October 6, 2015

The Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) Exam

Financial and treasury professionals are under a great deal of pressure and scrutiny today. Since the financial scandals of Worldcom and Enron that occurred in 2001, the U.S. government has enacted legislature that places more burden and responsibility on the part of corporate financial personnel to enhance their companies’ accounting and reporting procedures and keep them as transparent as possible. While most of these requirements apply primarily to public companies, many private companies are also complying with or observing these financial practices. As a result, financial professionals must be able to prove that they are fully capable and competent when it comes to all fiscal responsibilities. The Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation, which is offered through the Association for Financial Professionals, is a well known and respected certification in the industry. Gaining this certification can provide many benefits to those who earn it.

Expanding Your Knowledge Base

One of the primary reasons you should consider gaining the CTP designation is that there is a very good chance that you will gain important knowledge that you can apply to your daily job responsibilities. Even the most seasoned professional in the industry doesn’t know every detail in this very complicated and heavily regulated aspect of running a business. Gaining this knowledge can improve your abilities to perform your job. Most organizations that offer certification programs make sure that their exams and programs remain up to date with all the many changes that occur in the industry. Getting your designation and maintaining it means you will always be armed with the latest information in the industry. You may also be asked to train other employees, or write papers or speak from your in-depth knowledge.

Gain a Competitive Edge

If you’re exploring your career options and considering other positions or jobs at other companies, earning the CTP designation can be of benefit to you. A survey conducted by Robert Half of 1,400 CFOs revealed that 85% of them felt that earning a professional designation led to increased career opportunities. Whether that means a promotion with you current company, or a job with more responsibilities at another company, earning a professional designation like the CTP can give you a competitive edge over other candidates who do not have any certifications.

Most companies understand that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to study for and earn certification. They recognize that the certified professional is committed to his or her career, and cares enough to take the time to learn all he or she can to be a better employee.

Who can benefit most from the exam?

If you’re a recent college graduate with a bachelor’s degree and no on the job experience, you will not qualify to take the exam. Another article on this site, Understanding Exam Rules and Regulations, covers the eligibility requirements in more detail, but the overall requirement is that you have a graduate degree plus experience, job experience plus teaching experience, or at least four years of teaching experience. If you meet these eligibility requirements, and you work in a position with a company in which you manage its financial requirements and reporting, you can benefit greatly from taking the exam and gaining the CTP designation. If you have a desire to be promoted, become a manager or executive, or otherwise further your career, getting certification is a great first step down that career path. On the other hand, if you’re not sure you want to continue as a financial professional, you should think carefully before going for the CTP certificate.

Overall, financial professionals who want to gain knowledge, expand their professional horizons, and advance in their careers should highly consider pursuing the CTP or other professional financial designations.

Understanding CTP Exam Rules and Regulations

If you’re thinking about taking the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) exam through the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), you should first make sure you are eligible and that you’re familiar with all of the exam’s rules and regulations. You may not be eligible to take the exam because you don’t have the combination of experience and education that is required. To get all of the details of the CTP exam rules and regulations you can visit the AFP website. Here is an overview of the eligibility requirements and the exam rules and regulations.

Are you eligible to take the CTP exam?

The CTP exam is not for new graduates or new financial professionals that haven’t worked for a number of years in the industry. If you don’t have experience managing cash assets for a company, or that it is not a position you’re aspiring to, it may not be worthwhile to pursue the certification. It is a good idea for financial professionals who have an advanced degree, or have worked in the industry for a number of years, or who have taught other financial professionals. Here are the eligibility requirements:

  1. If you have worked full time in a career-based, cash/treasury management position for at least two years, you are eligible to take the exam.
  2. If you have completed a master’s degree or other graduate degree in business, finance, or accountancy, and have worked full time in a cash/treasury management position for at least one year, you are eligible to take the exam.
  3. If you have taught a finance-related course full-time for at least two years and have worked full time in a cash/treasury management position for at least one year, you are eligible to take the exam.
  4. If you have completed a master’s degree or other graduate degree in business, finance, or accountancy, and you have taught a finance-related course full-time for at least two years, you are eligible to take the exam.
  5. If you have taught a finance-related course full-time for at least four years, you are eligible to take the exam.

Rules and Regulations

There are more than 20 sections of the AFP website that provide details of exam rules and regulations, so you should take the time to visit the site and familiarize yourself with them. Some of the more significant topics covered include ethics, grounds for dismissal, candidate misconduct, identification requirements, and several others.

