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 5...so 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.