I’m pleased to announce that as of April 2018, I am now a Certified Financial Planner (“CFP”).
I undertook the CFP program with Dawn Vader, CFP, back in 2014/2015 as ‘moral support’ for her on her journey through the program. Being a Chartered Professional Accountant (“CPA”) and a Certified Management Accountant (“CMA”) I need to do 40 hours a year of professional development. At the time, I figured that I would simply ‘tag along’ on the CFP as a way to get those hours. How hard could it be, I am an accountant after all….?
Boy did I underestimate the program… The breadth of knowledge and the time commitment was way beyond what I was expecting. My ego took a hit. Rightfully so!
The CFP covers a very different body of knowledge from the accounting program. There is a bit of overlap in some of the key concepts like supply & demand and the time value of money, but overall, it was mostly new material for me.
Dawn and I did the self learning program through Advocis which involved four learning modules over two years:
- Financial Planning Fundamentals;
- Contemporary Practices in Financial Planning;
- Comprehensive Practices in Risk and Retirement Planning; and
- Wealth Management and Estate Planning.
Following the four modules, we had to complete a Capstone Project which involved developing a a comprehensive Financial Plan for a Canadian family. We did the Capstone Project as a guided course with Jason Watt through the Business Career College. (I highly recommend Jason’s courses if you’re at all interested in pursuing the designation.)
Lastly, we had to pass a four hour exam that tested us on our learnings over the prior two years. (No bathroom breaks!!!)
I was just starting my journey into the Financial Planning space and despite my accounting experience, I didn’t feel comfortable applying for my CFP designation right out of the gate. In order to put the ‘CFP’ letters behind your name, you need to be comfortable you can truly do the job. I felt I need a bit more hands on work experience to qualify as a true CFP so I held off.
Two years later, I’m happy to say I have the experience and confidence to represent myself as a Certified Financial Planner. With the combined Accounting and Financial Planning education & experience, I am now part of a very small group of Financial Professionals who can cross over between both fields.