Finance Certification

IMA Establishes Footprint in Mongolia with FinSight Academy


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 7 October 2022

Partnership is aimed to advance the management accounting profession and prepare accounting and finance professionals for the U.S. CMA certification.

IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants), one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on the advancement of the management accounting profession, is proud to announce FinSight Academy as an IMA Silver Approved Review Course Provider (ARCP) in Mongolia.

FinSight Academy was established as part of the FinSight Corporation and is a leading training organization in Mongolia. The organization’s key objectives are to provide prestigious certifications, exclusive education, and best practices in financial management and accounting for businesses and individuals in Mongolia.

“IMA is proud to appoint FinSight Academy as an Approved Review Course Provider in Mongolia. Today’s business world is rapidly evolving and there is an expanded role for accounting & finance professionals,” said Josh Heniro, Ph.D., senior director, Southeast Asia & Australasia at IMA. “This partnership signifies IMA’s continued commitment to advancing the management accounting profession in Mongolia, supporting individuals with the opportunity to upskill and reskill to succeed in today’s competitive business environment as they progress through their careers.”

There is a strong demand for a competitive workforce with international qualifications, experience and strategic skills, which have been always considered the biggest obstacle for organizations in Mongolia. FinSight Academy will impact this challenging environment by providing training for the U.S. CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) and becoming the gateway for future U.S. CMAs. Earning this certification will bring crucial value to the domestic and global market.

“For the first time in Mongolia, we are filling the gaps, discovering the possibilities for management accountants and their academic development. In this collaboration, we are solving these issues and improving professional capability within the country. This opportunity will support the financial and accounting sector to meet international standards and best practices, and address capacity enhancement in Mongolia,” said Naranzul Ganzorig, executive director of FinSight Academy. “We chose to partner with IMA because the U.S. CMA is a globally respected professional qualification with a focus on management accounting.”

Professionals that earn a U.S. CMA pass a rigorous two-part exam that covers the mastery of 12 core practice areas. U.S. CMAs bring financial planning, control, and decision support to their workplaces, and help organizations close the skills gap and gain a competitive edge in the market. To date, more than 100,000 U.S. CMAs in over 100 countries have been awarded. Click on the link to find out more about the U.S. CMA.

New Global Ad Campaign Highlights The Need for Skilled CMAs in Businesses


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 14 September 2022

IMA launched a new global, integrated advertising campaign in support of the U.S. CMA.

Today, IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants), the association of accountants and financial professionals in business, launched a new global, integrated advertising campaign in support of the U.S. CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification program. The multi-channel campaign was developed in partnership with The Gate, an international advertising agency and marketing services company, for the seventh consecutive year.

The ads look to empower accounting and finance professionals to take control and explore how the U.S. CMA certification can help advance their careers. The videos and digital executions take an empathetic look at feeling invisible and being stuck in executing routine, daily tasks. They serve to inspire real, behavioral change among individuals to get to the next level, where they can drive strategic decisions, make an impact on their business, and step up to a leadership role. The message remains that accounting and finance professionals with a U.S. CMA will always be in demand and this year’s campaign emphasizes that the certification will make professionals visible to their colleagues, managers, and organizations.

“Our campaign taps into the insight that many accountants feel invisible at work and stuck in a slow-moving career. But if they step up and get their U.S. CMA, they’ll have the skills they need to feel seen and appreciated,” said David Bernstein, Chief Creative Officer, The Gate.

The ads are accessible here:

“At a time when companies are facing new challenges, rising costs, resource constraints, and looking at completely new ways of doing business, the skills of CMAs are more valuable than ever,” said Ellen Gurevich, CAE, CMO and senior vice president of marketing at IMA. “Employers need to have finance and accounting leaders who can step up to create insights and strategies to keep up with the pace of change and breakthroughs. CMAs are equipped to analyze and deliver results in ways that others cannot. They have the skills necessary to serve as strategic advisors in their organizations, and in turn, advance their careers.”

The U.S. CMA verifies mastery of the 12 most critical practice areas in management accounting, including planning and analysis, performance management, and risk management. Earning the U.S. CMA enables finance and accounting professionals to contribute actively to organizational strategy as business partners and to make the leap from more traditional and junior-level finance roles into more strategic leadership positions. This means that CMAs are well-positioned to make the leap from more traditional and junior-level finance roles into strategic leadership positions. 

Finance Certifications: Does it value-add to your career?


