CIA-III pdf - The Certified Internal Auditor Part 3 Updated: 2023
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Exam Code: CIA-III The Certified Internal Auditor Part 3 pdf November 2023 by Killexams.com team|
CIA-III The Certified Internal Auditor Part 3
2019 CIA exam Syllabus, Part 3 – Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing
100 questions l 2.0 Hours (120 minutes)
The CIA exam Part 3 includes four domains focused on business acumen, information security, information technology, and financial management. Part 3 is designed to test candidates knowledge, skills, and abilities particularly as they relate to these core business concepts.
Domains Collapse All
I. Business Acumen (35%)
1. Organizational Objectives, Behavior, and Performance
A Describe the strategic planning process and key activities (objective setting, globalization and competitive considerations, alignment to the organization's mission and values, etc.) Basic
B Examine common performance measures (financial, operational, qualitative vs. quantitative, productivity, quality, efficiency, effectiveness, etc.) Proficient
C Explain organizational behavior (individuals in organizations, groups, and how organizations behave, etc.) and different performance management techniques (traits, organizational politics, motivation, job design, rewards, work schedules, etc.) Basic
D Describe managements effectiveness to lead, mentor, guide people, build organizational commitment, and demonstrate entrepreneurial ability Basic
2. Organizational Structure and Business Processes
A Appraise the risk and control implications of different organizational configuration structures (centralized vs. decentralized, flat structure vs. traditional, etc.) Basic
B Examine the risk and control implications of common business processes (human resources, procurement, product development, sales, marketing, logistics, management of outsourced processes, etc.) Proficient
C Identify project management techniques (project plan and scope, time/team/resources/cost management, change management, etc.) Basic
D Recognize the various forms and elements of contracts (formality, consideration, unilateral, bilateral, etc.) Basic
3. Data Analytics
A Describe data analytics, data types, data governance, and the value of using data analytics in internal auditing Basic
B Explain the data analytics process (define questions, obtain relevant data, clean/normalize data, analyze data, communicate results) Basic
C Recognize the application of data analytics methods in internal auditing (anomaly detection, diagnostic analysis, predictive analysis, network analysis, text analysis, etc.) Basic
II. Information Security (25%)
1. Information Security
A Differentiate types of common physical security controls (cards, keys, biometrics, etc.) Basic
B Differentiate the various forms of user authentication and authorization controls (password, two-level authentication, biometrics, digital signatures, etc.) and identify potential risks Basic
C Explain the purpose and use of various information security controls (encryption, firewalls, antivirus, etc.) Basic
D Recognize data privacy laws and their potential impact on data security policies and practices Basic
E Recognize emerging technology practices and their impact on security (bring your own device [BYOD], smart devices, internet of things [IoT], etc.) Basic
F Recognize existing and emerging cybersecurity risks (hacking, piracy, tampering, ransomware attacks, phishing attacks, etc.) Basic
G Describe cybersecurity and information security-related policies Basic
III. Information Technology (20%)
1. Application and System Software
A Recognize core activities in the systems development lifecycle and delivery (requirements definition, design, developing, testing, debugging, deployment, maintenance, etc.) and the importance of change controls throughout the process Basic
B Explain basic database terms (data, database, record, object, field, schema, etc.) and internet terms (HTML, HTTP, URL, domain name, browser, click-through, electronic data interchange [EDI], cookies, etc.) Basic
C Identify key characteristics of software systems (customer relationship management [CRM] systems; enterprise resource planning [ERP] systems; and governance, risk, and compliance [GRC] systems; etc.) Basic
2. IT Infrastructure and IT Control Frameworks
A Explain basic IT infrastructure and network concepts (server, mainframe, client-server configuration, gateways, routers, LAN, WAN, VPN, etc.) and identify potential risks Basic
B Define the operational roles of a network administrator, database administrator, and help desk Basic
C Recognize the purpose and applications of IT control frameworks (COBIT, ISO 27000, ITIL, etc.) and basic IT controls Basic
3. Disaster Recovery
A Explain disaster recovery planning site concepts (hot, warm, cold, etc.) Basic
B Explain the purpose of systems and data backup Basic
C Explain the purpose of systems and data recovery procedures Basic
IV. Financial Management (20%)
1. Financial Accounting and Finance
A Identify concepts and underlying principles of financial accounting (types of financial statements and terminologies such as bonds, leases, pensions, intangible assets, research and development, etc.) Basic
B Recognize advanced and emerging financial accounting concepts (consolidation, investments, fair value, partnerships, foreign currency transactions, etc.) Basic
C Interpret financial analysis (horizontal and vertical analysis and ratios related to activity, profitability, liquidity, leverage, etc.) Proficient
D Describe revenue cycle, current asset management activities and accounting, and supply chain management (including inventory valuation and accounts payable) Basic
E Describe capital budgeting, capital structure, basic taxation, and transfer pricing Basic
2. Managerial Accounting
A Explain general concepts of managerial accounting (cost-volume-profit analysis, budgeting, expense allocation, cost- benefit analysis, etc.) Basic
B Differentiate costing systems (absorption, variable, fixed, activity-based, standard, etc.) Basic
C Distinguish various costs (relevant and irrelevant costs, incremental costs, etc.) and their use in decision making Basic
Additional noteworthy elements related to the revised CIA Part Three exam syllabus:
The number of Topics covered on the Part Three exam has been greatly refocused to the core areas that are most critical for internal auditors.
The exam syllabus features a new subdomain on data analytics.
The information security portion of the exam has been expanded to include additional Topics such as cybersecurity risks and emerging technology practices.
The largest domain is “Business Acumen,” which makes up 35% of the exam.
A portion of the exam requires candidates to demonstrate a basic comprehension of concepts; another portion requires candidates to demonstrate proficiency in their knowledge, skills, and abilities.
|The Certified Internal Auditor Part 3|
Financial Certified pdf
Other Financial examsABV Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV)
AFE Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE)
AVA Accredited Valuation Analyst
CABM Certified Associate Business Manager
CBM Certified Business Manager (APBM CBM)
CCM Certified Case Manager (CCM)
CFE Certified Financial Examiner (CFE)
CFP Certified Financial Planner (CFP Level 1)
CGAP Certified Government Auditing Professional (IIA-CGAP)
CGFM Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM)
CHFP Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CHFP) - 2023
CIA-I Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
CIA-II Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
CIA-III The Certified Internal Auditor Part 3
CIA-IV The Certified Internal Auditor Part 4
CITP Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP)
CMA Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
CMAA Certified Merger and Acquisition Advisor (CM and AA)
CPCM Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM) 2023
CPEA Certified Professional Environmental Auditor (CPEA)
CPFO Certified Public Finance Officer (Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting)
CRFA Certified Forensic Accountant (CRFA)
CTFA Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA)
CVA Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA)
FINRA FINRA Administered Qualification Examination
CEMAP-1 Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP)
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The Certified Internal Auditor Part 3
Which of the following is an important senior management responsibility with regard to
information systems security?
A. Assessing exposures.
B. Assigning access privileges.
C. Identifying ownership of data.
D. Training employees in security matters.
Senior management is responsible for risk assessment, including identification of risks and
consideration of their significance, the likelihood of their occurrence, and how they should
be managed. Senior management is also responsible for establishing organizational
policies regarding computer security and implementing a compliance structure. Thus,
senior management should assess the risks to the integrity, confidentiality, and
availability of information systems data and resources.
Management's enthusiasm for computer security seems to vary with changes in the
environment, particularly the occurrence of other computer disasters. Which of the
following concepts should be addressed when making a comprehensive recommendation
regarding the costs and benefits of computer security?
Potential loss if security is not implemented
Probability of occurrences
Cost and effectiveness of the implementation and operation of computer security
A. I only.
B. I and II only.
C. III only.
B. I, Il, and Ill.
Potential loss is the amount of dollar damages associated with a security problem or loss
of assets. Potential loss times the probability of occurrence is an estimate expected value)
of the exposure associated with lack of security. It represents a potential benefit associated
with the implementation of security measures. To perform a cost-benefit analysis, the
costs should be considered. Thus, all three items need to be addressed.
