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Discerning Between Financial Certifications and Hiring the Right Accredited Professional

Financial certifications

In the modern world, people like to handle their problems by doing a quick Google search or following a tutorial on YouTube. The result is often harmless, but sometimes there are big consequences. When it comes to the state of your finances, you don’t want to take that risk. There is an abundance of different financial certifications. One of them is sure to offer financial services suited to your specific needs. To make use of this wealth of expertise, it’s just a matter of knowing the best one to consult. Continue reading to learn which certifications cover what in the world of finance, so you can make more informed decisions.

Debt Management

Interested in a financial professional who specializes in debt management? Consider consulting an expert with one of the financial certifications below. 

Financial Counsellors (AFCC)

If you’re looking to broaden your understanding of financial literacy, you may want to book a visit with a financial counsellor. Typically, they are more cost-effective than financial advisors and planners. These individuals teach clients the importance of money management. Plus, how to go about it in a way that fits their specific needs and circumstances.  This is especially useful for anyone struggling to regulate their cash flow. Or even those adjusting to the economy of a new country.

For assistance with estate planning or portfolio management, a financial advisor would be a better fit for you.

Credit Counsellors

These financial professionals have a similar role to a Financial Counsellor but with a focus on credit and debt. Like their colleagues, their objective is to help clients understand how to better manage their finances. However, they also offer solutions for dealing with or reducing your debt.

Licensed Insolvency Trustees (LIT)

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the sole approved providers of federally-regulated solutions. This includes programs such as consumer proposals and bankruptcies. The government even regulates how much a LIT can charge for their services. You can trust that your inquiries will be valued at the same weight as any other client.

Financial Therapist

Struggling financially because of deep-rooted money habits? Bogged down by an inordinate amount of stress from financial insecurity? You could benefit from seeing a financial therapist. This type of certified practitioner works with the client to adjust their relationship with money. Which helps them make better financial decisions as well as improve their overall financial health.

They also deal in more intimate proceedings, such as settling disputes between clients who share finances.


Financial planners offer support in the way of overall financial management rather than debt management.

Certified (CFP) and Registered (RFP) Financial Planners

These professionals offer expertise in assessing taxes, estates, and retirement savings to plans. The two differ in that a CFP also considers insurance when planning. Whereas an RFP additionally takes financial risk and investment into account.

What makes a CFP stand out is their certification, as fiduciaries they are required to deal with your assets in the way that would most benefit you. Either one of these planners should be sought out in the event that you gain or lose major assets. For instance, owning a house or earning a substantial increase in net worth. 


Need help with your taxes or bookkeeping? Accountants are the way to go. Below are details on CPAs and the work they do.

Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA)

This accounting certification fits the needs of many different fields. Someone with this designation can take on a multitude of roles financial industry. The application of their work experience is broad. Many CPAs specialize in helping individuals with their personal finances. However, you will find many CPAs in other parts of the financial world, such as businesses and the government.


There are multiple financial certifications for those professionals who help clients with their retirement or other long-term goals. Below are details on these investment professionals. 

Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) & Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

CIM and CFA leverage what an investor already has to make more capital.

CIMs are among the handful of certifications licensed by the Canadian Securities Institute. They focus on investment analysis, risk management and industry regulations, among other things. Allowing them to offer the best advice on wealth management in a Canadian context. A CIM can discern which investment options are best for their client and use their expertise to make decisions for them. For instance, whether going with a high-risk investment or a safer option like Guaranteed Investment Certificates is the right move for a client.

CFAs focus on ways their clients can spend money in order to gain large quantities back. This often takes the form of higher-risk investments such as mutual funds and hedge funds.

Trust And Estate Practitioner (TEP)

TEPs manage familial assets and affairs such as estates, trusts, investments, and wills. They ensure their client’s descendants accumulate and maintain wealth after their passing.

Regulation of certifications

Many of the financial certifications touched on here are governed by the Canadian Securities Institute, which is endorsed by many Canadian regulators including:

  • Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC)
  • Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA)
  • Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory Organizations (CISRO)

Other designations, such as with the LIT, are certified and regulated by the Canadian government.

Find The Right Professional For You

With all the nuance that goes into navigating the financial world, it can be difficult to find the best service to fit your needs. To help, we’ve put together articles on how to discern good from bad financial advice, and tips on finding the best credit counsellor for you. For more information on how to upgrade your financial situation by way of a professional’s help, contact us today.

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