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The CM&AA Certification and Being All You Can Be

About three weeks ago, my Massachusetts partner Jane Johnson and I attended a course at DePaul University in Chicago that was developed by the Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors®.  At the course, Jane and I were happy to meet and study with incoming Massachusetts partner Paul Sandford.

The Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors® (AM&AA) is the premiere International Organization serving the educational and resource needs of the middle market M&A profession. Formed in 1998 to bring together CPAs, attorneys and other experienced corporate financial advisors, AM&AA’s 750+ professional services firms – including some of the most highly recognized leaders in the industry – draw upon their combined transactional expertise to better serve the needs of their middle market clients worldwide. The FENG is a proud sponsor of AM&AA.

AM&AA members represent sellers and buyers of businesses ranging from $5 to $500 million in transaction value. Their services are seller representation, buyer representation, due diligence, accounting, financing, business valuation, tax planning, legal, strategic advisory, and many other transaction services.

AM&AA is also the leader in providing an educational framework in mergers and acquisitions through their Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor® program. From the caliber of the instructors (all of the authors of the various textbooks we studied came to lead the classes) to the content of the curriculum, the CM&AA® designation helps you to build on your existing skills providing you with the necessary framework – and network – to further advance your professional and financial goals, as well as those of the clients being served.

If I told you that we celebrated my 60th birthday in class, you might wonder why a successful 60 year old partner in B2B CFO® would want to add a credential like this behind his name. Well, it wasn’t the credential on my business card that I was after (I have a masters and a doctorate and don’t even mention them). It was the additional skill set that I was after.

The purpose of our attending the intensive week-long course was to complete a “deep-dive study” of private capital markets, financing growth, private company valuation, M&A negotiations, investment
banking, and the legal & tax implications of all phases of M&A, and, of course, pass the CM&AA® exam.
The four hour exam was very comprehensive and, after an intensive week of training that followed weeks of reading textbooks, proved to be worthy of the senior credential that is the CM&AA® (there are less than 500 holders of the certification in the entire world). I am proud to say that the three of us passed.

B2B CFO®’s Founder & CEO, Jerry L. Mills, recognized years ago that to successfully render CFO services to our clients we should have exit strategy skills. Our Finding The Exit® offering and The Exit Strategy™ part of our core The GamePlan™ services are examples of those skills.

I have found that after becoming a “most trusted advisor” to a client and completing a written exit plan, the client almost always want us to assemble and quarterback the team of advisors (contract and tax attorneys, investment bankers, M&A intermediaries, insurance and valuation and wealth planning advisors, etc.) to implement the plan. What better way to do that than to have a thorough understanding of those roles?

We now have insurance and limited dealer-broker licenses to obtain, but how much fun is learning new tricks at the age of 60! I love every minute of it. To borrow a phrase from the Army, it is great that our firm allows us to be all that we can be.

I am a Partner with B2B CFO ®.  We take companies to a higher level of success with our unique, proven six-step process – the GamePlan™.

Copyright 2012 – Dennis V. Niven. All Rights Reserved


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