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    Review of financial statements

    Discussions with instructors of down stream CBA core courses revealed their reliance on specific ACC 221 and ACC 222 subject matter. Finance 335 instructors assume that students understand the basics of TVM, financial statements, and cash forecasts.  Instructors of Marketing 309 and Management 393 assume that students understand revenue/cost analysis (C-V-P model, evaluation of segment or product profitability, and outsourcing and pricing decisions).  Instructors of Management 449 assume that students understand TVM, financial statement analysis, and revenue/cost analysis. 

    The Basics of Business and Financial Statements

    For financial statement reporting purposes, business events are categorized into three types: financing, investing, and operating events.  When a business is started financing must be arranged.  With the financing the business invests in assets to be used to conduct business operations.  

    Periodically, owners and creditors want financial information about the business.  Owners of a small business may want information very frequently, e.g., monthly, to help manage the business.  Creditors may call for information less frequently to evaluate the company’s ability to repay a loan.  

    The basic financial statements and what they report are as follows.  The income statement (sometimes referred to as the “ P&L” or profit and loss statement) reports revenue and expense events that occurred during the reporting period.  Revenues minus expenses equals net income (also referred to as profit or earnings).  The balance sheet reports the business’s assets, its liabilities, and the owners’ equity in the business as of the last day of the reporting period.  The statement of cash flows reports cash inflows and cash outflows from financing events, investing events, and operations during the reporting period. 

    Financial statements reflect the effects of economic events on the business entity.  Financing may be obtained from owners, lenders, or both.  When owners provide financing, assets and owners’ equity on the balance sheet increase.  When money is borrowed from lenders, assets and liabilities on the balance sheet increase.  Neither of these financing events is reported on the income statement.  When a business invests in assets like inventory or equipment, payment is made at time of purchase or the purchase is on credit, with payment due some time later.  If assets are bought for cash, the balance sheet will report the asset purchased and show cash lower by the purchase price.  If the item is purchased on credit, the balance sheet will report the asset purchased and a liability will have increased by the amount of credit extended by the seller. Neither of these investing events is reported on the income statement.  The income statement reports only those events that reflect the measured net income from carrying out the operating activities of the business.  

    A couple of things make understanding net income difficult.  First, it is common to think of money and income as being the same.  When it comes to measuring business income, they are not. Think about this.  If money is income, you would have to pay income tax on proceeds you got from a banker to buy a car.  But you don’t.  If income is money, wouldn’t you get to spend your gross pay instead of your net pay?  Well, you don’t.  Money and income are different concepts.  “Money” refers to coin, currency, and checking account balances.     Business “income” is a measure of change in a company’s assets and liabilities due to a very narrow range of economic events.  What that should tell you is that there must be a very important relationship between the income statement and the balance sheet.  The next paragraph explains that relationship.

    At the heart of business net income measurement is the (accounting) equation  “Assets = Liabilities + Owners’ equity.”  However, to understand what is meant by net income, it is better to look at the equation in a different arrangement: Assets – Liabilities = Owners’ equity.   “Assets minus liabilities” is referred to as “net assets.”  Net income is the net of two types of events: revenue events and expense events.  Revenue events are those events that increase net assets, and thus owners’ equity, due to the operations of the business.  The primary revenue events are the transfer of product to customers (called sales on the income statement) and the providing of services to customers (called service revenue, e.g., consulting revenue, on the income statement).  These revenue events generally increase cash or accounts receivable.  Secondary revenue events include return on financial investments (interest revenue, dividend revenue) and gains from sale of operating assets or financial investments.  Expense events are those events that decrease net assets, and thus decrease owners’ equity, due to the operations of the business.  The phrase “due to the operations of the business” is critical to identifying revenue and expense events.  For example, the issuance of shares of stock to owners in exchange for cash increases net assets, but is not a revenue event because it is not “due to the operations of the business.”  Also a cash dividend payment to the owners decreases net assets, but is not considered an expense because it is not an event necessary to the operation of the business. 

