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What are the top certifications to be CFO?

Mohammed Ali's Profile

cfo certifications

Hey, guys I just finished my MBA-Finance degree and I've been working for one month as a Financial Analyst. I don't have work experience and I'm aiming to be the next CFO at my company. what are the top certifications to be at the top of my career. Someone told me about the ACCA, CFA,. but I also read about the CMA and CFM!! I'm lost and I don't want to waste my time on something does not worth it. Thanks


Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

One person's opinion - at this point you should stop and gain some experience and put some achievements on the board. There are a multitude of certifications and advanced degrees, which will vary based on your industry. Employers wish to see what you can do to help their company, which is exemplified by past achievements. If you completely disagree and wish to continue to gain certifications, the MBA/CPA combination is a good one. Good luck.

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

Good counsel, Regis.

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

You might be interested in Proformative's free

"Career Resources Guide:"

Both of the above cover this very topic and more.


Best... Sarah

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

I actually asked a similar question of my LinkedIn group a while ago regarding obtaining a CPA or CMA license/certification. I have over 15 years experience now and was wondering if either would advance my career. As I have since found, it would be extremely difficult for me to get my CPA due to the internship requirements and at my current level my peers didn't think a CMA would help either.
I agree with Regis on this one and can tell you from my own experience. My MBA has been all I have needed. I don't work for a billion dollar company and I am perfectly happy in my vastly changing environment and will be content for a long time. Just think about your career objective and go from there. If you don't plan to stop until you are the CFO working for Donald Trump; you may want more than an MBA. Give it some time and see what you really like and want to do long term.

Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP Operations and Finance
Company: VP / CFO - Private Company
(VP Operations and Finance, VP / CFO - Private Company) |

Each company will define what it needs from a CFO based upon the board, CEO style, company status/strategy (e.g. Int'l expansion, financial stress, etc.) - so there is no single set of certifications that fit.

The ability to obtain a CPA, MBA, etc. are method to increase your awareness of and exposure to different financial concepts. How to apply those financials skills so that your work is relevant and what gets you the role.

CFOs comes in all types - but the majority have a firm command of the business and have gotten themselves out from behind the desk to learn the business - it's that action that will help you better understand how to apply the financial skills you gain.

Christine and Regis are spot on - get some experience under your belt - and it will help you find what you the areas where your skills and enjoyment meet.



Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

I think you got your answer, from 3 seasoned CFO's and a very seasoned CFO Coach.

School and reality are quite different, and never underestimate the value of experience.


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