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.

 

 

State Treasurer Posts Alternate Nevada State Budget

Disclosure note: From time to time, I serve as treasurer for various political campaigns. I served as campaign treasurer for Dan Schwartz last year.

Nevada Treasurer Dan Schwartz has proposed a budget plan for the state that increases spending 4.6% over the next two years. This stands directly opposed to Governor Brian Sandoval’s proposed state budget that increases spending over 12%, and would require over a billion in tax hikes on Nevadans instead of tourists. This comes on the heels of major state tax hikes, mostly on residents, in 2003 and 2009.

You can read about it in today’s Review Journal, though you have to tolerate the biased reporting, in which the 4.6% spending hike is “conservative” and the 12%+ spending hike is “moderate”. It makes you wonder what the reporter would label an attempt to reduce the size and scope of government!