Of the following, the greatest advantage of a database server) architecture is
A. Data redundancy can be reduced.
B. Conversion to a database system is inexpensive and can be accomplished quickly.
C. Multiple occurrences of data items are useful for consistency checking.
D. Backup and recovery procedures are minimized.
Data organized in files and used by the organization's various applications programs are
collectively known as a database. In a database system, storage structures are
created that render the applications programs independent of the physical or logical
arrangement of the data. Each data item has a standard definition, name, and format, and
related items are linked by a system of pointers. The programs therefore need only to
specify data items by name, not by location. A database management system handles
retrieval and storage. Because separate files for different applications programs are
unnecessary, data redundancy can be substantially reduced.
In an inventory system on a database management system DBMS), one stored record
contains part number, part name, part color, and part weight. These individual items are
B. Stored files.
A record is a collection of related data items fields). A field data item) is a group of
characters representing one unit of information.
An inventory clerk, using a computer terminal, views the following on screen part
number, part description, quantity on hand, quantity on order, order quantity, and reorder
point for a particular inventory item. Collectively, these data make up a
A record is a collection of related data items fields). A field data item) is a group of
characters representing one unit of information. The part number, part description, etc.,
are represented by fields.
Which of the following is the elementary unit of data storage used to represent individual
attributes of an entity?
B. Data field.
A data item or field) is a group of characters. It is used to represent individual attributes of
an entity, such as an employee's address. A field is an item in a record.
A file-oriented approach to data storage requires a primary record key for each file. Which
of the following is a primary record key?
A. The vendor number in an accounts payable master file.
B. The vendor number in a closed purchase order transaction file.
C. The vendor number in an open purchase order master file_
D. All of the answers are correct.
The primary record key uniquely identifies each record in a file. Because there is only one
record for each vendor in an accounts payable master file. the vendor number would be the
A business is designing its storage for accounts receivable information. What data file
concepts should be used to provide the ability to answer customer inquiries as they are
A. Sequential storage and chains.
B. Sequential storage and indexes.
C. Record keys, indexes, and pointers.
D. Inverted file structure indexes, and internal labels.
A record key is an attribute that uniquely identifies or distinguishes each record from the
others. An index is a table listing storage locations for attributes, often including those
other than the unique record key attribute. A pointer is a data item that indicates the
physical address of the next logically related record.
Auditors making database queries often need to combine several tables to get the
information they want. One approach to combining tables is known as
In data management terminology, joining is the combining of data files based on a
common data element. For example, if rows in a table containing information about
specified parts have been selected, the result can be joined with a table that contains
information about suppliers. The join operation may combine the two tables using the
supplier number assuming both tables contained this element) to provide information
about the suppliers of particular parts.
Users making database queries often need to combine several tables to get the information
they want. One approach to combining tables is
Joining is the combining of two or more relational tables based on a common data
element. For example, if a supplier table contains information about suppliers and a parts
table contains information about parts, the two tables can be joined using the supplier
number assuming both tables contain this attribute) to give information about the supplier
of particular parts.
All of the following are methods for distributing a relational database across multiple
A. Snapshot making a copy of the database for distribution).
B. Replication creating and maintaining replica copies at multiple locations)_
C. Normalization separating the database into logical tables for easier user processing).
D. Fragmentation separating the database into parts and distributing where they are
A distributed database is stored in two or more physical sites. The two basic methods of
distributing a database are partitioning and replication_ However. normalization is a
process of database design, not distribution. Normalization is the term for determining
how groups of data items in a relational structure are arranged in records in a database.
This process relies on "normal forms," that is. conceptual definitions of data records and
specified design rules_ Normalization is intended to prevent inconsistent updating of data
items. It is a process of breaking down a complex data structure by creating smaller,
more efficient relations, thereby minimizing or eliminating the repeating groups in each
In a database system, locking of data helps preserve data integrity by permitting
transactions to have control of all the data needed to complete the transactions. However,
implementing a locking procedure could lead to
A. Inconsistent processing.
B. Rollback failures.
C. Unrecoverable transactions.
D. Deadly embraces retrieval contention).
In a distributed processing system, the data and resources a transaction may update or use
should be held in their current status until the transaction is complete. A deadly embrace
occurs when two transactions need the same resource at the same time. If the system does
not have a method to cope with the problem efficiently, response time worsens or the
system eventually fails. The system should have an algorithm for undoing the effects of
one transaction and releasing the resources it controls so that the other transaction can run
One advantage of a database management system DBMS) is
A. That each organizational unit takes responsibility and control for its own data.
B. The cost of the data processing department decreases as users are now responsible for
establishing their own data handling techniques.
C A decreased vulnerability as the database management system has numerous security
controls to prevent disasters.
D The independence of the data from the application programs. which allows the
programs to be developed for the user's specific needs without concern for data capture
A fundamental characteristic of databases is that applications are independent of the
database structure; when writing programs or designing applications to use the database.
only the name of the desired item is necessary. Programs can be developed for the user's
specific needs without concern for data capture problems. Reference can be made to the
items using the data manipulation language, after which the DBMS takes care of locating
and retrieving the desired items. The physical or logical structure of the database can be
completely altered without having to change any of the programs using the data items,
only the schema requires alteration.
Which of the following is a false statement about a database management system
A. Data are used concurrently by multiple users.
B. Data are shared by passing files between programs or systems.
C. The physical structure of the data is independent of user needs.
D. Data definition is independent of any one program.
In this kind of system, applications use the same database There is no need to pass files
Which of the following should not be the responsibility of a database administrator?
A. Design the content and organization of the database.
B. Develop applications to access the database.
C. Protect the database and its software.
D. Monitor and Boost the efficiency of the database.
The database administrator DBA) is the person who has overall responsibility for
developing and maintaining the database. One primary responsibility is for
designing the content of the database. Another responsibility of the DBA is to protect
and control the database. A third responsibility is to monitor and Boost the efficiency of
the database. The responsibility of developing applications to access the database belongs
to systems analysts and programmers.
The responsibilities of a data administrator DA) include monitoring
A. The database industry.
B. The performance of the database.
C. Database security.
D. Backup of the system.
The DA handles administrative issues that arise regarding the database. The DA acts as an
advocate by suggesting new applications and standards. One of the DA's responsibilities is
to monitor the database industry for new developments. In contrast, the database
administrator DBA) deals with the technical aspects of the database
To trace data through several applies qti on programs, an auditor needs to know what
programs use the data, which files contain the data, and which print-td reports display the
data. If data exist only in a database system, the auditor could probably find all of this
information in a
A. Data dictionary.
B. Database schema.
C. Data encryptor.
D. Decision table.
The data dictionary is a file possibly manual but usually computerized) in which the
records relate to specified data items. It contains definitions of data items, the list of
programs used to process them, and the reports in which data are found. Only certain
persons or entities are permitted to retrieve data or to modify data items. Accordingly.
these access limitations are also found in the data dictionary.
Image processing systems have the potential to reduce the volume of paper
circulated throughout an organization. To reduce the likelihood of users relying on the
wrong images, management should ensure that appropriate controls exist to maintain the
A. Legibility of image data.
B. Accessibility of image data.
C. Integrity of index data.
D. Initial sequence of index data.
Data integrity is a protectibility objective. If index data for image processing systems are
corrupted, users will likely be relying on the wrong images.
What language interface would a database administrator use to establish the structure of
A. Data definition language.
B. Data control language.
C. Data manipulation language.
D. Data query language.
The schema is a description of the overall logical structure of the database using data-
definition language DDL), which is the connection between the logical and physical
structure of the database. DDL is used to define, or determine, the database.
Query facilities for a database system would most likely include all of the following
A. Graphical output capability.
B. Data dictionary access.
C. A data validity checker.
D. A query-by-example interface.
The least likely feature of a query tool would be a data validity checker because the
database system has already enforced any validity constraints at the time the data were
inserted in the database. Any further data validity checking would be a function of a user
application program rather than a query.
