In the management accounting field, you would be hard-pressed to find someone as renowned as Nathan Liao. He is the founder of CMA Exam Academy, a top Certified Management Accountant exam review program. As a CMA and CMA coach, Liao mentors accounting and finance professionals in over 80 countries to earn their CMA certification in as little as eight months. Nathan mentors candidates in his online CMA Exam Academy program through video lectures and weekly accountability follow-ups and check-ins.
CMA Exam Academy is trusted by employees from first-rate corporations like Oracle, Nestle, and IBM, as well as the United States of America Department of State. Home Business Magazine had the opportunity to chat with Liao about his business journey with CMA Exam Academy. The successful entrepreneur was happy to share what sets his company apart from its competitors, finance fundamentals that every business owner needs to keep in mind, how he balances his work and personal life, and much more.
HBM: Tell us about CMA Exam Academy. What sets it apart from competitors?
NL: “CMA Exam Academy is a top Certified Management Accountant exam review program. The unique review framework in CMA Exam Academy has proven to be the key to our students’ outstanding success in attaining their dream of earning the Certified Management Accountant certification.
CMA Exam Academy rises above the competition by putting a face to an otherwise ‘faceless’ industry. Buying test prep programs from big corporations is an outdated strategy. People want to do business with people they know, like, and trust. By putting myself front and center, my customers know who they are doing business with. They get to know me and by extension my brand/business before they decide to study in my program.”
HBM: How did you get your start in the financial field?
NL: “I had many office jobs in college. The ones that paid the best were accounting jobs, so I applied for clerical accounting jobs. I began working as an accounting clerk and slowly moved up the ladder. When it was time to choose my major in college, I chose accounting because I had gained years of experience in the field so it was the path of least resistance. Years later, I earned my CMA certification and propelled my career further.”
HBM: What finance fundamentals should every business owner keep in mind?
NL: “Knowing how to read financial statements and having a strong grasp of cashflow management isn’t only for accountants. Every business owner needs these skills to make sound financial decisions.”
HBM: What was the biggest challenge you overcame in launching your business
NL: “The R&D costs to develop our study material were the biggest challenge in terms of investment, team effort, and time.”
HBM: How do you balance your work and personal life?
NL: “I plan out my work and priorities every Sunday for the upcoming week, ensuring that I include personal time off. A nice bonus about pre-planning my week is that by focusing my attention on executing the plan each day, I’m able to naturally have more free time because my days are very efficient. If I had to plan and execute every day, I’d waste too much time in the planning phase.”
HBM: What is your favorite part about being a business owner?
NL: “My favorite part is seeing the positive impact my business has on my customers’ lives. After they get certified, I get emails from them sharing the news that they got a raise or even a promotion at work. This translates into a more fulfilling career and, in many cases, financial freedom. It’s so fulfilling.”
HBM: What skills does every entrepreneur need to be successful?
NL: “In order to be a successful business owner, it is important to be skilled in sales and marketing. This will help you outshine your competitors and reach greater levels of success. You must also have financial literacy so that you can balance your business’s budget and maximize your bottom line. On top of this, you must be a visionary, have innovation and creativity, and have the ability to stomach risk.”