If you are interested in becoming a Certified Financial Planner you might be curious as to what exactly a CFP does and what their responsibilities are. The following CFP job responsibilities are based on the Job Task Domains written by the CFP Board’s 2009 Study.

These job responsibilities or “Task Domains” serve as an outline for the CFP Exams. Every question on the CFP Exam will be based on one of the job responsibilities/domains listed below. These tasks also denote subjects and areas that the CFP Board will accept as continuing education credits.

Two people meet with a certified financial planner at an office. One person is shaking the CFP's hand.

There are eight chief areas recognized by the CFP Board of Standards.

The first area is establishing and outlining a Planner-Client relationship. This includes tasks such as, identifying whether the client is an individual, family, business or organization, discussing the requirements and expectations of the client, explaining the financial planning process to the client, pinpointing and settling any obvious or possible conflicts of interest in the Planner-Client relationship, talking about the roles and responsibilities of the client and the CFP, and providing all disclosures to the client (i.e., payment agreements and privacy disclosures).

The second chief area is collecting information that is needed to satisfy the arrangement. To do this, the CFP must identify the client’s ideals, values and viewpoints. To figure out the client’s ideals, values and viewpoints the CFP should take the following steps. Take the time with the client and get to know them and discuss their personal and financial wishes, priorities and goals, discuss the client’s timeline for goals, evaluate the client’s knowledge of financial affairs and also evaluate the client’s level of risk taking. During the information collecting task, the CFP must also gather specific data such as, the client’s assets, liabilities, income, expenses, retirement plans, education plans, benefits (e.g., Medicare, Social Security), Insurance policies, special circumstances (e.g., Family situations, legal documents), and any inheritances or other large lump sums of money. Lastly, the CFP must be able to identify the need for any additional information.

The next two areas are the most important and take the most time for the CFP. Examining and assessing the client’s current financial situation and working up a plan of recommendations for the client. The CFP must complete the following tasks in these two areas: evaluating and documenting the positives and weaknesses of the client’s current finances, identifying and utilizing suitable tools and techniques to manage analyses (e.g., financial calculators, software, or research services), synthesizing results and conclusions from the analysis of the client’s current financial situation, making a backup plan of alternate ideas to meet the client’s needs and goals, meeting with other experts regarding issues outside of the CFP’s capabilities, and outlining all recommendations to the client in a comprehensive plan.

Next, the CFP will communicate all recommendations to the client and verifying that the client accepts all recommendations. Then, the CFP must implement the recommendations. Implementing the recommendation can best be achieved by creating a timeline with the goals prioritized, assigning responsibilities (e.g., client, CFP, other experts), supporting the client with carrying out the recommendations, and explaining monitoring responsibilities with the client.

After the implementation process is complete, the CFP must begin monitoring. To accomplish this step, the CFP must be in contact with the client and look for areas that might need changing. Also, providing the client with ongoing support in the form of counseling and education.

Lastly, it is important for the CFP to keep current on all professional and regulatory standards and practice within those standards at all times. There are Ethical Standards and Rules of Conduct, Disciplinary Rules and Procedures, and Financial Planning Practice Standards that must be followed.