PFS (Personal Financial Specialist)


The PFS credential is awarded to CPAs who demonstrate the powerful combination of extensive tax expertise and a comprehensive knowledge of financial planning.

Educational Requirements:

A PFS candidate must earn a minimum of 80 hours of personal financial planning education within the five-year period preceding the date of the PFS application. The education must be in the nine areas that make up the PFS Body of Knowledge (personal financial planning process, income tax planning, insurance planning, investment planning, financial independence, employee benefits, performance management, charitable planning, and special needs).


In addition to meeting educational requirements, PFS candidates must:

  • Hold a valid CPA license
  • Join the AICPA and be a member in good standing
  • Have at least two years of full-time experience in personal financial planning within the five-year period preceding the date of the PFS application


CPAs who hold a PFS must adhere to the AICPA code of conduct. You can view that code at:


The comprehensive PFS exam is given during two exam windows annually and lasts for more than seven hours. Alternately, CPAs may satisfy the PFS exam requirement by earning either of the other two major financial planning credentials: CFP® certification or the ChFC® designation.

Continuing Education:

60 hours of CPE related to the PFP body of knowledge is required.


Non-compliant PFS credential holders may be disciplined up to and including loss of the credential. Disciplinary actions for AICPA are released publicly and may be viewed here:


None, although educational requirements may be met through accredited providers.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

Consumers may file complaints by contacting the AICPA at (888) 777-7077 or by sending a letter of complaint to:

220 Leigh Farm Road
Durham, NC 27707
Attn: Professional Ethics Division

Issuing Institution:

The PFS credential is issued by The American institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). AICPA is the world’s largest association representing the accounting profession, with nearly 370,000 members in 128 countries.

Note: The American College is providing this information as a public service. It is correct to the best of our knowledge, but we neither guarantee its accuracy nor endorse any credentials for which we are not responsible as a credentialing organization.

Sponsored by: