Practice management

QDROs demand the attention of CPAs

Expertise in qualified domestic relations orders and dividing retirement benefits in divorce can be a valuable accounting and tax specialty.

The accidental investment adviser

CPAs often are solicited for advice regarding potential investments. A CPA should refrain from providing specific investment advice unless he or she has been adequately trained and licensed to serve as an investment adviser.

The new PFP standards

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:

SEC strengthens broker-dealer audit requirements

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

PFP Q&A: Planning for change

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

Proposed PFP services standards available for public comment

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

Proposed Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning

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

Make your community more financially literate

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

A wealth of opportunity

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

Daily money management

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.

Help clients choose the right charities

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. The IRS compiles

Estate Planning Action Steps

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. Here are some

Advising Financially Stressed Clients

Tax and financial advisers should be prepared to discuss a range of possibilities for their clients who are facing financial difficulties and help make the best choices given their circumstances and goals. Should they consider bankruptcy? If they want to avoid bankruptcy, how can they best reduce their debt? Which

Fund Advisers Face New Registration, Reporting Regs

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

PFP Services Guidelines

CPAs providing personal financial planning services to individual clients in estate, retirement, tax, investment and/or insurance planning need to ensure they are meeting their professional responsibilities. The AICPA Statement on Responsibilities in Personal Financial Planning Practice (SOR) provides guidance that can help protect against unforeseen risks of litigation. Here are

AICPA Comments on SEC Proposed Rule for Family Offices

The definition of a family office’s “family clients” must be inclusive enough to encompass all of the clients and arrangements that are typically present in a single-family office, the AICPA said. The suggestion was among comments submitted by the Institute on Tuesday on a proposed SEC rule defining family offices,

Lessons Learned From the Financial Crisis

Since the onset of the economic crisis last fall, many CPAs who are personal financial planning specialists have been working overtime to reassure clients overwhelmed with fear about the future and safety of their investments and to reassess and reorient investment portfolios when necessary. Members of the AICPA’s Personal Financial

The Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax: A Quick Guide

Sooner or later, every estate planner comes face to face with the generation-skipping transfer tax (GSTT). Many practitioners do not feel up to the challenge because this particular tax has a reputation for being as treacherous as the sea. But after you boil down all the complications, you’re left with

Excerpts From the Personal Financial Planning Round Table

Editor's note: These are Web-exclusive excerpts from the JofA's round table discussion with members of the AICPA's Personal Financial Planning Section. Also read "Lessons Learned From the Financial Crisis," Oct. 09. PARTICIPANTS' PERSPECTIVES ON GETTING INTO PERSONAL FINANCIAL PLANNING Lyle Benson: We’re all living examples of CPAs who made the

New Exam Options Offer Pathways to PFS Credential

An examination leading to the AICPA’s Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential is now available in hundreds of cities nationwide, along with a live, interactive online offering of the exam’s case-study component. Together, these features of the new PFS Pathway program are intended to allow CPAs anywhere to obtain the PFS

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Why cybercriminals are targeting CPAs

This free report expands on the most commonly found scams, why education and specialized IT knowledge help to lessen security vulnerabilities, and why every firm should plan carefully for how it would respond to a breach.

PODCAST

How tax reform will impact individual taxpayers

Amy Wang, a CPA who is a senior technical manager for tax advocacy at the AICPA, answers to some of the most common questions on how the new tax reform law will impact individual taxpayers.