CPFO Spotlight: Melissa Hodnett

Melissa Hodnett, MBA, CPFO, is finance director for the City of Bozeman, Montana.

Photo of Melissa Hodnett

1. Why did you want to become a CPFO? 

I’ve always been a driven individual, continually striving to make consistent forward progress toward my personal and professional goals. This certification represented this dedication to my personal and organizational growth, and commitment to excellence in municipal finance. I believe that continuous learning is essential in this field, and obtaining the CPFO designation was a natural step in my professional journey.

2. What did you learn going through the process? 

The CPFO program has deepened my understanding of municipal finance, especially of government accounting and treasury. My work experience is largely in budgeting, financial planning, and debt management. The program is really beneficial for those looking to take on more responsibility and help lead their organization but still need to acquire some detailed knowledge of those roles they have not personally performed.

3. How has becoming a CPFO made an impact on you in your profession?  

Since I began CPFO program, I was offered a promotional opportunity as finance director at the City of Bozeman. I use the skills I’ve learned in the certification and my continuing education on a daily basis in this role. The technical experience is invaluable and helps me feel confident in being responsible for overall city compliance. However, it’s just as important to have learned a basic and broad understanding of all the roles of a finance office help me to guide and empower my team to achieve their goals and the city’s objectives.

4. What would you say to others thinking about becoming a CPFO? 

Treat the process as a significant professional development journey and not just a certification to achieve and add to your resume. Take your time with the exams and take them when the information is most relevant to your work. Finance professionals will take much more out of each subject by using the knowledge in their day-to-day role. Good luck to all in the program and those looking to start soon!

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