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Certifications in "Financial" Management

I find it very interesting and weird that most of the CFOs and others with prestigious designations in financial management have CPA, CMA or CGMA etc etc. All these certifications have the word “accounting” in it. I always wondered why the certification titles don’t include the word “finance” in them? IMA did introduce “CFM” which did not receive a good response from the audience and was unfortunately discontinued. What do you all think is it important to have a certification exclusively and specifically dedicated to knowledge in financial management, which is equal or has more value than CPA/CMA, for those who want to excel to higher prestigious designations like CFOs and Finance Managers? I hope my question makes sense.

Answers

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

I hope my answer makes sense.

For many CFOs of today, they (we) grew up in a time when the letters behind our names were our defining attributes. Our identity if you will. That is why you will hear people say...Mr. CPA or Ms. Lawyer, etc. It changes other people's perception of ourselves and among many of us, it changes OUR perception of ourselves.

Sadly, the letters behind the name have become the LAZY SUBSTITUTE for candidate/people evaluation. Not only has it become the primary factor, for some companies and people, it has become the ONLY factor. That is why you see "professional certification required" in job descriptions/requirements even if the job does NOT involve or require the use of "the" certificate. Do I really need a CPA license if I am not going to do attestation functions? And referencing a conversation with Wayne Spivak in one of the threads, are we going to require a driver's license if the job is NOT primarily driving?

As a related point. you know what is becoming a "defining" attribute nowadays? Working for a startup! Rightly or wrongly, this is becoming a "requirement" and a badge of honor.

Finance and accounting knowledge is no longer monopolized by CPAs or CMAs or whatever professional certifications you have. This is also true for "industry" information (re: industry experience requirement) where trade/association websites offer valuable information/knowledge. Forums like Proformative. the IRS and individual state websites. Information and knowledge has been (or is being) DEMOCRATIZED. Even the ways to get these valuable information and knowledge has been democratized........ webinars, seminars, specific learning websites like Lynda.com or Khan Academy...and yes even YouTube.

Fortunately, this is changing. Slowly but changing. As I have said in previous posts concerning the subject, it is the skills, attitude/grit. resourcefulness and track record of deliverables that matters. Through multi year studies involving thousands of personnel, Google, Ernst & Young have found out that degrees/certificates, GPA, university pedigree have little or weak correlation with job performance. This is why they (along with many Silicon Valley companies) are downgrading (not eliminating) the importance of said degrees/certifications in their evaluation process.

I hope the trend continues. I hope it spills over to other industries (at least in the finance function). But don't worry, I myself still catch myself "judging" people by the letters behind their names. As they say, being aware of it is the first step. When I was starting out again in the US, I "had" to include letters behind my name, as I built my "reputation" and experience, I decided to drop them. To some extent, I was also an accessory to the "crime" but I had to do it (then) because that was (still is) the perception.

Are professional certifications still relevant? YES they are! And I encourage and applaud people who still want to learn and improve themselves. However, just like degrees, it is the skills learned that are more important....NOT the degree or certificate itself. Or if you will, it is about the journey, not the destination.

And finally to answer your question... If you want to excel to higher and prestigious (your words) positions like the CFO...... USE HARD WORK AND SKILLS......not "a" title or certificate.

(steps off the box)

P.S... this seems like a good LinkedIn post. Publishing (with a few edits)!

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

Here is a related article I just saw...
http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2016/01/10/is-alphabet-soup-branding-hurting-your-credibility/

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