After becoming a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) in 2010, I decided I wanted to become a CFO. Working with Toyota Motor Corporation at the time as a financial reporting specialist, I understood there were many facets of finance and accounting I needed to hone if I were to accomplish my goal. My prior experience included mostly accounting and financial reporting, so I required more experience in disciplines that, when paired with my accounting knowledge, would prepare me to become a knowledgeable CFO.
My journey to gain additional experience began as a senior financial analyst with Schlumberger, a global oil and gas services company. The vast opportunities within this organization allowed me to gain expertise in areas such as financial planning and analysis, risk management, decision analysis, performance management, and other finance disciplines as part of my daily job responsibilities. After starting as a senior financial analyst, I was promoted to operations controller within six months and, one year later, to manager of financial planning and reporting.
Seeking to gain more experience, I moved on to become a business unit CFO for a division of Halliburton. It was at this time that I decided to pursue the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification. Having responsibility to lead a global organization in investment decision making, cost management, performance management, planning and forecasting, profitability management, and other finance and accounting concerns, I wanted to master the finance disciplines that would help me excel in my role. Earning the CMA was my way to demonstrate mastery of these disciplines and give me the confidence to act as a strategic business partner within the company.
I vividly recall purchasing study materials to help me pass the CMA. As I had while taking other professional exams, I established my own plan of studying, deciding on my test dates, the topics I would cover on a weekly basis, and the number of self-tests I needed to complete each week. I followed this plan religiously, identifying any problem areas several weeks before the exam. This allowed me to focus on those areas just prior to taking the exam, a strategy I’ve employed successfully over the years. Fortunately, this strategy paid off, and I earned my CMA in 2014.
The body of knowledge covered by the CMA truly has helped me in my journey to success, allowing me to achieve significant accomplishments for multiple organizations across multiple industries. After earning my CMA, I moved on to roles at CITGO Petroleum and eventually to Houston Airport System, where I now serve as CFO. Recently, I earned my CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis), which is helping me become a key player in driving the strategic planning process within my organization. I will look to IMA® for additional learning opportunities as I continue my career journey.