Business experience requirements for the CPA/PFS credential
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Business experience requirements for the CPA/PFS credential

6 months ago · 1 min read

Wondering how your experience matches up to the requirement for the CPA/PFS credential? As a CPA working with individuals and families, you likely have more experience than you realize. Here are some things to consider:

Which topical areas qualify?

The qualifying areas for this credential fall under 2 broad categories:

  • Tax compliance. Tax knowledge is an integral part of personal financial planning — therefore a number of these hours (up to 1,000 or 2,000 hours depending on pathway) qualify.

  • Personal financial planning (PFP). The remaining hours you log must be planning experience related to any of the following areas:

    • Tax planning

    • Estate planning

    • Retirement planning

    • Investment planning

    • Risk management and insurance planning

    • Other topics: charitable planning, education planning, elder and special needs planning, employee benefits and business owner planning

For more details on what areas are included in PFP, check out the PFP Body of Knowledge.

Which pathway do I qualify for? How do I know if I have met the required hours?

We offer three pathways for the CPA/PFS credential: Standard Pathway, Certificate Pathway and the Experienced Pathway.

To determine how many experience hours you have, start with your tax experience. If you perform tax compliance work, subtract up to 1,000 or 2,000 hours off the total required hours for the pathway you are pursuing.

Image Chart

Next, evaluate the work you have done for your clients over the last 5 to 7 years. Consider the financial planning topics listed above and estimate the total hours you spent in those areas each year. You can also compare the non-tax compliance planning work you have done with major clients or groups of clients with similar planning needs against the list of PFP topics.

You can use a worksheet like the one illustrated below to get a sense of where you stand.

PFS Pathway Chart

What happens next?

The information on this page should help you get started on estimating your qualifying personal financial planning-related experience. This helps you choose your pathway and take the education and exams to meet the remaining requirements.

When you apply for the PFS credential, you will attest to meeting the experience requirement. The information you gathered on this page will be helpful in documenting your experience if your application is audited.

Learn more about the PFS Experienced CPA Pathway and the overall PFS program.

Have questions? Contact the PFP Team.

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