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Study Guide and Examination Process

The most important aspect of this program is the extensive program of professional training and development that is offered in each of the five subject areas.

Major textbooks, reprints of selected professional and academic journal articles, and a required and recommended bibliography are included in each study program.  A glossary of terms and definitions is also included.

The program is designed to allow an individual to complete two or more study programs over a 4 to 6-month period, by devoting 2 to 3 hours weekly to each module.

Candidates may elect to participate in only one study program at a time, which allows a more leisurely pace of study, although it may delay the candidate’s attainment of CGFO status.

Many of the materials used in the self-study program are standard publications available in the offices and libraries of participating governments.

Books and Publications: Persons in the self-study program may order both required and recommended readings referenced in the study guide from GFOA of the United States and Canada.

Examination Process

The examinations, lasting approximately one and one-half hours to two hours each, will comprehensively test the applicant’s knowledge from readings as well as technical expertise and practical knowledge.

Test items will include multiple-choice and objective problem-solving questions requiring the candidate to display analytical ability and ability to present ideas in a logical and clear format.

Exams will be offered in conjunction with the annual GFOA Spring and Fall conferences, at sites to be announced to all participants. In addition, candidates for certification may, upon request, take the exam(s) at some other time that is more convenient for them. To schedule an exam, contact the GFOA Coordinator.

The four exams are:

  • Accounting and Financial Reporting
  • Budgeting
  • Cash Management
  • Public Finance (Financial Administration)

Most exams include 100 questions. A minimum score of 75% correct answers is required to pass an exam.  There are two versions of each test, and an individual may take the second version at no additional cost.

Points from a maximum of three tests may be earned for credit toward certification.

Application Form for Examination(s)