Melissa Teo, DigitalCFO Asia | 9 June 2022

Certificate-proof your experience

The camaraderie with schoolmates you’ve spent gruelling study sessions cramming every last bit of information into an already bursting brain, it lasts beyond taking your graduation bow. Knowing you have gone through something momentous together, has a ripple effect on future relations.

Youthful student’s life anecdote applies similarly to adult learners of continuing education. When you’re exchanging business cards, and you both notice that each person possess the same designation earned from professional certification – there is an instant connection. Discussion and lamentation on the rewarding yet bothersome tests flows on. Not forgetting the paperwork and subsequent recertification process. Next thing you know, you’re hearing about each other’s work challenges and devising ways to lift each other up. Making a new friend has never been easy like this since childhood playground days.

Choosing A Certification

Earning a financial certification symbolises industry excellence, while displaying an individual’s commitment to ethical conduct. Amongst the top class certifications offered, there are all compassing courses applicable to all financial career pathways and courses specialising in particular areas of corporate finance management.

An accounting certificate is probably on the to-do list of aspiring CFOs. Two well-respected credentials are Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Management Accountant (CMA). Much has been said on them, so this article instead focuses on certifications by Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), namely in treasury management and FP&A.

Certified Treasury Professional (CTP)

Treasury management — ensuring the firm always has access to the cash it needs to function and spare funds is used efficiently. Learning to execute critical functions related to corporate liquidity, capital and risk management can be done in the working space, amidst the slings and arrows from clients and superiors. It can also be achieved in the classroom, shading answers to multiple choice practice questions.

David Tarlow who is Executive Director of Treasury Sales and Group Manager at JPMorgan Chase & Co, undertook and reaped much from the CTP certification till date. Exam preparation was textbook-centric, yet also geared towards the real world. Learning about international treasury practices and financial formulas bettered his competence in grasping and serving clients’ day-to-day needs.

Financial Planning & Analysis (FPAC)

FP&A centers upon strategising the firm’s financial resources to most efficiently to generate profitability and develop the company at the fastest possible rate while avoiding major financial risk. Similarly, continued education for FP&A professionals takes place in and beyond the workplace.

It is especially so as Irena Barisic, Deputy CFO of The Brookings Institution has observed. Acquiring FPAC certification and regularly (informally) re-certifying oneself with real world happenings, has enabled her to ride the tides of trends. FP&A’s function has evolved from statistical insight reserved for top management, to being integrated across all levels and functions. Its skillset is expected to expand beyond just understanding the numbers.

If you’re surfing the Great Resignation wave, studying for a certification is a viable activity for your career break. The effort and monetary cost of earning an extra title translates into higher wage across the board. Confidence during job negotiation is also boosted, just by knowing that you are bringing upsized talent to the table. Besides, you’ll also seal ties with professionals having similar certificates, making friends and letting opportunities generate itself along the way.

Preparing for Digital Readiness in Finance: AFP Certifications


Qinthara Fasya, DigitalCFO Asia | 18 January 2022

The future is here. How can you remain pertinent in the growing Digital Finance industry?

Staying adaptable to adapt effortlessly into the developing world of digitisation has never been more crucial in our ever-changing economy and globalisation. Obtaining suitable certifications for your finance industry career path might help you verify your expertise while also increasing your employability. For financial professionals, there are a number of important certifications that may be used to demonstrate their knowledge and ability.

A financial certification can help you thrive professionally and give you an advantage over the competition when it comes to finding a job that matches your skills and interests. Certifications also aid in the development of theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as a better grasp of your subject, which is essential to demonstrate your new talents in the workplace.

DigitalCFO Asia spoke with Himashi Soriano, Managing Director at Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), on how AFP certifications can improve digital readiness for finance leaders. Learn how to successfully negotiate financial possibilities, make sound business decisions, evaluate company ideas for financial feasibility, and explore a number of funding and growth alternatives with these certifications.

AFP and how it differs from other Associations

The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) is a professional society and certifying body with over 16,000 members globally. AFP is headquartered in the U.S., and has a regional office in Singapore to support the Asia Pacific region. We have been serving the global finance community for over 40 years in our mission to advance the success of finance professionals and their organisations.

AFP developed and administers two world-class certifications in treasury and FP&A, which are the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) and the Certified Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis Professional (FPAC), the latter of which is the only certification in FP&A. We also conduct a great deal of research, produce studies, conduct surveys and have practitioner advisory councils.

