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AICPA - Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) Eligibility Course

  • Meets 75 hours CPD requirement for PFS designation

  • Complies AICPA regulations

  • Makes you eligible for PFS designations in one go *(Other Conditions Applied)

  • Earn 75 NASBA approved CPD credits

Register

$299

Course Fee

Course modules

Course Modules Credits
The Mathematics of Estate Planning For IRAs after the Secure Act 1.5
  • To understand the new changes relating to IRAs and employer plans.
  • To learn how to apply new estate and estate tax planning strategies in light of changes to IRA and employer plan rules
  • To Develope a thorough understanding of the Deferral and Tax Rate arbitrage associated with a Charitable Remainder Trust.
  • To understand the Income and Estate Tax-Free Benefits of IRA relocation.
  • To Integrate Roth Conversion Planning with Eligible IRA Disability Trusts and IRA Trust Planning
Estate and Financial Planning: Latest Topics and Best Techniques 2
  • To identify clientele Estate and Financial Planning products
  • To recognize planning options best suited for clients’ financial needs
  • To recall effective planning strategies for meeting clients’ long-term retirement goals
Fundamentals of Income Taxation of Trusts & Form 1041 Planning: What Every Advisors Needs to Know 2
  • To identify different types of trusts for income tax purposes.
  • To recall the concepts of Fiduciary accounting
  • To recall 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax & the passive activity rules
  • To identify various special deductions which are available.
  • To recall QSST and EBST elections
Estate Planning For IRAs Payable To Trusts After The Secure Act 2
  • To identify the new changes relating to IRAs and employer plans.
  • To recognize the new and extended income tax provisions enacted as part of this new legislation
  • To recall new estate and estate tax planning strategies in light of changes to IRA and employer plan rules
  • To recognize Income Tax Planning when IRAs are Paid to Trusts and how to Pass-Out Taxable Income to the Beneficiaries
The Efficacy and Application of 30 Common Trusts 2
  • To identify how trusts may protect assets and perpetuate family wealth over multiple generations
  • To identify the areas of trusts in connection with disability, charity, life insurance, leveraging gifts, principal residences, and minors
Asset Protection - Legal and Financial Planning Strategies 1.5
  • To recognize key asset protection principles
  • To provide an overview of various strategies that can be incorporated into financial plans
  • To recognize various strategies to protect key assets
  • To identify various strategies to limit key liabilities
  • To recognize using insurance, professionals such as Doctors, Dentists, Chiropractors, Veterinarians, etc.), and attorney to zero down on the customized plan
Incapacity Planning Guidelines for Financial Professionals 1.5
  • To recognize the importance of Incapacity Planning in protecting assets
  • To identify the importance of legal documents and consequences
  • To recall the three ways of funding long term care
  • To strategize asset protection
  • To differentiate between Preplanning and Crisis planning
  • To efficiently suing estate planning attorneys as a resource for incapacity planning
Legal and Financial Planning Strategies for Immigrants in the US 1.5
  • To recognize the US as a hidden markets for immigrant financial professionals
  • To identify healthcare and immigration as a developing business area for professionals
  • To explore deportation issues related to family, property, and their business
  • To recognize tax issues for immigrants
  • To recall insurance polies as an effective tool for international clients
  • To identify the issues for immigrant business owners
  • To recognize tax issues, property issues, and international law from immigrants and estate planning perspective
  • To identify different Business Structures and how they impact tax planning
  • To recognize mistakes Business Owners make in tax planning
  • To explore Income Shifting and using Family Owned Businesses for tax planning
  • To recognize an Attorney is your best resource for tax deduction planning
  • To explore three Capital Gains Strategies
  • To explore Retirement and Tax Planning Strategies
  • To recognize Estate Planning as a universal need
  • To identify how Rockefellers establish a multi-generational wealth plan
  • To recognize you as an immortal
  • To explore the family power grid
  • To explore how dynasty trust can be a multigenerational property protection tool
  • To outline what one must do to secure their Retirement!
  • To identify the Retirement Myths
  • To design a simple Retirement Plan
  • To discuss how to avoid running out of Money before running out of Life
  • To discuss about Managing Risks in Retirement
  • To identify how academics have been persistently converting what was a source of alpha into beta reducing the sources of alpha.
  • To recognize how the shrinking pool of active investors is making it more difficult to generate alpha.
  • To recognize that while the absolute level of skill of active managers today is much higher than it was 25 years ago, it’s actually harder to generate alpha as it is the relative level of skill that matters (the paradox of skill).
  • To recognize how the increased supply of capital chasing alpha has negatively impacted returns.
  • Learn that all risk assets go through long periods of poor performance. This must be the case or there would be no risk for long term investors.
  • Learn how diversification across unique sources of risk reduces the risk of poor outcomes/negative premiums.
  • Learn that discipline, the necessary ingredient for investment success, requires ignoring tracking variance that comes with diversification.
