Topic: General Posts

Subject: CPA or CMA for active CFO
David Muson
Member: 2019
Submitted on 08-21-20 7:56 pm

I've been actively working as a CFO for the last 10+ years and looking to enhance my prospects with new prospective employers.  I see many CFO postings requiring (or at least strongly preferring) a CPA.  Love to here some feedback on whether it would be worthwhile to pursue at this stage in my career?  Same question for CMA? Does one make more sense than the other all things considered?

Naz Kabir
Member: 2013
Posts: 4

Subject: Re:CPA or CMA for active CFO

Submitted on 08-24-20 11:16 pm.

Let's schedule a call. We can discuss this if you would like.


Naz Kabir, CPA

Chip Bernhardt
Member: 2008
Posts: 1

Subject: Re:CPA or CMA for active CFO

Submitted on 09-02-20 4:33 pm.

After 10 years as CFO without a CPA or CMA (nor Big 4 Experience), I'd advise you that a Masters in Finance (or at least MBA) from a very good business school may be your best alternative.  It would be easier and you'd be hopefully getting a new source of business contacts and skills.

The public does not understand the value of the CMA and if were competing for a job that needs a CPA, the license alone won't be enough to help you.

I am sorry to say that many companies, with thier CEOs unable to raise money as trained Scientists or Engineers, are turning to CFOs that are not technical but have banking and fundraising connections.  This unfortunate development is putting far more strain on the Controllers to do all the accounting and finance work as well as leading to reporting / recognition issues in a very complex and changing accounting environment (e.g, Rev Rec, Leasing, Impairment, Equity, etc.).

Dan Helming
Member: 1999
Posts: 7

Subject: Re:CPA or CMA for active CFO

Submitted on 09-08-20 5:40 pm.

I am a CPA and in conclusion feel that a CFO at our level doesn't need one.

Its advantage in close-in business support is that you're "a trusted advisor."  But on a global level, energy and drive, savvy, results, matter more from your and my experience.

Steve Elliott
Member: 2010
Posts: 4

Subject: Re:CPA or CMA for active CFO

Submitted on 09-10-20 9:57 pm.

Hi David, 

Depending on your career timeline remaining, I'd suggest looking into a good review course (Becker for example) to prepare for the CPA Exam.

It seems too often, it's a buyer's market in the employment arena, and as you mentioned, too many postings list CPA Preferred.  In my own career - predominantely one in CPA firms, I've found the CPA invaluable, and in addition to having a Masters (mine is in Tax) a nice combo.

I did consider the CMA at one point way back, but opted for the CPA instead.

Best of luck re discernment for your decision!

Steve (Houston, TX)