Frequently Asked Questions

What is a CPA?

A CPA is different than an accountant. In fact, anyone who does any type of accounting function – even someone without a degree – can call themselves an accountant.

A certified public accountant (CPA), however, is someone who has earned a professional designation through a combination of education, experience and licensing.

In addition to completing a program of study in accounting, and acquiring professional work experience in public accounting, a CPA candidate also must sit for and pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

The exam itself is developed and graded by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Licensing, however, is done by state, district and county Boards of Accountancy.

What is a PFS?

The Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) certification helps Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) demonstrate an expertise in all aspects of wealth management. A PFS is someone with a CPA who also offers financial planning services.

What is an independent financial advisor?

Independent Registered Investment Advisers are professional independent advisory firms that provide personalized financial advice to their clients, many of whom have complex financial needs. Because these advisors are independent, they are not tied to any particular family of funds or investment products. As fiduciaries, they are held to the highest standard of care—and are required to act in the best interests of their clients at all times. They are registered with either the Securities and Exchange Commission or state securities regulators.

What does being a Fiduciary mean?

A fiduciary is a professional entrusted to manage assets or wealth while putting the client’s best interests first at all times. Financial advisors who follow a fiduciary standard must disclose any conflict, or potential conflict, to their clients prior to and throughout the advisory engagement. Fiduciaries will also adopt a code of ethics and will fully disclose how they are compensated.

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