Which of the following would be the most appropriate starting point for a compliance
evaluation of software licensing requirements for an organization with more than 15,000
A. Determine if software installation is controlled centrally or distributed throughout the
B. Determine what software packages have been installed on the organization' s
computers and the number of each package installed.
C. Determine how many copies of each software package have been purchased by the
D. Determine what mechanisms have been installed for monitoring software usage.
The logical starting point is to determine the point(s) of control. Evidence of license
compliance can then be assessed. For example, to shorten the installation time for revised
software in a network, an organization may implement electronic software distribution
ESD), which is the computer-to-- computer installation of software on workstations.
Instead of weeks, software distribution can be accomplished in hours or days and can be
controlled centrally. Another advantage of ESD is that it permits tracking or metering of
PC program licenses.
Use of unlicensed software in an organization
I. Increases the risk of introducing viruses into the organization
II. Is not a serious exposure if only low-cost software is involved
III. Can be detected by software checking routines that run from a network server
A. I only.
B. I and II only.
C. I, II, and Ill.
D. I and Ill only.
Antivirus measures should include strict adherence to software acquisition policies.
Unlicensed software is less likely to have come from reputable vendors and to have been
carefully tested.Special software is available to test software in use to determine whether it
has been authorized.
The Internet consists of a series of networks that include
A. Gateways to allow personal computers to connect to mainframe computers.
B. Bridges to direct messages through the optimum data path_
C. Repeaters to physically connect separate local area networks LANs).
D. Routers to strengthen data signals between distant computers.
The Internet facilitates information transfer between computers. Gateways are hardware or
software products that allow translation between two different protocol families. For
example, a gateway can be used to exchange messages between different email systems.
Which of the following is true concerning HTML?
A. The acronym stands for HyperText Material Listing.
B. The language is among the most difficult to learn
C. The language is independent of hardware and software.
D. HTML is the only language that can be used for Internet documents.
HTML is the most popular language for authoring Web pages. It is hardware and software
independent, which means that it can be read by several different applications and on
many different kinds of computer operating systems. HTML uses tags to mark information
for proper display on Web pages.
Which of the following is a false statement about XBRL?
A. XBRL is freely licensed.
B. XBRL facilitates the automatic exchange of information
C. XBRL is used primarily in the U.S.
D. XBRL is designed to work with a variety of software applications.
XBRL stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language. It is being developed for
business and accounting applications. It is an XML-based application used to create,
exchange, and analyze financial reporting information and is being developed for
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When you’re looking for a financial advisor, you’ll see any number of certifications and credentials listed on the business cards and websites of prospective candidates. From CPAs to CFAs, ChFCs to IARs, the long and growing list can be overwhelming.
Understanding what all of these acronyms stand for allows you to choose the best financial advisor for your needs. Let’s take a closer look at the 10 most common financial professional certifications.
CPA: Certified Public Accountant
Of all the financial advisor certifications, you’re probably most familiar with certified public accountant. Although most people associate CPAs with taxes, their expertise goes far beyond your annual tax filing.
CPAs handle jobs from financial reporting to audit work and forensic research. Even if your needs are slightly less complicated, employing a CPA can still save you a bundle of money and keep you out of a tax court, too. In short, if your finances progress beyond entering W-2 info into tax software, you’ll need a CPA.
The CPA certification has been around since the late 19th century. It’s a tough qualification to earn. Requirements vary by state, but candidates generally need a specialized degree, one year of work experience, and they must pass the challenging Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination.
CFA: Chartered Financial Analyst
A chartered financial analyst has in-depth knowledge of asset management and securities analysis, as well as a professional commitment to the highest ethical standards. The common habitat for CFAs is handling high-level research and analysis for large financial companies and investment firms, but they may also work with high-net-worth private clients, providing investment advice, portfolio management and risk management services.
The CFA Institute says it takes 1,000 hours of study, four years of professional experience and a three-part exam to become a CFA charterholder. The pass rate for all three levels of the CFA exam is just 20%. Once upon a time, the CFA qualification was considered a good plan B if you weren’t cut out for an MBA. That’s not the case anymore, and today, CFAs rank among the financial advisory elite.
CFP: Certified Financial Planner
A certified financial planner takes a holistic, all-encompassing approach to financial planning, meeting their clients’ needs for budgeting, retirement planning, life insurance, taxes and estate planning. CFPs commit to a professional requirement to act as fiduciaries, meaning their financial advice must always put their customers’ best interests first.
The CFP is a good candidate for people who want a comprehensive financial plan. If you need help in choosing investments, planning for retirement, setting aside money for a child’s education, and many other goals, a CFP is a wonderful choice. Certified financial planners have many specialities, from the types of clients they work with to the types of work they take on, so check your candidate’s specializations before making a choice.
CFPs must take six or seven classes, depending on their program, covering the ins and outs of financial planning as well as pass a notoriously difficult exam and accrue years of financial planning experience before they can add CFP behind their name.
ChFC: Chartered Financial Consultant
CFPs and a chartered financial consultants offer very similar services: personal financial management, retirement planning, tax issues, estate planning, life insurance and special needs planning for parents and guardians.
The chartered financial consultant certification may offer slightly more depth than the CFP, as it requires additional coursework: eight courses to the CFP’s six or seven. However, unlike CFPs, ChFCs are not required to pass one comprehensive exam and instead must pass exams following each course they take. ChFC certification requires candidates to have three years of full-time experience in the financial services industry, and ChFCs must bind themselves to a fiduciary standard.
ChFCs’ broad knowledge base makes them superior candidates for managing complex individual or family estates and providing investment strategies to small businesses.
RIA: Registered Investment Advisor
Unlike the other certifications on this list, registered investment advisor refers to a type of company, not a type of financial advisor. The registered part of the name comes from the fact that RIAs must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or a state regulatory agency.
RIAs are fully regulated fiduciaries that may provide financial planning or investment services. Practically speaking, though, their work with clients extends beyond simple investment advice, offering services such as retirement planning, insurance, estate planning and even concierge services like marriage and divorce consultations.
IAR: Investment Adviser Representative
An investment adviser representative (IAR) is a financial professionals who work for a RIA. Typically, IARs are certified via the Series 65 or Series 7 exams, and the Series 66, administered by FINRA, which the federal government authorizes to oversee US broker-dealers. In addition, they generally have one (or more) of the certifications listed above, like CFP or CFA.
The draw of IARs is their strong commitment to fiduciary responsibility. IARs must disclose conflicts of interest and tell clients about more efficient products, even if it means a smaller commission. This contrasts with advisors working under the “suitability standard,” who sometimes offer high-commission products that meet customer needs, without suggesting lower-commission alternatives that might better suit them.
If you’re working with a financial advisor through a company or financial institution, make sure to determine whether they are an IAR or a registered representative held only to suitability standards.
CFF: Certified Financial Fiduciary
Certified financial fiduciary (CFF) is an additional qualification that financial advisors undertake to supplement their existing professional certifications. In essence, it’s meant to signal that the advisor adheres to the highest possible standard of fiduciary duty (yes, there’s more than one kind of fiduciary).
CFFs are trained to uphold the highest moral, ethical and fiduciary standards of service when providing investment advice to potential and existing clients. The National Association of Certified Financial Fiduciaries (NACFF) administers CFF training and awards the certification.
The CFF is a relatively new professional designation, first created in 2018, during the rise and fall of the Department of Labor’s ill-fated fiduciary rule. As such, the CFF is less common than the others profiled here. Before it was struck down in federal court, the fiduciary rule would have held all financial advisors to a strict fiduciary rule, and the CFF was created, in part, to prove an advisor’s commitment to this rule.
CFF candidates must pass stringent requirements: They must hold a professional financial certification or license or have enough education and experience to pass NACFF’s bar. A background check is conducted to examine their moral, ethical and fiduciary record. Candidates must complete comprehensive training and pass the CFF exam. Crucially, they agree to uphold the CFF Code of Conduct for fiduciary responsibility.
RICP: Retirement Income Certified Professional
Administered by the American College of Financial Services, the retirement income certified professional (RICP) program trains financial advisors to help clients claim Social Security, define risk factors and manage distributions from retirement plans like a 401(k). But above and beyond retirement income issues, the program also helps advisors understand Medicare, aid in managing and selecting life insurance, plan long-term healthcare and handle retirement tax issues, which frequently trip up clients.
