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Certified Defense Financial Manager, CDFM Certification: Details on Examination and Certification for Defense Financial Managers

Written by AnonymousSeptember 7, 2011
Certified Defense Financial Manager

If you’re looking to improve your career in accounting, obtaining an accounting certificate is an excellent first step.  Accounting certificates can expand your accounting knowledge and increase your proficiency in a specific area of the accounting field.

Introduction to Certified Defense Financial Manager Certification

The U.S. Department of Defense employs financial managers to oversee the military’s financial and accounting systems, including the areas of:

  • Processing payments to the Department of Defense personnel and contractors
  • Recording operating and capital expenses
  • Monitoring revenue and receipts
  • Performing benefits analysis
  • Disbursing and managing debt
  • Managing military investments and acquisitions

The Certified Defense Financial Manager (CDFM) credential is granted by the American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC). Earning this credential requires completion of the CDFM training program. The program consists of three educational modules and three corresponding exams designed to educate both civilian and military members of the Department of Defense about the fundamentals of financial management in the public sector.


  • Is a respected professional distinction which identifies you as a highly trained specialist in financial management with specific expertise in military finance matters Demonstrates dedication to and a level of specialized training within the Department of Defense’s standards
  • Increases your employment opportunities within the public sector

Steps to Certified Defense Financial Manager Certification

In order to become a Certified Defense Financial Manager, you must meet the ASMC’s minimum eligibility requirements. To qualify, you must:

  • Comply with the ASMC’s Pledge of Professionalism
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Pass three required examinations
  • Fulfill the work experience requirement
  • To fulfill the work experience requirement, you must have documented proof of one of the following:
  • Three years of defense-related financial management experience with no college degree
  • Two years of defense-related financial management experience with an associate’s degree or higher
  • Four years of federal-government related financial management experience with an associate’s degree or higher

You don’t have to satisfy the work experience requirement before taking the exams, but you must complete it in order to become certified.

If you have satisfied the work experience requirement prior to taking the exams, the ASMC recommends that you submit the necessary documentation at the same time as your enrollment form to speed up application processing.

Additionally, you’re required to pay an enrollment fee, which, as of 2011, is $35. This fee does not include the cost of any examinations.

You’re given two years to complete the program. Should you need any additional time, you will have to pay the enrollment fee again. Any completed exams will still remain valid toward certification. 

Details of the Certified Defense Financial Manager Exam

Once your application is accepted, the ASMC will send you an e-mail containing your six-digit candidate ID number and directions on how to register for the three exams, each of which cost $95 as of 2011. The three computer-based exams, which can be taken in any order, correspond to the information covered in the corresponding educational module. The content of each module’s exam is as follows:

- Module 1

Government resource management environment
Manpower management
Personnel management
Management responsibility for internal control
Fiscal law

- Module 2

Defense budget process
Cost and economic analysis
Business management process improvement
Fiscal law

- Module 3

Fiscal law

  • You receive your results immediately after finishing each test and are only required to retake modules that you didn’t pass. There is no limit on how many times you can retake a module, but you must pay a fee of $95 each time. In addition, the following time restrictions apply:
  • If you’re not successful on your first attempt, you have to wait another two weeks before retaking a module exam.
  • If you’re not successful on your second attempt, you have to wait another four weeks before retaking a module exam.
  • If you’re not successful on your third attempt, you will lose your eligibility for the program and you will have to contact the ASMC Certification staff to be given permission to try again.

If you need to reschedule or cancel your exam, you must do so by 12 p.m. eastern time, two business days before the scheduled exam to do so without having to forfeit your $95 per module exam fee.

Preparing for the Certified Defense Financial Manager Exam

Each of the CDFM exams is designed to evaluate how well you absorbed the material covered in the corresponding module, so passing the exams requires full participation in the program’s educational components.

In addition, the ASMC offers a free sample exam for each module, and a variety of other helpful study materials available for purchase on their website.

Maintaining the Certified Defense Financial Manager Designation

You must recertify with the ASMC every two years, which entails paying a renewal fee—$20, as of 2011—and completing 80 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) credits. Fifty minutes of an approved activity counts toward one CPE credit.

Examples of approved CPE activities include:

  • Formal training in a relevant discipline
  • Taking a college course in a relevant subject
  • Attending a lecture or briefing
  • Participating in a professional conference
  • Teaching or preparing material for a relevant course
  • Drafting work-related documents outside the scope of regular business
  • Reading or publishing articles in professional journals

The ASMC recommends that you keep a log containing all documents relating to your CPE activities in case you need documented proof of your CPE activities.

Governing Board Information

CDFM® certification is issued by:

The American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC)
415 N. Alfred Street
Alexandria, VA 22314