  • Learn how the behavioral errors known as recency and relativism lead to loss of discipline and poor outcomes.
  • Learn not to make the mistake of “resulting”, judging the quality of a decision by the outcome/results.
  • To recognize that there are overpricing bubbles in stocks and bonds
  • To identify the reasons bubbles are inflating
  • To anticipate bursting of the bubbles
  • To anticipate rampant inflation
  • To discuss how to protect investment
  • To recall the practical and updated understanding of the federal gift tax.
  • To identify the parts and schedules that make up the Form 709.
  • To identify which lifetime transfers are subject to gift tax
  • To recall the practical understanding of the federal estate tax
  • To examine and develop and understanding of will gains be recognized at death
  • To identify the exemptions and exceptions for gifts made during life and after death.
  • To explore what gains will be realized upon gift
  • To recognize if the gifts can be made to grantor or non-grantor trust without gain realization in 2021
  • To explore how the Van Hollen and the Pascrell bills can interact with the anti-grantor trust provisions of the Sanders legislation
  • To understand the purpose and importance of a Power of Attorney
  • To understand the critical importance of planning in the case there is a disabled child or family member in the family
  • To understand the implications of a failure to plan for one’s incapacity.
  • To know various incapacitation situation and importance of planning for it
  • To recognize the risks of failing to plan for the incapacitation
  • To understand the critical importance of a power of attorney
  • To learn the importance of a gifting authority in the power of attorney
  • To identify the importance of appointing someone to make health care decisions for your client in the event of incapacity
  • To identify the requirements of Qualified Plan Fiduciaries
  • To recall how best to prepare for a DOL audit
  • To explore different Qualified Retirement Plan types
  • To recognize and compare the differences of each Qualified Retirement Plan type.
  • To assess, evaluate and determine the best Qualified Retirement Plan for a business or business owner.
  • To explore why the world is transitioning away from LIBOR
  • To describe and compare the alternatives to LIBOR, including SOFR and Ameri-BOR:
  • To identify and recognize the impact on current and new issue bonds from the benchmark change
  • To highlight steps an institution can take in preparation for the change
  • To describe Allocation of Liability
  • To recognize when clients are not entitled to Innocent Spouse Relief
  • To identify simple strategies to help clients avoid refund offsets in the first place
  • To identify special Rules for Certain Cases
  • To list various circumstances where innocent spouse relief may apply.
  • To identify the requirements of Qualified Plan Fiduciaries
  • To recall how best to prepare for a DOL audit
  • To explore different Qualified Retirement Plan types
  • To recognize and compare the differences of each Qualified Retirement Plan type.
  • To assess, evaluate and determine the best Qualified Retirement Plan for a business or business owner.
  • To review of President Biden’s estate tax policy proposals along with what has been proposed by the Democratic party in the past
  • To review the basics and issues of Portability – including the deceased spousal unused exclusion amount
  • To review of Estate/Gift Tax Law – current law
  • To discuss detailed breakdown of the Basis of Gifted Property at Death
  • To analyze the calculations for taxable gifts and the Estate Inclusion Issue
  • To discuss which gifts work best when interest rates are high and which work when rates are low
  • To identify which gifts to use pre-sale and what to do after it seems too late (post sale)
  • To get introduced to several tools that you may not have heard of or used before
  • To find out how (and why it matters) to integrate charitable planning into your practice.
  • To confirm that it’s not always about tax but that’s not a bad place to start
  • To discuss Pooled Income Fund (PIF) and when to use it for your clients
  • To discuss multiple benefits of using a PIF 
  • To discuss basic rules governing PIFs, including the “dos and don’ts”
  • To compare and contrast PIFs vs. Charitable Remainder Trusts and other charitable tools
  • To discover why a “Young” PIF is more effective than an “Old” PIF
  • To discuss different ways to use a PIF to benefit multiple generations
  • To discuss the foundational contribution tax concepts
  • To discuss the rollover issues and solutions
  • To summarize the IRA penalties on early distributions, excess contributions & excess accumulations
  • To review the fundamental estate planning concepts for IRAs
  • To summarize the basics of prohibited transactions and unrelated business taxable income (UBTI)
  • To prepare a decedent’s final income tax return
  • To discuss Wills and Trusts and describe how they work
  • To discuss fiduciary accounting and how it relates to the Form 1041
  • To discuss valuation adjustments
  • To discuss various estate tax deductions
  • To identify the consequences failing to update the beneficiary designation form after a death or divorce
  • To explore the ramifications of failing to provide for a spouse
  • To recognize repercussions of failing to name a beneficiary
  • To identify the results of failing to name contingent beneficiaries
  • To recognize effects of naming the estate as beneficiary
  • To explore the results of naming a non-qualified trust as the beneficiary
  • To identify consequences of naming a potential spendthrift as beneficiary
  • To recognize the effects of naming an older relative as the primary beneficiary
  • To explore the ramifications of naming a trust with older relatives who are primary beneficiaries
  • To recall the consequences of incorrect titling of an inherited IRA

