What is a CFA charterholder?

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation is an international professional certificate offered by the CFA Institute. In order to qualify, candidates must meet standards for examination, education, experience, and ethics.

First, candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school. Second, candidates must have completed four years of qualified professional work experience, generally related to evaluating or applying financial, economic, and/or statistical data as part of the investment decision-making process. Third, candidates must pass a series of three six-hour exams that cover ethics, quantitative methods, economics, corporate finance, financial reporting, security analysis, and portfolio management. Finally, candidates must join the CFA Institute, meet, and continue to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards governing their professional conduct, as reviewed by the CFA Institute.
More information can be found at the CFA Institute Website.

What is a CFP?

The CFP® designation identifies individuals who have completed the mandatory examination, education, experience, and ethics requirements mandated by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (“CFP Board”).

Candidates must have at least three years of qualifying work experience that relates to financial planning. Candidates are required to hold a bachelors degree from an accredited university. CFP® candidates must pass an examination that covers over 100 financial planning topics, which include general principles of financial planning, insurance planning and risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning. Finally, candidates have ongoing ethics requirements and oversight by the CFP Board and are required to complete at least 30 hours of continuing education every two years including two hours on the Code of Ethics or Standards of Professional Conduct.
More information can be found on the CFP Board Website

What is a CPA?

A CPA, or certified public accountant, is an accounting professional who has passed the CPA exam. Additionally, they have fulfilled all the state education and work experience requirements to become a licensed CPA.

These standards are those set forth by the state board of accountancy in the state in which he or she applied. Candidates must have completed either a bachelor’s degree or 120 college credit hours in order to be eligible. The CPA Exam consists of four, four-hour sections: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) and Regulation (REG). Candidates must pass all four sections within 18 months, earning a minimum score of 75 on each part. The CPA designation is on of the most sought after and used credential in the world of accounting.