Top 10 VP of Finance Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for Vice Presidents of Finance, including details about each certification's requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for a VP of Finance in the job market because they demonstrate to potential employers that the candidate is qualified and knowledgeable about finance and accounting. Certifications also provide evidence of the candidate’s commitment to continued professional development. Furthermore, certifications can open up opportunities for advancement and provide access to exclusive resources related to finance and accounting. Finally, certificates can increase the candidate’s salary potential by demonstrating a higher level of expertise.

This article reviews some of the best certifications for VP of Finance and discusses how they can help to advance a VP of Finance's career.

What are VP of Finance Certifications?

VP of Finance certification is a professional credential that is designed to demonstrate a mastery of financial skills, knowledge and abilities. It is awarded by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), and it certifies that individuals have met the standards set by the AFP for financial professionals in their field. This certification ensures that those who earn it have the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively lead, manage and direct a finance team or department.

The VP of Finance certification can be beneficial for many reasons. Those who earn this credential demonstrate to employers that they have the training, expertise and experience to handle complex financial tasks. Additionally, earning this certification may make an individual more competitive in the job market since employers often prefer to hire people with a recognized financial qualification over those without one. Additionally, having this certification can provide individuals with greater levels of career advancement opportunities as well as increased earning potential. Finally, studying for and achieving this certification can help individuals stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices which can help them better serve their organizations' needs.

Pro Tip: When pursuing a VP of Finance Certification, make sure to focus on the core competencies that are required for the role. These competencies include financial planning, budgeting, forecasting, financial analysis, strategic planning, and risk management. Additionally, ensure you have up-to-date knowledge in relevant accounting standards and regulations. Lastly, build your network by attending industry events and seminars to stay current with trends and best practices in finance.

Related: What does a VP of Finance do?

Top 10 VP of Finance Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to VP of Finances today.

1. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a professional designation given to accountants who have met certain educational, experience, and examination requirements set forth by the state in which they practice. CPAs are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics and must complete continuing education courses to maintain their certification.

To become a CPA, you must meet the eligibility requirements in your state, which typically include:

  • Completing a bachelor’s degree in accounting or related field from an accredited college or university
  • Passing the Uniform CPA Examination administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
  • Meeting various work experience requirements
  • Passing an ethics exam

The amount of time it takes to become a CPA varies depending on each individual's educational background and experience. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from one year to several years.

In order to become a CPA, you must first pass the Uniform CPA Examination. This exam consists of four sections: Auditing & Attestation (AUD), Business Environment & Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting & Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). The cost for taking the exam varies by state but typically ranges between $200-$300 per section. After passing all four sections of the exam, you must then meet any additional requirements set forth by your state board of accountancy in order to obtain your license. These may include completing additional coursework or obtaining additional work experience.

The cost for becoming a CPA also varies depending on your individual circumstances and the state in which you are seeking licensure. Costs may include application fees for taking the exam, tuition for classes needed to fulfill educational requirements, fees for continuing education courses needed to maintain licensure, and other miscellaneous costs such as books and supplies.

2. Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a professional certification offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). It is a globally recognized credential that demonstrates an individual’s expertise in financial planning, analysis, control, decision support and professional ethics. The CMA designation is highly valued by employers and can open up new career opportunities.

The CMA program consists of two parts: Part 1 - Financial Planning, Performance and Control and Part 2 - Strategic Financial Management. To qualify for the CMA exam, applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution or equivalent work experience.

It typically takes about 12-18 months to complete the entire CMA program. This includes studying for both parts of the exam and completing the necessary coursework.

To get started on your journey to becoming a Certified Management Accountant, you must first register with IMA as a candidate. This will require you to pay an application fee which varies depending on your country of residence. Once registered, you will be able to access study materials such as textbooks, practice tests and online courses to help prepare for the exam.

The cost of obtaining the CMA designation varies depending on where you live, but typically ranges from $1,000-$2,000 USD including registration fees and study materials.

3. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a professional designation given by the CFA Institute to finance and investment professionals. It is considered to be one of the most prestigious credentials in the financial industry. The CFA program consists of three levels of exams, each taking about six months of study and preparation. To become a CFA charterholder, you must pass all three exams, have four years of qualified work experience in the investment decision-making process, and adhere to the CFA Institute’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

The first level exam consists of 240 multiple choice questions on topics such as ethical and professional standards, quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, equity investments, fixed income investments, derivatives investments, alternative investments, portfolio management and wealth planning. The second level exam focuses more on portfolio management and wealth planning with 120 multiple choice questions. The third level exam is a case study-based exam that tests your ability to apply your knowledge from the first two levels to real-world scenarios.