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able:

  • To describe and classify an entity as a CFC.
  • To analyze transactions to determine whether the transaction produces foreign base company income.
  • To discuss the components of GILTI.
  • To calculate GILTI.
  • To identify and apply the test for classifying an entity as a PFIC.
  • To describe the inclusion mechanisms for U.S. shareholders of a PFIC.
  • To identify best practices for working closely with legal counsel
  • To list main property law concepts
  • To identify complex community property issues
  • To determine best methods for filing special forms: SS-4, form 56, form 4810, form 5495
  • To describe an executor checklist
  • To discuss Planned Giving in terms that put your donors at ease.
  • How to structure your Planned Giving program so your conversations are simple.
  • To identify your best prospects for planned gifts, so you’re talking to the right folks.
  • To identify the sources of cash for a small business
  • To explore types of business structures 
  • To recognize key financial components of business plans and strategic planning
  • To discover the lending criteria for business loans
  • To explore how to assess the profitability of pricing changes
  • To discuss why 60/40 is the one-size-fits-all allocation 
  • To discover current risk in stocks and bonds
  • To evaluate performance of 60/40
  • To check appropriateness of 60/40 for those near retirement
  • What factors are to be considered as part of a trustee’s compensation analysis?
  • How do local rules of court effect a trustee compensation analysis?
  • Review of Corporate trustee fees as guidance for individual trustee fees.
  • Where are Extraordinary Fees appropriately charged/awarded?
  • To provide lessons on how markets work and how they actually set prices.
  • To identify whether passive or active strategies should be used.
  • To refrain from making the mistake of confusing information with value relevant information.
  • To recognize why riskier value companies have higher expected returns than growth stocks.
  • To identify that passive strategies provide you with the greatest odds of achieving your goals.
  • To take an overview of the Transition from LIBOR to SOFR.
  • To discuss the transition impact on Loans. 
  • To discuss transition Timeline. 
  • To recognize the transition Impact on Swaps and Term SOFR.  
  • To discuss major tax issues, re-issuance avoidance, and consequences.
  • To identify Best Practices. 
  • To analyze future transition.
  • To discuss the 4 levels of retirement plan distribution and taxation
  • To discuss the strategies to help reduce other related taxation on other benefits.
  • To evaluate mechanics of a conversion
  • Types of retirement plans that can be converted.
  • To determine what is a Roth Conversion.
  • To determine how Roth can Conversions lower taxes.
  • To determine how does Social Security benefit taxation affect the Roth Conversion Decision.
  • To determine how does taking Medicare and the IRRMA high-income Medicare Part B Premium affect the Roth Conversion Decision.
  • To discuss the trade-off between taking Social Security or taking Retirement Account withdrawals first. 
  • To determine how to risk-adjust risky returns on retirement account investments. 
  • To determine the payoff to patience in taking Social Security. 
  • To Identify the various options available to an existing business owner.
  • To recognize the high-level process for each of the exit options.
  • To identify the pros & cons for each of the exit options.
  • To recall the preparation and implementation of various exit options.
  • To determine qualified birth or adoption distributions
  • To discuss disaster-related rules
  • To determine qualified charitable distributions
  • To discuss IRA one per year rule
  • To explore designated Roth accounts and qualified distributions from a Roth IRA
  • To discuss profit-sharing plans & pension plans
  • To discuss joint and survivor annuity rules
  • To discuss the documents required for planning
  • To evaluate where, when, why, and how to begin the process
  • To know who to call and how to trust someone else with your investments
  • To compare and contrast the different options available for your investments
  • To discuss ways to create paths of success with instruments you did not know exist
