CFP/MBA Education Question


S

Shannon Adkins

Need some advice regarding educational plans. I have a BS degree in
the social sciences, and am in my mid 30's. For the last two years I
have been taking courses towards the CPA exam, and will be sitting for
it this summer. My long-term goal is to be a CPA and CFP with my own
practice. I currently have little direct experience in the accounting
field - though I was in charge of A/P, A/R, payroll, etc. for my last
employer. I have decided to go to graduate school in the fall of this
year, and have to decide on a one-year MS in Accounting, or a two year
MBA in finance (I am paying for my education out of pocket, and I have
been unable to locate an affordable program with an MBA/accounting
concentration.If I choose the MS option, I would spend an additional
year studying for and taking the CFP exam. This is my first choice,
since it is directly related to my goals, but the MBA is more
marketable and flexible. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
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T

Tad Borek

Shannon said:
Need some advice regarding educational plans. I have a BS degree in
the social sciences, and am in my mid 30's. For the last two years I
have been taking courses towards the CPA exam, and will be sitting for
it this summer. My long-term goal is to be a CPA and CFP with my own
practice. I currently have little direct experience in the accounting
field - though I was in charge of A/P, A/R, payroll, etc. for my last
employer. I have decided to go to graduate school in the fall of this
year, and have to decide on a one-year MS in Accounting, or a two year
MBA in finance (I am paying for my education out of pocket, and I have
been unable to locate an affordable program with an MBA/accounting
concentration.If I choose the MS option, I would spend an additional
year studying for and taking the CFP exam. This is my first choice,
since it is directly related to my goals, but the MBA is more
marketable and flexible. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
The MBA might come with some...uh...baggage that you probably won't be
using when advising individual clients. Cores like Marketing and
Organizational Behavior (or similar) come to mind. Yes, there's a benfit
to this kind of knowledge in a general way, but IMO it's the kind of
stuff you can pick up elsewhere. That's half a semester right there.
Also the typical MBA Finance is more into stats, derivatives, corporate
finance than stuff of concern to the average individual investor. I
guess this depends on what specifically you'd like to do.

In my view tax is a very useful (essential really) expertise. The more
you can build that out - specifically, expertise regarding individuals
and small businesses - the better.

What about an MS in accounting (focus on tax - maybe even a masters in
tax?) and a CFP certificate type of program? If you're certain to go on
to CPA/CFP route that strikes me as a more practical combo than CPA/MBA
Finance, unless the MBA program was specifically tailored towards
personal finance rather than corporate finance (I don't know if that
exists).

You mention studying for the CFP exam...my personal view is that the
curriculum is much more important than the credential; better to learn
the stuff than focus on exam prep. Few clients actually ask about it,
they're more interested in whether you know what the heck you're talking
about.

-Tad
 

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