RICP certification is sought by experienced financial advisors, lawyers, accountants and bankers―anyone who works in advisory fields that wants a heightened understanding of all the factors that impact retirement planning. RICP training aims to foster a deep understanding of retirement income issues, allowing advisors to create plans for clients that cover income, housing, healthcare, taxation, life quality and more.
CPWA: Certified Private Wealth Advisor
Certified private wealth advisor (CPWA) is aimed at wealth managers who serve affluent clients. Wealth management advisors select portfolios of investment securities for their clients and manage the portfolios.
Generally they do not offer a broad selection of advice for a client’s entire financial life, confining themselves only to managing investments. This isn’t a flaw in their service offering as high-net-worth individuals generally employ planning teams of several experts to meet their needs.
Preparation courses for the CPWA teach candidates to create strategies that maximize growth, minimize taxes and help clients pass their wealth on to the next generation.
CLU: Chartered Life Underwriter
A chartered life underwriter (CLU) is a financial advisor that specializes in life insurance planning. This isn’t a standalone service: CLUs operate as part of an estate planning team, usually for high-net-worth clients with complex holdings, including family businesses and complicated asset structures.
The American College of Financial Services administers the CLU qualification. Candidates must have three years of relevant experience, pass eight training classes and sit for an exam. There’s a continuing education requirement for CLUs of 30 hours every two years. The CLU certification is highly respected among professionals and is nearly 100 years old―second only in age to the CPA.
Looking For A Financial Advisor?
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As you begin a search for a financial professional, you will come across many different types of certifications. Each certification tells a story about the level of expertise and dedication an individual advisor has in different fields of finance. While it can be confusing, it is crucial to have an understanding of what an advisor specializes in before seeking their services. The best advisor for you will be one that can help you across the different areas where you need financial assistance.
What are Financial Certifications?
When a financial advisor wants to specialize in an area of the financial industry and become an expert, they usually need to earn a certification. Getting these designations often requires hours of coursework, exams and continuing education. Failure to meet any of these requirements can result in their certification being taken away. A financial certification is an advisor’s way of letting you know that they have experience and are held to professional standards. Not all financial advisors are the same though, and understanding the main certifications will let you know which advisor is best for your unique situation.
The Best Finance Certifications to Look for in a Financial Advisor
With over 200 different designations, it can be a bit overwhelming to know exactly what to look for. While there are so many to choose from, there are a few key certifications that are not only the most popular but are considered the best in terms of rigorous standards, oversight and expertise.
1. Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)
The CFP® is the most common designation you find when searching for an advisor. This certification denotes expertise for professionals in financial planning, taxes, insurance, estate planning and retirement. The certification is overseen by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. Designation is determined by successfully completing the board’s exam and continued ongoing education of at least 30 hours every two years.
To sit for the exam, individuals must have a Bachelor’s degree and complete a course approved by the board. The course can be waived if the person holds another designation, such as a CPA, CFA or a PhD in business or economics. Candidates also must have at least three years (or 6,000 hours) of full-time professional experience.
Why Use a CFP®?
CFP®’s are best for those looking for holistic financial planning. If you are looking for more than just investment management and need help with retirement plans, taxes, etc., a CFP® is your best bet.
2. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Becoming certified as a CPA is very difficult, with only a 50% pass rate. To become a certified accountant, individuals must have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, finance or accounting and complete an additional 150 hours of education regarding accounting standards and practices. They must also have 2 or more years of public accounting experience and pass the exam. Like the CFP®, those with a CPA must also continue to take courses to keep their certification.
Why Use a CPA?
CPAs are best used for tax issues. If your main financial situation revolves around tax help, and nothing much else, like retirement, then a CPA may be your best bet.
3. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
The Chartered Financial Analyst designation is considered one of the hardest certificates for those in the financial sector and is also the gold standard for those who work in investing or managing portfolios. It’s globally recognized and is run by the CFA Institute. There are three levels of exams that cover everything from accounting, ethics, economics, security analysis and money management. In August 2023, the pass rate for levels 1 and 2 were at 37% and 44%, respectively, while level 3 had a pass rate of 47%.
Before sitting for the exam, the candidate must have 4 years of professional work experience, bachelor’s degree, or a combination of the two totaling 4 years. If the person can pass all 3 levels in sequential order, they become a member of the CFA Institute and abide by the Institute’s code of ethics. While the exams can be taken as many times as possible, candidates usually need to study at least 300 hours for each test, which means many do not continue after failing to pass one level.
Why Use a CFA?
Generally you won’t find someone just registered as a CFA working with individual clients. CFAs work for big corporations. If they do work with individuals, they will usually also have a CFP® certification. A CFA underscores their strong investment analytical skills.
4. Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
Advisors with the Chartered Financial Consultant designation work with individuals on retirement savings and budget planning. It’s a designation that is granted by the American College and consists of individuals taking 7 required courses and 2 electives. The Topics covered include retirement and estate planning, insurance, investments and income tax.
While not compulsory, the college recommends that those who apply already have a degree related to business or finance. The candidate must also have a minimum of 3 years working in the industry and must maintain continuing education credits. While similar to the CPA, it differs in that it is a course and does not require candidates to pass one exam but instead take a test after each course.
Why Use a ChFC?
The difference between a CFP® and ChFC does not affect how qualified they are to work with clients. If you see an advisor with either a CFP® or ChFC, as long as they are a fiduciary and don’t have a history of disclosures, you should be in good hands.
5. Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
A Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) is geared toward insurance agents. A chartered life underwriter’s domains of expertise are primarily life insurance as they relate to estate planning and risk management. There is no exam one has to pass, but candidates have to take eight courses administered by the American College of Financial Planning in order to become one.
Why Use a CLU?
CLUs are great if you are looking for life insurance and do not know how to navigate the complexity involved with buying a life insurance plan.
6. Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC)
A Chartered Investment Counselor recognizes experts with significant experience as portfolio and investment managers. It is a designation that must be applied for and is approved by the Investment Adviser Association. Candidates must work for an Investment Adviser Association member firm, adhere to a code of conduct and submit references. They are held to the standards set under the Investment Act of 1940, meaning they have a legal obligation to work in the best interest of the clients. They also must run large accounts and mutual funds and already have a CFA.
Why Use a CIC?
A CIC will be best for those looking for pure investment advice. A CIC won’t be able to help you with things like financial plans, estate planning or taxes.
7. Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA)
A certified private wealth advisor is for professionals whose clients include high-net worth clients. They often deal with individuals who have a net worth of more than $5 million. This certification means advisors can help high earners with things like tax, growing their assets and wealth succession.
The designation is offered by the Investments and Wealth Institute and is obtained by taking a six-month course either through the institute, via the University of Chicago Booth School of Business or the Yale School of Management or an investment firm. To qualify, a candidate must have a bachelor’s degree or another certificate like the CFA, CFP® or CPA and five years of experience in the field.
Why Use a CPWA?
A CPWA is going to best serve wealthy individuals with a net worth over $5 million. It doesn’t mean high net worth individuals should only work with CPWAs, but they are a good option.
8. Certified Estate Planner (CEP)
This certification is designated by the National Institute of Certified Estate Planners and gives financial planners the knowledge to help people develop and plan their estate. It is a proctored exam. While there is a self-study manual of 770 pages, candidates can also opt for in-person study, which usually adds an additional 16 hours of class time.
To qualify, a professional must have a valid license in the financial, legal or tax profession or have special permission to enroll. Once the exam is passed, they must complete 8 hours of continuing education every 2 years and follow NICEP’s code of ethics to remain certified.
Why Use a CEP?
A CEP is great if your main area of concern is estate planning. This can be useful for people with a high net worth and are unsure of how to pass down their estate.
