Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a license regulated by states. CPA’s must obtain relevant experience and pass a uniform exam taken after meeting post-secondary education requirements. They must also commit to lifelong learning and adhere to a strict Code of Professional Conduct that requires competence, objectivity, integrity, and independence. Licensed in 1985.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) is not a license per se but certificate holders are allowed to use the trademark by passing a uniform exam and meeting experience requirements. CFP’s must also meet on-going education requirements and adhere to a strict Code of Ethics. Certified in 1998.
Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) is a trademark administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and is very similar to a CFP in that it requires an exam, education, and experience. Qualified in 2022.