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Changes in Eligibility Requirements for Personal Financial Specialist Credential Open Up Program to More Members.

Next month a new set of guidelines -- developed by the PFS Credential Committee and the PFP Executive Committee under the auspices of the National Accreditation Commission -- will take effect for earning the AICPA's Personal Financial Specialist credential. While the previous eligibility requirements centered on passage of the AICPA's PFS exam and specified hours of experience in PFP activities during the three years preceding the exam, the centerpiece of these new guidelines is a new "point system" that encompasses a broad definition of business experience (which now includes teaching), provides for a new lifelong learning component, and recognizes other "PFP related" exams.

Relevant business experience involves six financial planning disciplines: the personal financial planning process (goal setting), personal income tax planning, risk management planning, investment planning, retirement planning and estate planning. It also includes the teaching of college-level personal financial planning courses -- which helps to open up the credential to members in academe.

Lifelong learning embraces both traditional (standard CPE courses) and non-traditional (self-directed reading and research) methods. It also includes conference presentations and professional writing credits. Advanced academic degrees, such as a juris doctor and masters of business administration, are considered, as well. Participation on the committees of nationally renowned personal financial planning associations also counts.

Although all PFS candidates still are required to pass an examination, the AICPA will recognize exams other than the Institute's PFS exam. Those others are: Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Financial Consultant, Chartered Financial Analyst, and the NASD Series 65, Series 66 and Series 7 exams.

Each of the three areas -- business experience, lifelong learning and examination -- requires a minimum number of "points" to be earned. To attain the PFS credential, candidates must demonstrate evidence of earning 100 points across the three areas. An assessment tool is being developed to help candidates determine their qualifications for the PFS accreditation.

Other application criteria apply (e.g., AICPA membership in good standing, unrevoked CPA certificate). The AICPA will launch an online PFS application/assessment tool in Jan. at: for more information
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Title Annotation:National Accreditation Commission; guidelines developed by Personal Financial Specialist Credential Committee and Personal Financial Planner Executive Committee
Publication:CPA Letter
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Dec 1, 2000
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