9. Certified Personal Finance Counselor (CPFC)
This designation is for professionals who work with clients on a one-on-one basis. The certification is run by Fincert and ensures that the candidate is trained in counseling skills and personal finance management. It was designed to fulfill the requirement of the Uniform Debt Management Services Act. The certificate is issued by passing a test after the completion of a self-study course through Fincert which covers things like communication, money management and consumer protection. To qualify a candidate must have at least 6 months of relevant experience.
Why Use a CPFC?
A CPFC is best for people who are looking for ways to better manage their money, rather than planning complicated financial matters.
10. Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
A financial risk manager is someone who assess potential liabilities to the assets, capacity or success of a company. They work in financial services, banking, marketing or other services and often specialize in credit and market risk. Someone with an FRM designation is required to also be accredited with the Global Association of Risk Professionals. To get an FRM certificate, candidates need to pass a 2-part exam and have 2 years of experience. There is also an optional 40 hours of coursework every 2 years. The exam itself is not easy, with only an average 50% pass rate.
Why Use a FRM?
Like a CFA, most advisors certified with FRM will most likely not work solely with individual clients. FRMs will usually work for companies and corporations. If an advisor does work with individuals, they will likely have other credentials.
11. Retirement Manager Advisor (RMA)
Another certification offered by the Investments and Wealth Institute, a retirement manager advisor helps clients with retirement planning. To get the certificate, a candidate must complete an online course, take an in-person capstone class and pass an exam. In addition, they must have at least 3 years of experience or another designation like a CFA, CPA or CIMA. It’s one of the shortest designations to get, as it only takes 9 weeks of 2-3 hours per week and 2 days of in-person instruction to complete.
Why Use a RMA?
Retirement Manager Advisors specialize in retirement planning, so if that is your primary concern then an RMA will be great for you. RMAs will usually also have a CFP® certification. Choosing a CFP® with an RMA may be more advantageous than choosing a CFP® without one if you are panic about your retirement.
12. Certified Retirement Counselor (CRC)
There are several certificates for retirement planners. The CRC is overseen by the International Foundation for Retirement Education, a non-profit organization that advocates for high standards and ethics. Getting the designation consists of a certification exam, adhering to InFRE’s code of ethics and re-registering every year. Holders of the certificate must also complete at least 15 hours of ongoing education per year. To sit for the exam, a candidate must pass a background check and hold a bachelor’s degree and have 2 years of relevant experience or a high school diploma with 5 years of experience.
Why Use a CRC?
A CRC is similar to an RMA and will be useful for those whose primary concern is retirement planning. RMAs usually also need to have a CFP® or CPA, which may make them a little bit more qualified than those who just hold a CRC.
Why Should Financial Advisors Have Finance Certifications?
Although financial advisors are not required to have a certification, it signals that they adhere to specific ethical standards. If an advisor doesn’t have a certification, it can mean that they don’t have the necessary experience or education requirements. If they are not certified or registered with the SEC or FINRA, it could mean that they are not legally obligated to put your best interests first and are limited in some of the things they can do for you.
Who Regulates Finance Certifications?
Financial certifications are overseen by independent bodies that administer the tests and determine the certificate standards. There is no one body that oversees these certifications, although FINRA does keep track of the designations available. Most designations are overseen by private or non-profit institutions, so it’s important to make sure you know the qualifications of the certificates your financial planner holds.
Best Financial Advisors
Here are some certificate programs and courses to help you with the above financial certifications.
1. Financial Management: A Complete Study for CA/CMA/CS/CFA/ACCA by Udemy
Who it’s for: MBA students, finance students, finance professionals
The Udemy bestseller is ideal for MBA and finance students. Individuals who hold the CA, CMA, CS, CFA, CPA or CIMA credentials will also find this in-depth offering beneficial. There are lessons on financial analysis through ratios, financial statements, capital structure, working capital management and so much more.
Register today for full lifetime access to the course material. You will also receive a certificate of completion when you reach the finish line.
2. The Complete Financial Analyst Course 2023 by Udemy
Who it’s for: Aspiring finance professionals
The Complete Financial Analyst Course 2023 by 365Careers is another Udemy bestseller. It’s worth considering if you are pursuing a finance career and want to position yourself for lucrative employment opportunities. You’ll also develop practical financial analysis, business analysis and capital budgeting skills as you work through the lessons.
Join over 405,000 students who’ve taken this exceptional course by signing up right away. It only takes a few minutes, and you can get immediate access to 19.5 hours of on-demand video, 17 articles and 495 downloadable resources.
Have access to Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint before you sign up.
3. exam Prep: CFA® Level 1 Bootcamp 2023 Curriculum (Part 1/2) by Udemy
Who it’s for: Individuals preparing for the CFA Level 1 exam
The registration fee includes 373 lectures jam-packed into 26 hours of on-demand video. You will also receive 38 articles and 55 downloadable resources to help you get the most out of your online learning experience.
Facilitator Ivan Kitov is a chartered financial analyst. He also holds a Master’s degree in Finance from Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
4. exam Prep: CFA® Level 1 Bootcamp 2023 Curriculum (Part 2/2) by Udemy
Who it’s for: Individuals preparing for the CFA Level 1 exam
This course is the 2nd component of the CFA Level 1 exam prep boot camp from 365 Careers. It is also taught by Ivan Kitov and delves deeper into financial reporting, portfolio management, equity investments, fixed income and derivatives.
Similar to the Part 1 boot camp, the class also covers the following topics:
When you enroll, you will unlock a vault of valuable resources. This includes 29.5 hours of on-demand video, 44 articles and 59 downloadable resources.
5. Financial Risk Manager (FRM) Certification: Level I by Udemy
Who it’s for: Bankers, IT professionals, analytics and financial professionals, business technology graduates, MBA degree holders, finance graduates
Offered by EduPristine Inc, this highly-rated course is ideal for latest graduates and financial professionals interested in pursuing a risk management career.
The enrollment fee includes full lifetime access to 113 lectures condensed into 24 hours of on-demand video, 1 article and 111 downloadable resources. Plus, you can sign up with confidence knowing the class comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee if it doesn’t quite meet your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Financial certifications show professionalism, knowledge and experience.
The various certifications include CFA, CPA, CFP, ChFC and CLU.
The easiest financial certification depends on an individual’s background, experience, and strengths. The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) certifications are often considered relatively easier to obtain. However, they still require education, passing an exam, and meeting experience requirements.Q
It depends on the field and the specific certifications or degree in question. In some industries, certifications may hold more value as they demonstrate specialized knowledge and skills. For example, in the IT industry, certifications such as Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) or Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) can often hold more weight than a general computer science degree. On the other hand, certain professions may require a degree as a minimum qualification, such as medicine or law. Ultimately, both certifications and degrees can be valuable, and the worth of each depends on the specific context and requirements of the industry or profession.
The certificate is composed of 18 credits of masters-level graduate coursework with the primary goal of providing students with the education, training and skills necessary to be able to sit for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) examination.
The curriculum is aligned with the CFP® Board’s Principal Knowledge Topics and covers principles and practices of essential areas of financial planning, including:
CFP students enjoy the opportunity to work with clients at the Low-Income Tax Clinic for graduate credit and CFP exam experience.
Students must take the following required courses to receive their certificate*:
View the full online certified financial planning certificate degree program curriculum.
*Accelerated path candidates — candidates who bypass the other education requirements — are only required to take FIN 5800: CFP Capstone.
As a CFP® professional, you can assist with developing and executing financial strategies for your clients. You will help others create financial goals based on existing financial conditions and risk tolerance. CFP®s can offer guidance on managing debt, picking investments, preparing for retirement and setting aside money for both short- and long-term goals.
Certified Financial Planner Careers
Both accounting and bookkeeping play an important financial role in business, there is a difference between the two. Bookkeeping is a direct record of all purchases and sales your business conducts, while accounting is a subjective look at what that data means for your business and cash flow strategies. An accountant can be considered a bookkeeper, but a bookkeeper can’t be an accountant without proper certification.
Learn more about the differences between accounting and bookkeeping below.
Bookkeeping vs. accounting
Bookkeeping is a transactional and administrative role that handles the day-to-day tasks of recording financial transactions, including purchases, receipts, sales and payments. Accounting is more subjective, providing business owners with financial insights based on information gleaned from their bookkeeping data.
