Certification

Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO)

GFOA's Certified Public Finance Officers Program is a broad educational self-study program designed to verify knowledge in the disciplines of government finance. To earn and maintain the designation of Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO), candidates must pass a series of five examinations covering the major disciplines of public finance and meet annual continuing education requirements.

Since the program was started in 1997, over 800 people have earned the CPFO designation, and currently, there are over 500 active CPFOs.

In 2020, GFOA announce several major changes and improvements to the CPFO program that will take effect on January 1, 2021. This page provides information for both current participants in the program as well as highlights changes for next year.

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. Due to upcoming changes in the program for 2021, enrollment in the CPFO program is closed. Current participants, however, may still continue to study for and take exams. For more information, please see the link below.

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.

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