What is a Credit Business Associate?

The Credit Business Associate (CBA) designation is sponsored by the National Association of Credit Management (NACM) and targeted toward individuals who want a career in credit management. The designation shows that the holder has mastery in financial statement analysis, basic financial accounting and business credit principles.

Understanding Credit Business Associates (CBA)

To receive the Credit Business Associate designation, applicants must sit for an exam. There is no minimum work experience required to earn this designation; most of the coursework needed is through self-study, nationally sponsored programs, local NACM affiliated programs, and colleges.

Applying for the Credit Business Associate Designation

  1. Register for NACM's Education Department by sending the appropriate form along with the fee of $175 for NACM members and $275 for non-members.
  2. Submit the CBA Designation application with the $235 fee for NACM members or $335 fee for non-members.
  3. Include your updated résumé.
  4. Submit your official college transcripts, which must be sent directly from your college. (Applying to grad school? For more, see: Applying to Grad School: GPA vs. Work Experience.)

Credit Business Associate Exam

Qualified applicants are invited to sit a three-hour exam, which is offered three times per year at local NACM affiliated offices or annually at NACM’s Credit Congress. The exam typically consists of between 125 and 150 true/false and multiple choice questions which are weighted equally. Applicants may need to prepare financial statements, such as a balance sheet, an income statement, a cash flow statement or common size analysis. The exam does not permit textbooks or notes. Calculators are allowed. To pass, candidates must earn a minimum score of 70%. NACM offers a practice exam on its website that has similar questions to the actual exam.

NACM recommends working through the following texts for exam preparation:

  • "Principles of Business Credit," by NACM
  • "Accounting," by Warren, Reeve and Duchac
  • "Understanding Financial Statements," by Lyn Fraser
  • "Credit Management: Principles and Practices," by Dr. Charles Gahala

Credit Business Associate Required Courses

CBA applicants are required to complete three courses as part of the program. These are Basic Financial Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis 1 and Business Credit Principles. The NACM recommends that the Basic Financial Accounting course is completed before the Financial Statement Analysis course to allow applicants to build on their knowledge as they progress. Most of these courses can be completed by successfully completing one of the following:

  • One full semester or two quarters of the same topic at college
  • Undertaking NACM-National’s relevant online course
  • The NACM certification course, when offered at NACM’s national headquarters
  • Through a local NACM affiliated sponsored course