Accredited Personal Financial Planning Specialist - Definition
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What is an Accredited Personal Financial Planning Specialist?
An accredited Personal Financial Planning Specialist (PFS) refers to a qualified Certified Public Accountant who receives this certification by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
The main work of a Financial Personal Specialist is to assess clients financial status and advise accordingly.
Back to: PROFESSIONALISM & CAREER DEVELOPMENT
How to Become a Financial Planning Specialist
The requirements to become a Financial Planning Specialist include the following:
personal financial planning (PFP) course to acquire knowledge in the following areas:
- Estate planning
- Investment planning
- Insurance planning including risk management
- Income tax planning
- Employee benefit planning
- Retirement planning
- General financial management and planning.
As a PFS applicant you must meet the following work experience requirements:
- Possess a minimum of two years of business experience or full-time tutoring experience. An equivalent of this would be for you to complete 3000 hours of personal financial planning. All this should be within the five years prior to CPA or PFS application.
- You must have a financial planning experience of not less than 3 years.
- You must have work experience from 12 areas which consist of the PFP Body of Knowledge.
- You must have a maximum of 1,000 hours of work experience in tax compliance. Note that this can count for the total time required for work experience.
- As an applicant, you must have engaged in the following financial planning responsibilities as part of the work experience requirement:
- Assessed and evaluated the clients financial status.
- Gathered clients data and goals
- Developed and presented a financial plan and alternative plans for achieving financial goals
- Monitored financial planning recommendations
- Defined and established clients relation
There are educational requirements that you must meet to be able to qualify for a Personal Financial Planning course. They include the following:
- You must have a Bachelors degree in any faculty from a recognized college or university or obtain the degree within 5-years of completing Credited Financial Planning (CFP) exams.
- You must meet the required threshold of being a CPA. In other words, you must be a qualified Certified Public Accountant.
- You must earn not less than 75 hours of personal financial planning education within the five-year period prior to the date of applying for PFS.
- Also, as PFS specialist, you must meet a 60-hours continuing professional education
According to the Certified Finance Planning Board, there are professional standard conducts that guide CFPs while executing their duties. One must be able to abide by, and upheld some of the provided ethical procedures so as to qualify for PFS credentials. An individual must demonstrate his or her capability to adhere to the following ethical procedures:
- Code of ethics
- Professional rules of conduct
- Disciplinary rules
- Practice standards
Also, as an individual, you must demonstrate the ability to uphold the following principles to be able to qualify for a CFP certification:
Note that the ethics fulfillment requirement is only done after one has done and passed the financial planning exam.
Ethics requirement is, therefore, the last step that you must go through and pass so that you can get the FPS certification.
In order to assess the ethical suitability of the PFS applicant, the candidate is taken through a Fitness Standards for Candidates and Registrants test.
Through this, an individuals ethical suitability is then determined and if one passes, then he or she qualifies to become the PFS.
A CPA candidate is also expected to meet the following additional requirements:
- Must be an AICP registered member.
- Hold an unrevoked CPA certification which is given by a legal state authority.
- Must pay an annual fee so as to maintain the designation.
Credited Financial Specialist Credential Exemptions
There are exemptions that apply to CFP certification. If you are a CPA holder who has certifications, designations or degree in any of the following areas, you may be exempted from doing accredited Financial Planner (CFP) exam as the other qualifications automatically qualify you to become PFS:
- Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
- Licensed attorney
- Ph.D. in economics or business
- Doctor of Business Administration
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
- Licensed CPA
Continuing Education Requirements
To be able to maintain your CFP certification, you must pay a fee worth $325 every two years.
You are also required to report a continued education covering 30 hours every two years.
The 30-hour continued education has to include:
- 2-hours of Continued education from CFP Board-approved program on ethics and professional standards.
- 28-hours accepted subjects for continued education.
- Acquire continuing education credit when you do live presentations, self-study programs, college course, completing professional licenses including exams, and working as a trainer or speaker.
Academic Research on Accredited Personal Financial Planning Specialist
- Personal financial planning education in Australian universities, Cowen, J. E., Blair, W. T., & Taylor, S. M. (2006). Personal financial planning education in Australian universities. Financial Services Review, 15(1), 43. Personal financial planning in Australia is drawing interest from a wide range of groups including consumers, regulators, the financial services industry, accountants, and educators. This paper reflects on the development of the Australian financial planning industry, focusing on its historical background and the relevant regulatory environment. This article then provides a descriptive analysis of the availability of dedicated financial planning courses currently available in Australian universities at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The Australian findings suggest the existence of considerable research opportunities to study professionalism in financial planning and the fundamental role that education plays in this process.
- Personal financial planning attitudes: a preliminary study of graduate students, Murphy, D. S., & Yetmar, S. (2010). Personal financial planning attitudes: a preliminary study of graduate students. Management Research Review, 33(8), 811-817.
- Integration of Professional Certification Examinations with the Financial Planning Curriculum: Increasing Efficiency, Motivation, and Professional Success., Goetz, J. W., Zhu, D., Hampton, V. L., Chatterjee, S., & Salter, J. (2011). Integration of Professional Certification Examinations with the Financial Planning Curriculum: Increasing Efficiency, Motivation, and Professional Success. American Journal of Business Education, 4(3), 35-46. This article provides a theoretical-based rationale and plan of action for educational programs to encourage and create opportunities for the integration of course study with professional exam preparation, while highlighting the complementary benefits for students, academic programs, and the financial services profession. Serving primarily as a model for faculty associated with university-based financial planning education, this article also provides a foundation for future research in this area. In addition, the article presents descriptive information on select designations and licenses currently available that finance and financial planning students could pursue concurrently with coursework.
- Does AICPA accreditation of nonaudit services add value? The case of personal financial planning, Mauldin, D. S., Wilder, M., & Stocks, M. H. (2000). Does AICPA accreditation of nonaudit services add value? The case of personal financial planning. Accounting Horizons, 14(1), 49-67. The AICPA has taken the position that accreditation of CPAs in specific areas of practice is an important aspect of repositioning the CPA profession for the future. The AICPA currently offers two designations exclusively to CPAs, one of which is the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) designation. However, the issue of accrediting CPAs by granting official AICPA designations is a complex and highly debated issue with opposing sides having compelling arguments supporting their positions. CPAs and other professionals specializing in personal financial planning have opportunities to obtain designations other than the PFS. This paper examines the relative value of these alternative options for financial planners. Specifically, the research was designed to examine the differential effects of alternative financialplanning accreditations on users' perceptions. These perceptions relate to various professional attributes of a financial planner such as their knowledge and expertise, objectivity, and level of trust and ethics possessed. In addition, these perceptions relate to fees charged and the influence that the designation has on the public's choice of a financial planner. Our results indicate that the CPA designation used in conjunction with the PFS designation is generally perceived to signal a higher level of professional attributes than the other designations examined in the study. In addition, a CPA with a PFS designation has a significantly greater influence on the public's choice of a financial planner than do the other designations. These results suggest that important benefits may accrue to CPAs from holding the PFS specialty accreditation. planner, Goodman, M., & Malin, S. (2013). planner.
- Costs and benefits of APFS accreditation, Donelan, J. G., & Elsea, J. E. (1992). Costs and benefits of APFS accreditation. The CPA Journal, 62(2), 67