Maxwell D. Rieck, CPA, CGMA
Controller & Partner
Rentacrate Enterprises, LLC
What motivated you to get the CGMA designation?
I am drawn to the strategic and management decisions that make businesses tick. I believe the CGMA designation embodies utilizing a strong CPA/accounting/finance background but pushes larger scale thought. It is important to have a strong finance individual within organization,s but as business has evolved, so too has the role of the CPA inside of organizations. Pairing strong communication, leadership, strategic thought, people skills and other well-rounded (non-financial) skills are what make a truly impactful financial professional within organizations.
How has the journey through taking the live and self-study learning and exam been?
The live class in New York was paramount to setting the tone for the whole process. Adrian Sims did a wonderful job of describing the ins and outs of the exam and how to exceed expectations. From that class, I was able to focus on exactly what matters and not waste time where not necessary in my continued studies.
What are your thoughts on the CGMA exam? What did you think about the format? What are some aspects that you liked or disliked?
It was difficult consistently assessing each task through a leadership view point and not getting caught in deep financial analysis. It is imperative to view the CPA/finance background as a foundation to our business knowledge as CGMAs. The differentiating factor is the ability to take that foundation and transcend into positive leadership and strategic decisions that allow businesses to move forward.
What have you gained from going through the Program?
Most importantly, it reiterated how important it is to think bigger. Again, financial skills are very important and act as a necessary and wonderful foundation. The ability to communicate, lead and drive success across departments and personalities, however, is really where the difference comes into play in business. This program honed in on that larger scale thought process.
If you were to apply for a new job, would the program be something you’d list as an accomplishment/education? Would it be something you’d lean on to demonstrate expertise in MA?
I would absolutely list this experience as an accomplishment. The designation is still gaining tractio,n but as organizations realize the benefits, it will become more prominent.
Would you recommend the CGMA Program to peers and why?
I would recommend the CGMA Program to my peers as long as they share the same large scale thought process. As to why, because it is important to be good community members. What I mean by that is that if we collectively start thinking larger, helping each other succeed and take a greater hand in growing businesses, we will all benefit. It would be ideal if the public perception got away from questions regarding individual taxes to questions of start-up success stories and international growth.
In your opinion, what is the value of obtaining the CGMA designation, both in terms of the journey to get it, as well as applying your knowledge, skills and experience to your organization?
The journey allowed me to hone in on strategic thinking and leadership skills. I have always wanted to play a larger role in business above accounting: I feel that the CGMA experience allows greater credibility to that larger role.