Nine organizations across the nation have received the first award for excellence in workplace financial education, which recognizes them for setting the standard in programs that teach employees how to make better personal financial decisions.
The WLIFE award – “Workplace Leader in Financial Education” – was created this year by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Society for Human Resource Management to highlight the importance of financial wellness in the workplace.
The AICPA and SHRM were inspired by a working group of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, which suggested the creation of an award to recognize employers who excel in this area. The WLIFE award is the first national honor for employers who provide financial education programs that improve the personal well-being of employees.
The AICPA and SHRM received more than 300 applications for the inaugural WLIFE award, which were judged by members of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, human resource professionals and CPAs. The winning companies stood out because their financial education programs showed results, innovation, effective tactics and a significant scope in increasing employee financial wellness. The nine winners represent corporate, not-for-profit and government:
1. American Express, New York, N.Y.
2. Centre Area Transportation Agency, Port Matildo, Penn.
3. Heritage Wealth Advisors, Richmond, Va.
4. Mountain America Credit Union, West Jordan, Utah
5. NYSE Euronext, New York, N.Y.
6. New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, N.Y.
7. Therm-o-Disc Inc., Mansfield, Ohio
8. UA Healthcare, Tucson, Ariz.
9. WorldatWork, Scottsdale, Ariz.
“It’s no secret that the economy is weak and individual financial security is top of mind for many workers – now is the time to educate employees about personal finance and financial well-being,” said Henry “Hank” Jackson, CPA, president and CEO of SHRM.
A 2010 SHRM survey released late summer shows 30 percent of organizations offered one-on-one financial/investment advice, while 24 percent offered the advice via in-group or classroom and 22 percent delivered the advice online.
“As CPAs, we know that financial security brings peace of mind,” said Barry Melancon, CPA, CEO of the AICPA. “Employers who commit to improving the financial understanding of their employees improve the lives of these individuals as well as the financial well-being of the communities where they work.”
AICPA and SHRM define financial wellness as a person’s skill and knowledge for making sound decisions about personal finances, such as saving, budgeting, using credit wisely, education, tax and retirement planning, investing and choosing company benefits wisely.
A financially literate workforce understands financial concepts such as the time value of money, the effects of inflation on savings, compound interest and the rate of growth and the benefits of deferred income and reinvested capital gains and interest.
For more information, visit www.wlife.org, which also includes a toolkit and information to help employers develop their own financial education programs.