  • To discuss key tax basics and understand the difference between gift tax and estate
  • To discuss 5 ways to create an exit strategy to gracefully exit
  • To discuss 3 methods for creating wealth and retirement
  • To discuss the best methods for creating a business continuity
  • To discuss 5 ways to understand what your firm is truly worth
  • History and changes in the investment strategies over 70 years of history
  • How consultants rely on risk-based and/or objective-based solutions using pre-packaged models.
  • Risk tolerance and investment startegies
  • Target date funds are the latest breakthrough
  • To discuss how to build a top-tier credit profile.
  • To analyze how to create a budget.
  • To inspect how to analyze your credit profile.
  • To investigate the different types of loans.
  • To discuss the differences between good debt vs. bad debt.
  • To analyze the differences between assets vs. liabilities.
  • To inspect how to keep track of your finances.
  • To analyze how your credit score is calculated.
  • To investigate the power of compound interest.
  • To discuss how to create a learning pathway for each to implement the estate administration decisions.
  • To illustrate to clients effectively how to preserve their assets under current law.
  • To analyze how to save significant amounts of time with exclusive estate planning tools.
  • To discuss some of the estate planning techniques used by experts.
  • To compare and contrast methods for avoiding common mistakes.
  • To develop checklists, and samples of relevant documents to help you perform estate planning professionally.
  • To discuss the documents required for planning.
  • To analyze where, when, why, and how to begin the process.
  • To inspect who to call and how to trust someone else with your investments.
  • To compare and contrast the different options available for your investments.
  • To determine why individual issues should comprise only a small part of a portfolio.
  • To describe how lack of appreciation of long-term capital gains tax rates will lead to poor investment decisions.
  • To describe how an investor's behavior trumps everything when it comes to investment success.
  • To identify habits, activities and biases that harm investors 
  • To discuss strategies to temper and/or eliminate them
  • To examine the behaviors that drive investment success
  • To differentiate between positive behaviors and negative behaviors
  • To describe the best strategies to manage investment success
  • To determine how to respond to your clients’ questions about charitable planned estate giving
  • To describe that there are comfortable ways for you to bring up charitable giving with your clients to help them think through options
  • If a board member and/or advisor to non-profit organizations, appreciate your role in helping the organization get into and/or increase their presence in planned estate giving
  • To illustrate the variety of plans to make a more informed decision about retirement
  • To identify the plan or plans that make the most financial sense for your clients.
  • To compare and contrast the variety of tax benefits and savings for retirement 
View More...

Become an PFS designation holder

The Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential is a professional designation that grants licensed CPAs who meet established criteria the authority to provide clients with personal financial planning services. There are many requirements before getting the PFS designation beyond having a CPA and taking an exam. Professionals with the PFS designation may work for consulting or accounting firms or run their own firm.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) created the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential to ensure that certified advisors are qualified to manage these assets.

There are various services provided by PFS Designation holders, some of them are mentioned below:

  • Personal financial advisors provide advice to help individuals manage their finances and plan for their financial future.

  • PFS can provide you with Retirement Planning Support.

  • PFS can provide you with a comprehensive approach to Estate Planning.

  • They will guide you through the Tax Implications of your Financial Plans.