“Bookkeeping is designed to generate data about the activities of an organization,” said D’Arcy Becker, chair and professor in the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Department of Accounting. “Accounting is designed to turn data into information.”
Bookkeepers handle the day-to-day tasks of recording financial transactions while accountants provide insight and analysis of that data and generate accounting reports.
What does a bookkeeper do?
Bookkeeping, in the traditional sense, has been around as long as there has been commerce ― since around 2600 B.C. A bookkeeper’s job is to maintain complete records of all money that has come into and gone out of the business. Bookkeepers record daily transactions in a consistent, easy-to-read way. Their records enable accountants to do their jobs.
Editor’s note: Looking for the right accounting software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.
These are some typical bookkeeping tasks:
One of a bookkeeper’s primary duties is maintaining a general ledger, which is a document that records the amounts from sales and expense receipts. Ledgers can vary in complexity from a sheet of paper to specialized bookkeeping software, such as QuickBooks and Xero, to track their entries, debits and credits. [Read our review of QuickBooks and our Xero review to learn more about these tools.]
Each sale and purchase your business conducts must be recorded in the ledger and some items will need documentation. You can find more information on which transactions require supporting documents on the IRS website.
There are no formal educational requirements to become a bookkeeper, but they must be knowledgeable about financial Topics and accounting terms and strive for accuracy. Generally, an accountant or owner oversees a bookkeeper’s work. A bookkeeper is not an accountant, nor should they be considered an accountant.
Bookkeepers record financial transactions, post debits and credits, create invoices, manage payroll and maintain and balance the books.
What credentials does a bookkeeper need?
Bookkeepers aren’t required to be certified to handle the books for their customers or employer but licensing is available. Both the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) and the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) offer accreditation and licensing to bookkeepers.
AIPB certification requires bookkeepers to have at least two years of full-time work experience and pass a national exam. To maintain the credential, bookkeepers are required to engage in continuing education.
The NACPB offers credentials to bookkeepers who pass tests for small business accounting, small business financial management, bookkeeping and payroll. It also offers a payroll certification, which requires additional education.
To earn the certified public bookkeeper license, bookkeepers must have 2,000 hours of work experience, pass an exam and sign a code of conduct. They must take 24 hours of continuing education each year to maintain their license.
A bookkeeper with professional certification shows they are committed to the trade, possess the skills and expertise required and are willing to continue learning new methods and techniques.
What does a bookkeeper charge?
The salary or rates you’ll pay a bookkeeper depend on your business and its bookkeeping needs. Three main factors affect your costs: the services you want, the expertise you need and your local market.
Advantages of a bookkeeper
There are several advantages to hiring a bookkeeper to file and document your business’s financial records. Here are a few to consider:
“Accountants look at the big picture,” said John A. Tracy in his book Accounting for Dummies. “[They] step back and say, ‘We handle a lot of rebates, we handle a lot of coupons. How should we record these transactions? Do I record just the net amount of the sale or do I record the gross sale amount, too?’ Once the accountant decides how to handle these transactions, the bookkeeper carries them out.”
The accounting process produces reports that bring key aspects of your business’s finances together to give you a complete picture of where your finances stand, what they mean, what you can and should do about them and where you can expect to take your business in the near future.
There is a difference between an accountant and a certified public accountant (CPA). Although both can prepare your tax returns, a CPA is more knowledgeable about tax codes and can represent you if you get audited by the IRS.
CPAs have passed the Uniform CPA exam ― a challenging exam that tests knowledge of tax laws and standard accounting practices.
Are bookkeepers accountants?
Generally, accountants must have a degree in accounting or finance to earn the title. Then, they may pursue additional certifications, such as the CPA. Accountants may also hold the position of bookkeeper.
However, if your accountant does your bookkeeping, you may be paying more than you should for this service as you would generally pay more per hour for an accountant than a bookkeeper.
What credentials does an accountant need?
Accountants’ qualifications depend on their experience, licenses and certifications. To become an accountant, they must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
There are several types of accounting certifications that accountants obtain to expand their skill sets and gain positions within larger organizations. In addition to CPA credentials, other common accounting designations are chartered financial analyst (CFA) and certified internal auditor (CIA).
A CPA is an accountant who has met their state’s requirements and passed the Uniform CPA Exam. They must also meet ongoing education requirements to maintain their accreditation.
When interviewing for a CPA, look for an accountant who understands tax law and accounting software and has good communication skills. They should understand your industry and the unique needs and requirements of small businesses.
Awarded by the CFA Institute, the CFA certification is one of the most respected designations in accounting. In this program, accountants learn about portfolio management, ethical financial practices, investment analysis and global markets. To complete the program, accountants must have four years of relevant work experience.
CFAs must also pass a challenging three-part exam that had a pass rate of only 39 percent in September 2021. The point here is that hiring a CFA means bringing highly advanced accounting knowledge to your business.
A CIA is an accountant who has been certified in conducting internal audits. To receive this certification, an accountant must pass the required exams and have two years of professional experience.
CPAs can perform some of the same services as CIAs. However, you might hire a CIA if you want a more specialized focus on financial risk assessment and security monitoring processes.
What does an accountant charge?
According to the BLS, the median salary for an accountant in 2021 was $77,250 per year or $37.14 per hour. However, their years of experience, your state and the complexity of your accounting needs affect the price.
Accountants will either quote a client a fixed price for a specific service or charge a general hourly rate. Basic services could cost as little as $20 an hour while advanced services could be $100 or more an hour.
Advantages of an accountant
Hiring a small business accountant yields significant benefits. Here are some advantages to hiring an accountant over a bookkeeper:
Accounting software: An alternative to hiring an accountant or bookkeeper
Your business’s accounting needs might not require the in-depth expertise of a hired professional. You might also be watching your company’s list of expenses and wondering where to reduce spending. In either case, consider handling the accounting yourself or delegating this responsibility to one or a few of your current employees.
Accounting software allows you and your team to track and manage your business’s expense reports, invoices, inventory and payroll accurately and efficiently. To choose accounting software, start by considering your budget and the extent of your business’s accounting needs.
Many accounting programs have free versions that cover basics such as tracking income or generating financial reports. Wave Financial, for example, offers most of its services for free and allows an unlimited number of users to collaborate on financial projects. [Read our Wave Financial review for more information.]
Other programs charge annual or monthly fees and offer advanced features such as recurring invoices or purchase orders. While these services come at a cost, they can maximize the accuracy and efficiency of vital financial management processes.
When to hire a financial professional
It can be difficult to gauge the appropriate time to hire an accounting professional or bookkeeper ― or to determine if you need one at all. While many small businesses hire an accountant as a consultant, you have several options for handling financial tasks.
For example, some small business owners do their own bookkeeping on software their accountant recommends or uses, providing it to the accountant on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis for action. Other small businesses hire a bookkeeper or employ a small accounting department with data entry clerks reporting to the bookkeeper.
When looking for a certified bookkeeper, first decide if you want to hire an independent consultant, a firm or a full-time employee if your business is large enough. Ask for referrals from friends, colleagues or your local chamber of commerce or search online social networks like LinkedIn for bookkeepers.
You can also look at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to find CPAs with skills in certain areas, such as employee benefits or personal finance.
It may take some background research to find a suitable bookkeeper because, unlike accountants, they are not required to hold a professional certification. A strong endorsement from a trusted colleague or years of experience are important factors when hiring a bookkeeper.
3 signs you need a bookkeeper or accountant
Are you still not sure if you need to hire someone to help with your books? Here are three instances that indicate it’s time to hire a financial professional:
Whether you hire an accountant, a bookkeeper or both, ensure they’re qualified by asking for client references, checking for certifications or performing screening tests.
Don’t leave your books untended
Accountants and bookkeepers both can offer valuable insight into your business’s financial situation, helping you make better decisions around cash flow and stay prepared when it comes to tax liabilities. For small businesses, adept cash management is a critical aspect of survival and growth, so it’s wise to work with a financial professional from the start. If you prefer to go it alone, consider starting out with accounting software and keeping your books meticulously up to date. That way, should you need to hire a professional down the line, they will have visibility into the complete financial history of your business.
