Episode 15 – The Rise of the Certified Management Accountant in the Banking Industry

Certified management accountant

The Certified Management Accountant designation is growing at a fast pace. That’s due to the demand for professionals with such advanced skills in management accounting. The banking industry is no exception. 

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Nathan: Hey, everybody. Thank you so much for joining me in this episode of the "CMA Exam Mastery Course" podcast. My name is Nathan Liao and I'm here to help you accelerate your career and income to a six figure salary as a management accountant. Today's guest is Chris Lieber. He works at Pacific Mercantile Bank in Costa Mesa, California, as the corporate finance director. Chris holds the certified management accountant designation and an MBA, a Masters in Business Administration from UCI, University of California Irvine. A fun fact about Chris is that he's a member of Toast Masters International and the 2016 Fall Video contest winner. So we'll see if we can find that link from Chris so we can drop it in the show notes to see him in action. And with no further ado, here he is. Welcome to the show, Chris.
Chris: Thanks for having me.
Nathan: It's a pleasure. How long ago did you earn your CMA designation?
Chris: I think it's about, I wanna say maybe 2008 time frame.
Nathan: Mm-hmm, okay.
Chris: So I did the CMA back then, but I kinda knew about it before that point. And I guess that would probably lead into one of your questions about why I chose it and that kind of thing, but I'll let you run the show.
Nathan: All right. But before we get to that, how long ago after college did you go for the CMA?
Chris: Well, I did it probably about seven years after I graduated from my master's degree.
Nathan: Oh, okay. Okay.
Chris: Yeah.
Nathan: So, in many circles, having an MBA is like the ultimate degree, right? So, my question to you is, why did you choose the CMA track when you already had an MBA?
Chris: Well, before I got my MBA, I was looking at the CMA, or the CPA, as well as the CMA, both. And so, I had already taken the CPA exam and passed that. And then when I was gonna get my MBA, which is what I was gonna do anyway, I was...I ended up just getting my degree. After that point, I ended up going to get the CMA because I already had, you know, one part down and I wanted to learn that accounting side. So that's one of the main keys or the reasons why I did the CMA, was to concentrate more on the accounting and finance side, practical knowledge.
Nathan: Practical.
Chris: Yeah, that's why I have the CMA. And it's a good thing to have.
Nathan: Okay. So then the CPA was a consideration and you did take the exams. Did you take all four?
Chris: Yeah.
Nathan: You did, okay. So then you're a CPA, a CMA, and an MBA?
Chris: Well, the CPA never got the actual hours, and so that was the critical point. When I was studying for the CPA, there's one other...there's like one or two more you can learn to get the CMA. And so, when I originally took it, I did the test prep through Becker CPA. And so the reasoning behind that was because a lot of the people that I was working with in finance had a CPA. So I thought, okay, I wanna learn theCPA thing. While I was looking into that, someone I know who is a CPA said, "You should also do the CMA," and so did the lady at Becker. And so, that's where that came about. But essentially, I would have needed audit hours which was too late to get at that point.
And then, if you remember, at that point in time, they created that Form G, which is the general CPA, which means you need to get a couple years of experience with people who are CPAs but they have to be active CPAs. So the people I worked with in the past, you know, in like around 2000-ish time frame and before, they were CPAs but not activeCPAs. So I wasn't able to get that designation. I thought, "Okay, yeah."
Nathan: So, on paper, you don't have it but you do have the knowledge, you do have all that. It was just on paper that was not because of the hours that you had to work under an active licensed CPA.
Chris: Yes. Well, I have the...I passed the CPA and then I actually used that for part one of the CMA. So I waived that on part one of the CMA because of the CPA. But again, it was, I never would have become an auditor, it was just to get that knowledge. It would have been nice to have that designation, but again, I wasn't...at that time I went to go to grad school. And so, unless I were to, you know, exit grad school and work for an active CPA before the Form G expired, then I was never gonna be able to get that. But I was okay with that. I mean I didn't really have a choice. I'd rather get a real higher paying job as an MBA than try and find somebody who was an active CPA so I'd get those hours.
Nathan: Right. It makes total sense. So which part of the CPA [inaudible 00:05:24], that you took the exam that helped you with the CMA part one exam?
Chris: Well, I don't really know much about the CMA part one since I did waive out of it. But I would just have to say probably the financial accounting and the management accounting.
