CPA/PFS Eligibility RequirementsAFO|Wealth Management Forward
CPA/PFS Eligibility Requirements
A Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) is a certification designated for certified public accountants (CPAs). This certification allows accountants to expand their knowledge, expertise, and service offerings into financial planning and wealth management. This certification, established by The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), can only be held by a registered CPA, meaning that the certification can only be reserved for certified public accountants. With the CPA being a major prerequisite for eligibility to receive a PFS certification, certified public accountants can enjoy the numerous benefits of holding the license, including expanded employment opportunities within financial corporations, consulting firms, wealth management firms, and other financial advisory service firms. Holding the certification also includes earning the right to use the PFS designation within one’s professional title. PFS holders are also able to start their own financial planning or wealth management practice as well.
Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) Requirements
- Personal Financial Planning Process: This includes assisting clients in establishing their financial goals, gathering their financial data to make financial decisions with client funds, and building the client-advisor relationship.
- Professional Responsibilities, Legislative, and Regulatory Compliance: This includes complying with all licensing requirements from local, state, and federal authorities.
- Fundamental Financial Planning Concepts: This includes financial budgeting, analyzing client cash flow, client income, and client spending patterns
- Estate Planning: This includes establishing an estate financial plan for a client and determining the cash needed in the event of a client’s death and their potential tax liabilities.
- Charitable Planning: This involves determining the allocated assets for charitable giving and the various types of financial products available, such as life insurance and trusts.
- Risk Management Planning: This includes determining a client’s financial risks, including potential disability, potential illness, and potential property damage, as well as reviewing available financial products available to mitigate such risks.
- Employee and Business Owner Planning: This includes the executive compensation and employee benefit packages available for clients during job transitioning and the tax implications involved with exploring those potential options.
- Investment Planning: This involves the review of a client’s investment portfolio by looking at capital gains and losses, risk tolerance, and investment preferences to determine an appropriate investment strategy for the client.
- Retirement and Financial Planning: This includes determining a client’s cash needs for an enjoyable retirement, other financial goals, and savings needed to meet those particular goals.
- Elder and Chronic Illness Planning: This includes assisting clients in understanding the various elder care and housing options while developing a plan for those health and financial expenditures.
- Education Planning: This involves assisting clients with educational planning and financial funding strategies for secondary education.
- Special Situations: This includes defining a client’s housing goals, a client’s income needs and determining the division and allocation of assets in the event of a divorce or death.
Benefits of a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
- AICPA. “PFS Credential Handbook,” Page 2. Accessed July 3, 2021. Accessible From: https://www.aicpa.org/content/dam/aicpa/membership/join/downloadabledocuments/pfs-credential-handbook.pdf
- AICPA. “CPA/PFS Eligibility Requirements.” Accessed July 3, 2021. Accessible From: https://www.aicpa.org/membership/join/pfs-eligibility-requirements.html
- AICPA. “PFP Body of Knowledge.” Accessed July 3, 2021. Accessible From: https://www.aicpa.org/interestareas/personalfinancialplanning/membership/pfsbodyofknowledge.html
- FINRA.org. “Personal Financial Specialist (PFS).” Accessed July 3, 2021. Accessible From: https://www.finra.org/investors/professional-designations/pfs
- AICPA. “CPA/PFS Exam.” Accessed July 3, 2021. Accessible From: https://www.aicpa.org/membership/join/pfs-exam.html