    Financial Statement Components

    The Income Statement

    Sales

    Sales are a measure of the market value of all products sold by the company. The sales amount does not necessarily reflect cash received.  Sales may have been cash sales or credit sales.  Credit sales result in accounts receivable appearing on the balance sheet. To determine cash collected from customers during the period, start with the sales amount and either deduct an increase in accounts receivable or add a decrease in accounts receivable.  If receivables increase during the period, it means that sales have been made for which the cash has not been collected; hence, cash flow is lower that sales.  Sales are reported net of sales returns and allowances and sales discounts. 

    Cost of Goods Sold
    Cost of goods sold is an expense reflecting the fact that inventory is used up when a sale is made.  For a retailer, the underlying cash flow could be called “cash paid to merchandise suppliers.”   To determine cash paid to merchandise suppliers and add (deduct) an increase (decrease) in inventory and deduct (add) an increase (decrease) in accounts payable to merchandise suppliers.  Cost of goods sold is based on the cost flow assumption used (LIFO, FIFO, or weighted average).  Hence two companies’ financial statements are not comparable unless both use the same costing method.

    Gross Profit (Gross Margin)
    Gross profit (margin) is equal to net sales minus cost of goods sold. 

    Operating Expenses
    All expenses, other than cost of goods sold, interest expense, and income tax expense, are often combined into one line on the income statement.  Sometimes this amount is called selling and administrative expenses rather than operating expenses.  To determine the underlying cash flow, (1) add (deduct) an increase (decrease) in prepaid expenses, (2) deduct (add) an increase (decrease) in accrued liabilities, and (3) deduct depreciation expense.

    EBIT
    EBIT stands for Earnings Before Interest and (income) Tax.

    Interest expense
    Interest expense is the cost of debt financing incurred for the period.  To the extent that interest expense has not been paid, interest payable will appear on the balance sheet.  To determine cash paid for interest, start with interest expense and deduct (add) an increase (decrease) in interest payable.

    EBT
    EBT stands for Earnings Before (income) Tax.

    Income Tax Expense
    Income tax expense is the amount of income tax that has already been paid or will be paid in the future on the year’s EBT.  All income taxpayers are on a pay-as-you-go basis.  A corporation must make estimated income tax payments during its tax year.  By year-end, most of the income tax will have been paid.  The amount yet to be paid will be reported as a liability on the balance sheet.  A corporation may use certain accounting principles (such as accelerated depreciation) on the income tax return to reduce current period taxable income and postpone payment of income tax for a number of years.  If that is the case, deferred income tax liability will appear on the balance sheet.  To determine cash paid for income taxes, deduct (add) an increase (decrease) in income tax payable and deduct (add) an increase (decrease) in deferred income tax. 

    Net Income
    Net income is the excess of revenue events over expense events.  It is the measured increase in net assets, and thus owners’ equity, due to carrying out the operations of the company.

    The Balance Sheet

    Current Assets
    Current assets includes cash plus those assets to be turned into cash (marketable securities and A/R) or used up (inventory and prepaid expenses) within one year of the balance sheet date or the operating cycle, whichever is longer. (See observation 10 below.)  For most companies the relevant time period is one year.

    Cash and Cash Equivalents
    Cash includes coin, currency, and checking account balances.  Cash equivalents are highly liquid debt securities with a maturity date so near that their market value will not change significantly with a change in interest rates.

    Marketable Securities
    Marketable securities are financial securities, other that cash equivalents, that management plans to hold for no longer than one year from the balance sheet date.  These securities are reported at their fair market value.

    Accounts Receivable (net)
    If a company makes credit sales, accounts receivable appears on the balance sheet and reflects the amounts from credit sales yet to be collected.  Accounts receivable is typically reported net of the company’s best estimate of the amount of the receivables that is net expected to be collected.

    Inventory
    Inventory, for a merchandising firm, represents to cost of product purchased but not yet sold.  When the product is sold, inventory is decreased and cost of goods sold on the income statement is increased.  Inventory, for a manufacturing firm, is comprised of raw materials, work in process, and finished goods.  Inventory value on the balance sheet is based on the cost flow assumption used by the company (LIFO, FIFO, or weighted average).  Hence two companies’ financial statements are not comparable unless both use the same costing method. 

    Prepaid Expenses
    Prepaid expenses appears on the balance sheet when a company has paid for such items as supplies, insurance coverage, and rental rights prior to the time when these items will be used in carrying out the operations of the business.  In the period these assets are used up, prepaid expense on the balance sheet decreases and an expense is recognized on the income statement. 

