Certification

Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO)

GFOA's Certified Public Finance Officers Program (CPFO) 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.

Information for the Current CPFO Program

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 began 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.

Testing Information

Content of Exams

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Sample Exams

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Exam Fees

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Note: Due to the COVID19 pandemic, GFOA has suspended all on-site testing activity through the end of 2020. Candidates are still eligible to take exams online.

Online Testing

Online Test Overview

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ProctorU Technical Requirements

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ProctorU Help Desk

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Applications for Testing

Application for Testing

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Certification Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements

In order to be considered an Active CPFO, a CPFO is required on an annual basis to obtain 30 hours of continuing professional education (CPE), or 60 hours of CPE credit if the CPFO files over a two year period. CPE credits for the CPFO designation may be earned in one or more of the six topic areas of the Certified Public Finance Officers Program. For more information about ongoing requirements, please contact GFOA.

Program Administration

GFOA's CPFO program is governing by the Council on Certification under the direction of the GFOA Executive Board. For more information on the CPFO program, please contact Eric Roach or Susan Gaffney.

Program Changes Coming in 2021

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. The new program will attract more candidates, provide better opportunities for current and future CPFOs to engage with GFOA, and serve the public-finance profession. The relaunched program will 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

More information:

  • The deadline to join the CPFO program with the current five-exam structure was February 28th. Enrollment in the program is now on hold until the summer of 2020. Starting in January 2021, new exams will be available for new and returning candidates. Please see the FAQ for more details.
  • For more information about the new CPFO program, please contact Eric Roach.