Multop - Reliable Professional Financial Resources in Bellingham, WA


Professional Financial Credentials

Here at Multop Financial, we've created a diverse team of qualified individuals with the following certifications and credentials to provide you with the best financial service possible.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

The first law establishing the CPA designation was passed in New York in 1896. Since then, the title of CPA has been regarded as the highest designation for a practicing public accountant. In order to become a CPA, a candidate needs to pass the Uniform Certified Public Accounting Examination, similar in rigorousness to the bar examination required for attorneys, and meet the state’s educational and experience requirements for certification.   Read more . . .

The exam is broken into four distinct sections and candidates are given roughly 3.5 hours to finish each section. In order to sit for the exam, candidates are required to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college with 150 credit hours in accounting and business administration. Candidates are also required to have 12 months of experience obtained through accounting, audit, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, tax advisory or consulting skills and have them verified by a licensed CPA with at least five years experience. To ensure good moral character, candidates are also required to pass a comprehensive background check before they can sit for the test.

While most CPAs work in the public sector, they are also employed in the private sector serving as Chief Financial Officers (CFO), finance managers, business consults and CEOs. CPAs are qualified to work in virtually any area of finance: corporate finance, estate planning, financial accounting, financial analysis, financial planning, forensic accounting, income tax, tax preparation, venture capital, etc. CPAs are also required to take 120 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) every three years, including four hours of board approved ethics courses, to renew their license. CPE courses keep CPAs current on issues related to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS), International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB), and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

Phil Multop, Michael Lamoreux and Don Ruhl hold the CPA designation.

Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®)

The CFP® designation is one of the most comprehensive financial planning designation that a professional can earn. It requires that a candidate complete a series of courses approved by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.   Read more . . .

Each course requires the passing of a final exam, and then a comprehensive final exam must be passed at the end. A CFP® has studied all areas of financial planning including: employee benefits, retirement planning, estate planning, investment and security planning, state and federal income tax planning, asset protection planning, and general principles of finance and financial planning. Candidates must also have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college, pass a comprehensive background check, and have three years of full-time personal financial planning experience. CFPs are also required to complete 30 hours of continuing education training every two years, making sure each CFP® is up to date on the CFP Board’s current Code of Ethics and Practice Standards.

CFPs have a fiduciary duty to their clients and are legally obliged to only act in the best interest of their clients and thus, are also held to the highest ethical standard and accountability. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards requires that all CFPs “at all times place the interest of the client ahead of his or her own.” This reduces the risk of an advisor selling something to a client that may not be in the clients’ best interest.

Phil Multop holds the CFP designation.

Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)

The Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) is the financial planning accreditation held exclusively by Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) who are members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).   Read more . . .

All financial advisors are not created equal. You need a trusted adviser to help sort through complex financial decisions and develop sound strategies for your financial future. The PFS credential was established for CPAs who specialize in personal financial planning and is awarded exclusively to AICPA members who have demonstrated considerable experience and expertise in that area.

Phil Multop is a Personal Financial Specialist.

Masters of Science in Taxation

Golden Gate University's School of Taxation has earned a reputation for providing one of the most comprehensive and applicable tax education programs available.  Read more . . .

The program is one of the largest and most respected graduate tax programs in the country, with many of the “Big Four” firms hiring Golden Gate University graduates and regularly sending their employees to the university to update their tax education.

Phil Multop, Don Ruhl & Michael Lamoreux have Masters in Taxation Degrees from Golden Gate University.

Registered Investment Advisors/Investment Advisor Representatives (RIA / IAR)

A Registered Investment Advisor is a person or entity who is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or state security administrators to manage the assets of its clients.   Read more . . .

An Investment Advisor Representative (IAR) of a corporate Registered Investment Advisor is an employee or associate authorized to provide investment advice on the behalf of an RIA entity. While RIAs specialize in the management of financial security portfolios, IARs are the registered representatives that actually work with clients as employees of the RIA. If RIAs have “continuous and regular” management of assets $25 million or more then they must be federally registered with the SEC. Otherwise, RIAs who have “continuous and regular” management of assets less than $25 million generally must register with the state security agency in the state where they conduct business. There are two distinct types of federally-registered RIAs:

  1. Private practice RIAs that provide personalized investment service to individuals, trusts, and small business clients.
  2. Those who supervise assets for mutual funds, pension plans, and institutional clients. IARs usually work through a custodian, which may or may not limit the investment products they are able to offer.

The current law states IARs owe their clients an ongoing fiduciary duty to provide complete and full disclosure of all fees, conflicts of interest, and if authorized to do so, exercise discretion in selecting investments with only their clients’ best interests in mind.

In order for a candidate to become an IAR, they must either become designated as a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®), Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), Chartered Investment Counsel (CIC), or pass the Series 7 exam and either the Series 66 & 63 or the Series 65 exams.

Phil Multop CPA, CFP®, MS is an Investment Advisor Representative.

Registered Representatives (RR)

Registered Representatives are associated with broker/dealers, companies or organizations that trade securities on behalf of its customers, and have passed various exams that allow them to sell securities such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, variable annuities, direct participation programs, as well as other “non-standard securities.” Not all states require a Series 63 license.  Read more . . .

The products offered by Registered Representatives are made available through the broker/dealer they represent, some offering a wider variety than others. Many broker/dealers are also becoming Registered Investment Advisors and their Registered Representatives are becoming Investment Advisor Representatives, and are considered dually registered.

Phil Multop, Tyler Ryan, Ted Newman, Aretha Allen and Lauryn Vogt are Registered Representatives.

Enrolled Agent (EA)

An Enrolled Agent is a federally-authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers.  Read more . . .

An Enrolled Agent is unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent, what types of tax matters they can handle, and which IRS offices they can practice before. Enrolled agents can also advise, represent, and prepare tax returns for individuals and any other entities with tax-reporting problems.

In order to become an enrolled agent, a candidate must either have worked at the IRS for five years in a specific position and regularly interpreted and applied tax code and regulations, or pass a comprehensive examination covering all aspects of the tax code. The Special Enrollment Exam is divided into three parts: individuals, businesses, and representation, practice and procedures. Candidates must also pass a comprehensive background check to verify that they have not engaged in any conduct that would prohibit practicing before the IRS.

The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 also allows enrolled agents to have limited client privilege under certain conditions, such as any situation in which the taxpayer is being represented in cases involving audits and collection matters. It is not applicable to the preparation or filing of a tax return.

Phil Multop is an Enrolled Agent, licensed to practice before the IRS.

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

The Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) is a designation that recognizes the unique role played by men and women at organizations around the world. These professionals combine accounting and financial expertise with strategic insight to guide decisions in all aspects of business.   Read more . . .

The requirements for becoming a CGMA designation holder include a strategic case study exam in addition to one of the following four levels of experience:

  1. Three years of experience in a management accounting role achieved by three years of financial or management accounting experience in business, industry, or government;
  2. Two years of financial or management accounting experience plus one year in public accounting;
  3. Three years of financial/management accounting experience on a consulting basis;
  4. Three years in a management accounting role focused on the management and operation of an accounting firm.

Upon completion, a CGMA designation holder is recognized as an individual who combines financial expertise and business acumen to achieve sustainable business success.

Michael Lamoreux received his CGMA and works with a variety of our business clients as they grow and evolve.

Congratulations to our team members who have shown diligence and commitment to the financial services industry and to our clients by working hard to obtain and maintain these registrations, certifications and designations.