When you?re in the consulting business, anything you can do to differentiate your services from your peers helps to enhance your reputation, attract new clients, and increase the likelihood of continued growth. For G-Squared Partners, which provides part-time CFO services and financial and strategic consulting to venture-backed and emerging-growth companies in the D.C.-to-N.Y. corridor, one way to gain that competitive edge is to encourage employees ? and even the company?s CEO and founder ? to earn their CMA? (Certified Management Accountant) certification.

The idea to sponsor a company-wide push towards certification began last year, oddly enough from a potential employee. G-Squared has a policy of asking job candidates to meet over dinner with the leadership team and conduct a presentation. At one of those presentations, a job candidate proposed having members of the company take the CMA exam.

Several months later, the idea emerged again, this time at the company?s annual strategic planning session. Here, employees are asked to submit four goals for themselves and four goals for the company. ?We look for consensus, to see what ideas are repeated again and again by members of the firm,? explained Gene Godick, G-Squared?s CEO and founder. ?The CMA was mentioned by several people and this time, we took notice.?

From there, it was an effort led by Emily Harp, the company?s human capital manager, to reach out to IMA? (Institute of Management Accountants) to learn more about the certification. ?We took the online practice exams and realized that this is something that would definitely be helpful for the kinds of work we do with our clients,? explained Godick, who is among the 11 individuals at the company who is now preparing to take the exam.

Kicking-off the company?s CMA commitment, Lisa Beaudoin, CMA, CAE, IMA director of educational partnerships, conducted a CMA informational webinar, during which she discussed an overview of the exam content, simple study tips, and the advantages of CMA certification. In May, she will deliver another webinar, this time on more specific study tips and tricks.

Godick reported that some members of the company are studying on their own while others are working together in a study group. ?Some of us are taking Part 1 this May or June while others are taking Part 2. We?re not putting pressure on people, but of course, we want everyone to succeed.? (Godick himself is an inactive CPA and is finding studying for the exam ?definitely valuable.?)

Said Beaudoin, ?G-Squared is a great example of a company that is supporting its employees in their pursuit of the CMA. Also, the fact that the company?s leader is committed to earning the CMA along with his employees is truly inspiring. The credential will provide credibility to G-Squared employees as they provide services to their clients.?

Beaudoin welcomes inquiries from IMA members who are interested in learning about how the CMA certification can be introduced at their places of employment. You can reach her directly at lbeaudoin@imanet.org.