What makes them different? AFP has been sounding the alarm regarding digital readiness in finance for at least a decade. Digitalisation did not appear out of thin air. It is, in fact, why we developed our certification and training — to upskill and fill skills gaps in this area. Our advocacy, education and training help finance professionals all over the world advance their careers, build resilience, upskill and reskill and become invaluable contributors to their organisations. 

AFP is full on into the digital age, and it is no secret there is a significant skills gap in data analysis and business partnering, as well as an inability to use technology. This is causing a great deal of anxiety for CFOs because businesses have more access to data than at any time in history and need the right skills to compete and thrive.

So I would say that one of the chief benefits for those who earn our certifications is the instant credibility it provides that they’re ready for the digital age. When you see ‘CTP’ or ‘FPAC’ behind a professional’s name, it tells you that person has earned one of the most challenging certifications in finance, and that they’re ready to participate and lead in the digital age.

Himashi Soriano, Managing Director at Association for Financial Professionals

Second, earning these certifications provides you with a level of resiliency in uncertain times, such as the pandemic or as Accounting functions are replaced through automation. Your expertise becomes a valued asset to your organisation, putting you a step ahead of your peers.

Assessing the digital readiness for finance leaders in SG & APAC

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, we were moving faster than the speed of sound. What the pandemic did was accelerate us to warp speed, and we have now fully arrived in the digital age. Companies everywhere are adopting a digital-first strategy to stay competitive and relevant, but as I mentioned above, they’re also realizing that there is a serious skills gap when it comes to making this happen.

We know that APAC and Singapore specifically, have been resolute in leading the 4th Industrial Revolution. However, in 2019, the NTUC Learning Hub released a study that reported a significant data analysis skills gap among professionals in Singapore. As more studies are done and surveys of CFOs are taken, the results keep coming up the same: FP&A is not digital ready. This is not sustainable and has to change.

To implement a successful digital-first strategy, you must have skilled people in place, otherwise, the transition will never happen. We can’t talk about digital readiness without addressing the human skills of digital finance and being a good business partner. Upskilling our people to include data analysis is critical to helping our business partners understand the data that will allow them to make the best and most informed business decisions possible.

Pre-pandemic, upskilling was a luxury that could be kicked down the road. This is no longer the case — and everyone knows it. The companies that invest in their talent, and finance professionals who invest in themselves, will be the ones that come out ahead.

Technology is foundational to unlocking both the opportunity for competitive advantage and to achieving greater operational and financial efficiency. Establishing a roadmap that focuses on a digital-first foundation should be viewed as an essential part of the journey. That said, the roadmap is about more than technology. It needs to embrace the broader business strategy, with collaboration and partnership being the keys to success.

The strength of digital technologies in the transformation journey does not lie purely in the individual technologies themselves. The real strength and value are linked to skill sets and how companies embed these technologies in their operations to transform the business.

Establishing AFP and Growing its brand in APAC

Partnerships, professional networking, branding and certification growth are critical to growing our presence in the region. To achieve this, we are partnering with organisations, corporations and financial institutions to address the unique needs of APAC and Asia.

We have established APAC-specific advisory councils for each discipline, and the council members are leaders in FP&A and treasury from corporate finance teams all over the Asia Pacific region. We meet often to share expertise, thought leadership, network and better understand how both FP&A and treasury are helping to shape decision-making in organisations in this region.

We are also building our partnerships with approved test-prep providers for our certifications. AFP’s certifications are rigorous, and we want to ensure our certification candidates have all the necessary tools to succeed in passing the exam. Because Asia Pacific is so diverse, it is also important that those who want to sit for the CTP or FPAC have access to test prep in their native language.

When presented with the choice of certifications, professionals — particularly those in corporate finance — are choosing the FPAC and CTP over our competitors. Why? Because AFP’s certifications are specific to what they do in their day-to-day functions. Finance professionals in this region are excited when they hear about our certifications because now they are not just upskilling for the sake of upskilling: They’re getting the certification that aligns with their work. 

Because AFP is new to the region, we are hungry and excited to help. The collective knowledge and expertise AFP offers is something we are inspired to share with the APAC region. We believe that, by being a trusted and reliable source of knowledge for financial professionals, we can earn your trust and confidence.  

The most important thing is, we’re here to stay. The leadership of AFP is committed to being a strong presence in Asia. We know there is a need for what we offer, and we are more than capable of being the preferred resource for finance and treasury professionals in APAC.