It typically takes between two to four years to complete all three levels depending on how much time you are able to dedicate for studying each week. In order to get started with the program you will need to register with the CFA Institute which costs $450 USD for members or $650 USD for non-members. You will also need to pay an additional fee for each exam which ranges from $700-$1,000 USD depending on when you register for it.

4. Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is a professional certification granted by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of proficiency in the internal audit profession. The CIA designation is recognized worldwide and demonstrates an individual's commitment to excellence in their chosen field.

To become a Certified Internal Auditor, applicants must meet certain educational and experience requirements. Generally, applicants should possess at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, and have two years of professional internal auditing experience. Additionally, applicants must pass three examinations administered by the IIA: the Essentials of Internal Auditing Exam, the Practice of Internal Auditing Exam, and the Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing Exam.

The time it takes to obtain the CIA certification depends on your current qualifications and how quickly you can complete all three exams. Typically, it can take anywhere from six months to two years to become certified depending on your individual circumstances.

The cost of obtaining the CIA certification varies depending on your location and whether you are a member of IIA or not. Generally speaking, non-members pay more than members for their exam fees and other associated costs such as study materials. For example, in North America non-members typically pay around $1,000 USD for all three exams while members pay around $600 USD.

Overall, becoming a Certified Internal Auditor requires dedication and hard work but can be very rewarding for those who are successful in achieving this prestigious certification.

5. Certified Treasury Professional (CTP)

Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) is a professional certification offered by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP). It is the most widely recognized and respected treasury certification in the world, and it is designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate excellence in their knowledge of treasury management.

The CTP certification requires applicants to have at least three years of experience in treasury management, pass a comprehensive exam, and agree to abide by AFP’s Code of Ethics. The exam covers topics such as cash management, investments, risk management, foreign exchange, financial analysis, and more.

It takes approximately six months to prepare for the CTP exam. This includes studying for the exam using AFP’s study materials and taking practice exams. Applicants must also submit an application form with references from two current or former employers attesting to their experience in treasury management.

The cost of obtaining a CTP certification varies depending on whether you are an AFP member or non-member. For members, the cost is $495; for non-members it is $695. Additionally, there is an annual renewal fee of $50 per year.

6. Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) is a professional designation for management accountants and financial professionals. It is offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). The CGMA designation recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of competency in management accounting, financial reporting, and strategy.

It takes approximately 3-4 years to get the CGMA designation. To become a CGMA, you must first pass the CIMA Professional Qualification exams, which consist of three levels: Operational Level, Management Level, and Strategic Level. Once these exams are passed, you must then complete an AICPA-approved ethics course and pass an AICPA-administered exam on ethics. Finally, you must complete an online application to become a CGMA member.

The cost to become a CGMA varies depending on your location and membership status with AICPA or CIMA. Generally speaking, it costs between $500-$700 USD to become a CGMA member. This cost includes exam fees and membership dues for both AICPA and CIMA organizations.

Once you become a CGMA member, you will gain access to exclusive resources such as continuing education courses, webinars, research reports, networking opportunities with other members around the world, job postings from employers looking for CGMAs, and discounts on products and services from various vendors.

7. Financial Risk Manager (FRM)

Financial Risk Manager (FRM) is a professional certification offered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). The FRM designation is globally recognized as the leading certification for financial risk management. It is designed to measure the knowledge and skills of professionals who manage financial risks.

The FRM exam consists of two parts: Part I and Part II. Both parts must be completed within a two-year period in order to earn the designation. The exam covers topics such as quantitative analysis, credit risk, operational risk, market risk, investment management and derivatives.

In order to become an FRM, you must first complete the GARP registration process and pay the registration fee. After registering, you will receive access to study materials and practice exams that can help you prepare for the exam. You will also need to schedule your exams with Pearson VUE testing centers in order to take them onsite or online.

The cost of taking the FRM exam varies depending on which part(s) you are taking and where you take it. Generally speaking, it costs $450 USD per part if taken at a Pearson VUE testing center in North America or Europe; $550 USD per part if taken at a Pearson VUE testing center in Asia Pacific; or $650 USD per part if taken online through GARP’s e-learning platform.

Once you have passed both parts of the exam, you will receive your official FRM designation from GARP and become eligible for membership in their Financial Risk Manager Association (FRMA).

8. Accredited Business Valuator (ABV)

Accredited Business Valuator (ABV) is a professional designation given to individuals who have demonstrated a high level of expertise in business valuation. ABV designees are recognized by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) as having achieved the highest standard of knowledge, experience, and ethical practice in business valuation.

The process of becoming an Accredited Business Valuator takes approximately two years. To become an ABV, applicants must pass a rigorous exam administered by the AICPA, complete a minimum number of hours of continuing education related to business valuation, and demonstrate at least three years of experience in the field. Applicants must also adhere to the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics when conducting business valuations.

