Difference Between CFP and CS
CFP or Certified Financial Planner is offered by CFP Board and this course is best for finance professionals that are willing to assist their clients with financial planning services whereas CS or Company Secretary is offered by the ICSI (Institute of Company Secretary of India) and this course is best for aspirants who are willing to gain an expertise in corporate law and finance.
Deciding on a career is never a piece of cake. We all know that and hence here is an opportunity to weigh the merits and demerits of both and deciding for yourself what suits you the best.
Read on to know about these two credentials in the areas of accounting & financial profession. I hope this could help you steer towards the right direction in your career.
What is CFP?
Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a certification awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., or CFP Board, based in the USA. CFP Board is affiliated with no less than 25 organizations globally which award this certification and the certified professionals are known as international owners of CFP. It should be kept in mind that the USA and UK boards have different eligibility criteria for this certification.
To earn this credential, a professional should first fulfill the educational criteria and have adequate professional financial planning experience before appearing for the exam. The certification holders must also adhere to the ethical standards and code of ethics as defined by the CFP Board. This certification helps prepare finance professionals to work in the capacity of financial planners for their clients.
What is CS?
Company Secretary (CS) is a professional designation awarded by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) on completion of Foundation, Executive and Professional Programme-level exams. A Company Secretary usually acts as the Chief Advisor to the Board of Directors in matters of legal import and as such is supposed to be an expert in corporate laws, securities laws, and matters of corporate governance.
A CS should have the required proficiency in corporate laws and be able to communicate with a high level of efficiency in order to fulfill his role with greater efficacy. However, CS does not have the power to legally represent or defend his or her client or the company in case of any legal dispute. CS is also responsible for all matters related to regulatory compliance within the company and deals with corporate issues of strategic significance.
CFP vs CS Infographics
Let’s understand the difference between CFP vs CS with the help of infographics.
Educational Criteria: Candidates are required to hold a Bachelor’s Degree accredited by a body recognized by the US Department of Education. It must be kept in mind that although a Bachelor’s Degree is a requirement for initial certification, it is not a requirement to appear for CFP Certification Exam. It is only within 5 years of clearing the CFP Certification Exam, that a candidate is required to verify his or her Bachelor’s Degree details with the CFP Board.
Additionally, a candidate is required to have undergone a college-level program in personal financial planning or an accepted equivalent including the financial plan development course registered with the CFP Board.
To ensure that a professional is capable of delivering quality services to the clients, three to five years of professional experience in financial planning is required in order to earn the right to use the CFP marks.
The eligibility criteria for getting into Foundation Programme is 10+2 pass or equivalent students from any stream (Arts, Commerce, Science) with the exception of Fine Arts. The Executive Programme can be pursued either after completion of the Foundation Programme or those with a Bachelor’s Degree or a Postgraduate Degree in any stream (except Fine Arts) can enroll directly into the Executive Programme. The Professional Programme can only be pursued after completion of the Executive Programme.
CFP vs CS Comparative Table
|Certification Organised By||CFP is a designation awarded by CFP Board, USA. Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) India is the principal licensing body for awarding the certification in India.||CS is awarded by Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) and is globally acknowledged as a respected industry credential.|
|Number of Levels||CFP is a single exam conducted over a period of two days for a total duration of 10 hours||CS has three levels of exam including
Foundation Programme - 4 papers
Intermediate Programme - 7 papers divided into two modules
Professional Programme - 8 papers divided into 4 modules
|Mode/duration of examination||CFP is a single exam conducted in two days for a total duration of 10 hours||Each of the CS exams at each of the levels is of 4-hour duration with 1-hour break in between|
|Exam Window||Held thrice in a year in Mar. 14–21, 2017|
July 11-18, 2017 and Nov. 7-14, 2017
|CS Exam June 2017 on 3rd and 4th June 2017. CS Professional exams will be conducted from 1st June 2017 to 10th June 2017|
|Subjects||CFP - Principal Topics include: |
General Principles of Financial Planning
Income Tax Planning
Professional Conduct and Fiduciary Responsibility
|CS - SUBJECTS
Foundation Programme [4 papers]
·Business Environment & Entrepreneurship
·Business Management, Ethics and Communication
·Fundamentals of Accounting and Auditing
Executive Programme [7papers]
·Cost and Management Accounting
·Economic and Commercial Laws
·Tax Laws and Practice
Module II(3 papers)
·Company Accounts and Auditing Practices
·Capital Markets and Securities Laws
·Industrial, Labour and General Laws
Professional Programme [8 papers]
Module I(2 papers)
·Company Secretarial Practice
·Drafting, Appearances and Pleadings
Module II(2 papers)
·Financial, Treasury and Forex Management
·Corporate Restructuring and Insolvency
Module III(2 papers)
·Strategic Management, Alliances and International Trade
· Advance Tax Laws and Practices
Module IV(2 papers)
·Due Diligence and Corporate Compliance Management
·Governance, Business Ethics and Sustainability
|Pass Percentage||In 2016, the overall pass rate was 70 percent||CS Foundation Pass Percentage Dec 2015 - 59.26%
CS Executive Pass Percentage Dec 2015 - All Modules - 3.83%
CS Professional Pass Percentage Dec 2015 - All Modules - 3.31%
CS Pass Percentage 40%
|Fees||The actual CFP exam cost is $695.However, you can apply up to six weeks before the date. If you do that, your cost would be $595.|
If you apply during the last two weeks before the date, then your CFP exam fees would come up to $795.
|Even the fees for CS are also very low. It’s around US $500|
|Job opportunities/job titles||CFP Job Roles:|
Legal Financial Planner
|CFP Job Roles:
Legal Financial Planner
Why Pursue CFP?
CFP is a highly coveted designation which adds to the credibility of financial planners in the eyes of their prospective employers and their clients. It is a globally acknowledged credential that helps financial planners to enhance their knowledge and skillsets to be able to better serve any individual by acquiring an in-depth understanding of personal financial planning needs.
In an increasingly transparent modern setting, financial planning is not the sole domain of financially well-off individuals and it is the duty of a financial planner to guide an average individual realize his or her financial goals with a strategic utilization of available resources.
Why Pursue CS?
CS is undoubtedly a highly reputed designation and it takes a great deal of hard work to clear the exams themselves. However, apart from it being a tough nut to crack, the trust and credibility invested in this designation are what make it so valuable. Practically, a company MD or CEO is supposed to act in keeping with the views of CS on matters of legal significance and seek his or her advice to plan corporate governance policies of the company. This designation enjoys global recognition and brings along with it a high level of credibility as well as responsibility for any professional.
You may also read this complete guide on CS exams for further details.
Finance professionals with a keen interest in helping their clients with their financial planning would better opt for CFP. This would allow them the advantage of added skills and knowledge in the area along with greater trust across the industry as far as financial planning roles are concerned.
CS is undoubtedly a tougher nut to crack and is more suitable for those looking to gain expertise in the area of corporate law and finance. It would bring along plenty of opportunities to work in an advisory role to the Board of Directors within a company and other roles associated with devising and implementing corporate governance policies.
This has been a guide to CFP vs CS. Here we discuss the difference between CFP and CS along with infographics to compare their career path, exam patterns, eligibility, salaries. You can learn more from the following articles –