IMA Introduces Remote Proctoring of CMA, CSCA Exams


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 11 January 2022

New feature will be available for January-February CMA testing window

IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants), the global association of accountants and financial professionals in business, announced today that its CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) and CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) English language exams are now available globally where IMA does business via remote proctoring. Beginning January 18, candidates can register for the exams in any testing window to be taken remotely without having to go to a Prometric Test Center. This will be an additional option for those who do not have convenient access to a Test Center or who prefer to take the exams from home.

In order to participate in remote proctoring, candidates will need to register with IMA for the CMA exam or the CSCA exam, and then schedule a date and time for their exam with Prometric, ICMA’s (Institute of Certified Management Accountants) test administration partner, using its ProProctor™ remote assessment platform. Remote proctoring will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Given the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and the recent advances in remote testing, it is an appropriate time for us to begin remote proctoring for our CMA and CSCA candidates,” said

Dennis Whitney, CMA, senior vice president, certifications, exams, & content integration at IMA. “In 2022, we begin celebrating the 50th anniversary of the CMA program. Remote proctoring is one in a series of continuous enhancements to the CMA program that makes it the leading advanced certification for accounting and finance professionals in business.”

The CMA certification is the global benchmark for management accountants and financial professionals. The two-part exam tests 12 competencies and earning the CMA can give professionals greater credibility, higher earning potential, and ultimately, a seat at the leadership table. The CSCA certification is available to CMAs and complements and expands their strategic planning and analysis skills.

Registration for remote proctoring will be available on January 18. For more information on the remote proctoring process and what is involved, please visit the FAQ page on IMA’s website.

FP&A Certification increasingly popular among finance execs for up-skilling and career prospects


By Association of Financial Professionals | 13 December 2021

FP&A professionals can set themselves apart as strategic business partners with the right certification.

The finance profession has been altered. Automation and readily available digital technologies made critical the ability to manage and interpret data and to extract complex information — providing valuable insights into the decision-making process of the organization. In other words, financial planning and analysis: FP&A.

The FP&A function improves business decisions by allocating capital to its best use. Becoming certified in FP&A proves your ability to perform these functions accurately and efficiently and to identify, assess and adapt the processes as the business environment changes.

Today’s finance professionals must be prepared to take on strategic positions. Professional certifications such as AFP’s FP&A Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis Certification (FPAC) provide finance professionals with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to step to the forefront as financial experts, strategic and adept communicators, and trusted advisors to the business. 

Benefits of FPAC

FP&A professionals look beyond the statistics, making them uniquely qualified to reduce risk. They seek to make the numbers work in order to ensure that the comprehensive strategic planning, budgeting and forecasting decisions being made are aligned with the company’s objectives.

CFOs are looking for someone who can combine planning, forecasting and analytical abilities with the foresight to grasp the organization’s entire strategy. As financial specialists, strategic and effective communicators, and valued consultants to the organization, FPAC certification holders inevitably rise to the top.

According to a 2019 AFP Compensation Survey that compared the annual salaries of FPAC credential holders with non-holders, those with the FPAC earned more.

FP&A professionals need more visibility in the business world. Showing off their unique professional standards and differentiating their role from management accounting does just that.

Wilson Wong, FPAC, FP&A Analyst for TechSource Systems

Starting out in accounting but also possessing a background in IT, Wong saw an opportunity to move into the FP&A field. He has been at TechSource for four years, where he is currently the lead FP&A analyst, handling variance analysis, sales performance reporting, efficiency analysis, budgeting and forecasting and more.

Wong pursued the FPAC certification because he believed it would help him stand out in his professional career. Because there are no standards for FP&A in Singapore, Wong believed that possessing a relevant professional qualification would aid in his transition from accounting to FP&A.

I just had a promotion earlier this year, going from senior FP&A analyst to lead FP&A analyst. Now, the promotion wasn’t solely due to the certification, but I do feel that obtaining it was a big factor. I also had offers from other companies. But TechSource was looking to expand the FP&A team, and they made sure to acquire the right talent.

Wilson Wong, FP&A, FP&A Analyst for TechSource Systems

Junn Nguyen, FPAC, Senior Financial Analyst at Illumina in Singapore

Nguyen started his career as a financial trainee in a two-year management program with General Electric, during which he had four short-term assignments with various functions within finance, including FP&A. The experience Nguyen gained with FP&A inspired him to pursue a permanent position with that team after the program ended. 

