The PICPA’s financial literacy calendar, “A Novel Approach to Finances” was delivered to the office last week. Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite PICPA projects. This calendar is a great way to reach consumers every day of the year, providing them with tips on how to be financially savvy.
Our primary audience is consumers, and we reach this group through local libraries as part of our continuing partnership with the Pennsylvania Library Association and our support of PA Forward. Because of this close association with the libraries, books are always featured as the hook. The 2014 theme is “Books Around the World.” For me, the fun part is working with the PICPA communications team to select the titles we will highlight and then creatively add a financial literacy message to the book’s theme. For the designers, their fun is the hunt to find images that help tell the story and work their magic to provide a beautiful and consistent theme throughout the book. As you can imagine, there is much juggling as we try to find books that interest different people, and identify images that match the book and the month we are highlighting. The final product is a beautiful piece that always receives rave reviews from the librarians as they come back asking for more copies.
This year we expect to have the same reaction. More than 200 libraries have already received their pre-ordered calendars, and we anticipate more orders once they hit the streets. By the end of the distribution, 13,000 calendars will be hanging in kitchens and offices across the state.
The PICPA does not stop with this outreach. We produce a quarterly printed newsletter, Money & Life, and also send out an electronic version monthly with addition tips on a specific theme. Our fall issue featured tips for couples as they develop their personal financial plan, and the winter issue will provide tax tips.
There’s nothing like the personal touch, and CPAs are frequently invited to provide personal financial planning sessions at local library branches. Members have offered sessions on budgeting and getting out of debt.
Financial literacy continues to be a top community service priority for the CPA profession across the country, and consumers have noticed. The Feed the Pig campaign launched by the Ad Council to support the AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy program is one of the Ad Council’s most popular public service campaigns. In late November, the Ad Council presented the Gold Bell Award – the top creative award of the year – to the volunteer ad agency that created this year’s campaign.
CPAs can get involved by joining the PICPA financial literacy initiatives in their local communities or businesses and by providing links to these valuable personal financial planning resources on firm and company website. Do you have any other suggestions on how to improve financial literacy in your community?