AICPA and Texas Tech announce new pathway to PFS credential

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The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and Texas Tech University's Division of Personal Financial Planning have announced a joint agreement to develop a new educational program that will lead to the AICPA's Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential. The program will officially begin in June 2009, but the AICPA and Texas Tech have announced that they will conduct a PFS Pathway beta program or test program at AICPA offices in Dallas November 10 through 14th.

The PFS beta program consists of four days of intense comprehensive personal financial planning case study in 12 technical areas, including estate planning, employee benefits, investment planning, financial independence, and income tax planning. Participants take an eight-hour multiple choice exam of approximately 200 questions on the fifth day.

Participants in the Beta program, who must return their applications by August 31, will receive free registration for the program and 32 free continuing professional education credits in personal financial planning, the AICPA says.

"The PFS Pathway reinforces the AICPA's commitment to this important credential," said Steve Winters, the Institute's Director of Specialized Communities and Practice Management. "As our personal financial planning community continues to grow, we want to support those seeking to obtain the PFS by providing them with a strong educational path specific to their needs as CPA financial planners. We're very excited about working with Texas Tech, which is widely recognized for its financial planning education."

"Building the educational pathway to the PFS credential is an extraordinary opportunity for the university to partner with AICPA. We believe this goes a long way towards increasing professionalism in the financial planning industry," said Vickie Hampton, program director of the Division of Personal Financial Planning at Texas Tech.

Demand for personal financial planning services is strong. In a joint survey conducted by the AICPA and Moss Adams LLP in 2007, respondents, who were active in personal financial planning, reported year-over-year growth in their practices for the two preceding years of 34 percent.

CPAs with the PFS credential have significant advantages over non-CPA financial planners, the AICPA says on their site. They enjoy the support of their peers and receive exclusive marketing benefits from the AICPA, including practice management guidance, tools and various promotional opportunities such as:

  • Web site tools to help them promote their practices as PFS Credential Holders.
  • Inclusion in the “Find a PFS” database that consumers and industry stakeholders use to search for qualified financial planners.
  • Opportunities to present PFP-related subject matter to consumers through educational programs run by 3rd party national organizations such as the U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau Wi$e Up Program.
  • Guest appearances on the AICPA's 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy Program's "Ask the Money Doctor portal where consumers ask personal finance questions of the experts.

The AICPA introduced the PFS credential in 1987. It is the only financial planning credential available exclusively to CPAs.

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