Exam Job Task Domains

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Exam Job Task Domains

The following Job Task Domains are based on the results of CFP Board’s 2015 Job Task Analysis Summary.

The Job Tasks are used to provide guidance for developing content for the CFP® Certification Examination and other case-based scenarios.

2015 Financial Planning Job Task Domains (PDF, 66KB)

8 Major Domains

  • 1. Establishing and Defining the Client-Planner Relationship
    1. Identify the client (e.g., individual, family, business, organization)
    2. Discuss the financial planning process
    3. Explain scope of services offered
    4. Assess and communicate ability to meet the client’s needs and expectations
    5. Identify and disclose conflicts of interest in client relationships
    6. Discuss responsibilities of parties involved
    7. Define and document the scope of the engagement
    8. Provide client disclosures
      1. Regulatory disclosure
      2. Compensation arrangements and associated potential conflicts of interest
  • 2. Gathering Information Necessary to Fulfill the Engagement
    1. Explore with the client their personal and financial needs, priorities and goals
    2. Assess the client’s level of knowledge, experience and risk tolerance
    3. Evaluate the client’s risk exposures (e.g., longevity, economic, liability, healthcare)
    4. Gather relevant data including:
      1. Summary of assets (e.g., cost basis information, beneficiary designations and titling)
      2. Summary of liabilities (e.g., balances, terms, interest rates)
      3. Summary of income and expenses
      4. Estate planning documents
      5. Education plan and resources
      6. Retirement plan information
      7. Employee benefits
      8. Government benefits (e.g., Social Security, Medicare)
      9. Special circumstances (e.g., legal documents and agreements, family situations)
      10. Tax documents
      11. Investment statements
      12. Insurance policies and documents (e.g., life, health, disability, liability)
      13. Closely held business documents (e.g., shareholder agreements)
      14. Inheritances, windfalls, and other large lump sums
  • 3. Analyzing and Evaluating the Client’s Current Financial Status
    1. Evaluate and document the strengths and vulnerabilities of the client’s current financial situation including:
      1. Statement of financial position/balance sheet
      2. Cash flow statement
      3. Capital needs analysis (e.g., insurance, retirement, major purchases)
      4. Asset protection (e.g., titling, trusts, etc.)
      5. Asset allocation
      6. Client liquidity (e.g., emergency fund)
      7. Government benefits (e.g., Social Security, Medicare)
      8. Employee benefits
      9. Investment strategies
      10. Current, deferred and future tax liabilities
      11. Estate tax liabilities
      12. Tax considerations
      13. Income types
      14. Retirement plans and strategies (e.g., qualified plans, IRAs)
      15. Accumulation planning
      16. Distribution planning
      17. Estate documents
      18. Ownership of assets
      19. Beneficiary designations
      20. Gifting strategies
      21. Executive compensation (e.g., deferred compensation, stock options, RSUs)
      22. Succession planning and exit strategy
      23. Risk management (e.g., retained risk and insurance coverage)
      24. Educational financial aid
      25. General sources of financing
      26. Special circumstances (e.g., divorce, disabilities, family dynamics, etc.)
      27. Inheritances, windfalls, and other large lump sums
      28. Charitable planning
      29. Aging and eldercare
      30. Mental capability and capacity issues
    2. Identify and use appropriate tools and techniques to conduct analyses including:
      1. Financial calculator
      2. Computer spreadsheet
      3. Financial planning software
  • 4. Developing the Recommendation(s)
    1. Evaluate alternatives to meet the client’s goals and objectives
      1. Sensitivity analysis (e.g., factors outside of client control)
    2. Consult with other professionals as appropriate
    3. Develop recommendations considering:
      1. Client attitudes, values and beliefs
      2. Behavioral finance issues (e.g., anchoring, overconfidence, recency)
      3. Their interdependence
    4. Document recommendations
  • 5. Communicating the Recommendation(s)
    1. Present financial plan and provide guidance
      1. Goals
      2. Assumptions
      3. Observations and findings
      4. Alternatives
      5. Recommendations
    2. Obtain feedback from the client and revise the recommendations as appropriate
    3. Provide documentation of plan recommendations and any additional disclosures
    4. Verify client acceptance of recommendations
  • 6. Implementing the Recommendation(s)
    1. Create a prioritized implementation plan with timeline
    2. Directly or indirectly implement the recommendations
    3. Coordinate and share information, as authorized, with others
    4. Define monitoring responsibilities with the client (e.g., explain what will be monitored, frequency of monitoring, communication method(s))
  • 7. Monitoring the Recommendation(s)
    1. Discuss and evaluate changes in the client’s personal circumstances (e.g., aging issues, change in employment)
    2. Review the performance and progress of the plan
    3. Review and evaluate changes in the legal, tax and economic environments
    4. Make recommendations to accommodate changed circumstances
    5. Review scope of work and redefine engagement as appropriate
    6. Provide ongoing client support (e.g., guidance, education)
  • 8. Practicing within Professional and Regulatory Standards
    1. Adhere to CFP Board's Standards of Professional Conduct
    2. Manage practice risk (e.g., documentation, monitor client noncompliance with recommendations)
    3. Maintain awareness of and comply with regulatory and legal guidelines

Exam Dates


CFP® Certification Examination
March 10-17, 2020

Most Recent Exam:

CFP® Certification Examination
November 5-12, 2019

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