Certified Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis Professional™Sponsored by the Association for Financial Professionals®
The Certified Corporate FP&A Professional (FP&A™) designation defines universal principles and standards of practice. By earning the FP&A, you demonstrate your understanding of those complex processes, tools and best practices and are recognized as well-positioned to drive strategic business decisions at organizations.
AFP®, a not-for-profit, individual membership association, sponsors the FP&A credential program on behalf of the entire FP&A profession. The certification program was launched in 2013 and will continually evolve to reflect the changing responsibilities of today's FP&A professionals. AFP is committed to ensuring that the FP&A credential is developed and maintains a distinctive high standard of excellence.
The Caviart Group provides technical assistance to AFP in test development and Pearson VUE administers the delivery of the computer-based FP&A examination through a network of more than 5,000 test centers across the globe.
The FP&A examination is developed following certification industry standards with the help of practitioner subject matter experts from the areas of corporate financial planning and analysis. The scope and content of the FP&A examination is based on the results of a FP&A job task analysis, as well as the work of several test development committees of FP&A volunteer subject matter experts.
An AFP Certified Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis Professional, as defined by the Job Task Analysis:
- A newly certified FP&A professional provides insights to the financial decision making process in an organization through analysis, financial projections (planning, budgeting and forecasting) and reporting. They may work as a member of a team of financial analysts but they are also able to work independently.
- They understand the entire decision support process and are able to contribute to and be responsible for individual components of the process. They are able to perform these functions accurately and in an efficiently manner and to identify, assess and adapt their processes to changes in the business environment. FP&A professionals understand and abide by professional conduct standards.
- FP&A professionals communicate with others in a wide range of positions internal and external to the organization to understand and gather qualitative and quantitative information on factors affecting the financial performance of the organization. They are also able to analyze data and relevant facts, consolidate and convey insight to support decision makers and other stakeholders.
The Certified Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis Professional Credential
In order to earn the FP&A credential, candidates must pass two examinations, meet education and experience requirements and agree to abide by the AFP Standards of Ethical Conduct. FP&A candidates may enroll in the program before they meet the experience and education requirements. Once enrolled, candidates have five years to pass the exams and meet the requirements to earn the FP&A credential.
The FP&A Examination Structure
The FP&A exam consists of two parts - Part I and Part II - that require a mastery of the critical skills, knowledge and abilities involved in the corporate financial planning & analysis function. Part I-Financial Acumen is a computer-based exam consisting of a variety of multiple choice and spreadsheet based questions. Part II-Financial Analysis is a computer-based exam consisting of a variety of multiple choice and spreadsheet based questions. Both parts contain unscored pre-test questions, which do not affect the score and are used in examinations as an effective and legitimate way to test the validity of future examination questions. Pre-test questions are placed randomly throughout the exam.
Part I and Part II of the FP&A exam do not have to be taken separately or in any order. Candidates may choose, based on test site availability, to take both parts on the same day or on different days in the exam window.
AFP facilitates the development of the FP&A exam following generally accepted best practices for credentialing agencies and The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. AFP employs professional testing experts to assist in all aspects of the exam development process to ensure psychometric soundness and legal defensibility of the program. The success of the FP&A credential is a function of active practitioner involvement. Practicing FP&As are involved at every stage of the process.
The job analysis process provides a systematic procedure of identifying and validating the performance domains of the financial planning and analysis professional and the knowledge and skills that are necessary to execute job responsibilities. Subject matter expert practitioners develop a list of job tasks and responsibilities, from which a survey is developed. The information derived from the analysis provides the basis from which the examination specifications are developed. More than 600 survey respondents validate the job tasks and responsibilities and rank the importance of each.
Using the job analysis results, a committee of volunteers with extensive FP&A field experience, develop the specifications (number of exam question items per knowledge domain) for the FP&A examination.
Under the guidance of test development professionals, groups of subject matter expert practitioners write, edit and approve test questions. These questions, each of which are referenced to selected FP&A texts, are assembled into exam forms following the test specifications blueprint. Exam forms are validated to ensure they are fair and reliable and hold every candidate to the same standard. A list of recommended references can be found here.