The cost for taking the ABV exam varies depending on whether or not you are an AICPA member. For non-members, the cost is $1,200; for members it is $800. In addition to this fee, there may be additional fees associated with continuing education courses and other requirements necessary for certification.

Overall, becoming an Accredited Business Valuator requires dedication and commitment from applicants as they must demonstrate their knowledge and experience in order to receive their certification.

9. Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a professional designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. to financial planners who have met certain educational, experience, and ethical requirements. The CFP designation is recognized globally as a mark of excellence in the field of financial planning.

To become a CFP, individuals must meet the following requirements:

1. Education: Complete an approved college-level program that includes coursework in financial planning topics such as investments, insurance, retirement planning, estate planning and taxes.

2. Experience: Have at least three years of full-time experience in the financial planning process or related fields such as accounting or law.

3. Exam: Pass the comprehensive CFP Certification Examination administered by Prometric Testing Centers worldwide.

4. Ethics: Agree to abide by the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Financial Planning Practice Standards.

The entire process usually takes between 18 months and two years to complete depending on individual circumstances. The cost for taking the exam is $695 plus applicable taxes and fees, while other costs associated with becoming certified may include tuition for educational courses, study materials and membership fees for professional organizations such as FPA (Financial Planning Association).

10. Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM).

Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) is a professional certification program offered by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) to recognize individuals who demonstrate knowledge and competency in government financial management. The CGFM program focuses on the core principles of government financial management, including budgeting, accounting, auditing, financial reporting, internal controls, and financial systems.

To obtain the CGFM designation, an individual must pass three examinations: Governmental Environment; Governmental Accounting, Financial Reporting & Budgeting; and Government Financial Management & Control. Each exam is three hours long and consists of multiple-choice questions.

The cost of the CGFM program varies depending on whether you are an AGA member or non-member. For members, the cost is $395 for each exam ($1,185 total). For non-members, the cost is $495 for each exam ($1,485 total). In addition to the exam fees, there is also a one-time application fee of $50 for both members and non-members.

It typically takes between six months to one year to complete all three exams. However, this timeline can vary depending on an individual’s schedule and availability.

Do You Really Need a VP of Finance Certificate?

When it comes to the question of whether or not you need a VP of Finance certificate, the answer is highly dependent on your individual situation. Depending on your current level of experience within the finance industry and what type of role you are looking for, a VP of Finance certificate may or may not be important.

For those who are just starting out in their finance career and do not have any prior experience, a VP of Finance certificate can help provide an edge over other applicants. It can demonstrate to prospective employers that you have taken the time to learn about the field and have invested in your own professional development. In addition, depending on the organization you are applying to, having a VP of Finance certificate may be seen as an indication that you possess certain skills needed for the job such as financial analysis and risk management.

For those with more experience in the field, however, a VP of Finance certificate may not be necessary. Employers will likely look at your experience and qualifications when making hiring decisions rather than simply relying on certifications like this one. Additionally, many organizations may prefer to hire someone with multiple years of experience in the field rather than someone who has recently completed a certification program.

Ultimately, whether or not you need a VP of Finance certificate will depend largely on your individual situation. If you are new to the field and lack relevant experience, then obtaining this certification could be beneficial for helping demonstrate your knowledge and commitment to the profession. On the other hand, if you already have significant experience within finance then it may not necessarily be necessary for landing a job.

Related: VP of Finance Resume Examples

FAQs About VP of Finance Certifications

1. What are the benefits of VP of Finance certification?

Answer: VP of Finance certifications provide a comprehensive understanding of financial management and operations. They can help you become an expert in financial analysis, budgeting, forecasting, risk management and more. Additionally, these certifications can help you stand out from other finance professionals and open up new opportunities for career advancement.

2. What is the cost of obtaining a VP of Finance certification?

Answer: The cost of obtaining a VP of Finance certification varies depending on the type of certification and provider but typically ranges from $500 to $10,000 USD. It is important to research different providers to find the best fit for your needs and budget.

3. How long does it take to earn a VP of Finance certification?

Answer: The amount of time it takes to earn a VP of Finance certification depends on the type of program you choose and how much time you dedicate to studying for the exam(s). Generally speaking, most programs require at least one year’s worth of study in order to pass the exams and obtain your certification.

4. Do I need any prior experience or knowledge before obtaining my VP of Finance certification?

Answer: Most programs do not require prior experience or knowledge in order to obtain your VP of Finance certification but having some background experience will certainly help with your studies and make the process smoother overall. Additionally, many programs offer preparatory courses that can help those without prior experience get up-to-speed quickly.

5. What types of companies typically hire VPs Of Finance with certifications?

Answer: Companies across all industries are increasingly looking for certified VPs Of Finance due to their expertise in financial management and operations. These companies range from large multinational corporations to small businesses who benefit greatly from having a certified professional on staff who is able to effectively manage their finances in an efficient manner.