A recent study has shown there is a trend in the growth of CPA
financial planning and investment advisory practices in the
US.

The findings were revealed in the study published by the American
Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and Praxity
participant firm Moss Adams.

Lyle Benson, who served on the task force that oversaw the
study, told the International Accounting Bulletin: “There
has clearly been a trend of CPA’s moving in this direction. Growth
has accelerated in the past few years. CPAs are well equipped to
help clients with broader personal financial planning issues and
their clients have a high level of trust in their
relationship.”

AICPA gathered the information from 431 CPA and CPA-affiliated
member firms and revealed that CPA financial planning and
investment advisory practices have had significant revenue growth
and are expanding at a faster rate than their non-CPA
competitors.

Between 2004 and 2006, the average revenue for these practices rose
by nearly 35 percent each year and between 2000 and 2007 nearly
half of the firms had started offering financial planning and
advisory services.

Thirty-five percent had begun providing these services in the 1990s
and only 15 percent reported having financial planning practices
prior to 1990.

The study revealed that there are four basic business models for
CPAs practicing in this area: referral partner, solo practitioner,
single entity and stand-alone subsidiary. The study found that CPA
practices in this area tend to be smaller but achieve higher profit
margins than the industry overall.

The report is the first of its kind to focus on the CPA financial
planning arena exclusively. Benson added: “No one had ever done a
study of the CPA financial planning arena exclusively and we plan
to continue assessing the status of CPAs in the financial
planning/investment advisory profession.

“The study showed us some of the key elements of success by
highlighting certain business practices of higher profit firms. The
respondents provided very useful financial statement information
that members can use to benchmark their own practices.”

Nicola Maher