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CPA's Are Among the Nation's Top Financial Advisers, According to Annual Worth Ranking

Many of the country’s most esteemed financial advisers are certified public accountants, according to the results of an annual survey by Worth Magazine.

In the publication’s 1988 ranking of the “Top 300 Financial Advisers”, appearing in the September issue, 89 of those on the list were CPAs. This represents approximately 30 percent of the total roster. Of these CPAs, 63 (or 21 percent of the entire 300) carry the Personal Financial Specialist credential, which is awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

“It’s significant to our profession that so many members of the Worth list are CPAs”, said Barry C. Melancon, AICPA President and Chief Executive Officer. “It indicates that the American public is acquiring a new perspective of the manifold skills of the certified public account. Increasingly, as indicated by the list, the CPA is being viewed as more than the traditional auditor or tax consultant."

Melancon added that the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential is achieving greater recognition as a mark of distinction. The AICPA awards the PFS designation only after a candidate has passed a rigorous financial planning examination in addition to the CPA test. Currently, 2,500 CPAs in the United States are Personal Financial Specialists and more will be earning the accreditation in the future.

“The CPA and PFS designations carry with them an assurance of objectivity and competence in personal financial planning,” said Melacon.

Indeed, CPAs were also well represented in Worth’s 1997 list, which ranked the top 250 financial advisers. They accounted for roughly 29 percent of the total (72 out of 250), with PFSs commanding approximately 20 percent (49 out of 250).

The CPAs and CPA/PFSs who made the Top 300 list did so after undergoing an exhaustive evaluation by Worth’s editors that included reviews of fee structures, sample contracts and investment plans, legal matters, and potential regulatory problems with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Members of the public who wish to locate a Personal Financial Specialist in their area may consult this Web site or call 1-888-999-9256.

Founded in 1887, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants is the national professional organization of CPAs in the United States. It currently has 331,000 members in public practice, business and industry, government, and education. The AICPA is headquartered in New York.