Nguyen believes that FP&A professionals need to be agile and flexible given the uncertainty in the world today. Having a risk-balanced approach to forecasting, and always documenting assumptions in detail allows him to flexibly make changes to forecasts as the assumptions change. 

While I just received the FPAC credential, a lot of the knowledge I gained from the programme helped me with the issues I face at work and in figuring out how to deal with them in more structured way.

Junn Nguyen, FPAC, Senior Financial Analyst at Illumina in Singapore

Danny Shiu, FPAC, CTP, MOS, FP&A Consultant, Hong Kong

According to Danny Shiu, FPAC, CTP, MOS, FP&A professionals need more visibility in the business world by showing off their unique professional standards and differentiating their role from management accounting. For example, we focus more on forecasting and planning than looking at actuals, which are provided by accounting. We explain to management and investors “why it happened” and the impact to company’s short term and long-term financial targets. We also work with different departments every day, coordinating and consolidating information, like an information clearing house.

Participating in and supporting FP&A-professional bodies like the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) can increase exposure and help people understand the unique abilities FP&A professionals bring to the table.

Danny Shiu, FPAC, CTP, MOS, FP&A Consultant in Hong Kong

 As the field becomes more sophisticated, the FPAC certification will serve to identify the most qualified candidates. It also provides professionals with a way to easily identify others who share their enthusiasm, allowing them to expand their network and promote FP&A as a crucial role within corporate finance.

Find out more about the FPAC credential here.

IMA Strengthens Its Partnership with Smart Train Professional Education


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 3 December 2021

Smart Train Professional Education has been preparing candidates to earn the prestigious U.S. CMA certification since 2010 and is now an IMA Platinum Approved Review Course Provider in Vietnam

IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) is proud to announce Smart Train Professional Education as an IMA Platinum Approved Review Course Provider (ARCP) in Vietnam. The organization provides specialized training and preparation courses to university students, accounting, and finance professionals for the U.S. CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification, which demonstrates a mastery of management accounting knowledge and skills.

Smart Train was established in 2009 and is a leading training organization in Vietnam, specializing in international accounting, auditing, and finance. With more than a decade in the education industry, the organization’s key objectives remain strong: to develop the skill set, knowledge and capacity of Vietnamese individuals in the accounting & finance industry and improve their expertise according to international standards.

“IMA is proud to grant Smart Train Platinum status as an Approved Review Course Provider,” said Josh Heniro, Ph.D., Senior Director, Southeast Asia at IMA. “We recognize its ongoing commitment to advance the management accounting profession in Vietnam and its support for individuals by providing them with the skills and resources required to be future ready and excel in today’s competitive business market. Across the last decade, Smart Train has proven its consistency in providing strong training support in Vietnam, and the ability to help individuals keep up with the increasing technological demands in business today.”

“I am delighted and proud to know that Smart Train is the second partner in Southeast Asia and the first in Vietnam to be recognized as IMA’s Platinum ARCP,” said Pham Ngoc Hoang Thanh, Founder and CEO of Smart Train. “We are confident to train and support thousands more Vietnamese to hold the U.S. CMA certification in the coming years and enhancing the core competencies for Vietnamese management accountants to get even closer to international standards. We chose to partner with IMA because the U.S. CMA is an internationally respected professional qualification with a focus on management accounting. In recent years, many businesses in Vietnam have begun to realize the important role of management accounting, seeing management accountants as internal financial advisors, helping business leaders make timely and accurate business decisions.”

Professionals that earn a U.S. CMA pass a rigorous two-part exam that covers the mastery of 12 core practice areas. U.S. CMAs bring financial planning, control, and decision support to their workplaces, and help organizations close the skills gap and gain a competitive edge in the market. To date, more than 100,000 U.S. CMAs have been awarded. Click on the link to find out more about the U.S. CMA.

IMA Expands Presence in Philippines with New Strategic Partner


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 26 November 2021

Partnership strengthens efforts to advance the management accounting profession and U.S. CMA certification in the Philippines

IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) has signed a partnership agreement with AB² Institute of Accounting as a Silver Approved U.S. CMA Course Provider in the Philippines. The education institute will offer finance professionals and accountants a preparatory course for the U.S. CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification, which demonstrates a mastery of management accounting knowledge and skills.

AB² Institute of Accounting is an education institution in the Philippines that provides a full breadth of high-caliber internationally accredited education aligned to the accounting profession. Its courses are delivered using the latest accounting profession practices and technology that offer industry-best training solutions. AB² Institute of Accounting is part of the TOA Global Group, and its aim is to take professional capabilities to the next level by elevating students’ knowledge and performance, enabling them to become and remain competitive in the industry.

