CPA v CFP

Primaries are tough. No Republican really likes to fact check a fellow Republican, especially during a primary unless given cause. It is always unfortunate when you are given cause.

My primary opponent is now telling people that Republicans should not vote for a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to serve as Nevada State Treasurer. He’s telling people this because he is not a CPA and I am a CPA. He’s saying we need a “financial adviser.” Why? He happens to be one.

In fact, he says that his Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification is much stronger than my state CPA license. Maybe it depends on whose yardstick you use to measure.

There are many good CPAs out there. There are many good CFPs. I haven’t run into too many who want to compare apples to oranges, but let’s entertain my opponent.

You can read the Wikipedia entry on Certified Financial Planners or cut straight to the source.

The CFP education requirements include a bachelor’s degree (for CFPs after 2007) and asks students to take about six courses that cover these topics:

  • Insurance (life)
  • Employee benefits planning (better benefit plans for the management)
  • Investment and securities planning (capital gains treatment)
  • State and federal income tax planning (not part of the Treasurer’s Office)
  • Estate tax, gift tax, and transfer tax planning (death strategies for the very wealthiest)
  • Asset protection planning (ways of hiding real estate from people you owe money)
  • Retirement planning (for individuals)
  • Estate planning (avoiding probate when you die with a trust)
  • Financial planning and consulting

There is no question all of these topics come in handy when servicing upper middle to ultra wealthy families who can afford a CFP. Most of these topics, however, don’t have much to do with the duties of the Nevada State Treasurer.

What I find even more interesting is that the organization in charge of the CFP certification thinks more highly about CPAs than my opponent does. CPAs are exempt from taking the mandatory CFP classes because CPAs have already mastered these topics as well as many more. CPAs can take the CFP exam any time.

As it turns out, a Certified Financial Planner learns a subset of professional material that CPAs are required to master. CFPs are not, unfortunately, required to master any material that is aligned with the Nevada State Treasurer’s Office.

They are also not required to master a variety of topics that I have during my 30-year career as a CPA in Nevada. I have experience managing cash flow, investments, and debt. Nevada, as you may know, has more debt to manage than investments. I know because I served on the Clark County Debt Management Commission as a Las Vegas City Councilman.

In addition to being a CPA and providing finance guidance in the public and private sectors for the past 30 years (including 10 years of service in the Nevada State Legislature and on the state’s Finance Committee), I have also served as chief marketing officer for several companies during my career.

I suppose I could invest a great deal more time in outlining the differences between a CFP and a CPA. For example, CPAs are required to have 20% more college, required to get two years experience in accounting and auditing under the supervision of a licensed CPA, and must pass a rigorous 14-hour exam that covers everything: financial accounting and reporting, auditing and attestation, business environment and concepts, regulation, and so on. They are also licensed by the state. Once licensed, they are required to have 40 hours of continuing education every year.

I suppose I could list all of these distinctions and then some, but there really isn’t much point. Many CFPs are remarkably bright people when they are working on individual portfolios. Something else must happen to them when they try to run for office.

This is probably why Democrats are nominating a CPA with legislative experience to run for Nevada State Treasurer in this election. Republicans should do the same. And if Republicans want a Nevada State Treasurer who is already familiar with state government, the state budget, the Finance Committee, the Nevada State Legislature … then they will likely vote for the candidate they know will hit the ground running.

My name is Bob Beers. I am that candidate, and I am asking for your vote for Treasurer.

 

 

Happy Inauguration Day

Americans of all parties got to celebrate the inauguration of their favorite President today. Trump’s first anniversary was top-of-mind, of course. This morning, Nye County Republican Central Committee Chairman Joe Burdzinski spent part of his Chairman’s Report recounting his attending President Reagan’s inauguration 37 years ago today. He had some great observations, and concluded with the part of Reagan’s speech that day that still resonates for him:

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.

Reagan continued:

From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?