Tejas Vemparala and Shayna Waltower also contributed to this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.
It is quite rare for me to find a company where the end result is me sitting on the fence between rating it a "buy" and a "strong buy." But one company that I have come across that forces me to straddle those two ratings is Financial Institutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:FISI), a very small bank with a market capitalization of $263.4 million as of this writing. Although the company is not perfect, it is trading at very low multiples, both relative to earnings and book value. At the end of the day, I did decide to settle with a "buy" rating. But if we see two changes come through the pipeline, that picture could change for the better.
A very attractive bank
According to the management team at Financial Institutions, the bank is a rather small player with 49 branches spread across the 14 contiguous upstate New York counties and additional loan production offices in the Mid-Atlantic and central New York regions of the state. Although this is the physical footprint of the bank, some of its locations fall under different names than others. And this is because the company's operations are really split between five different subsidiaries. The first of these is Five Star Bank, which operates 48 full-service banking offices and which provides a wide array of deposit services and loan products for its customers.
But there are other operations that the institution has. Another one of its subsidiaries is SDN Insurance Agency, LLC. As its name suggests, this is an insurance agency and it sells, on behalf of the company, personal insurance lines such as automobile, homeowners insurance, boat insurance, landlord insurance, and other offerings. It even provides certain financial services products such as life and disability insurance, Medicare supplements, annuities, mutual funds, and more. Its Courier Capital, LLC subsidiary operates as an SEC-registered investment advisor and wealth management firm that offers up investment counseling, retirement plan services, and other similar activities to its customers. HNP Capital, LLC is another SEC-registered investment advisory and wealth management firm that provides the same kind of services as Courier Capital does.
Next in line, we have Corn Hill Innovation Labs, LLC. This was actually set up back in 2021 to manage a joint venture that the company has with Alloy Labs Alliance to launch an open network for peer-to-peer payments for consumers and small businesses. And finally, there is Five Star REIT, Inc. This is a small REIT that holds residential mortgages and commercial real estate loans on behalf of the company.
Over the past few years, the financial picture for Financial Institutions has been a bit lumpy. As you can see in the chart above, net interest income jumped from $111.8 million in 2020 to $163.1 million in 2021. But then, in 2022, it pulled back slightly to $154.1 million. A similar trend can be seen by looking at both non-interest income and net profits for the company. But in the case of net profits, the movements higher and lower were more severe. This year, we are seeing a bit of weakness. While net interest income in the first half of the year managed to come in higher than it was last year, both non-interest income and net profits decreased compared to the same time last year.
Despite this volatility, the overall trajectory for the bank from an asset perspective has remained positive. The value of loans that it has, for instance, grew from $3.54 billion in 2020 to $4.01 billion in 2022. We have seen continued upside so far this year, with the value of loans climbing further to $4.38 billion by the end of the third quarter. I do understand that one area that investors are panic about involves exposure to office properties. The good news on this front is that 17% of the company's commercial real estate loans, by value, fall under the office category. But as a percentage of total loans, this drops to 6.8%. While not the lowest that I have seen, it is quite low as far as exposure goes.
There are some other metrics that should be paid attention to. The first of these would be the value of securities. These have actually jumped quite a bit from one random point to another. For instance, after rising from $900.1 million in 2020 to $1.38 billion in 2021, the value dropped to $1.14 billion last year. By the end of the most latest quarter, they had fallen further to $1.05 billion. Meanwhile, the value of cash on the company's books has largely risen over time, growing from $93.9 million in 2020 to $192.1 million today. And this occurred at a time when debt first rose and then subsequently fell. In 2020, debt totaled $78.9 million. This peaked at $498.4 million in the second quarter of this year before falling precipitously to $194.5 million by the end of the third quarter.
The overall growth in the value of loans that the institution has experienced has only been made possible by a growth in deposits. These expanded from $4.28 billion in 2020 to $4.93 billion in 2022. Even though there were concerns about a banking crisis, we only saw a modest drop from $5.14 billion in the first quarter of this year to $5.03 billion in the second. But this was short-lived, with the value of deposits hitting an all-time high for the bank of $5.33 billion by the end of the third quarter. Perhaps the only negative on this front is that 34.2% of the company's deposits, by value, are classified as uninsured. This is a bit higher than the 30% maximum that I prefer to see. But it is fairly close so as to justify a bit of wiggle room.
In terms of valuing the bank, the process is fairly straightforward. On a price-to-earnings basis, shares are trading at a multiple of 4.8. This is actually lower than almost any of the other banks that I have seen this year. Many of them fall in the 6 to 9 range, With some even higher than that. The other way is to compare the price of the stock to its book value per share. Right now, shares are trading at a 33.9% discount to book value and at an 18.8% discount to tangible book value. Both of these are very attractive and they suggest that risk for shareholders is not terribly significant.
Based on the data provided, I would argue that while Financial Institutions have a less than perfect track record, it is an appealing prospect to consider. Shares are cheap in multiple ways and management has resumed growth of deposits. This is all excellent to see. In fact, shares are so cheap that I was very close to rating the company a "strong buy." But for as long as uninsured deposit exposure remains above 30% and until the company can demonstrate consistent revenue and profit growth, I would argue that a very solid "buy" rating makes a bit more sense right now.
The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet, Inc. does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments.
After a spouse dies, the survivor often ends up paying higher taxes on less income — something known by accountants and financial planners as the “widow’s penalty,” because women typically outlive their husbands.
Couples who know what’s coming often can take steps to soften the penalty’s effect, but too many don’t think far enough ahead, says Barbara O’Neill, a certified financial planner and educator in Ocala, Florida.
“A lot of people just underestimate what the impact will be financially,” O’Neil says.
Incomes plunge but expenses may not
A spouse’s death often leads to a substantial drop in income. Wages or salary typically end if the deceased spouse was still working, and many people don’t have enough life insurance to replace that loss.
If a couple is retired and receiving Social Security, the benefit amount can drop by one third to one half. The survivor gets the larger of the two checks the couple received, and the smaller benefit goes away. If the deceased spouse received pension or annuity payments, the survivor may get a reduced amount or nothing at all, depending on what payout option the couple chose.
The income decline may be offset by lower expenses, such as reduced bills for groceries or auto insurance for one vehicle instead of two, says O’Neill, author of “Flipping a Switch: Your Guide to Happiness and Financial Security in Later Life.” But some expenses could go up. The survivor may hire help to perform some of the chores the deceased previously handled, for example. Or they may want to subscribe to a medical alert service now that they’re living alone, she says.
And then there are the tax bills.
Taxes and Medicare premiums can change after a death
A surviving spouse can use the favorable “married filing jointly” status in the year their partner dies, as long as the survivor doesn’t remarry before the year ends. After that, survivors without dependent children are typically forced to use the less favorable “single” filing status.
The standard deduction for a married couple — $27,700 in 2023 — is twice that of a single person. Plus, taxpayers who are married filing jointly can have taxable income up to $89,450 and remain in the 12% federal tax bracket. That bracket ends at $44,725 for single filers. The next tax bracket is 22%.
Survivors receiving Social Security can find that more of their benefit gets taxed. Up to 85% of Social Security benefits are taxable if “combined income” — adjusted gross income, plus nontaxable interest, plus half of Social Security benefits — exceeds $44,000 for a couple. For a single person, the limit is $34,000.
Survivors on Medicare might see their premiums rise, thanks to a surcharge known as the income-related monthly adjustment amount, or IRMAA. The surcharge is based on the tax return from two years prior. So couples with incomes over $194,000 on their 2021 tax returns faced a surcharge in 2023 that ranged from $65.90 to $395.60 per month. The surcharges kicked in for singles when their income exceeded $97,000.
Planning can help reduce the penalty
Couples can help reduce the survivor’s penalty by adding tax-free sources of income, financial planners say. Life insurance — which can provide tax-free proceeds to the survivor — is one option, but buying a sufficiently large policy may not be affordable for older people, O’Neill notes. Another possibility is having at least some money in tax-free accounts, such as Roth IRAs and health savings accounts, so survivors can better manage their tax bills.
