The ability to accept commissions is nothing new for the accounting profession. For many years, CPAs have accepted commissions as part of their line of services in brokering securities, insurance and other savings instruments--in harmony with their own accounting services.
Where to draw the line and make the distinction for the public is another matter altogether. There is a substantial gray area involved. Clients may be surprised to discover that their trusted CPA also can help in the risk and savings arena.
And, if trust is the overriding issue, will a client trust the advice of their CPA if they don't know for whom the CPA is working? Is it the insurance company or the client?
Many CPAs are successfully offering services and enhancing their income by offering securities. While the solution and decision to broker is up to the CPA, principals and others should think of their clients' expectations and whether this change in services is an important retention factor.