Financial planning can be a little overwhelming at first, but it’s important to make sure you’re as informed as possible. In general, there are three commonly known types of financial professionals. If you’re not already familiar with the industry, they can be hard to distinguish. To help you better understand how to distinguish CFA vs. CFP® vs. CPA, we’ve provided more information on what each means.


What is a CFA?


A chartered financial analyst (CFA) is a certification that is held in very high esteem in the business and finance world. For some, it holds more weight than an MBA. Jobs for chartered financial analysts aren’t as numerous as CPAs, but they’re a little more competitive. A CFA is responsible for overseeing portfolios and analyzing specific investments.


What is a CFP?


A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, or a CFP® professional, is more oriented toward financial planning. Becoming a CFP® professional is a rigorous process that requires intensive education and extensive experience. CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals are held to higher ethical standards than non-CFP® financial professionals and are trained in financial planning including risk management and insurance, investments, taxes, retirement, and estate planning.


What is a CPA?


A certified public accountant (CPA) is often a professional who is certified in preparing tax returns; however, they’re not exclusively limited to tax returns, and some CPAs choose not to prepare tax returns at all! They can also perform audits and financial reports. CPAs must pass a thorough exam.


When might someone need each of these professionals (CFA vs. CFP vs. CPA)?


  • Chartered financial analyst (CFA) CFAs are ideal for those seeking financial analyst services including investment assistance and portfolio management.


  • CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional (CFP®) — CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals are ideal for those who want guidance around holistic financial planning, like taxes, insurance, estate, and retirement planning.


  • Certified public accountant (CPA)CPAs are ideal for someone looking for an accountant, for someone who can perform auditing, and for financial reporting.


Talk to a ProVise CFP® professional about whether a CFA, CFP® or CPA is right for you


At ProVise Management Group, our CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals can get to know you and your current financial circumstances, goals, risk tolerance and personal values to help you develop a plan that works for you. We can also create a written plan for you at a fiduciary standard of care. All our written plans come with an unconditional money-back guarantee. If you are unhappy with your written plan, you can return it to us, and we will refund 100% of the fee paid.


Are you ready to talk to a professional about whether a CFA vs. CFP® vs. CPA is the right option for you? Contact ProVise today to schedule a complimentary consultation.