Our mission is to guide finance professionals through a career-shaping process that measures their progress toward their long-term goal of becoming an executive. The McCracken Institute has partnered with the McCracken Alliance, which has been instrumental in the design, build and operation of leadership networks and financial leadership programs in the US. The Alliance has worked with leading universities and highly notable companies in industry to develop a foundation for leveraging knowledge for the betterment of both the university, companies and finance professionals in business. This has led them to understand intimately the highly important missing piece in the career advancement of finance professionals.


Historical approaches to career progression of finance executives in business are typically structured around the needs of a particular business and are naturally influenced by the demands of that particular business. After all, this approach is consistent with the employment model in business, which allocates resources to the tasks and demands that a business encounters. In larger businesses, the progression process may entail a more formal training and experiential regimen, and the requirements of the position align to the practical demands of the business. This naturally tends to lead to specialization in overseeing tasks and responsibilities to create the most efficient and effective productivity.

At the same time, business demands are only a part of a professional’s life, and other desires and demands outside of work require time and commitment as well. The result of achieving a balanced life style naturally creates constraints on availability for someone to seek broader training and experiences beyond their current assigned role. In the long run, this can have a tendency to limit key aspects of growth if left unguarded. Although the variety of experience within a given department or role is engaging, if one limits themselves to predominantly the same routine, they will find shortfalls if they desire to expand their horizon into broader finance roles.

Career guidance for finance professionals desiring higher level roles requires planning and ongoing attention. By capturing the primary requirements of higher level finance roles and incorporating them into a guidance system, professionals can development their own unique personal growth plan for their leadership development over their career. The MI Guidance System incorporates the functional foundations of the Office of the CFO with both the leadership and experience requirements of the Office to provide guidance for the pursuit of higher level roles in finance.
In addition to the career plan, the Institute provides an ongoing support system and certificate program through the McCracken Institute Registry. The Registry records the progress professionals make against their plan by reporting the completion of education, certifications, training, advanced projects, promotions, added position responsibilities and awards. These career achievements are measured against the Institute’s criteria of functional, leadership and experience requirements to earn Guidance System Credits. When sufficient Credits are earned at any given career level, the Institute issues Certificates of Completion, promotions in rank, special awards and designations to honor the successes achieved.


The curriculum measurements take into consideration functional knowledge and education, experience, and leadership. In addition, the MI Guidance System recognized the differences between company size and complexity and the impact these have on the requirements of the Office of the CFO.



Example of evaluation criteria for performance reporting at a Complex Public Enterprise: 


In addition to functional and experiential achievements, demonstration of leadership achievements is key to progression within the Institute. Following are the leadership levels which have been built into the measurement system at the Institute:


Continuum of Learning and Experience – as a finance professional advances in their career, their expertise must expand beyond their functional specialization and knowledge.



Certificates of Completion can be earned at any given career level based upon the size, complexity and type of entity where the professional is engaged.



Enrollment in McCracken Institute is limited to professionals who have earned a college degree from an accredited college or university and are pursuing a career in accounting, finance or other disciplines with primary oversight of the office of the CFO.

Professionals admitted to the Institute shall receive the following designations:
Membership Designations

  • - Member - someone qualified for membership and in good standing
    with the requirements of membership: Alpha/Beta/Gamma Level Members
  • - Executive Member – Delta and Higher Level Members
  • - Fellow – Member of the Institute for 5 or more years and who has earned 3 or more Certificates, and retired CFO’s
  • - Advisory Board Member - CFOs or Professors
  • - Governing Body Member --- selected CFOs or professors who
    represent varied sources of constituents (geographic, industry, company size
    and character, etc.)
  • - Strategic Partners - those organizations who sponsor the overall
    effort of the Institute
  • - Institute Intern – student enrolled in an accredited college or university and beginning to utilize the MI Guidance System



Members of Distinction

-        * Member of Distinction -  member holding a recognized Certification in finance
field and member who has been a CFO

-         Member of High Distinction – member holding advanced degree and remember who has been CFO of companies with $300 million or more in revenues or $1.0 billion in assets

-         Member of Highest Distinction - member holding PhD and members who have been CFOs of companies with $1 billion or more in revenues or $5 billion in assets


Corporate Membership

According to a 2016 survey published by McKinsey Research, 90% of CEOs are planning to increase investment in leadership development because they see it as the single most important issue facing their human capital needs. Those that take in-classroom programs retain only 10% of what they hear while they retain nearly two thirds when actually doing the work. Overall, 34% of the knowledge learned in development courses are actually transferred into the work place.

