Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager (CAFM)

What is a CAFM?

CAFMs are professionals with knowledge and experience in Indigenous environments who meet rigorous standards of skill, ethics and education in finance and accounting:

1) Competency Standards ;
2) Standards of Ethical Conduct ; and
3) Certification Standards .  

The CAFM designation demonstrates that you are up to date on the latest Indigenous financial management practices, that you follow Professional Standards of Conduct, and that you are a leader in your community.

CAFMs are in demand because they have the specialized skills to handle the changing financial needs of Indigenous communities and organizations. They are key decision makers and leaders in their organizations/communities and often form the backbone of Indigenous government administration.

Demand is high for CAFMs to fill the following financial roles in Indigenous organizations and communities and in the financial institutions that serve them:

  • Director of Operations
  • Director of Finance, CFO
  • Office Manager
  • Business Consultant
  • Controller
  • Band Manager
  • Director, Finance & Administration

Two Paths to the CAFM

There are two main pathways to the CAFM designation:

  1. CAFM Education Program path, and
  2. Experience path.

Indigenous financial managers with five years of experience and the required qualifications have the potential to fast track to the CAFM designation.

Students can fast track to the CAFM by successfully completing two required courses: CAFM 4 - Strategy & Decisions and CAFM 14 - Aboriginal Human & Fiscal Issues AND by challenging the CAFM exam.

Program Delivery

You can complete the CAFM Education Program by progressing through the AFOA Canada Indigenous Financial Management certificate and diploma  programs. These programs allow students to progressively obtain all 15 courses required to complete the CAFM Education Program. You will earn a certificate and diploma as you progress the qualification milestones.


The CAFM Education Program consists of 10 courses in accounting in finance delivered through local post-secondary institutions and 5 courses in related Indigenous study delivered online through AFOA, or in-class through participating PSIs.

CAFM 1   –  Introductory Financial Accounting
CAFM 2   –  Business Communications
CAFM 3   –  Indigenous Business Law or Business Law
CAFM 4   –  Indigenous Strategy & Decisions
CAFM 5   –  Intermediate Financial Reporting 1
CAFM 6   –  Indigenous History & Developments
CAFM 7   –  Intermediate Financial Reporting 2
CAFM 8   –  Introductory Management Accounting
CAFM 9   –  Information Technology
CAFM 10 –  Corporate Finance & Fundamentals
CAFM 11 –  Audit & Assurance 
CAFM 12 –  Ethics & Workplace Skills 
CAFM 13 –  Indigenous Ethics Case Study
CAFM 14 –  Indigenous Human & Fiscal Issues
SAGE          Accounting Software Application  

Note: All accounting and finance courses approved by CAFM will be equivalent to CPA-accredited post-secondary institution courses, allowing Indigenous Financial Management Diploma holders and designated CAFMs to apply for credit for these courses should they chose to pursue the CPA Professional Education Program.

Practical Experience

Those who have completed the CAFM Education Program and passed the final exam must also have two-years’ practical experience in financial management in an Indigenous environment to receive their CAFM designation.


CPA Transfer Credit Information:

Getting Started

AFOA can help you understand your options and get started on your path to the CAFM. To learn more, please call 1-866-722-2362 or email Education@afoa.ca