“Today’s business world is getting increasingly fast paced and there is an expanded role for accounting & finance professionals, with a higher focus on skills and knowledge,” said Josh Heniro, Ph.D., Senior Director, Southeast Asia at IMA. “This partnership signifies IMA’s ongoing commitment to advance the management accounting profession in the Philippines, supporting individuals with the opportunity to upskill and reskill throughout the different stages of their careers, and providing them with the skills and resources required to be future ready and excel in today’s competitive business world.”

“We are excited to be partnering with IMA and being able to provide the Philippines accounting community with this international accounting certification,” said Nick Sinclair, Founder of AB² Institute of Accounting. “Filipinos are world-class accountants and completing the U.S. CMA certification demonstrates their readiness for the global stage.”

Professionals that earn a U.S. CMA pass a rigorous two-part exam that covers the mastery of 12 core practice areas. U.S. CMAs bring financial planning, control, and decision support to their workplaces, and help organizations close the skills gap and gain a competitive edge in the market. To date, more than 100,000 U.S. CMAs have been awarded. For more about the U.S. CMA, visit:

About IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)     
IMA® is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) and CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) programs, continuing education, networking, and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices. Twice named Professional Body of the Year by The Accountant/International Accounting Bulletin, IMA has a global network of about 140,000 members in 150 countries and 350 professional and student chapters. Headquartered in Montvale, N.J., USA, IMA provides localized services through its four global regions: The Americas, Asia/Pacific, Europe and Middle East/India. For more information about IMA, please visit

FPAC: Remaining Agile Through Constant Change


A global symbol of excellence, the Certified Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis Professional (FPAC) designation establishes a set of core competencies for the corporate financial planning and analysis (FP&A) profession. It is the only credential that is specific to FP&A; it is forward-looking and assesses the ability to see the big picture.

By Brooke Ballenger, AFP | 29 October 2021

AFP recently caught up with Junn Nguyen, FPAC, senior financial analyst at Illumina in Singapore

to discuss his decision to earn the FPAC, and how it has affected his life and career journey.

AFP: How did you get your start in FP&A? 

 I started my career as a financial trainee under a management program with General Electric. During my two years of the program, I had four short-term assignments with various functions within finance such as controllership, operations finance and FP&A. I started to gain experience with FP&A, and decided to pursue a permanent position in FP&A after the program ended. 

AFP: What are two or three core aspects of your day-to-day job?

Junn: I own the regional FP&A process for APJ Commercial, so the core aspects of my day-to-day job include forecasting and first-line business support regarding deal structure and margin analysis.

With regards to forecasting, I am the bridge between the global FP&A team and regional commercial team, where I am responsible for keeping the regional forecast cadence robust and the forecast submission consistent and accurate.

With regards to deal analysis, I support the financial modelling for new deals, and provide advice and support in margin analysis, scenarios analysis, and other financial advice to preserve my company’s financial health.

AFP: What is something that you would like to do in the future in FP&A? 

Junn: My experiences so far are with commercial teams. In the future, I would like to join the FP&A for other departments such as facilities or manufacturing plants to expand specific skill sets with different business partners.

AFP: Are there certain skills or training that help you in what you do now? 

Junn: Microsoft Excel is very important for me to fulfill my day-to-day job. In addition, understanding information systems and knowing how to use BI tools are necessary for my success at work.

AFP: What skill are most important for you to add over the next couple of years? 

Communication skills are critical as I follow my career path. My business partners are senior managers and directors within the company, and the ability to influence and inspire them is very important to me. 

AFP: What is the most critical FP&A issue you are facing today, and can you share your approach to it?

There is so much uncertainty with the external environment nowadays, so FP&A personnel need to be agile and flexible with the constant change. My response to this issue is having a risk-balanced approach to forecasting, and always document assumptions in detail so that I can flexibly make changes to my forecast as the assumptions change. 

AFP: Why did you decide to earn the FPAC credential? 

The FPAC credential is essential for people who specialize in FP&A, and my company provided me with the resources to follow the program. I knew the credential would equip me with the knowledge and recognition to further proceed with my career path focus in FP&A.

AFP: How has the FPAC credential impacted your life/career?

While I just received the FPAC credential, a lot of the knowledge I gained from the course helped me with the issues I face at work and in figuring out how to deal with them in more structured way.

