Personal financial specialists: Overview, requirements, and benefits

Every individual has different financial circumstances, and their priorities change over time. But they mainly focus on “today” and don’t usually have a solid plan for the future.

In most cases, they miss tax saving opportunities, debt management, controlling unnecessary expenses, retirement planning, etc. In Ireland, you can hire personal financial specialists to secure your financial future and achieve major life goals.

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This blog shares about these experts, their qualifications, and benefits.

Table of contents

What is a personal financial specialist
Requirements of personal financial specialist
Roles and responsibilities of personal financial specialists
Benefits of personal financial specialist

What is a personal financial specialist?

A Personal Financial Specialist is typically a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) with additional experience in financial planning and wealth management, along with expertise in tax management.

Once you complete a CPA degree in Ireland and spend at least 75 hours in personal financial planning education and 2 years of experience in providing such services, you can receive a PFS certificate. They can offer people with comprehensive financial advice and personal financial planning services to clients.

The benefits of holding a PFS certificate are many, including better employment opportunities with consulting firms and corporations or managing your agency. These applicants can study retirement planning, estate planning, investment insurance, and other personal financing planning.

Besides offering financial advice, they also have expertise in tax management and corporate finance.

Requirements of personal financial specialist

Like all other accounting degrees, a few requirements for acquiring a PFS certificate include a CPA license, education, a certain level of experience, and passing an exam.

● CPA license

Before you apply for a PFA certificate, you must obtain or hold a valid CPA certification issued by a recognised accounting body in Ireland. A CPA certification ensures that the expert has higher education and experience and has undergone rigorous accounting and taxation examinations.

● Education and experience requirements for PFS

Besides holding a CPA license, you must acquire a certain level of education and experience in personal financial planning to receive this certificate.

Usually, you need to complete at least 75 hours of studying personal financial planning. Additionally, you must acquire at least 2 years of full-time experience providing personal financial planning services. This service must be under one of the 12 Body of Knowledge categories, including:

1. Personal financial planning process.
2. Professional responsibilities, legislative, and regulatory compliance.
3. Fundamental financial planning concepts.
4. Estate planning.
5. Charitable planning.
6. Risk management planning.
7. Employee and business owner planning.
8. Investment Planning.
9. Retirement and financial planning.
10. Elder and chronic illness planning.
11. Education planning.
12. Special situations (including defining housing goals, income requirements, and division of assets in case of divorce).

● Passing the examination

The exam requirement for Personal Financial Specialist certification is extensive, covering financial planning, tax, investment management, estate planning, insurance, risk management, and retirement planning.

This exam usually comprises multiple choice questions and case studies related to those questions on various aspects of personal financial planning.

● Continuing education

Even after receiving a PFS certificate, experts must continue their professional education for at least 20 hours per year and follow the code of ethics and professional standards. Additionally, they must pay a huge sum every year to continue using that designation.

Roles and responsibilities of personal financial specialists

There are certain roles and responsibilities that personal financial specialists perform for clients. We have listed a few of them.

● Comprehensive financial planning

These professionals offer comprehensive financial planning services to clients on considering their present financial situations, goals and objectives. They look after your expenses and income, help identify trends and growth opportunities, and create plans that address your long-term and short-term financial requirements.

● Effective tax planning

Tax isn’t something that individuals or businesses love to do, as you have to pay a part of your hard-earned money to the government. But, with PFS, you can reduce your tax liabilities by taking advantage of grants and tax-free benefits. Additionally, these professionals ensure you stay compliant with the evolving tax filing requirements.

● Investment advice and management

Such specialists guide individuals on investment decisions and offer management services. They help clients identify which investment suits their present financial scenario, determine the risks and returns associated with the investment, and construct a strong portfolio.

They also track the performance of your portfolio and advise on any changes needed to enhance their returns. While making investment recommendations, these professionals follow certain factors, including the client’s risk tolerance, investment goals, and time horizon.

● Retirement planning

These experts can help clients with retirement planning. Personal financial specialists first evaluate clients’ financial needs and income sources to develop strategies that can maximise retirement savings and income.

● Risk management and insurance planning

Additionally, they can help with risk management and insurance planning. This includes assessing clients’ risk exposure and developing strategies to manage them and protect their financial well-being. Personal financial specialists can recommend appropriate insurance products like life insurance and long-term care insurance.

● Estate planning

If anyone is planning to invest in estates, they can hire such professionals. They help develop solid dead plants to minimise related taxes, protect assets, and ensure higher returns. They also ensure the client’s wishes are met even after their death.

Benefits of personal financial specialist

You can get numerous benefits if you hold a valid personal financial specialist certificate. They can display their financial expertise to attract new clients and enhance their reputation and professional branding. This, in turn, helps improve your career path and boosts income.

These professionals are beneficial for clients if they seek an expert to deal with their financial management. They assist people in wealth management and tax planning, improving personal finance, and offering unbiased financial advice.

A personal financial specialist can also create innovative and customised solutions per their client’s challenges. This allows them to showcase talent and creativity in multiple domains and attract more clients.

Hire an Accountant

Work with Ireland-based Experts for tax, audit, accounting, payroll, & EIS/ SEIS needs.

Have a question? Contact Us
Monday to Friday 9am – 4:30pm


This guide is meant to help you understand the meaning of personal financial specialist so that you can consider taking up that career. This profession is in high demand, and individuals are looking for experts who can help them with financial and accounting support while they focus on improving their income.