This evidences the high value of incorporating actual job related work experiences along with educational learning as part of leadership development. This is a primary reason that MI Guidance System Credits (GSC’s) weight project work more heavily than classroom education. Getting the proper balance encompasses both knowledge and experience.

Is there a proven return on the investment for developing leaders?  You bet there is! Not only do we see it in the cultural aspects of teams, but according to the Organizational Health Index reported by Egon Zehnder and McKinsey, leaders that perform in the top quartile of leaders outperform others by 2 times EBITDA. Those organizations that invest most in developing leaders during significant transformations are 2.4 times more likely to hit their performance targets.

Knowing the importance that corporations play in building finance leaders, we have designed a compelling Corporate Program which supplements and leverages a company’s leadership development initiatives.  A significant amount of GSC’s require Institute members to engage successful in on-the-job projects in order to advance to higher levels of finance. This is the real world, and the Institute recognizes the importance of experience in its recognition programs and in earning certificates of completion.


Corporate Memberships incorporate the following:

-       *  In-person registration and onboarding session for up to a half day when companies sponsor 10 or more members in the Institute

-        *  Recognition as a Corporate Member in the Institute including listing in the directory


-        *  A distinguished plaque in the company’s name as a proud Corporate Member of the McCracken Institute for sponsoring their finance team members in the Institute


-        *  Group membership discounts


o   Based upon the number of members from a company listed in the MI Registry

o   For training programs offered by McCracken Alliance

o   For training programs offered by selected Institute sponsors, CPE providers and universities


The Institute has been organized to encourage a multi-faceted approach to supporting the growth of finance professionals over the course of their careers. This can begin as early as an internship by senior level undergraduate candidates who aspire to be finance leaders. The Institute also encourages partnerships with universities and service providers in the business community who desire a close working relationship with the membership in the Institute.

Accordingly, we have established fee categories for each membership category. Fees include:
- $25 fee with submission of application form
- Submission of resume
- Registration fees range from $295 for entry level professionals to $495 for executive level professionals
- Registration Process includes:
      • Registration in the Institute
      • Evaluation process for your ranking level assignment in the Institute
      • Issuance of a Certificate of Membership including rank and distinctions
      • Completion of an insightful online self-awareness assessment
      • Participation in the MI Financial Leadership Guidance System webinar
            • Access to MI Guidance System
            • Career Development and Performance Enhancement Plan
      • Participation in RightPathing Your Future webinar
The MI Registry
- Monthly fees range from $25 for entry level professionals to $60 executive level
- Fees reflect typical reporting analysis and cataloguing efforts
- Quarterly reports on progress in the MI Guidance System
- Access to periodic benchmarks related to career level
- Access to training guidance and program options
MI Certificates of Completion
- Fees for issuance of certificates cover the evaluation and issuance process and range from $300 to $500 for each certificate level
- Up to three certificate levels are available for each career progression level in the Institute

Professionals interesting in applying for admission into the Institute will first complete an application form and submit this along with their resume to admin@mccracken.institute.com . Upon review by the Institute’s Review Board, you will receive a notice of acceptance or rejection based upon the membership criteria set forth for membership in the Institute. If accepted, in your letter notice, you will receive your degree level ranking in the Institute including any designations that may apply and will be requested to pay the appropriate registration fee based upon your degree level rank in the Institute.


Once payment is received, your name will be added to the MI Registry, and you will be sent your Member User Name and temporary password that will allow you to enter the Member Only section of the website. Here you will find much more detail of the Guidance System as it applies for companies of various sizes and complexity, plus you will have access to the details underlying the 10 Pillars of Finance to help guide you in developing your career development plan.

You will be provided with:

    • The date of the next MI Welcome and Orientation webinar
    • MI Career Development Plan
    • You should develop your own plan referencing key aspects of the MI Guidance System as they relate to your personal circumstances and aspirations
    • The date of the next MI 3- Dimensional Leader webinar
    • Once registered, you will be sent instructions on taking the online MI Talent and Behavioral Assessments

Following you orientation and onboarding in the Institute, you will begin reporting performance accomplishments and be on your way to earning your first of many certificates of completion.

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