Friday, August 2, 2013

I am a CTP!

This week I passed the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) exam.

This was my 2nd attempt; my 1st was during the June-July 2011 testing window where I missed the mark by 5 weighted points.  Or, maybe it was 5 weighted average points.  Whatever the exact wording, I remember seeing the number close yet so far away.

What is the CTP?

The CTP is an Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) certification exam.  According to the AFP website, "The Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) certification serves as a benchmark of competency in the finance profession and is recognized as the leading credential in corporate treasury worldwide."

For me, why the CTP?

It can feel demoralizing when Treasurers, Asst Treasurers, and/or Treasury Analysts contact you for the most efficient ways to do their account analysis each month yet not view you as their equal.  Based on some comments, I knew that without the CTP I may always be viewed as inept so I wanted to change that. However, not all Treasury departments require the CTP.

Also, one of my best Accounting professors (Husam Abu Khadra, PhD, CFFA and IFRS certified) always stressed the importance of certification exams to our class.  You gain respect and an even footing when you earn a certification of those whom you aspire to follow in a field you desire to either get into or move up in.  A certificate in your ideal area is a great accompaniment to a degree.  For me, it was about respect and future career goals I have for myself.  Most do not understand Account Analysis but those in my field do recognize the significance of the 3 letters I've earned.

Lastly, David K. Waltz, author of the Treasury Cafe blog, has been very supportive.  His blog focuses on topics of Treasury that I have not reached yet so it's my education outside of the classroom.  He's been a great mentor and introduced me to many experts within the Treasury field.  

How did I Prepare?

I purchased the Essentials of Treasury Management, 3rd Edition from AFP but I didn't purchase any prep courses or the AFP Learning System.  In an effort to save money, I instead purchased a membership to TMExam and bought a copy of Preparing for Treasury Management Certification, 3rd Edition.  Both the Preparing for Treasury Mgmt book and the TMExam site were recommended to me by other CTPs. Also, repetition and writing works for me. Writing down concepts or formulas even multiple times helped me recall them because I could close my eyes and visualize the list or paper I'd grown accustomed to seeing.  

After failing the exam the first time around, I decided to take a break and finish my Masters in Accounting (MSA).  Surprisingly, this gave me a very good foundation on many concepts I needed to learn for the Treasury exam. You'd think Accounting would have nothing to do with Treasury but, at least for my program, we had to understand how the accounting of things can directly affect a business and its revenue decisions.

I found an overlap in these areas: types of bonds & stocks (and pros/cons to each), inventory accounting methods, aging schedules/DSO, COGS, financing options, collateral, constructing financial statements which led to financial ratios, auditing, etc.  My most influential courses were Cost Accounting, Asset Valuation, Income Determination, and my capstone class which required us to apply all we'd learned as Accounting students to make financial decisions operating our fictitious business.

Indefinite Study Break

I'm ecstatic I passed and I'm glad to have a break from studying.  I've both gained and strengthen several areas of understanding while feeling this was the best move for me at this point in my career. Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who got things right on the first try.  Other times, I know I have to try again just to prove something to myself.

Happy Analyzing!


  1. Denisha,

    Congratulations! Way to go! And you are right, I did always believe in you, but only because I know you are determined and work hard. It's a recipe for success. I hope you enjoy the accomplishment, you CTP you!


  2. Hi, just came across your blog. I'm considering sitting for the CTP exam. I was wondering how many total hours you spent preparing?

  3. Hi Mark,

    I think the AFP website recommends 3-6 months time to prepare. I did the 6 month timeline during my first go at the exam since most of the Treasury concepts were new to me.

    The second time around, the Preparing for Treasury Management Certification book had a pre-test that I took. This gauged which areas are strengths for me and which are still weaknesses. My study schedule this time around was 1-2 hours most work days with more time spent on the weekends.

    In addition to the pre-test, similar chapters are grouped into sections with each section having its own test. This helped me study smarter but I still started about 3-6 months out just to cement the information. I don't perform well when I procrastinate but this from someone who had very little Treasury knowledge going into the exam. If you have years of experience in the field or find that you grasp material well in a short amount of time, you probably won't need 6 full months.

    Let me know if you have other questions.

    Good luck!

  4. Dear Denisha ,
    I am also considering sitting for the CTP exam ,while reading through your blog I read that you registered with TMexam I was just wondering is that a legitimate site I mean did it actually help you ?? What all is included in their package ,appreciate if you could advise

  5. Hi Vipin,

    Yes, TMexam is a legitimate site. I purchased access to the site during my 1st attempt at the CTP. Since I didn't pass I got access the 2nd time around free.

    The TMexam site has practice questions per section of the BOK so I did these often. I spent more time on the calculation questions than anything else. If you're a flashcard person then those are available on the site too. There are several crossword puzzles too which helps mainly with definitions.

    The times I did have questions about the site, I always got a quick response from David Shipper ( so the customer service was very good. The site has changed since the time I originally bought my membership so I think it looks much better.

    Again, I used it mainly for calculations/ratios I knew would be on the exam. The recommendation is to get a 90% on all TMexam quizzes which was my minimum goal. But, the hardest CTP practice questions I've had were from the Preparing for Treasury Management Certification book which is was very good too.


  6. I am about to sit the exam for the 2nd go round in July. I now have to purchase the new book which I personally think is layed out better than the 3rd Edition. My question is would suggest putting more emphasis on the calculations? My biggest problem is memorizing the formulas and after I am about 4 chapters out and try to remember older formulas, I draw a blank. What would you suggest?

  7. Hi Meutrice,

    Repetition and understanding the basis for each formulas. I tried memorizing the long list of formulas not knowing which I'd be tested on; it didn't work well. I kept forgetting them too because I didn't have the background understanding of why the formula(s) is important to Treasury.

    I made a list grouping the formulas into categories (liquidity, debt, etc) and then I made a second list for formulas I just couldn't keep straight. I eventually spent more time going over the second list because the original list started making sense. Repetitiously, I did calculations which required these formulas.

    This is what helped me. Doing just calculations and formulas separate from my reading and definitions.

    Hope this helps!

  8. Hey Denisha,

    I was wondering about the eligibility; I spent the first 1 1/2 as a Senior Claims Assistant handling billing (issuing checks, voiding,submitting financial s to the state). Would this suffice for the first year of eligibility?

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