CPFO - Debt Management Outline

When governments determine their capital needs, issuing debt is a vehicle used to fund these projects.  Governments have various standards that must be met to issue debt in the municipal bond market. Understanding how this market works as well as the debt issuance and management process are key to having a successful program.  The exam will cover best practices in capital planning, debt management policies and procedures, financing instruments, bond sale mechanics, disclosure responsibilities.  General market topics are also included in the exam. 

Debt Management Outline




Debt Program

Debt Management Policy

  • Policies and Procedures
  • Capital Markets
  • Bond Authorization
  • Debt Management Policy

Debt Capacity Analysis

  • Legal Debt Capacity
  • Debt Affordability


Bond Sale

Financing Instruments and Techniques

  • GO Bonds
  • Revenue Bonds
  • Short-Term Financings
  • Bank Loans and Direct Placements
  • Taxable Debt
  • Method of Sale
  • Debt Structures

Financing Team/ External Professional Services

  • Legal Counsel
  • Municipal Advisor
  • Underwriter
  • Trustees
  • Rating Agencies
  • Credit Enhancement
  • Other

Bond Pricing

  • How Bonds are Priced
  • Cost of Issuance

Sale Execution


Disclosure Responsibilities

  • Primary Market Disclosure
  • Continuing Disclosure
  • Investor Relations Program


Resource Recommendations

GFOA recommends that CPFO candidate review the following materials to prepare for the exam.

GFOA Best Practices

Best Practices Logo

GFOA best practices are developed by GFOA's Committee on Debt Management and represent the organization's recommended practices in common areas related to debt.


Coming Soon

Available Training

GFOA offers the following training seminars that will help prepare for the debt management exam:

  • Debt Management Best Practices – Overview Training
  • Overview of Bond Issuance
  • Debt Issuance for Small Governments
  • Disclosure Update

View GFOA's Events Calendar

Additional Web Resources

Coming Soon


As the exam development process progresses for the seven new CPFO exams, some materials may be added to this reading list. Please check back regularly for updates to this document until the new exams are launched in spring 2021.

Please contact Eric Roach or email GFOA at Certification@gfoa.org with questions.

Last updated December 14, 2020