    Property, Plant, and Equipment (net)
    Property (land) is reported on the balance sheet at its historical cost.  Plant (buildings) and equipment are reported on the balance sheet at their historical cost less accumulated depreciation.  Accumulated depreciation is that portion of historical cost that has already been recognized as depreciation expense on the income statement.  To the extent the buildings and equipment are related to a firm’s manufacturing activity, the related depreciation expense becomes part of factory overhead.  The factory overhead is reflected in work in process inventory, then in finished goods inventory, and finally in cost of goods sold.  If the buildings and equipment are not related to manufacturing activity, the related depreciation expense will be reported as part of operating expenses.

    Intangible Assets
    Intangible assets include such assets as copyrights, patents, trade names, trademarks, and goodwill. To the extent the intangible assets are related to a firm’s manufacturing activity, the related amortization expense becomes part of factory overhead.  The factory overhead is reflected in work in process inventory, then in finished goods inventory, and finally in cost of goods sold.  If the intangibles are not related to manufacturing activity, the related amortization expense will be reported as part of operating expenses.

    Investments
    This category of non-current assets is comprised of investments in financial securities.  These securities are reported on the balance sheet at their fair market value unless they are securities without a market value or they are debt securities that management intends to hold to maturity.

    Current Liabilities
    Current liabilities are those liabilities expected to be paid off with current assets or replaced with other current liabilities.

    Accounts Payable
    Accounts payable represents a liability to merchandise (or raw material) suppliers for inventory acquired but not yet paid for.

    Accrued Liabilities
    “Accrued liabilities” is a balance sheet caption that summarizes numerous liabilities stemming from the incurring of operating expenses before the period of payment.  For example, during the last week of the year the employees may work for the company, but payday may occur after year-end.  The cost of the employee services in reported as an expense of the year, and a liability for wages is recorded and reported as part of accrued liabilities on the balance sheet.  Other liabilities included in accrued liabilities include property taxes payable, rent payable, and utilities payable.

    Interest Payable
    Interest payable is the liability for interest cost incurred but not yet paid by the end of the period.

    Income Tax Payable
    Income tax payable represents that portion of the company’s current year income tax liability that remains unpaid at year-end.

    Deferred Income Tax Liability
    This liability results principally from the use of accelerated depreciation on the corporate tax return while the straight-line method is used on the income statement.  Accelerated depreciation means that, in the early years of the life of a depreciable asset more than the straight-line amount of depreciation expense is used on the tax return to decrease the current year income tax liability.  This defers the payment of the tax to the later years of the asset’s life when, because of lower amounts of depreciation expense on the tax return, the company’s tax liability is high. 

    Notes Payable
    A note payable typically arises when cash is borrowed from a financial institution in exchange for a promissory note.  The note may be either a current or a long-term liability.  The note is reported on the balance sheet at the present value of future cash payments to be made, discounted at the effective rate of interest on the note.

    Bonds Payable
    A bond is essentially a promissory note, except that it is typically used to borrow much larger amounts of money for longer periods of time, and it is a much more complex financial instrument than a promissory note.  The bond is reported on the balance sheet at the present value of future cash payments to be made, discounted at the effective rate of interest on the bond.

    Stockholders’ Equity
    Stockholders’ equity represents owners’ rights to the assets of the business.  Owners’ rights come from two sources: owner investment of personal assets in the company and profitable operations.  Owners’ equity on a per share basis (book value per share) is not a good measure of the amount of cash an owner would receive upon disposition of the stock.  Under normal circumstances, the value of a share of stock depends on what buyers in the market are willing to pay.  In the case of liquidation of the company owners most often receive, after payment of creditors, less than book value. 

    Preferred Stock + Additional Paid-in Capital on Preferred Stock
    These accounts normally represent the amount preferred stockholders would receive upon liquidation of the company, assuming sufficient cash was available after payment of creditors.

    Common Stock + Additional Paid-in Capital on Common Stock
    These accounts represent common shareholder rights to assets due to their investment of assets in the business.

    Retained Earnings
    Retained earnings is a measure of profitability of the business to date, less all dividends declared on all classes of stock.  It represents common stockholders’ rights to the corporate assets, except to the extent of dividends in arrears on cumulative preferred stock.