Nathan: Yup, for sure.
Chris: There's audit law, the management and government, and then the actual financial accounting. And that was the issue that I had, was I wasn't an accounting major, I was a finance major. So, for me, I would have had to take, which I did, the test prep. And the toughest step for me was the financial accounting. So that's when I did the CPA, I actually had to go back. I got three parts and then I had to go back and get the...I passed three out of the four and then I had to go back and get that fourth part to get the CPA. So, again, the...but the management accounting works better for actual industry, obviously, as you know.
Nathan: Yes, absolutely. Was there an unexpected upside to the CMA?
Chris: When I started studying for it, I think the upside was that... And that's what was interesting to me, was because it actually, many of the things that we learned in our MBA were on the CMA exam but you got to dive into it more. And I think for a lot of people who aren't accounting majors, that management accounting can be kinda tough, all that cost accounting. And to be able to go back to it and learn it, that was pretty cool for me because then I was able to apply that in my financial analysis role. Not in corporate finance but in corporate America as a financial analyst. So the unexpected thing for me was just the broad amount of knowledge you had to learn for that exam. And also being able to finally get a handle on the management accounting side of it, the cost accounting side.
Nathan: So the knowledge is more practical, in your day-to-day?
Chris: Yeah, absolutely.
Nathan: Okay, okay.
Chris: You can always go back and refer to it. I have all my books. I could always go back and look it up. So, it's really good.
Nathan: Okay, awesome. Yeah, I got mine too and I definitely go back to those from time to time. It's hard to remember everything for like forever, right? It's good to have it as a reference. So, could you take us to Pacific Mercantile Bank and more specifically into your office, Chris? What does your day-to-day as the corporate finance director look like?
Chris: We're actually working with a product, it's actually a process my boss developed when he was at Silicon Valley Bank and some otherbanks, which was what he calls impact marketing. And so what it does is it takes the interaction with the customer or the prospect and front loads all the information. So what we'll do is, and what we did was he took that and applied it here. So that's what I'm doing, is to lead into that, essentially working with the customer and a prospect to say, if you give us some financial statements we can build out a financial model for you. Income statement balance sheet, cash flow assumptions and all that where he shows, and then let them see different scenarios. And you do that upfront so then you can see right away, they can see the value you're gonna give them and then they can also see the value in it. And you're getting to a decision quicker and they call that...we call that horizon analytics.
Nathan: Horizon analytics.
Chris: Horizon analytics, it's on our website. So essentially, inside the life of Chris Lieber, here at Pacific Mercantile Bank, we work on horizon analytics analysis. So for current customers and prospects, we're actually rolling this out to other members of the bank. And so, my boss and I have spent the last two years here, trying to get some traction with the program, getting structure around it, and that kind of thing. And so we built it out to a point where we've had success with it and so the bank saw that. They wanna get more and more people utilizing this tool. And really, it's just a tool to analyze a customer, right? And their industry and how well they compete. And so what we do every day is to, you know, build out these analysis, meet with prospects and customers, and you know, just show them different ways that they can, you know, build value in their company.
Nathan: Oh, wow. This sounds really fascinating. Is this for businesses or is this also for, like, individuals? Could I walk in into your bank and belike, "Hey, guys. I've got my financials right here, let's project. Let's model this out and see how I'm gonna do"? Or is it mainly just for businesses?
Chris: We work with commercial and industrial lending, so commercial banking essentially. This works with commercial operating companies. So we look at operating companies of a certain size. It doesn't work real well with real estate companies or, you know, really small companies. It helps a lot when you have an inflection point, so if the company is looking to sell or buy, or if they're looking to grow, or just see why they're struggling, this analysis will work really well. And so, what we're doing is, just as an example, just a little while ago I was looking into two companies in IBISWorld, which is the research company that we...they have all these different research reports on different industries, just to see a certain company we were looking at, what their industry is doing, and learn more about it.
And what we do is we take the financial analysis part, which is the model, the Excel model we do, and we pair that up with a report. And so, the report will explain what we do, explains all the finance terms, why we used, you know, discounted cash flow, how we pick our rate, our rate of return, you know, our WACC and all that. And then we have a quick blurb on, you know, economic indicator, so, external. Then we go into micro trends, and that's where you talk about the industry of the company and what's going on there. We take their financials and compare it to the industry, make some comments, and then we also, when we have the model, we'll do scenarios. So, we'll say our base case scenario says this.
