Some of you have asked, and we are sure many more have wondered, "What's with all those letters after Lee's name?" (And, no, we are not talking about his last name; that's a whole other story.)
"What exactly are you talking about?" you might ask.
Many of you know what 'CPA' means: Certified Public Accountant. This means Lee has gone above and beyond other accountants and enrolled agents, and has truly dedicated himself to becoming as knowledgeable as possible about the tax and accounting fields. He is committed to grow the depth and breadth of his tax and accounting understanding and apply that know-how to his clients' personal and business lives.
What some of you may not know is what 'PFS' stands for. We feel this credential is just as important as its preceding three letters. PFS stands for Personal Financial Specialist.
"So why should I care?" you might now be saying.
We're glad you asked! We've pulled together a few questions and answers, as well as a short video to help shed some light on this topic. The following information illustrates how Lee's PFS credential enhances his expertise. His well-rounded experience allows him to provide prudent solutions aimed at helping you, your family, and your business.
What is PFS?
PFS, or Personal Financial Specialist, is the financial planning specialty credential issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) exclusively to qualified CPAs like Lee with proven expertise and experience in comprehensive personal financial planning. The AICPA is the premier professional association for CPAs in the U.S. and has more than 350,000 members. You must be a CPA member in good standing of the AICPA before you can obtain the PFS Credential.
Why is PFS a preferred choice among financial planning credentials?
The PFS credential is granted exclusively to CPAs like Lee who are members in good standing with the AICPA. Also, to obtain the credential, Lee met stringent requirements with professional work experience, education and training, and passed an intensive examination that tests his financial planning knowledge. He must also commit to completing lifelong learning requirements. As a PFS, Lee demonstrates a comprehensive knowledge of the core areas of financial planning: estate planning, investment planning, the personal financial planning process, personal income tax planning, retirement planning and risk management planning. When you also work with Lee as a CPA, he can apply his knowledge and expertise in related areas such as tax, accounting, and business management. This can help ensure that your needs are more fully met through an integrated, holistic approach.
What are other reasons I should hire a CPA who holds a PFS Credential?
Studies by independent groups have repeatedly shown that CPAs are among the most trusted advisers to the public. As such, CPAs have built a reputation over the last 100 years as a profession that provides competent, ethical and trustworthy advice. As a client, you can count on objective financial planning advice from Lee and his staff that aim to have your best interests in mind. With these values CPAs have earned a place of trust in their clients' lives, in good as well as difficult times.
Personal financial planning is a core skill of CPAs, and PFS is the only personal financial planning credential that is specifically designed for CPAs and the unique perspective they bring to the practice.
How can I be assured that you are serving my best interests?
CPAs adhere to the AICPA’s strict code of professional conduct and ethics. In addition, PFS Credential holders follow the AICPA’s Statements on Responsibilities (SORs) in Personal Financial Planning. These SORs describe specific planning procedures as well as guidelines for developing plans and communicating advice to clients. As a PFS Credential holder, Lee must follow these guidelines when working with clients and other advisers such as bankers and attorneys.
If you'd like to learn more about how these skills can strengthen the value in your life, please contact our office. We would be happy to have an in-depth conversation about your financial wellbeing.