When it comes to ethics, the AFP outlines its expectations of CTP-certified professionals in three primary categories: competence, confidentiality, and integrity. Competence is defined as performing your professional duties in good faith and according to all the laws and government regulations currently in effect. You will also be required to continue your education and efforts to gain new professional knowledge.

Confidentiality refers to your commitment to keeping all company and/or client and related financial information secure and in confidence, as well as not using that information for personal gain or unethical or illegal purposes. The AFP defines integrity as being honest and accurate in all of your professional dealings. You are also expected to disclose any conflicts of interest or information that could affect business decisions.

No one usually intends to break rules, but if you don’t read all of them thoroughly you could unintentionally do so. For example, examinee misconduct includes items such as failing to follow testing regulations and/or the instructions of the test center administrator, creating any kind of a disturbance, or even leaving the test site without permission. In fact, some of these actions could result in you being dismissed from the exam, such as using unauthorized references or aids or not having positive identification. The complete list is available on the AFP website.

About the CTPE: What You can Expect

About the CTPE: What You can ExpectLike most exams for professional certification, a lot of thought, time, and effort is put into the Certification for Treasury Professional exam (CTPE) offered by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP). The exam is developed with the involvement of practicing financial professionals at every step. The AFP also hires professional testing experts to ensure that the test meets the highest testing standards, accepted best practices for credentialing agencies and The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. The AFP also provides all testing candidates with a great deal of information about what is included on the test, its format, and other vital information that can assist you in preparing for the exam.

What You’ll Need to Know

The Certification Candidate Guide published by the AFP clearly states that all of the questions that appear on the CTPE come from the book Essentials of Treasury Management, third edition, which you can purchase from the AFP, through Amazon, or obtain through other professionals who have completed the exam. The book presents information that represents the core or basic competencies required of employees in corporate treasury management, or a baseline level of knowledge and skills required to perform the job responsibilities in an effective and ethical manner. After the questions are developed, they are reviewed to ensure that they are fair and reliable and hold every candidate to the same standard.

The Candidate Guide also breaks down the number of questions by subject. Here’s a list of the topics that are covered on the most recent CTPE (provided by the AFP’s CTP Exam Prep Guide) and how many questions are asked about each one. There are 170 questions on the exam.

  1. The Corporate Treasury Function: 30-35 questions
  2. Cash and Liquidity Management: 37-42 questions
  3. Working Capital Management: 32-35 questions
  4. Capital Markets and Funding: 22-34 questions
  5. Treasury Operations and Controls: 21-24 questions

Exam Structure

Now that you know all of the topics that will be on the exam, you should also know how the exam is structured. The test is designed to test your understanding of basic concepts and principles, your knowledge of basic facts and terms, your ability to apply your knowledge, and your ability to perform necessary math calculations.

All of this is accomplished through the use of multiple choice questions. It utilizes various forms of multiple choice questions. For example, you will be given a list of choices and there will be only one right answer. There will be some questions in which there is more than one correct answer. You will also see questions in which there is one incorrect answer and three correct answers and your task is to locate the wrong answer, rather than the correct answer. Data set questions are also used. These are questions in which you are supplied a paragraph or more of information, and then a number of questions that follow it ask you to provide the answers based on that set of information.
Sample Questions and Practice Tests

You can find sample questions and practice tests online in the AFP’s Certification Candidate Guide and CTP Exam Prep Guide. You can also find practice tests through other companies and through the AFP’s study guides and system. Practice tests and sample questions are ideal ways to familiarize yourself with the exam and how it is structured.

How to Prepare for the CTPE

Taking any exam, especially one that can have an important impact on your future, can be daunting. Thankfully, the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) has developed and published a lot of materials that you can use to study for the Certified Treasury Professional exam (CTPE). There are also other study guides and tools available that give you a better chance of passing the exam.

Get the Book

The Certification Candidate Guide published by the AFP clearly states that all of the questions that appear on the CTPE come from the book Essentials of Treasury Management, third edition. You will need to obtain this book, read it, and study it in order to pass the CTPE. There are a few ways you can go about getting the book. First, you can simply order it from the AFP. The CTPE registration form includes a place where you can order the book for $170.00. You can also find the book online at Amazon.com, where it is less expensive. Finally, you could ask other professionals who have already taken the exam if you can use their book, or buy it from them. No matter how you get it, you’ll need it to get started studying.