We did these certain changes, and this affected value in this way. You know, we can do this and it can affect value in this way, so we'll do like three or four scenarios just to kinda show them, "Hey, these different decisions, the decisions that you think might increase value don't always increase value." So it actually, it's pretty interesting. That's why I was very happy to be able to do this because it helps me or this allows me to utilize my whole background. So I'm using accounting, finance, just MBA research, just anything you can think of. And that's what we're doing every day, is when you say, "Take me inside of what you're doing every day," we're building this out. So we're creating the structure behind it and all the program guidelines and things like that. It's a very open-ended type of job, but at the same time, we have a tangible product at the end which is what we're doing, and then also how many people we can train in our bank.
Nathan: Mm-hmm. Well, it's such an in-depth analysis, a 360 view of the company, right?
Chris: Yeah, yeah.
Nathan: So, how big of a company it needs to be in order to work with you in this type of program? Because I do have people studying for the CMA exam, who are in executive level. They are CFOs, VP of finance, and they may be interested in this but they may not know if they qualify to work in this program with you.
Chris: Yeah, that's a great question. We look at companies that are...tend to be an operating company in a $5 to $70 million revenue area. So, if you're in 5 million, or 10 to 70-ish in sales, if you need a loan, say...a lot of these loans that they're doing are, you know, 2 million, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, whatever. Our sweet spot is five to 12 on the loan. And so, if they're looking for that, it could be asset-based lending, it could be a term loan with a revolver, you know, combination. But essentially, there's only three or four, there's only a few drivers in every model. You're gonna see what it is. It could be a company that's a manufacturing company and the big key is gonna be inventory turnover.
So, they lower their inventory, they'll increase a certain amount of cash and the value goes up. Maybe it's receivables. If they collect quicker, they will increase value. And the main thing that we try and stress is that you have to look at all the different factors to see what actually will increase the value. Because sometimes people will grow, they'll get that big contract from Home Depot, but then the terms aren't as good, the margins aren't as good, and they end up financing more and more of that, and the value goes down. So you have to... So sometimes even just a little bit of cost cutting has more value than trying to get that big contract. So you have to...
Nathan: Very, very true.
Chris: We frame it out to them. But as far as people, it's...or companies who would just be operating companies. And if you have my information on there, we could definitely take, you know, whatever, e-mail or whatever, to give them more information. But again, it's operating companies in various industries. So if they have assets, so like equipment or inventory, or receivables, that kind of thing works pretty well because you're covered at the bank.
Nathan: Right, just collateral there, for sure.
Chris: Yeah. But it's not a cut and dry situation there. Again, each company is, you know, obviously different, so you have to kind of look at each one. But in general, those are the ones, like inflection points and things like that.
Nathan: Do you service only in Southern California, or are you nationwide?
Chris: We actually have seven different branches in Southern Cal. And if the sponsor is here, then we can tend to work outside of our area, but we tend to work mostly inside our area. But if we have a private equity group that has a company that's, say, in Denver or New York, we have that as well, Boston. But essentially, the private equity group is here, so you need to have a sponsor who's in the area. And so that's the key.
Nathan: Okay. Yeah, that makes total sense. What's your biggest challenge at work as a corporate finance director?
Chris: Biggest challenge, right now, we're trying to just get traction with this horizon analytics within the bank, and it's going pretty well. We've built out the structure in getting, you know, how it works and getting people to understand it. But, again, it is a little difficult to understand exactly what is horizon analytics and even getting to explain it to the people within the bank, how to explain it to their, you know, customers and prospects. But essentially, I will read something here that might...this is what we're trying to do, our goal, which is the...we are the only bank in our market with dedicated professionals providing research and analysis to the customer, for the direct benefit of the customer. Our success is tied to yours, so helping you succeed is critical to our own strategy. So getting that message to people within our bank, to their prospects.
Nathan: Right, yeah.
Chris: They always...well, they might go and say, "Hey, we have a corporate finance group that's dedicated to doing this." And they're like, "You know, we're good." And so, how do they sell it to their prospects, and getting them thinking in terms of that this could work on most companies. You know, just getting adoption of this process.