    Treasury Stock
    Treasury stock represents the cost of shares of stock that the company has bought back from stockholders.  Treasury stock, normally common stock, is typically bought to be resold to employees in a stock option plan or bought to increase the market price of the stock.  Treasury shares have no rights to dividends and voting.

    The Statement of Cash Flows 

    This financial statement discloses a company’s cash flows from operating activities, financing activities, and investing activities.  The operating activities section typically starts with net income and converts that number to cash flow from operating activities by making adjustments to it for accruals and deferrals, non-cash revenue and expense items, and gains/losses relating to investing and financing events.  Typical cash flow events reflected in the financing activities section include issuance of equity securities, issuance and retirement of debt securities, treasury stock transactions, and payment of cash dividends.  Typical cash flow events reflected in the investing activities section include purchase and sale of land, buildings, equipment, intangible assets and investments in financial securities. 

    Some Observations About Financial Statements (f/s)

    1. Financial statements made available to individuals outside of the company (external f/s) represent highly aggregated information.
    2. Operating expenses on the traditional external income statement are classified by function, e.g., manufacturing, administrative, selling.  Expenses on an income statement used for management decision-making may be classified by behavior, i.e., by the way they behave with changes in activity level.
    3. Balance sheet assets are a mix of values: historical cost (land), depreciated historical cost (buildings and equipment), historical cost or lower of cost or market (inventory), and current market value (some investments in financial securities).
    4. Not all of a company’s assets are on its balance sheet.  The value of research and development in process is not because the cost of R&D activity is expensed as incurred.  Trade names, like Coke, are not on the balance sheet if their value accrues due to advertising, since all advertising costs are expensed as incurred.  Other intangibles, like copyrights and patents, developed rather than purchased, are also typically not on the balance sheet.  Intangible assets that have been purchased will appear on the balance sheet.  The value of a company’s culture, trained and dedicated employees, loyal customers, and vendor relationships are examples of other assets not reflected on the balance sheet.   This situation exists because it is often difficult to know whether an expenditure of cash results in a probable future economic benefit.  The value of the Coke trade name is the result of millions of dollars of advertising over the decades.  Would you be able to determine the increase in value of the trade name due to a $10 million dollar advertising campaign?  Probably not.  That is why the cost of advertising is recognized as an expense of the current period, with none of the expenditure going to increase the balance sheet amount at which the trade name is reported.
    5. Stockholders’ equity (assets – liabilities) is not a measure of the value of a company.  The best measure of a company’s value is a bona fide offer for the purchase of all of its common stock.  The market value of the common stock (market capitalization) of a publicly traded company is another measure of a company’s worth.  The spread between a company’s market valuation and its book value (stockholders’ equity) reflects both the company’s unreported assets and the company’s potential for making future profits.  For knowledge-based companies, that spread is very large.
    6. A business whose financial statements you are analyzing may be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a corporation, or a limited liability company (LLC).  How you evaluate the company’s profitability depends on the form of business organization used.  If you see income tax expense subtracted on the income statement to arrive at net income, the business is a corporation that did not make or did not qualify for the “S Corp” election.  The tax is the corporate income tax.  Business income of a sole proprietorship, partnership, S Corp, LLP, or LLC is not taxed at the corporate level.  Rather, the income is included on the income tax return(s) of the owner(s) and taxed at individual income tax rates.  In these situations, income tax expense is not included as an expense in arriving at the net income of the business.  Additionally, the balance sheet would not show income tax payable or deferred income tax liability.
    7. Audited financial statements are presumed to have greater reliability than unaudited financial statements.  Audited financial statements are typically required by lenders when large amounts are involved or if a company wishes to issue financial securities in the capital market.  After reviewing the company’s internal control system, verifying the existence of company assets and liabilities, and carrying out other audit processes, the auditor issues an opinion on the financial statements.  In a “clean opinion,” the auditor, a CPA, attests that the financial statements fairly reflect the operations, financial position, and cash flows of the company in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
    8. Each and every revenue and expense event has two effects on the balance sheet.  Each revenue event increases an asset or decreases a liability and increases retained earnings.  Each expense event decreases an asset or increases a liability and decreases retained earnings.  The net effect of business operations is called net income. 
    9. Current assets are reported on the balance sheet in order of liquidity: cash and cash equivalents, marketable securities, receivables, inventory, and prepaid expenses.
    10. The term “operating cycle” refers to the process of buying or manufacturing inventory, selling the inventory on credit, and collecting the receivable.  The operating cycle is reflected in the listing of current assets.  The length of a company’s operating cycle can be calculated by adding the results of two ratios: average A/R collection period and average sale period.
    11. There are three important dates pertaining to a cash dividend: the date of declaration, the date of record, and the date of payment.  On the date of declaration, a current liability for the dividend is created and retained earnings is decreased.  There is no financial statement impact at the date of record.  At the date of payment, cash is decreased, as is the dividend liability that had been created at the date of declaration.
    12. A corporation receives authorization to issue shares of stock from the state in which it was incorporated.  It subsequently issues (sells) all or part of those shares in exchange for some type of consideration, typically cash.  Later, the company may buy back some of the shares it had issued.  The shares bought back are called treasury shares or treasury stock.   At any point in time, the number of shares issued less the number of treasury shares equals the number of shares outstanding.  Shares outstanding are shares still in the hands of shareholders and are the shares that have rights to receive dividends and, in the case of common shares, the right to vote for members of the board of directors.
    13. Most issues of stock have a par value per share.  This concept, established a century ago in an attempt to protect creditors’ rights, has virtually no significance in today’s economic setting.  Often, though, the fixed dividend on preferred stock is set forth as a percent of par value.  For example, 4%, $200 par value preferred stock pays an annual dividend of $8.

