The US accounting website, accountingTODAY, informs us that The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has issued additional guidance for CPAs who offer personal financial planning (PFP) services.

statement on standardsThe AICPA’s Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning Services has been issued to “provide authoritative guidance and establish enforceable standards for members practicing in PFP”.

The statement is effective from 1 July 2014.

The standards build on the AICPA’s existing oversight of CPAs whose clients are seeking advice on more and more topics.

This is something that will happen in the UK as well, I am sure.

The AICPA Statement covers all aspects of the planning process, including obtaining information and communicating and implementing recommendations. The standards are enforceable and require complete transparency on factors such as compensation and potential conflicts that could influence client decision making and must be followed by all AICPA members who do work in financial planning.

The AICPA noted that more of its members have begun offering personal financial planning services as more clients turn to CPAs for help navigating financial issues such as taxes, retirement planning, education planning, estate planning, investments and risk management.

Membership in the AICPA’s Personal Financial Planning Section has increased 32 percent over the past five years, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that the number of personal financial advisors will  increase 27 percent nationwide between 2012 and 2022.

You might like to refer to the AICPA’s Statement on Responsibilities in Personal Financial Planning Practice which was originally adopted in 1992.

The big question for me is whether Accountants, and for that matter Lawyers too, in the UK are missing a trick. If accountants in the US are grasping the opportunity to get into financial services, maybe it’s worth look at. There has been a lot of growth in the IFA sector in the UK (heavily regulated, I know) but there has been a lot of negativity and criticism too.

Martin Pollins
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