Nathan: The adoption is huge, especially with new softwares that can do more advanced things than what we know, somebody just explaining that and how that works.
Chris: Yeah. There is a couple little nuances with it too, which is that there is a software we have and it's a private company proprietary database that we subscribe to. And what you're doing with that is putting in the NAICS code. And so then that can bring in the industry norms for that NAICS code, and then you can compare that to your company. And these are private companies. You're dealing with really small companies, right? So getting information on that is limited. So having this database sometimes works pretty well because then you could say, "Oh, your current ratio is this. You know, quick ratio is that."
You know, what are the ratios? How are they performing to this database? Again, you have to use your own judgment too, but having that, as well as the IBISWorld, they use the RMA, which is the Risk Management Association's data. They get a feed from them which is a banking feed. I think the RMA has been around for a long time, and so they get that data, which is also from company data. It's all about getting information and being able to...
Nathan: It really is.
Chris: And so, we don't really, so we have software research we use, but at the end of the day we're using our brains, Excel and just general knowledge about...
Nathan: Good old Excel.
Chris: Yeah, good old Excel. And also how to frame out an analysis. You have to look at different things even if [inaudible 00:19:28] different. So that's what's fun, because each company is gonna be a little different. And, you know, we can learn more and more as we do certain companies within certain industries. We'll learn more and more about that and become experts in those industries. So yeah, each one is it's own little unique challenge. It's fun.
Nathan: Yeah, I can totally see that. This is a question that I get asked often via e-mail from people that are just asking me for advice, and you are the perfect person to answer it.
Chris: Great.
Nathan: So they ask me, "Nathan, I wanna work in banking. I wanna work in the banking industry but I don't know if the CMA is relevant in that industry." What would you say?
Chris: It's very interesting. So, I guess it depends on if you're trying to use CMA for the actual financing accounting jobs, or in sales. We work in corporate finance, so we're in the sales area. And so, we actually were working with relationship managers and regional managers, and all these people working directly with customers. There's another part of our bank that is the actual finance group in accounting. It's funny because I actually asked our CFO, because I know he's a CMA. The other thing too is, the CMA where I used to work at Hyundai are these...the VP of Finance has a CMA at that company. The CFO at this bank also has a CMA. So, both high end finance people that I know, that I work for, the CFO here and the VP of Finance at Hyundai, Motor America, both have CMAs. And I think they both have MBAs. But I didn't ask the CFO here if he has an MBA, he probably does. But to answer your question, he... And I asked him what he thought of CMA, and he obviously understands the value. And so, you can definitely...it can definitely be a benefit to you because there are people that are in those positions hiring.
Nathan: Right, makes sense.
Chris: You'll be surprised that these finance people all have CMAs, a lot of them do. And so, I think that would just be your benefit to having it and get a differentiator, as you know.
Nathan: Yeah, for sure.
Chris: So, if you're getting into banking, financial services is definitely a different type of industry than, say, the auto industry where I was. I mean, the whole balance sheet is different. You're borrowing money and you're lending it back out, and all the accounts are different and they have different...financial services is really different. So as far as the CMA helping him on that, I'm not sure exactly but I do know, like I said, that the CFO here is a CMA and he respects the CMA. And he's worked at other banks as well and he's been...he was a CFO at many of these carpenter company banks.
Nathan: Mm-hmm, okay. And you, as a corporate finance director, the CMA is also helping you in your role?
Chris: Yeah, it's helping me in my role, for sure. This group, this corporate finance group, that's a little misleading too though, because we're one of the few banks that have a corporate finance group at this level.
Nathan: Oh, okay.
Chris: That's what makes our horizon analytics so interesting, is because small banks don't do this. There's information that we put on our website that talk about this. It talks about how private companies, no matter how well positioned and skillfully managed, operate in informational disadvantages compared to their public peers. And so, what we do is we specialize in the application of modern portfolio theory to small and medium-sized companies, private companies.
Nathan: Oh, yeah, so you're bridging the gap.
Chris: So it's a little unique in that way, but I don't see why it couldn't help you in any finance job you're doing. I mean, I just, for me, like I said, it's just...I think one of the main things that teach you how to think, and it is very broad-based, so I can't see why it wouldn't help you in many different industries. But, again, banking is an interesting industry, and depending on which area you go into, you might...it may or may not be helpful. But again, it really has to be up to you if you want to put the time in and do it. I think, for me, it was I wanted...and I had my MBA and I still took it because I wanted to have that differentiator.
