CGFM certification refers to the certification available from the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). If you meet all the requirements for certification and pass the exam offered by AGA, you can apply for jobs as a Certified Government Financial Manager. These professionals have skills that you cannot learn in most accounting classes. They know how to report financial data, use internal methods to control finances and create budgets for government workers to follow. This type of certification is mandatory for certain professions, but you may need to know more about how to obtain your certification.
Types of Exams
AGA actually offers three different types of exams that will help you obtain your certification. One is a governmental environment exam that looks at the various structures of government departments, the legal issues of working for the government, financial management and government accounting. A second exam features a section on general accounting methods for government agencies and a longer section on budgeting, accounting and other topics in the government arena. AGA offers a third test that focuses on financial management and control, including managerial concepts, auditing for government agencies, maintaining financial control internally and financial reporting.
Though some certification programs are open to college students and recent graduates, you must meet requirements relating to both your education and experience before taking this exam. You must have a college degree from a school with either national or regional accreditation, and the United States Department of Education must approve the accreditation the college has too. You will also need to demonstrate that you have at least two years of management experience working for a government agency or department. Students currently enrolled in an accredited program contact AGA and apply to take the certification test while still in school. AGA may let you take the exam and become certified before you gain any practical experience.
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Maintaining Your Certification
Once you have CGFM certification, you must maintain your certification in the coming years. AGA explains that you may be on active status, retired status, inactive status, voided status or have your status revoked by the organization. Active members must sign up for continuing education programs and complete at least 80 hours of coursework every 24 months. They must keep records of the courses they took and pay a renewal fee every year too. If you do not meet these requirements, the AGA can list you as retired or inactive. Those who consistently do not maintain these requirements risk the organization revoking their certification.
Prepare for Your Exam
Before taking this certification exam, you can better prepare yourself for the test. Depending on where you go to school, you may find that the university offers classes taught by those with certification. These classes may teach you tips on tricks that will make passing the exam much easier. You should also look online for practice exams. While these exams are not exactly like the one you take, many are quite similar to the current version of the test and will give you access to questions that are similar to the ones you must answer.
AGA certification is mandatory for those working in certain jobs within the government. With CGFM certification, you can show that you have good financial, accounting and management skills that you will use when working for the state, federal or local government.