Finance professor pairs new credential with teaching experience

Ashley Davis

Several years ago, Missouri Southern’s Robert W. Plaster School of Business decided there was a need to offer its graduates more than a bachelor’s degree. They wanted to offer their graduates an edge in the job market.

Dr. Richard Rawlins, professor of finance and economics, decided to pursue certification as a Certified Financial Manager (CFM). Rawlins is now the head of the CFM program.

“I wanted to have the first-hand knowledge to pass on to my students,” Rawlins said. For Rawlins, this certification has strengthened his accounting background, and has given him a chance to excel in his area of expertise – corporate finance.

The program requires the student to sit for four exams, each lasting three hours. The test covers accounting and finance, as well as various business areas. The student must also have earned a bachelor’s degree and needs at least three years of experience associated with corporate finance.

The CFM in the world of corporate finance is equivalent, to a CPA in accounting. This elite certification is held by approximately 4,500 financial professionals in the United States.

This professional designation is recognized all over the country, whereas a master’s in business often differs from one school to another. Some MBA’s may not be recognized from state to state, depending on the school it was recieved from.

This CFM program has been offered at Southern for five years now, and has allowed students to be more prepared for the world of corporate finance. Rawlins received his certification in December 2007.

This semester, the finance professors will start using some questions from these CFM exams as a way of assessment for the graduating seniors.

“These questions are considered by the federal government to be things everyone should know,” Rawlins said.

The CFM program was established by the Institute of Management Accountants to encourage further education and recognition of financial professionals in financial management.

“I want my students to know that education is a lifelong process, not something that stops with a bachelor’s degree,” Rawlins said. “It is important throughout life to continue to learn.”

The school of business administration Web site is www.mssu.edu/business/.