Magazine article The CPA Journal

Awareness and Potential of Eldercare Services

Magazine article The CPA Journal

Awareness and Potential of Eldercare Services

Article excerpt

CPAS ARE INTERESTED AND WILLING TO MOVE INTO MORE AREAS like supervision of household expenditures, reporting on the degree of care received, and inspecting care facilities.

The needs of senior Americans are mushrooming. Busy families frequently do not have the time or capability to effectively supervise the needs of seniors. Frequently, seniors require assistance managing a portfolio of securities and retirement funds from several sources, maintaining a home, and allocating financial resources. Many spend years in an assisted living environment, where some guardian must guarantee that services are indeed performed. There is a growing demand for professionals that can serve this eldercare market.

The primary professional skills for eldercare are accounting, investing, scheduling, forecasting, budgeting, and auditing. Also required is competence in evaluating the quality of eldercare services, determining reasonable costs of services, directing the employment of emergency services, and monitoring client care. Another challenging aspect of eldercare is that a younger relative will generally pay the fee for services for the elderly client.

Eldercare Assurance

Since May 1997, the AICPA Special Committee on Assurance Services' Eldercare Task Force has been working to develop eldercare assurance services, which could include traditional accounting services as well as measuring how effectively care providers meet goals established by a third party or client. These procedures might include: accounting for routine financial transactions, supervising investments, accounting for the estate, and investigating unexpected situations. Providers of eldercare assurance may also be required to inspect logs, diaries, contracts, laws, or other evidence to determine whether caregivers are meeting performance criteria. Periodic reporting to children or other family members on the activities of the elder, and on the degree to which care providers are meeting established criteria, is central to meeting the desires of purchasers of this service. In addition to the familiar tasks of auditing, accounting, and reporting, eldercare requires significant personalized selling and involvement in service management.

Need for Eldercare Service

A nationwide survey was conducted for the AICPA Special Committee on Assurance Services to evaluate the attitudes and concerns of Americans regarding the care of an aging parent or close relative. The study revealed that 89% of high-income Americans ages 40 to 64 said that they would be at least "somewhat likely" to use the services included in eldercare assurance if the need arose. …

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