What is an Accredited Personal Financial Planning Specialist?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2018
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As a Certified Public Accountant who has demonstrated an expertise in personal financial planning, and also has the educational credentials to go along with the expertise, the Accredited Personal Financial Planning Specialist can be a great asset when it comes to effectively managing personal finances. Here is some background on the Accredited Personal Financial Planning Specialist, including some examples of how this professional can help clients work toward a secure financial future.

Accredited Personal Financial Planning Specialists are provided credentials through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. The credentials are not extended until the CPA has undergone a thorough series of training and education courses to ensure the proficiency of the individual with the subject matter. Upon successfully completing the required course work, the Board will administer a financial planning examination. Candidates who have done well with the courses will have little to fear from the final exam. Once the examination is successfully completed, the CPA may begin to offer services in the area of personal financial planning.


One of the key tasks of an Accredited Personal Financial Planning Specialist is to assess the current financial condition of his or her clients, and to make reasonable and helpful suggestions about how to improve that condition. This may often include ideas that will have both short term and long term implications for the client. Generally, the Accredited Personal Financial Planning Specialist will not engage in such tasks as buying and selling stocks on behalf of a client. Instead, the specialist will focus on making sure the income level is enough to meet basic living expenses.

A good Accredited Personal Financial Planning Specialist will also help the client develop financial goals that may include short-term plans, such as buying a new car in the next two years, and long term plans, like college education expenses for the children. In general, the role of the specialist is to make sure the client is utilizing available resources to the best advantage.

Along with helping to plan for day to day personal finances and helping with the family goals, an Accredited Personal Financial Planning Specialist is invaluable when it comes to creating a savings and investment portfolio that will provide resources after retirement. This is an area that is often overlooked by many people. The specialist will often help younger clients begin establishing these income reserves early in life, even when there is only a small amount to contribute to the reserves at first. Over time, opportunities to expand the range and size of the portfolio will appear, and the Accredited Personal Financial Planning Specialist will be able to help clients see the value of those opportunities.



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