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1. QDROs demand the attention of CPAs   CPEDirect

BY Ray A. Knight, CPA/PFS, J.D., and Lee G. Knight, Ph.D.
A key issue in separation, divorce, and other domestic relations proceedings is whether and how to divide a participant’s interest in a retirement plan. This is a recurrent issue in divorce proceedings, because more than 90 million workers in the United States actively participated in private employer-sponsored retirement plans as of 2011 (Department of Labor, Private Pension Plan Bulletin, June 2013, available at

2. The accidental investment adviser  

BY Deborah K. Rood, CPA
As a client’s trusted business adviser, a CPA is often asked to “look over” an investment a client is considering. In other cases, CPAs sometimes obtain a client’s monthly investment account statements in connection with tax and/or bookkeeping services. But based on the experience of the AICPA Professional Liability Insurance Program, such scenarios can lead to professional liability claims alleging the CPA provided erroneous investment advice.

3. The new PFP standards  

BY Clark M. Blackman II, CPA/PFS, CFA, CFP, CIMA, AIF and Andrea Millar, CPA/PFS
CPAs advising clients in estate, retirement, investment, or risk management planning need to understand the new Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning Services that was issued in January and goes into effect on July 1, 2014. The following are some key provisions personal financial planning (PFP) practitioners should note: Be aware that all AICPA members must adhere to AICPA standards.

4. PFP Q&A: Planning for change   CPEDirect

BY Chris Baysden
With the Baby Boomer generation hitting retirement age, personal financial planning has become an increasingly important service for many accounting firms. But practitioners are dealing with plenty of changes, including the implementation of new tax laws and the landmark rollout of new standards. The JofA assembled a team of industry insiders for a round-table discussion of the important issues affecting CPAs who advise individual clients in retirement, tax, estate, risk management, and/or investment planning at such an important time.

5. Proposed Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning  

BY Alistair M. Nevius
This spring, following a two-year drafting process involving practitioners from across the AICPA, the AICPA Personal Financial Planning Executive Committee issued an exposure draft for public comment on a Proposed Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning Practice. The proposed statement addresses the responsibilities of AICPA members when providing personal financial planning (PFP) services.

6. Make your community more financially literate  

BY Jordan D. Amin, CPA and Melora C. Heavey
Ninety-four percent of Americans say they have financial concerns of some sort, according to a 2012 Harris Interactive Survey conducted on behalf of the AICPA. These concerns range from the rising cost of gas to lack of emergency savings to retirement planning. Since launching in 2004, the award-winning 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy ( has brought together CPA volunteers, the state CPA societies, and the Institute in a volunteer effort to help Americans of all ages tackle financial concerns like these and much more.

7. A wealth of opportunity   CPEDirect

BY Lewis J. Altfest, CPA/PFS, Ph.D., and Walter M. Primoff, CPA/PFS
Much has been written in recent years about wealth management services that call for practitioners, including CPAs, to have personal financial planning certification and to come under investment-adviser or other regulations. Much less attention has been paid to PFP services that don’t require specialization or additional licensing. One of these services is helping clients assemble and oversee wealth management teams.

8. Daily money management  

BY Jeff Drew
As Americans enter old age in rapidly increasing numbers, more accountants will run into situations like the one a Virginia CPA encountered last year. The CPA spent five hours rummaging through the home of a 94-year-old client, trying to find the paperwork needed to complete the man’s 2010 tax return.

9. Help clients choose the right charities  

BY Betsy Brill and Susan Winer
Many nonprofits operate with tight resources, and some are struggling to survive in the slow economy. Here are ways to determine if the charities your clients support are effectively governed, accountable and fiscally responsible. Check the organization’s tax-exempt status and confirm that it is in good standing.

10. Estate Planning Action Steps  

BY Martin M. Shenkman, Esq., CPA/PFS
CPAs should play a more significant role than they often do in facilitating, implementing and monitoring client estate plans. National Estate Planning Awareness Week, Oct. 17–23, is an ideal time to encourage clients to address planning. To download a sample client letter on estate planning, click here.
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