CMFO – CPE Requirements & Guidelines

CPE Reporting - Provider Ideas
CPE Reporting - Helpful Hints

The Comptroller’s office does NOT preapprove CPE. As long as the certificate holder demonstrates a good faith effort in matching future potential training to the acceptable course listing below, variances determined as a result of a CPE audit will not cause the individual to lose their active status as a CMFO.

All CPE is to be categorized in two broad categories: Financial (F) and Other (O). Each year at least 16 hours of the CPE obtained must be in the “Financial” category, and no more than 8 hours of the required 24 may be in the “Other” category.

A. Qualified CPE topics and categories:


(accounting, auditing, finance related compliance and internal control)


accounting principles and standards

acquisitions management

accounting research

business law

accounting systems

compilation and review of financial statements

actuarial techniques and analysis

computer training

analytical procedures

current industry risks

assessment of internal controls


asset management

economic/industrial development

audit methodologies


audit of contract compliance/costs

forensic accounting

audit/evaluation of program results

forensic auditing

audit risk and materiality

human capital management

audit/evaluation standards

industrial engineering


information technology

cash management

interviewing techniques

compliance with laws and regulations


computer security

operations research

contracting and procurement

oral and written communications

cost accounting

organizational change management

credit management

performance measurement and reporting

data management and analysis

performance improvement

debt collection

principles of leadership, management and supervision

enterprise risk management

productivity improvement

financial auditing

project management

financial management

process reengineering

financial management systems

research methods

financial planning or analysis

strategic planning

financially related fraud

written communication

financial reporting


financial statement analysis


forecasts and projections (within the municipality)


forensic accounting

forensic auditing

government structure, organization and authority

information resources management


information systems management


information security


internal control and internal control assessment


inventory management


investment of public funds


pension and other employee benefits accounting


procurement management


property management


public accountability


public administration


public finance


public policy and structure


taxation (related to municipal activities only)



B. Definitions


One credit hour of Continuing Professional Education Unit (CPE) is equal to 50 minutes of training time. Self study courses must be provided by NASBA approved sponsors. When total training time is not equally divisible by 50, training time must be rounded down to the nearest half-hour. That is, 90 minutes of training would only qualify for 1.5 hours of CPE.

Reporting Cycle

Continuing Professional Education (CPE) shall be reported annually to the Comptroller’s Office. The cycle for reporting CPE classes is on a calendar year basis (January 1 through December 31). 

  • The original reporting cycle for a CMFO is the first full calendar year (Jan-Dec) following completion of the CMFO program.  The completion date is the date that you passed the final class in the program, regardless of when the certificate is awarded.
  • The original reporting cycle for an exempt individual (CPA, CGFM, etc.) is the first full calendar year (Jan-Dec) following approval of your exemption.
  • For a CPE only individual,  [which only applies to individuals that are employed by a municipality with revenues of less than $500,000 and debt of less than $500,000, who are not CMFOs and are not eligible for Exemption] the original reporting cycle is the first full calendar year (Jan-Dec) following the date that the board hires/appoints the individual to meet the requirements of the CMFO law.

CMFO Employment Exception - “CPE Only Provision”

As provided for in TCA, Section 6-56-402(c), a municipality that has “…five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) or less in gross revenues for all funds, including utilities, but excluding one-time non-recurring grants, and with debt totaling five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) or less in the immediately preceding fiscal year may, instead of employing a CMFO or a qualified individual who is exempt from CMFO certification for financial oversight, shall be required to have in their employment an individual who has met the CPE requirements of 6-56-404.

CMFO Exemption - Exempt Individual

An exempt individual is an individual who is exempt from obtaining the CMFO certification. The individual must request the exemption and be acknowledged by the comptroller as meeting one or more of the following conditions as provided for in TCA, Section 6-56-405 and must comply with the CPE requirement of the CMFO law.

(1) An individual designated as a certified government finance manager (CGFM) by the association of government accountants.

(2) An individual designated as a certified public finance officer (CPFO) by the government finance officers association.

(3) An individual licensed as a certified public accountant (CPA) by the state board of accountancy and in active status who has a minimum of five (5) years of primarily governmental experience with at least three (3) of those years in this state.

C. Documentation Requirements

All individuals required to obtain CPEs are required to maintain documentation for continuing education. That documentation would include a completion certificate, transcript or other equivalent document that displays the name of the class, dates attended, sponsor name (and number if they are a NASBA approved registry sponsor) and hours of CPE earned. The agenda, itinerary or class schedule should be retained along with the attendance certificate, transcript or other equivalent document for a minimum of three years following each reporting cycle.

All CPE must be entered in the CMFOAS by December 31 of each year.  All documentation for CPEs must be uploaded in the CMFOAS by February 1, or the year following the reporting cycle.

D. CPE Provider/Sponsor Requirements

All continuing education, including self-study courses, provided by NASBA approved registry sponsors will meet the provider requirements of the CMFO program. The classification of CPE units used by these providers is tied to the requirements applicable to CPAs. Classification adjustments for the CMFO program will need to be made.

For CPE provided by other organizations/sponsors, the following minimum guidelines must be met.

(1) In order to qualify for credit to satisfy the requirements of TCA, a continuing education program must contribute directly to the professional competence of the certificate holder.

(2) Programs requiring attendance may be considered for credit if:

    (a) An outline is prepared and preserved;

    (b) The program is at least one half (1/2) credit hour [one half credit hour = twenty five (25) minute period];

    (c) The program is conducted by a qualified instructor, discussion leader, or lecturer; and

    (d) A record of attendance is maintained.

(3) University or college courses provided that:

    (a). For credit courses, each semester hour credit shall equal fifteen (15) continuing education credit hours, and each quarter hour credit shall equal (10) continuing education credit hours;

    (b). For non-credit short courses, continuing education credit shall equal actual time in class;

(4) The sponsor of any continuing education program must issue to attendees certificates of completion that include:

    (a) Sponsor name;

    (b) Date(s) of training;

    (c) Title of program;

    (d) CPE subject code;

    (e) CPE credit awarded.

(5) The sponsor of any continuing education program shall keep detailed records of the following for a period of five (5) years after the date of the presentation of the program:

    (a) The date and location of the program presentation;

    (b) The name of each instructor or discussion leader;

    (c) A list of attendees of each program presentation;

    (d) A written outline of the program presentation; and

    (e) The number of continuing education hours allowable.

E. Carryover Hours

Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 6-56-404, provides that twenty-four (24) hours of continuing education may be carried over to the next year. That is, if an individual takes forty eight (48) hours of continuing education in one year, twenty-four (24) of those hours may be applied (carried over) to the following year. Any hours in excess of forty eight (48) hours in a single year will not be carried over to the following year.