What is a Certified Financial Manager?

Before spending a significant amount of time and money studying to work within the field of finance, it is important for prospective financial graduate students to learn what it means to work as a Certified Financial Manager or Certified Financial Planner. It is possible to work in finance without getting certified, but becoming a CFM or CFP demonstrates that professionals have not only studies finance but also have demonstrated extensive knowledge in the field and strong ethics.

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The Duties of a Financial Manager

Working in financial management is serious business. Anyone with the goal to become an executive-level finance manager as the Chief Finance Officer of a corporation or the equivalent should learn about their responsibilities before getting set on their career path. It’s a long journey to getting certified as a CFM through the Institute of Management Accountants, however, once a professional meets the requirements and passes the certification exam should really assess their potential role first.

It is most common for certified financial managers to work with executives within a corporation to develop or improve business processes that will help a company meet their ultimate financial goals. Professionals in this field must be experts in accountancy, cash flow, income statements, budgeting, profit and loss, and more.

Educational Requirements for Finance Managers

There are currently only about 4000 Certified Financial Managers who hold the official certification. Interesting enough, the official Certified Financial Manager credential through the IMA stopped being offered to potential applicants in 2007. Anyone who earned their Certified Finance Manager credential prior to the end of issuance can still renew their CFM for as long as they meet renewal requirements of 30 continuing education credit hours per year.

In place of the CFM credential, a majority of finance professionals will choose to earn their Certified Management Accountant designation through the Financial Management Association. As a CMA, professionals must show they have demonstrated competency in various advanced areas of finance including financial accounting, business finance management, and other executive level areas of focus. TO be considered for the designation, candidates must:

  • Have and maintain a membership with the IMA
  • Pass both Part 1 and Part 2 of the CMA exam
  • Possess a Bachelor of Arts in Finance or a related major from an accredited college
  • Meet the ethical statement
  • Have practiced in professional accounting for 2 years full-time

Job Duties and Settings

A Certified Finance Manager can work in a variety of settings and industries. It is the CFM’s role in most corporations to be responsible for investment decisions and the overall financial performance of an organization. They will use report and analyst data to make important financial decisions that can often make or break the status of both up-and-coming and stable companies. Managers can work in any industry both domestically, internationally, or multi-nationally.

According to the data gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary earned by a financial planner is $127,990 per year or $61.53 per hour when professionals have 5 or more years of experience in the role. Anyone willing to earn their Bachelor’s or their graduate degree in finance should be intrigued by the earning potential and the fact that Certified Financial Managers are facing 16% growth in the field.