Nathan: Gotcha. Yeah.
Chris: For most people just to have that differentiator is definitely helpful. You know, so that's what I would tell them.
Nathan: All right, excellent answer. Thanks, Chris.
Chris: Plus, if you go into banking, that doesn't mean you're not gonna go into a different industry either. So people tend to move around [crosstalk 00:24:20].
Nathan: Very, very true, very true.
Chris: When I left Hyundai, I talked to the executive VP of service, because I was the financial analyst for service and I worked with them specifically, and he said, "Yeah, you're lucky because you can go to other industries." He said, "Most of us in auto, we have to stay in auto because that's one thing we know." They're very entrenched in that,whereas in finance, you can move from industry to industry. So, you know, I wouldn't get too pigeonholed and say, "Oh, I need it for banking." Just, do you want it for your career? That's really more...
Nathan: That's a much better way to look at it, yeah. Because people do move from industry to industry, especially in accounting and finance, because our knowledge is pretty much the same no matter where you go. There's the same application, there'd be some variance to it but for the most part, it's the same thing. I mean, we are under gap, right, or[inaudible 00:25:12], depending on where you live or where you work.
Chris: Yeah, yeah.
Nathan: Okay, awesome. For those out there who have the determination or their dream is to work in executive team, be a part of the executive team as a VP of corporate finance or corporate finance director, what's the one skill they should nurture and focus on today?
Chris: The one thing I...that's a good question. The one thing I noticed in both my financial analysis job at Hyundai, as well as here, and I'd say that at Hyundai just because we learned a lot, we did a lot of analysis. So the company was pretty...and it's a huge company, and the analysis that you work on are pretty complicated. And so, I think problem solving and thinking, checking your work are the keys, two of the big keys. Most people don't check their work as much as they should, and that's one thing that my boss used to say, "Just spend the five minutes, you know, just checking it." Because looking inward, so if you're trying to do a self evaluation to say I am this or that, and they've done studies on it, it's hard to see how you are in reality versus how you're perceived. It's the same thing on how your work is done.
So, spending the extra time checking your work is a key, but I'd say as far as what to focus on, I'd say thinking, problem solving, and just trusting but verifying. You get data internally, you have to just check it for yourself. And I learned that early on. I remember back at...when I worked at Upper Deck Trading Cards and one of the CPAs who wasn't active, I mentioned earlier, he was the finance manager and, you know, we were...people were saying, "Hey, do these journal entries." So I was in accounting, "Do these journal entries." And he was...he got a little snippy when he says, "Well, what was that entry for?" And I said, "You know, I don't know because they just told me to do it." And he's like, "Well, you should always know what you're booking."
Even though it was...I trusted what...I knew who was giving me the information to do it. But, again, always just knowing exactly why it's being done is key. And so, I would say, in summary, would be to problem solving, critical thinking, checking your work, and also trusting but verifying information internally because you're gonna get something and ultimately it will be you that's responsible for it. So just...
Nathan: Fantastic.
Chris: Just take that extra time to make sure, because otherwise... And we did that a lot. We would get data and they'd say, "Oh, this is the number of savings, this is the savings we're gonna submit for our budget." And the first thing, it's like, "Okay, we gotta check what they gave us because they're telling everybody they got the savings but, you know, then we have to actually verify the savings." And so, you know, we have to do all the extra work there. But, again, the critical thinking, knowing what questions to ask and just being open to try and figuring out what to ask.
Nathan: Right. Always doing your homework and making sure that you understand what you're doing, problem solving, critical thinking.
Chris: Yeah. And it's something, it's kinda part of your DNA, in a way. I would think somebody in accounting and finance is gonna wanna ask those questions. I guess accounting is, strict accounting is gonna have a different mindset than, say, strict finance. Strict finance, we ask a lot of questions. I think, in CMA, in management accounting, you're asking a lot of questions because it's more business-oriented. And so you're gonna get that type of personality and mentality. And so, just to keep honing that in to make sure that you're constantly, you know, being critical thinkers.
Nathan: All right. Excellent, Chris. Thank you for that.
Chris: Yeah.
