Be in Demand: Becoming a CPA Financial Planner 

    Individuals, families and business owners are in need of objective advice, which CPA financial planners are best positioned to provide given the profession’s long-standing regulatory framework, the Code of Professional Conduct, universally recognized for the qualities of integrity, objectivity, due care and competence and through enforceable guidance in the delivery of PFP services, AICPA Statement on Standards in PFP Services.

    • PFP is forecasted to grow two times faster than the accounting profession through 2017. (IBISWorld 2012 and Deloitte)
    • The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected the need for the number of personal financial advisors to increase 27 percent nationwide between 2012 and 2022.
    • There are 10,000 baby boomers per day turning age 65 for the next 17 years in need of guidance. (Pew Research Center 2010)
    • New generations of CPAs want less compliance/routine work and more future oriented and value driven work such as PFP. (2020 Survey, Chris Frederiksen, CPA/PFS, Chairman 2020 Group)
    • CPA financial planners surveyed rank their careers in PFP higher than non-PFP jobs, noting that they enjoy helping clients and having a positive impact, find PFP intellectually challenging, and enjoy the financial benefits, flexibility and control of their work environment. (Preliminary results from AICPA PFP Career Path Survey)
    • There are new and dynamic tax complexities that CPAs understand best and that are critical to understand in a wide scope of financial planning advice.
    • In addition to growing demand from clients, there is a growing opportunity for leadership positions as firms and sole practitioners seek out successors.
    • Average total compensation among CPA/PFS credential holders is 11% higher than that of CPAs without the specialty credential. (2013 AICPA Compensation Survey)

    Be in Demand: Make Your Education Count

    • College students should be aware that even though CPA requirements to qualify for the examination vary from state to state, 40 states require that CPA candidates complete 150 credit hours and the remaining states are moving toward adoption of this requirement. This credit hour requirement can be satisfied either through enrollment in an advanced degree program (Masters-level, such as MA, MST, etc.) or the completion of additional undergraduate level courses. A tailored Masters-level program may be the most effective way to formalize a PFP program in the university.
    • If planned properly, the 150 credit undergraduate program may still be completed in four years by attending summer sessions, while preparing students for the CPA exam in addition to other personal financial planning (PFP) specific designations and credentials.
    • Curriculum to meet this 150-hour requirement should include a well-rounded personal financial planning (PFP) program that will prepare students to become CPA financial planners and eventually attain additional credentials, such as the CPA Personal Financial Specialist (CPA/PFS). The AICPA has partnered with The American College to provide a robust education package that prepares professionals to take the PFS exam; many universities already have these or equivalent courses. Other accounting courses, such as taxation and various business and economics courses, already offered in the university can be taken to supplement the remaining hours needed.
    • Students are eligible to sit for the PFS exam while still in school, allowing you to distinguish yourselves and be view as more desirable to prospective employees.  Individuals who successfully pass the exam will be granted the credential after attaining a CPA license or certificate and completing other requirements, such as the necessary education and work experience. Refer to the NASBA Standards for Continuing Professional Education to learn how university course credit can be used to meet the education requirement for the CPA/PFS credential.

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