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1. SEC strengthens broker-dealer audit requirements   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
The SEC on Wednesday approved rule amendments that strengthen audit requirements for broker-dealers. The amendments are intended to increase protections for investors whose money and securities are turned over to SEC-registered broker-dealers. The final rules are available on the SEC’s website. Under previous rules, broker-dealers are required to file annual reports with the SEC and the self-regulatory organization (SRO) designated to examine that broker-dealer that contain financial statements audited by a PCAOB-registered independent public accountant.

2. 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.

3. Proposed PFP services standards available for public comment   WebExclusive

BY Chris Baysden
The AICPA released an exposure draft of a Proposed Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning Services on Tuesday as part of an initiative that’s expected to help boost the profile of CPA personal financial planning (PFP) practitioners. The proposal outlines members’ responsibilities in PFP engagements. These responsibilities include: General professional responsibilities; Responsibilities of members in PFP engagements; Planning the PFP engagement; Obtaining and analyzing information; Developing and communicating recommendations; Monitoring and updating engagements; Working with other service providers; and Using advice provided by other service providers

4. 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.

5. 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 (360financialliteracy.org) 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. Fund Advisers Face New Registration, Reporting Regs  

BY Jeffrey Gilman, J.D.
The passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in July 2010 marked the onset of major changes for financial advisers. The SEC in June followed through with rulemaking responsibilities under the new law by releasing final rules that include new registration and reporting requirements for advisers to hedge funds and other private funds, and define “family offices” that are excluded from the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
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