Nathan: If you had to start all over again right now, coming out of college, but you know everything you know now, what would you do differently to get to the corporate finance director position faster than you have?
Chris: I don't think I'm in this position if I don't have a past before it. I'm using a lot of my financial planning and analysis skills in this job. So when we build out forecasts for these horizon analytics presentations, a lot of times we're going in blind. So we might just have two years of financial statements and we have to build out a forecast. I can't do that without having done many forecasts in my life before that point.
Nathan: Yup, very true.
Chris: And I think...well, they say people switch careers multiple times during their lifetime. I don't necessarily...this could be sort of a switch for me because it's going from, you know, financial planning to corporate finance, which is more of investment banking. And it always had a nice ring to it but I don't know if I would bend the material for, say, investment banking per se. But to get to where I am today, I think knowing what I know today, I think the key that I learned was this 80% rule. Where once you get to 80% of it, I don't know where I heard this but someone said once you know 80% of your job, it's time to start getting more stuff in your job or new things.
Nathan: Oh, okay.
Chris: So, as long as you're monitoring that and saying, "Hey, I'm either at a stalling point or I'm constantly learning, one of the two," that would be what I would learn. So it's possible that I may have stayed too long at any certain position. But at the same time, I don't think I would be here now if it didn't happen the way it did. But, again, I think if you're gonna...if you want to keep moving and improving, maybe maintain that 80% rule. You get [inaudible 00:31:13] and then say, you know, you say to your boss, "Hey, I'm ready for some new challenges." Because when I worked at the auto company, there was so much...I mean, an auto company is so complicated.
Nathan: I can imagine.
Chris: You're there four years and you're finally just getting your feet because they're constantly giving you new things, so you never get to your 80%. But eventually, you get to your 80%. And so, I got to my 80% and I was still there, but, you know... So if I had to say anything, it might be, yeah, just try and, you know, move a little quicker after that point. But again, it's also product, economy, and things like that. And so, I mean, the economy wasn't great, you know, around in '08, '09, '10, '11, '12. So, you kinda just had to, you know, bear with it, but in general, just make sure you're constantly learning and enjoying what you're doing.
There's things that aren't great about every job but, like I said, just keep doing it that way, where you're constantly pushing yourself. That would be the one thing I would take away.
Nathan: Mm-hmm, okay.
Chris: I think we kinda know it. In the back of our minds, it's like, "Hey, I'm getting bored here."
Nathan: Yeah, we do. It's like we get comfortable. But then it's hard to move away from feeling comfortable, right? It's like okay, I know how to do this job. I got my buddies at work. We're good. But, you know, moving forward in your career. So I totally resonate with what you're saying.
Chris: Plus, you put it into a formula, kind of. It's almost like, you know, accountants in finance, we like our formulas. It's like, "Great. I'm 80%, I gotta move on."
Nathan: Exactly.
Chris: I need something more challenging. So now you're putting a number on it.
Nathan: You know, speaking our language right there.
Chris: Yeah, "Hey, loving it, the numbers are great."
Nathan: One last question for you, Chris. Where can we find the link to your Toast Masters 2016 Fall winning video?
Chris: Oh, it's at OCCN Speakers Forum YouTube page. I'm a member of the OCCN Speakers Forum which actually meets at the Hyundai building over in Fountain Valley. And that, actually the Toast Masters has been really good as far as this new job because we do work with customers and doing this interview. And I've had to do a couple of speeches regarding financial forecasting in horizon analytics. And so, having the Toast Masters really helped. But this video was something that I worked on as part of my VP of public relations role over at Toast Masters. And they knew that I work in video production and things like that as a hobby, so they thought, hey...

Nathan: Oh, really? Okay.

Chris: Yeah, so they said, "Let's do a video." And so, I did this video and we won first place. One of our members had won the year before and I thought, "Oh, I don't think he has any video experience. I'm not gonna let him just win. I got to win, too." So I said, I gotta put together a really good video. But it's at the OCCN Speakers Forum's YouTube page and we can send you a link as well.
Nathan: Fantastic.
Chris: But it's a pretty cool...it's a little one-minute video and it talks about our culture at that club and puts it in a kind of a fun way to see what Toast Masters are all about.
