The Certified Public Finance Officers Program for GFOA is a broad educational self-study program designed to verify knowledge in the disciplines of government finance. To earn the designation of Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO), candidates must pass a series of five examinations covering the major disciplines of public finance. A candidate has seven years in which to successfully complete the program. Once earned, the CPFO designation is maintained by participating in 30 hours of continuing professional education each year or 60 hours over a two year period.
The Certification Program requires the following examinations:
- Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting
- Treasury and Investment Management
- Debt Management
- Operating and Capital Budgeting
- Retirement & Benefits, Risk Management, and Procurement
The program was started in 1997 with the offering of the first of the five exams, each on a different discipline of public finance. Since launching the program, GFOA has had over 800 people earn the CPFO designation and currently there are over 500 active CPFOs. GFOA currently administers the CPFO program together with Radford University.
Program Changes Coming in 2020
The GFOA is pleased to announce that over the next two years our Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO) Program will be undergoing changes designed to make the program more accessible, attract more candidates, provide better opportunities for current and future CPFOs to engage with GFOA and serve the public-finance profession, and more effectively communicate the value of a CPFO to those outside GFOA and the public finance industry.
Highlights of the program changes include:
- Eligibility. New criteria will allow GFOA members not currently in a government position to participate
- Testing. More targeted exams with fewer questions; provide opportunities for exam preparation in addition to self-study
- Topics. Topic areas focus on knowledge and skills essential for current professional public finance environment
- Continuing Education. Additional options for meeting continuing education requirements
For more information:
- FAQ on CPFO Program Update
- Are you interested in joining the staff of GFOA? As part of program changes, GFOA is recuiting a Manager for the CPFO Program. View gfoa.org/careers for position announcemnet and to apply online.
Information on Current CPFO Program
Current Applications for Exams and Overall Program Eligiblity
- 2020 Application for GFOA Certification Examinations - New Candidate
- 2020 Testing Application
- Candidates' Guide to Becoming a Certified Public Finance Officer (Note: See above on program changes for 2020)
- CPFO Exam Information
- Online Testing
- On-Site Testing
Certification Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements
- Members of CPFO Council on Certification