Other Study Guides and Systems

The AFP also offers a complete preparation system called the AFP Learning System Treasury. If you decide to purchase this system, you won’t need to order the book because the system includes all of the material from the book. It’s an interactive learning system that is composed of printed textbooks with interactive online learning software. It also includes more than 2,000 practice questions, 50 calculation exercises and a post-test that closely resembles the actual exam. It is also an expensive system to buy, at a price of $699.00. Before you decide to spend that large of a sum of money, make sure to talk with other professionals who have used the system to make sure it will provide you with the greatest value.

There are also other study guides available on the Internet through study guide publishing companies. Some companies also offer practice tests. Be sure to get the opinion of others who have used these guides before buying them. You want to make sure you’re getting a product that will really help you prepare for the test.

There are also flashcard systems available for the CTPE that can help you memorize important terms, definitions, formulas, and items of that nature. Again, before you purchase any product make sure you do some research to make sure you’re ordering from a reputable company and that other professionals who have taken the exam have found these products useful.

The AFP also offers a CTP Examination Preparation Guide that you can download free of charge on the AFP website. This guide provides tips and advice for studying for the exam, as well as a listing of some of the material and tools available for helping you prepare. The Guide offers information about creating a study plan as well as information about the AFP Study Network you can use to find a study partner.

You shouldn’t rely solely on one tool, even if it is the AFP Learning System Treasury or other AFP materials. The more tools you use as you prepare for the test, the better the chance that you’ll be covering the complete range of material that is covered on the test. Make sure to take at least two or three practice exams as well, so you can determine how well you know the material and if there are some specific areas in which you need additional work.

How to Register for the CTPE

Once you’ve determined you’re eligible to take the Certified Treasury Professional Exam (CTPE) from the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), you need to register to take the test. There are five steps you’ll need to take to complete the registration process. While you can complete a lot of the process online, it’s important to allow plenty of time for registration, so don’t try to register just before you need or want to take the exam. You may need to request additional documentation to prove your eligibility that can take a few weeks to arrive, so begin the registration process at least four to six weeks in advance of the test date you prefer. You must also make sure you turn in your application by the deadline indicated on the website, or you may be moved to another test window.

  • Step One: Request a Certification Candidate Guide
    The Certification Candidate Guide contains a great deal of helpful and essential information. The Guide is a 22-page document that you can download from the AFP website after you have registered. It gives you details about the CTP credential, eligibility requirements, and information about the exam.

It also provides detailed information about the exam format, testing dates and locations, how to prepare for the CTP exam, fees, registration information, and provides a registration application and checklist. Once you’ve got the Candidate Guide, plan to read it completely, and then fill out the appropriate application included.

  • Step Two: Submit All of the Required Forms
    The primary form that needs to be submitted is the application form that appears in the Candidate Guide. It also includes a page on which you’ll be required to list your work experience as a financial professional, which will be verified. If you’re substituting a master’s degree for work experience, you are also required to send a copy of your degree. Next, you’ll need to send in payment. Be prepared. This is an expensive exam. You’ll have two exam windows to choose from, and sending in your application and payment early means you’ll save some money. Early registration for AFP members is $875, and for nonmembers it is $1,270. Otherwise, registration is $975 for members and $1370 for nonmembers.
  • Steps Three and Four: Receive Eligibility Confirmation and Authorization to Test
    In about a week, the AFP will send you confirmation that you are eligible to take the exam. Following that, you will receive authorization from the AFP that contains the information you need to schedule the exam. You can’t schedule the exam without receiving the Authorization to Test.
  • Step Five:
    The AFP contracts with Pearson VUE to administer the exam, so you will need to call Pearson VUE directly to schedule to take the exam. There are more than 4,000 Pearson VUE Technology Centers throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad so you should be able to find a location that close to you. As mentioned, you’ll have a predetermined timeframe to use to take the test when it is convenient for you. If you aren’t sure when you’ll be ready to take the exam, don’t call Pearson VUE right away. Take the time you need to properly prepare before scheduling to take the exam. It may take longer than you think to study for the exam.

After the registration process is complete, you’ll be ready to prepare for the exam. The Candidate Guide provides a lot of information about what the exam contains and methods for preparation, so be sure to read all of that information. Also, you can read the How to Prepare for the CTPE article on this website.