     

    SPECIMEN FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

    Income Statement
    Web Crawler Company

      1999 2000 2001
    Net Sales 50,000 52,000 56,000
    less: Costs of Goods Sold -30,000 -31,000 -40,000
    Gross Profit $20,000 $21,000 $16,000
    less: Selling & Administration Expense -8,400 -8,500 -8,600
    Earnings Before Interest and Tax 11,600 12,500 7,400
    less: Interest Expense -900 -900 -1,800
    Earnings Before Income Tax 10,700 11,600 5,600
    less: Income Tax Expense  -3,210 -3,480 -1,680
    Net Income $7,490 $8,120 $3,920

                                       

     

    Balance Sheet
    Web Crawler Company

      12/31/99 12/31/00 12/31/01
         Assets      
    Current Assets:      
    Cash 6,000 6,800 5,000
    Accounts Receivable (net)   12,200 13,100 11,540
    Inventory  7,000 9,620 8,100
    Total Current Assets  25,200 29,520 24,640
    Non-Current Assets:      
    Equipment (net) 20,000 23,000 40,000
       Total Assets $45,200 $52,520 $64,640
         Liabilities      
    Current Liabilities:      
    Accounts Payable 400 500 700
    Dividend Payable 1,000 1,000 1,000
    Accrued Liabilities 300 400 400
      Total Current Liabilities 1,700 1,900 2,100
    Long-Term Liab - Notes Payable 9,000  9,000  18,000
    Long-Term Liab – Deferred Tax Liability 2,000  2,800 3,900
       Total Liabilities $12,700 $13,700 $24,000
         Stockholders’ Equity:      
    Pref. Stock (7%, $100 par, cumul.) 5,000 5,000 5,000
    Paid in Capital in excess of par-PS 1,000 1,000 1,000
    Common Stock ($2 par value)   12,090 12,090 12,090
    Paid in Capital in excess of par - CS   2,000 2,000 2,000
    Retained Earnings 13,410 19,730 21,550
      less: Treas. Stock (100 shares) (1,000) (1,000)  (1,000)
       Total Stockholders’ Equity 32,500 38,820 40,640
    Total Liab. and Stockholders’ Eq. $45,200 $52,520   $64,640

     

    WEBCRAWLER FINANCIAL RATIOS

        2000     2001
    1.  ROA              (Net Income + Interest Expense)/Average Total Assets
      8120+900             = 9020   = 18%     3920+1800          =  5720   = 10%
      (45200+52520)/2   48860   (52520 + 64640)/2   58580
               
