CPFO Spotlight: Ross McCarthy

Ross McCarthy, CPA, CPFO, CFE, is controller for the City of Alameda, California.

Photo of Ross McCarthy.

Why did you want to become a CPFO?

I have been involved in public finance for the better part of the last decade and have truly found my calling. I made the decision to pursue the CPFO designation early on as I aspired to master the craft that I plan to do for the rest of my career. While I realized it would be challenging, I knew in the end the knowledge I would obtain and the comradery of other CPFO candidates and holders would be well worth the struggles.

What did you learn going through the process?

First and foremost, I strengthened my understanding of public finance areas in which I do not often venture, including debt management and risk assessment. On top of that, I was impressed with all the presenters and their vast knowledge of the subject matter discussed. While I am not quite there, the CPFO designation has given me courage and desire to learn and further explore the many complexities of public finance.

How has becoming a CPFO made an impact on you in your profession or how do you hope it will make an impact?

To tell you the truth, I have not given this question much thought. More than anything, I found strength in myself to face a challenge of my own undertaking and thrive through perseverance. Since starting my CPFO journey, I have found myself more excited and willing to tackle new assignments or onerous projects.

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

I would encourage all those who are interested in public finance to pursue their CPFO designation. While you may not use all the knowledge gained in your everyday work, understanding the work of coworkers and meeting other CPFO holders makes the designation worthwhile.

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