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Financial Planning Conference Offers Path to New Career (Part 1)

Personal Financial Specialist 25th anniversaryThe 2012 AICPA Advanced Personal Financial Planning Conference concluded Wednesday at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas. The conference, held annually, brings together experts from four diverse financial planning areas: Investment Management, Wealth Management, Practice Management and Retirement/Elder Planning. This year we asked two attendees to share their thoughts and experiences from the financial planning conference. See what they had to say.

Our on the ground bloggers:

Jean-Luc Bourdon, CPA/PFS, Principal, BrightPath Wealth Planning LLC. Jean-Luc is a regular contributor to CPA Insider and currently serves on the AICPA’s PFS Credential Committee.

Theodore Sarenski, CPA/PFS, President/CEO, Blue Ocean Strategic Capital, LLC. Ted is an appointed member of the AICPA Virtual Grassroots Panel, Social Security Task Force and Planner Magazine Editorial Advisory Board. Ted serves as Chair of the AICPA Elder Planning Task Force and is a liaison to the AICPA PFP Executive Committee.

From the beginning, several other attendees posted notable take-aways on Twitter. Take a look at what experts, including Michael Kitces, Mitch Freeman, Bill Winterberg and Carolyn McClanahan, had to say at the bottom of this post.

Sunday, Jan. 15
Despite the allure of the lights and all that is Las Vegas, the pre-conference workshops were well attended and included two workshops, which are part of the pathway to help CPAs begin or advance their involvement in financial planning. One such workshop, Implementing PFP Services: Step-by-Step Plans for Success, let attendees explore service-model options and guided them on how to provide financial planning services according to best practices. There were more than 40 first-time conference attendees in this limited attendance session. The second workshop was a two-day PFS Exam Live Review Class presented by the very engaging Tom Tillery to prepare CPAs specializing in financial planning for the Personal Financial Specialist credential.

The interest in financial planning services often comes from one wanting to:

  • Remain competitive in a marketplace where CPAs increasingly offer financial planning services
  • Help clients navigate a challenging personal finance environment

Other pre-conference workshops included Low-Cost, Highly Effective Marketing Techniques that Produce Results (how to get your name out and actually make money providing financial planning services) and Making the Media Your Financial Planning Partner (a wonderful experience worth $4,000 if you tried to obtain this on your own) where many attendees from last year shared their successes at pitching stories and answering questions for the media. There was also plenty of time to network, which is the best part of any conference.

The pre-conference workshops closed out with a vibrant town hall meeting covering a number of initiatives the AICPA’s PFP Section is actively working on to benefit and grow our financial planning practices. It offered a chance for members of the PFP community to talk with AICPA staff and volunteers. The mood was, as always, energized by the many friendships binding this passionate group. Old and new friends were invited to break into groups related to various practice concerns (regulatory, client communication, technology and more) and discuss them as a community. Over the years, such conversations led to many improvements to the resources offered to CPAs involved (or seeking involvement) in financial planning.

At night, one of the most elegant receptions I have seen in 20 years of attending this conference ended it in style. The reception marked the 25th anniversary of the PFS credential and was another opportunity to reflect on (and enjoy) the accomplishments of PFS credential holders.

Tune in tomorrow for a summary of day two!

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