  • PFS assesses the financial needs of individuals and helps them with decisions on investments (such as stocks and bonds), tax laws, and insurance.

  • They help clients plan for short- and long-term goals, such as meeting education expenses and saving for retirement through investments.

  • Unlimited opportunities to grow professionally.

  • Offers dynamic careers at the intersection of finance, taxes and estate planning, risk advisory and accounting.

  • Chance to get work with the biggest names in wealth management, banking, and investments.

  • Career advancement as a Financial Planner.

  • Work at wealth management and consulting firms.

  • Huge demand for an entry-level associate in this field.

  • PFS credentials enable you to become recognized for providing financial planning services by prospects, existing clients, and referral sources.

  • PFS credentials distinguish you from other financial planners only CPAs can hold the CPA/PFS credential.

  • Affirms your value to current and potential clients and employers, and inspires a greater level of confidence in your expertise

  • Enhances your image as a trustworthy financial planner

There are 3 pathways to get the PFS Credential:

  1. Pathway 1: Standard Pathway
    • Candidates must earn a minimum of 75 hours of personal financial planning education within the five-year period preceding the date of the PFS application.

    • 2 years of full-time business or teaching experience (or 3,000 hours equivalent) in personal financial planning within the five-year period preceding the date of the CPA/PFS application.

    • For candidates in academia, a qualified credential holder should be a full-time professor and have taught at least 4 accredited college courses with 50% of their material included in the PFP Body of Knowledge.

    • The experience must be in any of the 12 areas that make up the PFP Body of Knowledge, found in the PFS Credential Handbook. Note that up to 1,000 hours of tax compliance experience can count toward the total experience requirement.

    • After satisfying the above requirements, the candidate has to attend 5 hours online or test center exam.

  2. Pathway 2: Certificate Pathway
    • Candidates have to obtain 5 certificates totaling 90 hours of CPE.

    • 2 years of full-time business or teaching experience (or 3,000 hours equivalent) in personal financial planning within the five-year period preceding the date of the CPA/PFS application.

    • For candidates in academia, a qualified credential holder should be a full-time professor and have taught at least 4 accredited college courses with 50% of their material included in the PFP Body of Knowledge.

    • The experience must be in any of the 12 areas that make up the PFP Body of Knowledge, found in the PFS Credential Handbook. Note that up to 1,000 hours of tax compliance experience can count toward the total experience requirement.

    • After satisfying the above requirements, the candidate has to attend 4 online certification exams.

  3. Pathway 3: Experienced Pathway
    • For the Experienced pathway, you must earn a minimum of 105 hours of personal financial planning education within the seven-year period preceding the date of the PFS application.

    • You must have 5 years of full-time business experience (or 7,500 hours equivalent) in personal financial planning within the seven-year period preceding the date of the CPA/PFS application. The experience must be in any of the 12 areas that make up the PFP Body of Knowledge, found in the PFS Credential Handbook. Note that up to 2,000 hours of tax compliance experience can count toward the total experience requirement.

    • After satisfying the above requirements, the candidate has to attend 1 online case study-based assessment.

All pathways require a valid and unrevoked CPA license and an AICPA membership. As you select a pathway, factors such as your experience, the time you have available to study, and costs will influence your decision. CPAs holding the CFP or ChFC designations are deemed to have met the PFS credential exam requirement.

Following are the details regarding the exam:

  1. Exam Location – The PFS exam can be taken online (via your laptop and proctored through your webcam) or at local testing centers.

  2. Exam Type — The PFS Exam is a non-disclosed exam. This means the questions and answers are not published nor are candidates permitted to remove any exam materials from the testing site.

  3. Grading — Each exam is carefully graded by our team of psychometricians to ensure that the questions are statistically valid.

  4. Timing — The PFS Exam is a computer-based exam that lasts five hours, including a 30-minute break (if needed).

  5. Types of Questions — There are a total of 160 questions per exam module:
    • About half are discrete stand-alone multiple-choice questions.

    • Half are case studies with accompanying multiple-choice questions.

    • A multiple-choice question consists of a stem that includes factual or scenario data and provides four or five options.

