What is a PFS?

PFS, or 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. The AICPA is the premier professional association for CPAs in the U.S. and has more than 350,000 members. You must be a CPA member in good standing of the AICPA before you can obtain the PFS Credential.


Why is a PFS a preferred choice among financial planning credentials?

A PFS is granted exclusively to CPAs who are members in good standing of the AICPA. As a PFS Credential holder, demonstrates a comprehensive knowledge of the core areas of financial planning. Also, to obtain the credential, they have met stringent requirements with professional work experience, education and training and have passed an examination that tests their financial planning knowledge. As an added benefit, when you choose a CPA/PFS for your financial planning needs, you also gain an advantage thanks to their knowledge and expertise in related areas such as tax, accounting and business management. This ensures that your 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 advisers 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. As a client, you can count on objective financial planning advice that will always meet your best interests. 

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 specialized training they bring to the practice.


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. They must also pass an intensive qualifying examination and commit to lifelong learning requirements.


How can I be assured that a PFS will be 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. PFS Credential holders follow these guidelines when working with their clients and other advisers such as bankers and attorneys.

Questions? Phil Putney, CPA PFS is a federally licensed fiduciary. Call 1-248-888-7530 or click here to schedule a no obligation initial consultation.

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