Unlocking Financial Success: A Guide to CFM Certification

October 8, 2023

How to Become CFM Certified: A Comprehensive Guide

Earning the Certified Financial Manager (CFM) designation is an important milestone for finance professionals who want to enhance their career prospects and demonstrate their expertise in the field. The CFM credential is recognized worldwide and signifies a high level of knowledge and skill in financial management. If you’re considering the CFM credential, this comprehensive guide outlines the steps necessary to achieve your goal.

1. Understanding CFM Certification

The CFM certification is offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), a professional association for accountants and financial professionals. It is designed to validate an individual’s expertise in financial planning, analysis, control and decision support. CFM-certified professionals have the skills necessary to improve the financial performance of organizations, make informed business decisions and contribute to strategic planning.
Before you begin your certification journey, it’s important to understand the eligibility requirements. To qualify for the CFM credential, you must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and have at least two years of relevant work experience in financial management or a related field.

2. Prepare for the CFM Exam

The CFM exam is a rigorous test that assesses your knowledge and understanding of various financial management concepts. Adequate preparation is essential to increase your chances of success. The IMA offers study materials and resources to help you effectively prepare for the exam. These resources include textbooks, online courses, practice questions, and study guides.

In addition, consider joining a study group or seeking guidance from CFM-certified professionals who can provide valuable insight and support throughout your preparation process. Creating a study plan and setting aside time each day to review exam content will help you stay organized and focused.

3. Register for the CFM Exam

Once you feel adequately prepared, it’s time to register for the CFM exam. Visit the official IMA website and follow the exam registration instructions. You’ll need to provide the required personal and professional information, pay the exam fee, and select a convenient test center and date. The CFM exam is computer-based and is administered at Prometric test centers worldwide.

It’s important to note that the CFM exam consists of four parts: Financial Planning, Performance, and Control; Financial Decision Making; Financial Statement Analysis; and Risk Management and Investment Decisions. You have the flexibility to take the exam in any order within a three-year window from the date of registration.

4. Take the CFM Exam

Arrive early at the test center on the day of the exam to ensure a smooth check-in process. Bring the required identification documents, such as your passport or driver’s license, as specified by the IMA. The CFM exam is a computer-based, multiple-choice test, and you’ll have a limited amount of time to complete each section.
During the exam, read each question carefully and consider all the options before choosing your answer. If you encounter difficult questions, it’s a good idea to mark them for review and move on to ensure that you have enough time to answer all the questions within the allotted time. Remember to manage your time effectively and remain calm throughout the exam.

5. Maintain Your CFM Certification

If you have successfully passed all four parts of the CFM exam, congratulations! You’ve earned your CFM certification. But the journey doesn’t end there. To maintain your certification, you must meet the continuing professional education (CPE) requirements set forth by the IMA.

The IMA requires CFM-certified professionals to earn 30 hours of relevant CPE credits annually. These credits can be earned through a variety of activities, such as attending seminars, webinars, conferences, or workshops related to financial management. In addition, you may choose to pursue advanced certifications or academic degrees to further enhance your knowledge and expertise.
Remember to track your CPE activities and maintain documentation as proof of completion. IMA periodically audits CFM-certified professionals to ensure compliance with CPE requirements. Failure to meet CPE requirements may result in suspension or revocation of your CFM certification.

In conclusion, achieving the CFM designation is a significant achievement that can propel your financial career to new heights. By understanding the certification process, preparing for the exam, and fulfilling ongoing CPE requirements, you can establish yourself as a competent and knowledgeable financial executive. So take the first step today and begin the rewarding journey to becoming a CFM-certified professional.


How do I get CFM certified?

To obtain CFM (Certified Facility Manager) certification, you need to follow these steps:

What are the eligibility requirements for CFM certification?

The eligibility requirements for CFM certification include:

  • Having a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Having at least four years of relevant work experience in facility management
  • Completing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution can substitute for one year of work experience

What is the CFM certification exam like?

The CFM certification exam is a comprehensive test that assesses your knowledge and skills in various areas of facility management. It consists of multiple-choice questions and covers topics such as operations and maintenance, finance and business, leadership and strategy, and project management.

Where can I find study resources for the CFM certification exam?

There are several resources available to help you prepare for the CFM certification exam. The International Facility Management Association (IFMA), which offers the certification, provides study materials, including a candidate handbook, study guides, and practice exams. Additionally, there are online courses, workshops, and study groups that you can join to enhance your knowledge and increase your chances of success.

How much does it cost to get CFM certified?

The cost of CFM certification can vary depending on several factors, including your membership status with the International Facility Management Association (IFMA). As of my knowledge cutoff date in September 2021, the application fee for IFMA members was $160, while non-members paid $275. There may be additional costs for study materials, exam preparation resources, and exam retakes if necessary.

What are the benefits of CFM certification?

CFM certification offers numerous benefits, such as:

  • Enhanced professional credibility and recognition
  • Expanded career opportunities and higher earning potential
  • Access to a network of fellow professionals in the facility management field
  • Continuing education and professional development opportunities
  • Increased knowledge and skills in various areas of facility management