    • The case studies will vary in length and include short scenarios followed by 2–5 multiple-choice questions and two larger comprehensive cases with 12–18 related multiple-choice questions. The fact pattern of each case study will contain sufficient information to enable the candidate to answer the question. This part of the exam is designed to test your analytical reasoning skills and ability to apply financial planning theory and methodology in a comprehensive manner.

  • Personal Financial Planning Process

  • Professional Responsibilities and Legislative and Regulatory Environment

  • Fundamental Financial Planning Concepts

  • Estate Planning

  • Charitable Planning

  • Risk Management Planning

  • Employee and Business-Owner Planning

  • Investment Planning

  • Retirement and Financial Independence Planning

  • Elder, Special Needs and Chronic Illness Planning

  • Education Planning

  • Special Situations

Please have a look at the detailed Exam Blueprinton Page 9 for more information.

  • For First-time registrant
    • $300 for PFP Section members;

    • $400 for AICPA members;

    • $500 for non-members

  • If you are retaking the exam
    • $ 100

Please visit this link, for more information.

To maintain an active CPA/PFS credential, and maintain access to all of the accompanying resources and tools, CPA/PFS credential holders must pay an annual renewal fee and meet the following CPA/PFS recertification requirements annually:

  • Regular AICPA membership in good standing

  • Valid and unrevoked CPA permit, license or certificate issued by a legally constituted state authority

  • Complete 20 hours of continuing professional development within the credential body of knowledge annually
    • Complete 20 hours of continuing professional development within the credential body of knowledge annually

    • Unstructured learning activities may constitute up to 50% (10 hours annually) of a credential holder’s CPD to meet credential renewal requirements

  • For detailed information on recertification requirements, please CLICK HERE.

How myCPE can help you to earn additional designation

  • Pre-approved CPD Training courses by NASBA

  • Personalized Study Experience

  • Access the course until you become a PFS designation holder

  • Access to CE Courses to complete your License Renewal Requirement

  • Digital Content accessible 24/7

  • Free Instructor Support

Career Opportunities

Professionals have the ability to display their financial expertise by demonstrating their knowledge of financial planning, which can help attract new clients.

Professionals with the PFS designation may work for consulting or accounting firms, or run their own firm.

The PFS certificate can enhance a professional's reputation and professional brand, thus improving career opportunities with the potential of boosting income.

An added benefit to the PFS is that candidates have knowledge of financial planning, but they have extensive tax and corporate finance expertise as a CPA.

Register

CPA/PFS Exam Details

Professionals have the ability to display their financial expertise by demonstrating their knowledge of financial planning, which can help attract new clients.

Professionals with the PFS designation may work for consulting or accounting firms, or run their own firm.

The PFS certificate can enhance a professional's reputation and professional brand, thus improving career opportunities with the potential of boosting income.

An added benefit to the PFS is that candidates have knowledge of financial planning, but they have extensive tax and corporate finance expertise as a CPA.

Register

Frequently Asked Questions

Candidate can bring the below-mentioned types of calculators for the online PFS exam or the certificate exams:

  • Hewlett Packard 12C 10B, 10B II+, 17B II+;
  • Texas Instruments TI BAII Plus, TIBAII Plus Professional;
  • Victor V12, Victor 10

No calculator is needed for the PFS Experienced CPA Assessment.

CPAs holding the CFP or ChFC designations are deemed to have met the PFS credential exam requirement. So, they are exempt from taking the PFS credential exam requirement.

A percentage of approved PFS applications and recertifications are selected for random audit by the AICPA. Any misrepresentations or incorrect information provided to the AICPA can result in disciplinary action, including suspension or revocation of CPA/PFS eligibility and/or the CPA/PFS credential.

Credential holders will be notified in writing when selected for audit and be instructed to report their recertification requirements at the appropriate time.

There are two methods for the application process

  • Method-1: Online Process
    • Step -1: Visit www.aicpa.org/PFS and click on the Apply button.
    • Step -2: Check off the boxes for the examinations, education, experience, and attestations.
    • Step -3: Include payment information for your application fee and submit the application.
  • Method-2: Offline Method
    • Step -1: Obtain a copy of the PFS application.
    • Step -2: Complete and sign the application form.
    • Step -3: Submit your completed application and application fee Payable by check or credit card.

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