Accountant position qualify for CFA work experience?

In my previous position, I worked as a financial analyst with a utilities industry. I was mainly responsible for the following duties:

  • Performed financial analysis and prepared financial reports and schedules included in the annual regulatory filings.
  • Built various financial models and played a leading role in reconciling monthly expenses with affiliate companies.

I worked in the financial reporting group of the operations division of the company. I understand the major feature to qualify for CFA work experience is to prove the position assists in the investing process and it looks like my previous position does not qualify. I went through some of the postings here and most people say it really depends on how you spin your job description when it comes to the work experience. Does my previous position qualify for CFA work experience? What are some qualifying work experiences for accountant position in the non-financial industry?

Thanks in advance.

I’m an accountant and my experience qualified.

Make sure that you relate it to the financial reporting that adds value to the investment process. You don’t have to make the investment decisions yourself, but you have to contribute to it in some way. Make sure you stress that in your work experience.

Can you share how “preparing financial statements” adds value to the investment process? I know as long as I can explain that part, I can use my previous work experience towards the CFA but I just couldn’t think of any reasonable connections.

Preparing financials doesn’t add to the investment decision making process.

I had corporate experience approved, but my experience was in building project decision models and models around capital structure decision making. I’ve seen planning roles approved, but they need to be investment focused. I’m not sure reconciling expenses will ever fly, no matter how you spin it. And if you lie, you’ve just wasted your time with the exams, so don’t push it too far.

What did you do with the financial models? That’s probably your only ticket. And that would have to be a substantial part of your responsibilities.

Seriously? How else do owners/lenders/customers/vendors/governments get the information about the company?

Just think about how each one of those stakeholders uses the information that you provided to them. That’s your answer.


^ Did you get approved saying, roughly, “I prepare financial statements for end users so that others can decide on whether to invest in my company?”

That’s pretty remote to the process, that’s all I’m saying. If that counts I’m surprised we have any “Passed Level III” people around here that haven’t made the cut.

Could we add “I process invoices so that the financial statements can be prepared and that informs some other guy…”

I mean, how far does this go? I’m a little surprised.

As long as your employer signs off your work experience, the chance is, CFAI will approve it. i don’t hear alot of people say their work experience submitted are rejected.

I feel somewhat bad supporting what 1bsm is saying, considering I come from the corporate side, but I agree. It’s a finance designation, not an accounting one. I worry that it devalues the credential if people don’t have sufficent experience.

And while I come from the corporate side, I managed a large money market investment portfolio, issued over a billion in bonds and did tons of acqusition and valuation modeling along with implementing a risk managment system, so I’m comfortable in my shoes when it comes to finance. I don’t see how a guy plugging journal entries to balance a cash flow statement is really able to say they are sufficiently experienced to call themselves a financial expert. Now I’ve got our financial systems guy asking me about CFA program… yeah…

It’s all about $$

More candidates, more members = more $$

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Devaluing the Charter won’t help the Institute in the long run though.

I agree to some extent. Most people who work strictly in Financial Reporting or Auditing probably shouldn’t qualify, because they’re not making any investment decisions. Entering invoices into a computer and being sure they’re coded properly isn’t really “investment decision making”, and neither is verifying the process.

However, a lot of my job includes advising people on business entity structure, gift/estate/trust planning, wealth transfer strategies, etc. Shouldn’t that count?

Not all accountants are alike.

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Like anything in finance, people tend to care for the short term benefit than the long term.

And it’s hard to say if it actually HURT the charter in the long run having more membership. Think about it, more membership = more recognized = more control over the industry = the standard

Hi Greenman, my apologies for digging this up, would you mind sharing your thoughts on how I should write my CFA work experience letter? I am a CPA who just passed L3. I also work as a tax accountant, but I am rather junior and only have been working for less than 4 years. Most of my work is income tax return, while I do prepare/review many investment trust returns and have moderate experience in partnership/trust tax planning and various other compliance. Years ago I decided to take the CFA exams expecting my work experience to not qualify, but after reading your posts, I think I might still have a chance and want to give it a try. Thanks much!

You pretty much answered your own question. HNW people tend to have trusts and extensive entity structuring, and they need people like you to advise them on such matters. By advising them on taxes and their portfolio (and by extension, the intersection of taxes and investments), you’re providing them with useful analysis to empower their decision-making.

Basically–just read what the CFA work experience guidelines are and try to make your job sound as much like that as possible.

EG - “Do you construct or rebalance client portfolios, prepare financial models, or perform/evaluate independent analysis leading to an investment decision?” Yes–part of your job is to help determine the profitability of your HNW clients’ non-tradable assets (like their closely-held businesses or real estate) to aid them in their estate planning, liquidity, and cash flow analysis.

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Somehow previous post did not go out as a reply so posting again - Thanks much Greenman! I used to think tax return is more like a retrospective compliance. Did not think of the after-tax perspective of analyzing prior year portfolio returns, now this sounds like a pretty good standing and managers won’t be too reluctant to sign it off. Writing my application soon!

Sorry–just now saw this.
Remember, to HNW people, a tax return is not just an annual obligation to Uncle Sam. It’s a planning tool that must continually be analyzed, projected, and evaluated for opportunity.

Hi Greenman, just come back to let you know that I’ve just received my charter today, thank you very much for your help!