Sheila Barnes, CPA, CGMA

Sheila Barnes, CPA, CGMA

CFO, Maine Lobster Outlet LLC in York, ME.

Sheila collaborates in a self-directed leadership capacity with the CEO and COO to guide the organization. She recognizes the value of the employees, customers, vendors and owners. She is also a strong communicator and consensus builder. Sheila possesses strong strategic-thinking abilities that aid in the analysis of operations as well as vital decision-making for the future. She has a solid ability to implement new policies and procedures to further the company’s goals while accurately assessing resource requirements.

Motivation to get the CGMA designation

Simply, I wanted to do my job better and needed the tools to do just that.

I wanted to be better equipped to navigate a changing industry as well as changes within our own company and to be a catalyst for change.

I want to serve as an in-house expert on CFO-related issues on behalf of the CEO and the Board of Directors.

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

I gave myself nine months to prepare for the exam after reviewing the self-study materials. I realized that the content was much more extensive than I had originally thought. I believe that I would not have passed had it not been for the CGMA study program. I chipped away at the lessons while also fulfilling my CPE requirements throughout that time frame.

With the completion of the self-study program, I knew what to expect at the time of the exam.  There were no surprises. The allotted test time goes by quickly and practicing timed responses before the actual exam proved beneficial. These mock tests are part of the self-study program. 

Experience going through the program

I became much more proficient in the areas of international accounting — learning about hedge accounting and foreign currency risk. I also learned more about mergers and acquisitions, risk management and having a better understanding of optimal financing goals. 

One benefit that I had not anticipated was the refinement of my communication skills. In my required presentation of my knowledge, I was expected to communicate appropriately, clearly and concisely. I honed this skill during the preparation for the exam. 

Value of the CGMA

I believe the CGMA designation reflects a skill set that businesses are looking for in their hiring.  In achieving this designation, I believe that potential employers would be confident that I have mastery of these advanced skills. 

I would strongly recommend the pursuit of the CGMA designation for my CPA peers. The knowledge obtained will allow a CPA to provide more extensive and thorough support to their business clients. 

For me, the value in obtaining the CGMA designation lies in the demonstration that I have mastery over these topics — skills that may have been missing from my prior experience and education. The CGMA study program has also given me a very clear path to learn and practice these skills.