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CPAs Play an Essential Role in Improving the Financial Education of All Americans

As Financial Literacy Month draws to a close, it’s important to reflect on the essential role CPAs play in helping improve the financial knowledge of Americans.  Educating consumers about their finances is the volunteer cause of the CPA profession.  Through the AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy program (360), thousands of CPAs from all over the country volunteer their time to speak with consumers of all ages about their finances. Increasing our citizens’ financial education is critical to our country’s financial success, and the AICPA is leading the way for the CPA profession.

During my tenure as chair of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, CPAs across the country achieved much and celebrated many milestones in financial literacy.  I have been involved with developing and releasing several rounds of creative from Feed the Pig, the AICPA’s PSA campaign with the Ad Council, and, along with the rest of the Commission, participated in releasing the AICPA’s first consumer publication, Save Wisely, Spend Happily, authored by Commission member Sharon Lechter, CPA.  Commission members promote 360 and its related programs, and represent 360 before the media and national organizations. Our members are essential in promoting 360 with AICPA leadership, committees, state society leadership and key accounting organizations. I am proud of the work Commission members do and the leadership they provide.



CPAs in public service have also played an important role in the profession’s financial literacy efforts. On April 22, U.S. Representative and Congressional Caucus on CPAs and Accountants member Michael Conaway, CPA (TX-11) gave a speech on the House floor highlighting April as Financial Literacy Month. Representative Conaway noted the important role that CPAs across the country play in improving the financial literacy of Americans, and how, for over 10 years, the AICPA, members and state CPA societies have worked together through 360.

Since 360 was launched eleven years ago, more than 2,500 financial education events have been held by the AICPA and all 55 state CPA societies. In honor of this year’s Financial Literacy Month, the AICPA launched an updated 360 website, the centerpiece of our financial literacy program, with revised tools and content to provide enhanced guidance and support to consumers everywhere. The website contains information on making smart financial decisions through every life stage.  Earlier this month, the AICPA also launched a new Tumblr campaign for Feed the Pig, designed to educate young adults about their finances through memes and humor.

The road to financial well-being is a lifetime endeavor.  As a father of five grown boys, I know firsthand the importance of planning for college, a career and a secure retirement.  I told each of them early on that there are many paths to a secure financial future.  It is important to first decide where you have your passion, then determine how to fund the education needed to get there.  Getting a solid education leads to good employment and an affordable lifestyle. 

Through one united effort of the profession, CPAs are playing an essential role in the financial education of our nation. I am proud of the work the AICPA, members, state CPA societies and the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission has accomplished over the past three years and look forward to continuing to play an active role in improving the financial well-being of all Americans.

Ernest A. Almonte, CPA, MST, CFF, CITP, CGFM. Ernie is a partner at McGladrey LLP, the Chair of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission and a past Chair of the AICPA.


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