financialliteracy.org, the online portal is part of the institute's 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy educational initiative, which was unveiled in May.
The effort, which enlists the support of state CPA societies, exhorts CPAs to take a voluntary role in educating the public - from school children to retirees - on financial topics that apply to their particular stage of life, and places an emphasis on the lifelong aspects of financial planning and literacy.
At the institute's recent fall meeting of Council in Orlando, Fla., the AICPA called on Council members to become involved with the literacy initiative.
Carl George, chief executive at the Peoria, Ill.-based firm of Clifton Gunderson, and chair of the institute's National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, urged Council members to sign up with the financial literacy volunteer database.
"This is a long-term process. It will take years to effect the behavior of the American public," said Jimmy Williamson, an Alabama practitioner with the Albertville-based MDA Professional Group and chairman of the AICPA's grassroots mobilization team, at the Orlando confab.
The institute's Grassroots Mobilization Team is a consortium that is developing models, capturing best practices and working with state CPA societies to facilitate and promote CPA volunteerism in local communities across the country.
The institute has also created a CPA Financial Literacy Resource Center, www.aicpa.org/financialliteracy, which includes a CPA Mobilization Kit, created in conjunction with the California CPA Society, to help CPAs get involved in their communities.
In addition, the AICPA is offering members a free two-credit continuing professional education course, "360 Degrees of Financial Literacy: An Overview," that covers basic financial literacy issues.
As part of the effort, the institute teamed with USA Today to offer a series of weekly financial literacy chats on USA Today's Web site.
Additionally, the AICPA has established a volunteer database (http://volunteers.aicpa. org/financialliteracy) where members can register their interest in participating at both the national and local levels in the financial literacy effort.
The database is available online through the AICPA Volunteer Central. State societies can use the database to view members who have signed up, as well as list interested members in the appropriate state.
In addition to the institute's effort, several of the state CPA societies, such as California and Virginia, have launched their own financial literacy educational initiatives.
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