One week into the new year, people tend to fall into one of four camps: one group will be patting themselves on the back for having kept their new year's resolutions, another group has probably already given up, a third group is still trying to get motivated to get started on their resolutions, and the fourth group has a clear conscience, since they don't believe in resolutions and don't make any.
From what I heard at the Personal Financial Planning Technical Conference in Las Vegas this week, the American Institute of CPAs seems to be sticking to its resolution. It's not a new year's resolution, but a resolution passed by the AICPA Council directing the institute, as part of its decision to keep the three specialty credentials, to direct more resources to the Personal Financial Planning Division and the Personal Financial Specialist credential, among other things.
While it's too early to tell how its efforts will fare, just two months after that Council meeting, the AICPA already has a number of PFP-related initiatives underway.
It is adding an additional two people to bring its total to 10 staff members dedicated to the three specialty designations - three for each credential and a director of accreditation and membership — Andrea Carella, who came on board Jan. 1.
It will add five staff members to its PFP division staff in August.
It's in the process of launching an enhanced Web site for CPAs who practice financial planning that includes a discussion forum, as well as sections devoted to its PFP section members and to PFS credential holders.
The institute launched a promotional campaign during the conference that waived the $400 registration fee and streamlined the multiple entry points process to attract more CPAs to get the PFS credential.
AICPA leaders are meeting with members of the Association of CPA Financial Planners to discuss how the two groups can work together to promote the PFS.
The institute is developing a financial literacy initiative that will highlight CPAs as a resource in that area.
It is partnering with the National Endowment for Financial Education on a pro bono program later this month, and also on a disaster preparedness guide due out this summer.
And, a Women's Financial Health Initiative is in the works.
At the very least, these efforts show that the AICPA is living up to its word and is committing resources to financial planning. And they are also evidence that institute leaders are trying some new approaches this time around. From what I've heard so far, it seems like things are headed in the right direction.
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