               
    2.  ROE              Net Income/Average Stockholders’ Equity
                8120            = 8120 =  23%           3920            =   3920   =  10%
      (32500+38820)/2    35660   (38820+40640)/2    39730
               
               
    3.  ROCS            NI-PS Dividends/Average CS Equity
           8120-350          = 7770 = 26%         3920-350       =    3570   = 11%
      (26500+32820)/2     29660   (32820+34640)/2      33730
               
               
    4.  Debt/Assets    Total Debt/Total Assets 
      13700 = 26%   24000  = 37%
      52520   64640
               
               
    5.  GM%              Gross Margin/Net Sales
      21000 = 40%   16000 = 29%
      52000   56000
               
               
    6.  Ret. On Sales    Net Income/Net Sales 
       8120 = 16%    3920 = 7%
      52000   56000
               
               
    7.  Current Ratio    Current Assets/Current Liabilities
      29520 = 16   24640 = 12
       1900    2100
               
               
    8.  AR Turnover             Net Sales/Average Accounts Receivable (net) 
      52000 = 4.11   56000 = 4.55
      12650   12320
               
               
    9.  Ave. days to Collect AR                              365/AR Turnover Ratio
      365  = 89 days   365 = 80 days
      4.11   4.55
               
               
    10.  Inventory Turnover            Cost of Goods Sold/Average Inventory
      31000 = 3.73   40000 = 4.51
      8310     8860  
               
               
    11.  Ave. days in Inventory                  365/Inventory Turnover Ratio
      365 = 98 days   365  = 81 days
      3.73   4.51
               
               
    12.  Times Interest Earned             EBIT/Interest Expense
      12500  = 13.9 times   7400 = 4.1 times
        900     1800  
               
               
    13.  Price-Earnings                                   Selling Price per share/EPS
                                        Insufficient Data
               
               
    14.  Earnings per share             (Net Income-PS Dividends)/average # shares of CS outstanding
      8120-350 = $1.31   3920- 350 = $0.60
          5945       5945

    Certifications

    CPA Certified Public Accountant
      CPAs are qualified accountants who have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and met all other statutory and licensing requirements of a United States state to be certified by that state. CPAs are known by the general public in part for their business consultation, finance and tax expertise."

    Requirements:

    1. Obtain 150 credit hours of education.
    2. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination to qualify for CPA certificate and license.
    3. Two years of public accounting experience (varies by state)

    Related Link:
    The Uniform CPA Examination  
    "One of the world's leading licensing examinations, the CPA Examination serves to protect the public interest by helping to ensure that only qualified individuals become licensed as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs)."
       
    CMA Certified Management Accountant
      The CMA is a professional designation for management accountants and financial managers. Earning the CMA demonstrates a mastery of a comprehensive body of knowledge directly related to operational and strategic management as well as the skills and abilities required to build quality business practices inside organizations.

    Requirements: 
    1. Bachelor's Degree, in any area, from an accredited college or university.
    2. Score in the 50th percentile or higher on either the GMAT or GRE.
    3. Professional qualification comparable to the CPA, CMA, CFM, etc.
    4. Complete two continuous years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management.
    5. Membership in the Institute of Management Accountants.
    6. Pass the CMA exam.

    Related Link:
    Institute of Management Accountants  
    "The Institute of Management Accountants is the world's leading organization dedicated to empowering management accounting and finance professionals to drive business performance."
       
    CIA Certified Internal Auditor  
      The Certified Internal Auditor designation is the only globally accepted certification for internal auditors and remains the standard by which individuals demonstrate their competence and professionalism in the internal auditing field.

    Requirements:

    1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited college-level institution.
    2. Must exhibit high moral and professional character.
    3. Complete a minimum of 24 months of internal auditing experience or its equivalent.
    4. Pass the CIA exam.

    Related Link:
    The Institute of Internal Auditors 
    "Established in 1941, The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) is an international professional association with global headquarters in Altamonte Springs, Fla., United States.  The IIA is the internal audit profession's global voice, recognized authority, acknowledged leader, chief advocate, and principal educator. Members work in internal auditing, risk management, governance, internal control, information technology audit, education, and security."
       
    CFA Chartered Financial Analyst
      A CFA charter is a professional designation offered by the CFA Institute to financial analysts who complete a self-study graduate level program and  work for at least four years in the investment decision making process. 

