Increase Your Value With the CERA Credential

Increase Your Value With the CERA Credential

By Chaundra McGill

As an entrepreneur, you must stay abreast of industry trends and adjust accordingly to provide your clients with effective risk solutions. One business practice that has been gaining an intense momentum in the world of risk in the last few years is the application and study of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM).

A former buzzword of the 90s, enterprise risk management is transforming into a standard business practice that corporate governance not only implements to prevent losses, but utilizes to optimize risks.

Defined as the process of coordinated risk management that focuses on cooperation among departments to manage the organization's full range of risks collectively, enterprise risk management requires professionals who can relate to the C–Suite the most beneficial risk strategy for the company as a whole, rather than focusing on self–contained lines of business.

Though a few companies have voluntarily initiated a holistic approach to risk management, the recent business climate has caused many companies to implement an enterprise risk management framework as a form of checks and balances.

For instance, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) in 2007 placed increased scrutiny on top–down risk assessment and included a specific requirement to perform a fraud risk assessment. In addition, Standard & Poor's (S&P), the debt–rating agency, has included a series of questions about risk management in its company evaluation process.

With enterprise risk management evolving from best practice to standard practice, it is important to have individuals with deep domain knowledge of the dynamics of risks in the marketplace to help organizations not only comply and mitigate their risks, but also apply a forward–looking, comprehensive approach that enables smart, more confident business decisions.

The Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA) credential trains professionals to do just this. The most comprehensive and rigorous demonstration of enterprise risk management expertise available, the CERA credential signifies the best ERM training standing on a long history of excellence. Offered by the Society of Actuaries (SOA), the CERA credential has the same standards of actuarial training that has always set members apart.

Like the current SOA credentials, professionals must complete a rigorous exam process, which consists of three to four years of coursework in probability, financial mathematics, actuarial models, advanced finance/enterprise risk management and operational risk.

However, for professionals who have a minimum of three years of substantial experience in enterprise risk management, there is another option for obtaining the CERA credential without completing the examination process. The Experienced Practitioner's Pathway is available to current SOA members who have demonstrated experience and expertise in this growing field and great opportunity to have your enterprise risk management experience work for you.

By obtaining the CERA credential, you will not only be certified as an internationally recognized ERM expert distinguishing you from other risk professionals in a competitive marketplace, but your knowledge will invariably help leaders get a clear view of how their organization can convert risk into opportunity.

For more information on the CERA credential and the Experienced Practitioner's Pathway, visit

Chaundra McGill is marketing & communications project specialist—CERA at the Society of Actuaries. She can be reached at