AFP: Would you recommend the FPAC to others? Why?

I would recommend the FPAC credential to those who are determined in following their career with FP&A. There are not many credentials for FP&A professionals, and as FP&A grows within the complexity of the business world, this credential helps employers recognize the distinguished professionals. In addition, the FPAC credential helps professionals connect to others with the same passion so they can open their network and collectively refine FP&A as a critical function within corporate finance.

Learn more about the FPAC designation.

Nine Rules to Manage Performance Metrics: Tips from FP&A Experts


Anything with a number has a measure, but a metric drives a business decision. How do organizations use metrics to drive the right business decisions, and how do they manage the proliferation of metrics when we have the capacity to measure and store everything? In today’s shifting financial environment, companies need to ensure their metrics guide the best outcomes that align with the organization’s goals.

Brooke Ballanger, AFP | 29 October 2021

Learn more about the worldwide importance of FP&A and corporate finance

In a recent AFP Asia-Pacific webinar, “9 Rules to Manage Performance Metrics,” Bryan Lapidus, FPAC, AFP’s director of FP&A Practice, moderated a discussion on the lifecycle of performance metrics to share insights and “rules” on how to manage a company’s metrics.

Joining Lapidus for the discussion were Hari Ramani, controller and reporting analysis lead at Royal Dutch Shell in Shinai, India; Lance Rubin, founder of Model Citizn and co-founder of Full Stack Modeller in Melbourne, Australia; and Kevin Wong, Asia finance lead for Blue Bottle Coffee in Hong Kong, China. These finance experts provided rules for each performance metric lifecycle: creation, maintenance and retirement.

Summary: 9 Rules to Manage Performance Metrics


1) Propel the Company into Action  

According to Ramani, making metrics as clear and legitimate as possible for the future is one of the most important metric drivers. “Too often, metrics are set up in a way that tell us what has happened in the past and what is happening right now, but it does not tell us what needs to happen in the future,” said Ramani. “While your metrics need to intuitively inform you if there is a big gap towards your ultimate goal, they also need to tell you how to take your business forward.” 

In addition, Ramani encourages companies to drive toward clear targets with interim checkpoints that allow for validation against its ultimate potential. That way, it is easier to know what needs to happen in the next couple of quarters to achieve a number for a long-term goal.  

2) Construct with “SMART KISSes” 

Smart is an acronym for attributes of well-defined metrics: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reliable, Time-bound. “Whatever metric you are going to create, it needs to be specific — specific enough that you can take action,” said Rubin when explaining the concept of SMART goals. “You want to make sure that you are setting a target that is achievable and reliable, as this is an important part of setting up something that you can rely on.” 

Rubin also explains how an important manta around metrics is to “Keep It Super Simple” (KISS). While you might not have the metrics mastered right away, get started by testing through time on simple key performance indicators (KPIs). “The SMART KISSes are really about aiming for those key goals around SMART for the metric, but then getting started, testing it, using it, and being agile,” said Rubin. 

3) Align the Organization from Top to Bottom 

According to Wong, top-level metrics need to break down to a fundamental level — something that all levels of the organization can agree on and support. When we work in large organizations, different levels will have feasibility care over different metrics. “That is why I think it is important for us as FP&A individuals to be able to help the organization break down goals into their bits and pieces, into the breaks that build the castle or the house,” Wong said.  

Wong also believes that metrics and individuals should be able to draw a line from strategic to operational to tactical levels of operational metrics. “Each level should have a higher purpose where they understand that by achieving these metrics, it helps achieve certain goals that lead to the strategy and vision for the company.” 


4) Validate Externally 

According to Ramani, validating metrics externally means constantly having an eye on what is happening outside of your organization. It is important to look at what is going on in the shifting market, how the competition is responding, and how you need to position yourself in both the immediate and long term. 

Ramani notes that you need to be able to say, “My operating assumptions have changed, and my metrics need to follow suit. I need to ensure that the metrics reflect the current condition that I have externally, and the responses I am putting together internally.” 

Ramani also explains that it is important to constantly check on driving your business direction, as you set out those metrics for a reason. Make sure the metrics are aligned with your strategy and goals. 

5) Validate Internally 

Metrics need to be reviewed on a timely basis by all levels of the management team, according to Wong. He explains that metrics should ultimately lead to a higher goal or direction. “We have to constantly validate and evaluate if the formula is still correct,” said Wong. “And a lot of times when the market changes, like with the pandemic, we must re-evaluate the formula again.” 