Nathan: Okay. Yeah, awesome. We'll definitely drop that link in the show notes. I would love to watch it, and I'm sure our listeners will, too. I really wanna thank you, Chris, for sharing your time with us today and for all those nuggets of wisdom you dropped throughout the show.
Chris: Great. Hey, well, thanks for having me on. I look forward to answering any questions people may have, if you get some questions via e-mail or anything like that, let me know.
Nathan: Okay.
Chris: And we can further drill into some of these ideas, because, again, we're just scratching the surface at this point, but I think the takeaway is that the CMA, for sure, has a tangible benefit. Anything you can do to improve yourself will have a tangible benefit, whether it's CMA, MBA, CMA, DPA, whatever, CFM. I guess, at the bank here, it's CFA, which is this charter or whatever. It's the finance, it's the degree for bank, for bonds and financial managers, and things like that, investment company.
Nathan: CFA.
Chris: Yeah, they have level one, two, and three.
Nathan: Got it, that's right. Yeah.
Chris: I'm not doing that.
Nathan: Well, you got CPA, MBA and the CMA. I think you're set.
Chris: Yeah, I think I'm set. But yeah, I just wanted to reiterate that. I think, as we've been explaining anything to the listeners, is that any way you can differentiate yourself, you should. But make sure it's something in an area you wanna go into, and that way you feel good about the time spent. Because it definitely is a time constraint as far as you getting that done.
Nathan: All right. Where can listeners find more about you and connect, Chris?
Chris: On LinkedIn, and then also we have information on our website. As far as a personal site, I don't know if I'm...actually, I don't think I'm public on the LinkedIn page but we can be found at Pacific Mercantile Bank's web page. And we have a page called Horizon Analytics. I can send you that link.
Nathan: Sure, that would be great.
Chris: And that way, it will tell you about what we do here at the bank and it's got my information on there as well.
Nathan: Okay, fantastic.
Chris: And if they wanna...
Nathan: If you do that, then I'll definitely add it to the show notes so people can go over there and check it out, and click on the links and learn more about you.
Chris: Yeah. They can look me up as well, and if they wanna find me on LinkedIn, they can find me through there with the search. You know, just Chris Lieber at Pacific Mercantile Bank. I believe there's a few Chris Liebers on LinkedIn but...
Nathan: I'll add the correct...
Chris: [crosstalk 00:37:09] the Pacific Mercantile Bank would be mine.
Nathan: Okay, perfect. I'll make sure to add the correct link there of your profile. Thanks again, Chris. I appreciate you.
Chris: Thanks a lot, Nate.
Nathan: Well, that was the show for today. To get all the links in the show notes, go to cmaexamacademy.com/ep15, that's episode number 15. And also on that page, I have a free three part video course if you're interested in learning more about the certified management and accountant designation, and how to pass the exam. Again, go to cmaexamacademy.com/ep15 to get immediate access. Thank you so much for joining us today, and don't forget to subscribe to the show and leave a review in iTunes if you haven't already. I look forward to serving you in the next episode. Bye.


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Here’s What You’ll Learn in this Week’s Episode:

  • Certified Management Accountant vs MBA – which one is more practical in real life?
  • How relevant the Certified Management Accountant designation is in the banking industry
  • How helpful the CMA designation is for a Corporate Finance Director
  • If considering a move to a different industry, does the Certified Management Accountant designation hold its value?
  • The one skill you need to nurture today to become a Corporate Finance Director tomorrow
  • How to know if complacency has become the silent killer of your career – and what you can do about it now


  • CMAExamAcademy.com/textbook — To claim your free CMA Part-One textbook in paperback
  • Chris Lieber @ Pacific Mercantile Bank
  • Toastmasters International
  • Horizon Analytics® – Horizon Analytics is Pacific Mercantile Bank’s proprietary financial tool that provides a level of insight and analysis uncommon for small- to medium-sized private businesses. Using a proprietary private company database and financial analysis techniques typically available only to large public companies, Horizon Analytics helps businesses understand how their financial performance compares to their competitors and develop a detailed multi-year financial forecast to assist with capital planning and business investment. Through the insight provided by Horizon Analytics, Pacific Mercantile Bank helps its clients navigate challenges, capitalize on opportunities, and look into the future, far beyond a company’s day-to-day activities.
  • OCCN Speakers Forum 2016 PSA Youtube Page
  • Chris Lieber LinkedIn

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