If most of the couple’s savings is in traditional retirement accounts, such as regular IRAs and 401(k)s, couples could consider converting at least some of the funds to a Roth IRA while they still enjoy favorable married filing jointly rates, says Marianela Collado, chief executive of Tobias Financial Advisors in Plantation, Florida.
Many people balk at paying the income taxes conversions require, not realizing the tax situation could be worse for the survivor, says Collado, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ personal financial planning executive committee.
Conversions not only would increase the pool of tax-free money the survivor could draw on, but also reduce any future required minimum withdrawals the survivor might otherwise face. Required minimum withdrawals typically must start at age 73 for traditional IRAs, 401(k)s and other non-Roth retirement plans.
A series of partial conversions over several years could spread out the tax bill, Collado says. Consider getting tax advice before proceeding, however, since conversions could push you into a higher tax bracket and affect other aspects of your finances, including Medicare premiums or Affordable Care Act subsidies.
This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.
The article Reduce Your ‘Widow’s Penalty’ by Planning Ahead originally appeared on NerdWallet.
Financial planning in today’s day and age is one of the most crucial skills required, be it in life or business. For the Financial Planning Standards Board India (FPSB) which is a subsidiary of the global professional body, the Financial Planning Standards Board in the US primary focus is to set standards for financial planning and provide the Certified Financial Planner certification, Krishan Mishra, CEO, Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) India told FE education. “The certification process is rigorous and consists of various levels and modules. It covers Topics such as investment planning, retirement planning, tax management, estate planning and insurance. After completing these modules and passing the exams, candidates must submit a Financial Planning assessment and take a final case study-based examination,” he added.
The Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) is a standard-setting body based in the US, which claims to represent FPSB India as part of this global organisation. FPSB India claims that the certification programme is recognised globally and pursued by students in 27 different territories around the world.
The organisation claims that this certification programme is different from the rest of the accounting courses as it allows individuals to provide comprehensive financial advice. “Accounting primarily focuses on an organisation’s current financial position, while financial planning is a pervasive function that remains essential throughout an individual’s and organisation’s life. Financial planning is required by everyone, from individuals to large organisations,” Mishra said.
Furthermore, the organisation claims that more than 2.13 lakh individuals have obtained the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification globally. In India, it claims that the number of CFP professionals stands at 2,517. These numbers are continuously growing with more and more students pursuing this certification each year. “The passing rate for the CFP program varies from session to session. On average, it hovers around 55%. This means that approximately 700 to 800 students may pass the CFP exams each year. However, it’s important to note that while they may pass the exams, they cannot be certified until they complete their graduation and fulfil the required work experience,” he said.
FPSB India further claims that the coursework emphasises practical and application-based learning. “Once they complete all requirements, they need to fulfil an ethics module and gain supervised experience, either one or three years, before applying for certification. After achieving certification, they can use CFP marks and this certification is recognised worldwide,” Mishra informed.
Further, the organisation claims that the CFP certification programme typically takes between 18 months to two years to complete. It claims that there are two pathways for students. The regular route is for those who start after completion of high school that is grade 12th high school) and complete their graduation. The second route is for individuals who already hold certain relevant qualifications, such as an MBA in Finance or other professional accounting certifications. “For the second route, candidates must need a minimum of three years of work experience in the field of finance and financial services. This pathway can be faster, as it would take around six to seven months to complete the certification,” he added.
Elaborating the criteria for enrolling in the programme, FPSB claims that interested candidates from any educational background, whether it’s science, humanities, commerce or any other stream can enrol in the programme. As for the enrollment of students, the institute claims that the minimum requirement is to complete high school. “But it’s important to note that you cannot apply for this certification until you complete your graduation. Globally, this certification is equivalent to a post-graduate qualification, so candidates can only apply after completing their graduation,” he said.
As for the CFP certificate, the organisation claims that after completing the required modules and exams, candidates need to submit a Financial Planning Assessment, followed by a case study-based final examination. “Once candidates complete things, they must complete an ethics module session and gain supervised experience, either one or three years, under the guidance of a Certified Financial Planner professional. After meeting all these requirements, they can apply for certification and use the CFP marks, which are recognised globally,” Mishra explained.
Further, the FPSB claimed to have collaborated with 16 education providers to enhance the training and job placement of students. For institutes the CFP programme offers a wide range of career benefits and job opportunities and professionals can find employment in various sectors, including banks, insurance companies, mutual fund companies, securities firms, treasury departments of organisations, family offices, private banking, wealth management, portfolio management, among others. “The demand for CFP professionals is high, and they have the option to work for established organisations or set up their practices. While competition exists, there are more job opportunities than there are certified professionals, making it a promising field for those who pursue this certification,” he added.
The comprehensive Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Market Report spans over 105 pages, encompassing a complete Table of Contents, along with over 140 tables, figures, and charts. This report provides in-depth insights into the Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) industry, covering both the pre and post COVID-19 market landscape. It also presents a regional analysis of the industry's current situation. ( Ask for demo Report )
Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Market Report 2023 Analysis based on Applications (Automotive, Food and Agriculture, Oil and Gas, Construction and Engineering, Energy and Chemicals, Transportation (Rail and Aerospace), Other), Types (Testing, Inspection, Certification, ), Segmentation analysis, Regions and Forecast to 2030. The Global Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) market Report provides In-depth analysis on the market status of the Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Top manufacturers with best facts and figures, meaning, Definition, SWOT analysis, PESTAL analysis, expert opinions and the latest developments across the globe.
How will you analyse the competitional analysis between top key players included in the report?
With the aim of clearly revealing the competitive state of the industry, we concretely analyse not only the leading plyers that have a voice on a global scale, but also the regional small and medium-sized players that play key roles and have plenty of potential growth. Key players in the global Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) market are covered in Chapter 3 and 8:
Brief Picture About Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Market:
The global Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) market size was valued at USD Million in 2022 and will reach USD Million in 2028, with a CAGR during 2022-2028.
As the COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war are profoundly affecting the global supply chain relationship and raw material price system, we have definitely taken them into consideration throughout the research, and in Chapters 1.7, 2.7, 4.1, 7.5, 8.7, we elaborate at full length on the impact of the pandemic and the war on the Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Industry.
To Know How Covid-19 Pandemic and Russia Ukraine War Will Impact This Market- REQUEST SAMPLEWhat are the major applications and type of Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Market?
On the basis of product type this report displays the production, revenue, price, market share and growth rate of each type, primarily split into:
On the basis of the end users/applications this report focuses on the status and outlook for major applications/end users, consumption (sales), market share and growth rate for each application, including:
You will get detailed information regarding types and applications in Chapter 5 and 6.
Get a demo PDF of report -What is a major information sources?
Both Primary and Secondary data sources are being used while compiling the report.
Primary sources include extensive interviews of key opinion leaders and industry experts (such as experienced front-line staff, directors, CEOs, and marketing executives), downstream distributors, as well as end-users. Secondary sources include the research of the annual and financial reports of the top companies, public files, new journals, etc. We also cooperate with some third-party databases.
Please find a more complete list of data sources in Chapters 11
Geologically, the detailed analysis of consumption, revenue, market share and growth rate, historical data and forecast (2017-2030) of the following regions are covered in Chapter 4 and Chapter 7:
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Target Audience of Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Market:
This Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Market Research/Analysis Report give Answers to following Questions:
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Yes. Customized requirements of multi-dimensional, deep-level and high-quality can help our customers precisely grasp market opportunities, effortlessly confront market challenges, properly formulate market strategies and act promptly, thus to win them sufficient time and space for market competition.
Detailed Table Of Content of Global Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Market Insights and Forecast to 2030
4 Value Chain of the Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Market
4.1 Value Chain Status
5 Global Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Market-Segmentation by Type
6 Global Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Market-Segmentation by Application
8 Competitive Intelligence Company Profiles
9 Global Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Market-Segmentation by Geography
10 Future Forecast of the Global Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Market from 2023-2030
10.1 Future Forecast of the Global Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Market from 2023-2030 Segment by Region
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