Dave Ristow, CPA, CGMA

Chief Financial Officer, Ascent Solutions LLC

Dave brings over twenty years of financial management experience in early and growth stage technology companies.  As a finance leader, Dave served at Ascent Solutions, NoQ, Noribachi, KSS Retail (acquired by dunnhumby), Nexiant and TCI Solutions (acquired by Retalix, later acquired by NCR Corp.).  Dave also served as Director of Investments and led the international technology portfolio of Eurovestech PLC based in London.

Dave is experienced in strategic business plan formulation and orchestrating corporate financing's and liquidity events. Dave is adept at creating a strong financial and operational infrastructure yielding sound financial counsel to business stakeholders. Dave is an actively licensed Certified Public Accountant who began his career with Deloitte and earned a BS in accounting from the University of Southern California. Dave is proud to have served in the United States Marine Corps. 

Motivation to get the CGMA designation

I'm a firm believer that professionals have to stay current and look to enhance their professional skills in our ever-evolving workplaces.  Having been involved in multiple multi-national businesses in Europe, I had become aware of CIMA and was always been impressed by the knowledge and level of talent displayed by professionals who had earned the designation.  When I had learned that the AICPA had partnered with CIMA to create a comparable curriculum and designation here in the US, I was very open to exploring the personal and professional growth opportunity.  I also had the good fortune of meeting Ash Noah at a CFO Rising event who delivered a magnificent presentation about the CGMA program and knowledge and professional growth opportunity that a CPA could attain by working to earn the designation.

Journey through taking the live and self-study learning and exam

The journey has been fantastic and rewarding.  I enjoyed the balance of refreshing on some older concepts and putting my mind to work in areas that I hadn't yet explored and/or had experienced in the workplace.  A critical piece of the journey was attending the Live Learning with Adrian who not only helped to focus the test preparations but also challenged candidates to break free of current thinking.  Adrian forced each attendee to think, act and talk like finance leaders and apply the CGMA knowledge and tools to the pre-seen materials.  It was also fantastic having such a wide variety of peers to share thoughts and compare work experiences that were relevant to the pre-seen case study.  

Thoughts on the CGMA exam and format

The exam format is excellent and requires candidates to think quickly in a robust fashion about the pre-seen materials and a very broad range of business risks and operational opportunities.  The live format of the exam, in connection with a timed environment made it a bit more fun.  As a hockey player, I guess I enjoy the excitement of needing to get the puck across the goal line before the clock expires!

Value of going through the Program

I didn't have time, nor the desire to invest in an MBA.  The CGMA program was an ideal way to enhance knowledge, professional skills and obtain a designation that is, together with CIMA, is globally recognized.

Proactively seeking educational opportunities and thinking like an executive are not only essential to employers but should put candidates top of mind with growing businesses seeking the very best talent. 

Value of obtaining the CGMA designation

The real value for me was in bringing together past experiences and new tools for addressing business changing needs.  These skills will help any professional better balance operations, finance and risk management.  The CGMA designee who does this consistently well will be a CEO and partner to business leaders everywhere throughout the world.  And, as a bonus for those that attended the Live Learning session with Adrian, you likely make a few new friends throughout the world to network and collaborate with in the future.