    Requirements: 
    1. Bachelor's Degree or 4 years of qualified, professional work experience, or combination.
    2. Pass 3 levels of examinations.
    3. Obtain four years of acceptable professional work experience.
    4. Become a regular member of CFA Institute.
    5. Maintain CFA status.

    Related Link:
    CFA Institute  (Formerly the Association for Investment Management and Research -AIMR)  
    "The CFA Institute is the global, not-for-profit association of investment professionals that awards the CFA and CIPM designations. We promote the highest ethical standards and offer a range of educational opportunities online and around the world."
       
    CFP Certified Financial Planner
      A CFP is a financial planning expert who has been credentialed by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.  To receive the title, education, examination, experience and ethics requirements must be met."

    Requirements:
    1. Obtain one of the Education Requirements:
        a) Complete a CFP Board-Registered Education Program.
        b) Apply for Challenge Status
        c) Request a Transcript Review
    2. Bachelor's degree is required (As of Jan '07)
    3. Pass the CFP Certification Exam
    4. Have at least 3 years of qualifying full-time work experience in personal financial planning.
    5. Adhere to Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Pass Background Check.

    Related Link:
    Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc.  
    "The mission of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for personal financial planning."
       
    CFE Certified Fraud Examiner
      Globally preferred by employers, the CFE designation denotes proven expertise in fraud prevention, detection, and deterrence.  Members with the CEF credential experience professional growth and quickly position themselves as leaders in the global anti-fraud community.

    Requirements:
    1. Be an Associate Member of the ACFE in good standing.
    2. Bachelor's degree, in any area, or two years of fraud-related professional experience for each year of academic study.
    3. At least two years of professional experience in a field either directly or indirectly related to the detection or deterrence of fraud.
    4. Be of high moral character.
    5. Agree to and abide by the Bylaws and Code of Professional Ethics of ACFE.
    6. Pass the CFE Examination.

    Related Link:
    Association of Certified Fraud Examiners  
    "The ACFE is the world's premier provider of anti-fraud training and education.  Together with nearly 50,000 members, the ACFE is reducing business fraud world-wide and inspiring public confidence in the integrity and objectivity within the profession."
       
    CGFM Certified Government Financial Manager
      The CGFM is the first certification broad enough to cover the whole field of government financial management - federal, state and local.  It measures a wide range of knowledge and skills that a professional needs to succeed in the federal government financial environment, or to meet the unique challenges faced by state and local government financial managers.

    Requirements:

    1. Bachelor's degree with 24 hours of courses in financial management topics.
    2. Two years of professional-level experience in the government financial management field.
    3. Pass CGFM Exam.

    Related Link:
    Association of Government Accountants  
    "The Association of Government Accountants serves government accountability professionals by providing quality education, fostering professional development and certification, and supporting standards and research to advance government accountability."
       
    FCPA Forensic Certified Public Accountant
      The FCPA designation tells the public and the business community that the holder has met certain testing and experience guidelines and is not only a CPA, but has been certified as a forensic accountant.  

    Prerequisites: 
    1. Must be a licensed Certified Public Accountant.
    2. Take the FCPA exam and pass each section with a score of 70% or above.
    3. Take 20 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) each year to keep membership current.
    **If already a CPA and a CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), an individual is exempt from taking the certification exam and can automatically receive the FCPA designation.

    Related Link:
    Forensic CPA Society  
    "The Forensic CPA Society was founded July 15, 2005.  The purpose of the Society is to promote excellence in the forensic accounting profession by the use of the FCPA certification."
       
    CISA Certified Information Systems Auditor
      CISA is ISACA's cornerstone certification.  Since 1978, the CISA exam has measured excellence in IS auditing, control and security.  More than 60,000 professionals have earned the CISA certification, recognized globally, since its inception.
    Requirements:
    1. Successful completion of the CISA Examination.
    2. Complete a minimum of five years work of professional information systems auditing, control, or security work.
    3. Comply with the Code of Professional Ethics.

    Related Link:
    Information Systems Audit and Control Association  
    "ISACA has become a pace-setting global organization for information governance, control, security and audit professionals.  Its IS auditing and IS control standards are followed by practitioners worldwide.  Its research pinpoints professional issues challenging its constituents."