6) Automate for Execution 

Rubin encourages companies to automate the production of metrics and reports, thereby allowing it to be visible and have a greater impact. Automation allows for an easier management process to gather how metrics are being looked at and moving over time. 

In addition, Rubin explains the importance of authenticity and interpretation when maintaining metrics. “It needs to be driving good performance but also aligned to people and helping the organization,” said Rubin. 


7) Define Obsolescence 

“There is a reason why we have put the metric in place, but it is also crucial that we know when the life of a metric is done,” said Ramani. “Once you have hit defined targets, the metric itself can evolve or morph into something else; we need to be carefully watching out for whether or not that metric is still relevant.” 

Ramani also encourages companies to check if the metric continues to help define or drive the right behaviors. “Check those behaviors as soon as you create the metric, and constantly watch out for those signs of obsolescence,” said Ramani. “If the targets are achieved, or if the metrics themselves are no longer relevant, consider retiring them.” 

8) Reflect on the Purpose for Creation 

When focusing on the retirement of metrics, Rubin suggests reflecting on why it was created in the first place. “If we create it to drive revenue, and it is not driving revenue, then the purpose no longer exists,” said Rubin. “The key thing to understand is the pattern of what was evident at that point in time and what has changed.” 

Rubin also advises to avoid unnecessary vanity KPIs. “It is important to understand and even document what this KPI is for,” said Rubin. “Define it and make it available to people. This provides an opportunity to reflect on not just facts changing but maybe your goals and strategy are changing too. The KPI is not always needed when the facts have changed.” 

9) Balance Consistency with Utility 

According to Wong, companies must balance the consistency of maintaining certain metrics or getting rid of certain metrics with the utility of the metrics. “It is important to remove unnecessary KPIs that would remove focus for the teams, but also important for us to keep in the high-level KPIs that will be kind of timeless and useful for the business in the long term,” said Wong. 

Wong also advises to assess controllables that the team can manage, and how to focus that on KPIs rather than spreading attention across all KPIs. “Some KPIs will be timeless and will always be an indicator of the overall business health and direction,” said Wong. “At the same time, we always have to consider those special circumstantial KPIs that would be useful to focus on in the short run.” 

Learn more about the worldwide importance of FP&A and corporate finance on AFP’s Asia-Pacific page.

The CGMA ® Finance Leadership Program launched in Singapore to aspiring accounting and finance professionals


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 17 September 2021

Digital self-learning e-learning and assessment platform opened up for individual access
and new pathway to Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association), the unified voice of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), has launched its CGMA ® Finance Leadership Program in Singapore to aspiring accounting and finance professionals to help build the skills demanded in today’s business environment. 

The CGMA ® Finance Leadership Program builds through e-learning and assessment the competencies needed for driving business performance and decision making. It covers finance, accounting, business, people, and digital skills set out in the CIMA Professional Qualification syllabus and assesses their application across operations, management and strategy. Successful completion, along with meeting professional experience requirements, also provides a new pathway to earning the coveted Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA®) designation.

Individual access is available in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas and comes off the back of the launch last October to employers and universities based in these regions. It also meets increased demand to deliver remote access and flexible self-paced online learning in markets where accredited tuition provision is limited. 

“It’s not only a new world of work that we have to deal with because of the pandemic – it’s also about a new world of education that is driven by technology. In adapting to this, the Association has revolutionised the delivery of our professional management accounting qualification. Through the CGMA ® Finance Leadership Program, we are now able to reach more people, support more employers and provide greater access to the profession,” said Irene Teng, Managing Director – Global Markets at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

“Understanding finance is the foundation to so many careers in business and opens up opportunities to become a high-performing business leader. The CGMA ® Finance Leadership Program is a great solution for aspiring accounting and finance professionals to develop the skills and competencies demanded by employers and open up career opportunities in the world of business and finance,” said Venkkat Ramanan FCMA, CGMA, Asia Pacific Regional Vice President of The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

The CGMA ® Finance Leadership Program allows individuals to personalise their learning journey, streamline their professional development and develop in-demand skills. By earning the CGMA designation, they will be able to demonstrate the highest levels of competency in finance, accounting, business, digital, technology, people and leadership skills that will help them accelerate their careers and add value to their organisations. They will also become part of the world’s largest community of accounting and finance professionals, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, with access to over 696,000 members, students and engaged professionals.

Learn more about the CGMA ® Finance Leadership Program here.