CMA Profile: Cameron Meyer
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It isn’t very common to attain the title of CFO early in your career, much less at two separate organizations. Yet that’s been the experience of Cameron Meyer, who became a CFO at age 26 for a charter school in Missouri and now serves as the CFO of a Critical Access Hospital in Nebraska. Since joining the ranks of accounting professionals just five years ago, Meyer has grown in his leadership abilities and professional knowledge, aided most recently by earning his CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification last year.
Meyer’s interest in pursuing the CMA began while attending Park University as an undergraduate majoring in Management/Accounting, where he observed that most of the financial executives he admired had earned either their CMA and/or CPA (Certified Public Accountant) designations.
Prior to graduating in 2010, Meyer first joined a public accounting firm in Missouri (eventually earning his CPA license), but it wasn’t long before he realized that he’d prefer to move into a management accountant role. Meyer stayed with the firm for two years and next assumed a CFO role at the charter school, where his interest in the CMA was sparked once again.
“I looked into the CMA exam content specifications and immediately recognized the practical value of the topics being tested,” he said. “Although I was gaining practical experience as a CFO, I also realized that my contributions could greatly benefit from the specific knowledgebase covered in the CMA exams.”
To prepare for the exam, Meyer followed a rigorous study schedule, committing 15 to 20 hours per week for about seven weeks prior to each exam. A key study aid was taking as many practice questions as he could, including taking the time to review and understand why each option was either correct or incorrect. “I had practiced so many questions that by the time I sat for the actual exams the test material was very familiar to me,” he recalled.
The hard work paid off, as Meyer was awarded the ICMA® (Institute of Certified Management Accountants) Gold Medal for achieving the highest exam score during the May/June 2013 testing period.
Meyer received that medal at IMA’s 95th Annual Conference & Exposition this past June, where he also gained some other valuable and practical insights, particularly the idea of replacing the traditional budgeting process with a rolling forecast, a practice which his hospital has since adopted.
And although Meyer’s hospital hasn’t yet incorporated the CMA into its training and hiring programs on an official basis, Meyer reports that he regularly relies on the CMA knowledge base to mentor his accounting staff. He also notes that when the time comes to evaluate candidates for an accounting position in the future, he would move any résumé to the top of his stack if the candidate has obtained their CMA.
Reflecting on his career thus far, Meyer said, “Over the last five years, I’ve successfully made the transition from bean counter to strategic business partner and earned a seat at the table in leading our organization. This level of influence would not have been possible without the CMA credential. As CFO, I’ve achieved one of my key career goals. But, I recognize that in order to continue to thrive and keep pace with economic and regulatory changes, financial executives must continually build their leadership capacity, knowledge, and confidence to make timely, accurate, and impactful decisions that ultimately improve the bottom line. I believe the CMA credential and associated Continuing Professional Education are an essential part of developing this skill set.”
Sounds exciting enough? You can become a CMA in six easy steps. Find out how.