What is PFS?
PFS (Personal Financial Specialist) is the financial planning specialty credential issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) exclusively to qualified CPAs with proven expertise and experience in comprehensive personal financial planning. With a membership of over 330,000, the AICPA is the premier professional association for CPAs in the U.S. In order to obtain the PFS Credential, one must be a member of the AICPA and be in good standing.
How do CPAs qualify for the PFS Credential?
To obtain a PFS, CPAs must prove their broad-based knowledge and business experience in core areas: estate planning, investment planning, the personal financial planning process, personal income tax planning, retirement planning and risk management planning. In addition to experience and education requirements, they must also pass an intensive qualifying examination and commit to life-long learning requirements. This is the AICPA's effort to ensure that clients' needs are more fully met through an integrated, holistic approach.
What are other reasons I should hire a CPA who holds a PFS Credential?
Studies by independent groups have repeatedly shown that CPAs are among the most trusted advisors to the public. As such, CPAs have built a reputation over the last 100 years as a profession that provides competent, ethical and trustworthy advice. Personal financial planning is a core competency for CPAs, and PFS is the only personal financial planning credential that is specifically designed for CPAs and the unique perspective we bring to the practice.
How can I be assured that you are serving my best interests?
CPAs adhere to the AICPA's strict code of professional conduct and ethics. In addition, PFS Credential holders follow the AICPA's Statements on Responsibilities (SORs) in Personal Financial Planning. These SORs describe specific planning procedures as well as guidelines for developing plans and communicating advice to clients. As a PFS Credential holder, I follow these guidelines when working with my clients and other advisors such as bankers and attorneys.