Accountants would be defined as follows:

An accountant is a professional who performs accounting functions such as audits or financial statement analysis as well as prepares tax returns and helps those that need tax problems resolved.  As a fairly new specialty, Forensic accountants work with historical records to find answers to questions specified in the projects scope of work.  Typically, these engagements are legal in nature and often Forensic accountants are hired by attorneys.

Accountants must abide by the ethical standards and guiding principals of the region where they practice, such as the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The most common accounting designations are the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF). A Certified Internal Auditor doesn’t need to receive any license in order to practice, and neither do Certified Management Accountants.  A Certified in Financial Forensics accountant must first be a CPA to get the CFF designation from the AICPA.

Accountants can have more than one designation and may perform multiple types of accounting duties. The type of educational background and designation that an individual has will determine his or her professional duties. In the U.S., certification requirements for accountants can vary from state to state, but one requirement that is uniform in every state is the passing of the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination, an exam that is written and graded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Financial Planners would be defined as follows:

A financial planner is a qualified investment professional who helps individuals and corporations meet their long-term financial objectives. Financial Planners do their work by consulting with clients to analyze their goals, risk tolerance, life or corporate stages and identify a suitable class of investments for them. From there they may set up a program to help the client meet those goals by distributing their available savings into a diversified collection of investments designed to grow or provide income as desired.

Financial planners may also specialize in tax planningasset allocationrisk management, retirement and/or estate planning.

  • Financial planners work closely with individuals and corporations to help them achieve their financial goals.
  • Some financial planners may hold a “CFP®” credential as a professional designation to establish their qualifications and knowledge-base.
  • Financial planning includes help with budgeting, investing, saving for retirement, tax planning, insurance coverage, and more