Financial Certification Program Policies

The Financial Certification Program encompasses many facets of financial responsibility at Duke University and Duke University Health System (DUHS). This professional development opportunity for employees provides numerous benefits for both employee and the institution. Employee benefits include development or advancement of skill sets, enhanced professional advancement opportunities, and a clearer understanding of fiscal responsibilities at Duke. This investment by Duke in its employees will provide the organization with stronger employee commitment, a more stable employee base, better information on which to make hiring decisions, and enhanced financial controls (fewer errors entered into the financial system and subsequent error corrections).

To promote these objectives, the following program, policies, and processes will be observed.


Eligibility for the Certification

The Certification Program is open to any Duke University employee who fulfills the following qualifications:

  • Full time employee of Duke University
  • Employed by Duke University for a minimum of six (6) months
  • Has relevant professional responsibilities at Duke, i.e. technical component of job and access to SAP for FSS certification, and payroll rep or back-up payroll rep for Certified Payroll Representative Certification
  • Has approval of their supervisor to participate

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Employees may only participate in tracks relevant to their current responsibilities.

The Enrollment Process

  1. The candidate pre-registers for the certification.
  2. The Curriculum Leader assesses eligibility.
  3. The Curriculum Leader then sends a Contract of Enrollment to the candidate and his/her listed supervisor. Also included are expectations for both employee and supervisor.
  4. The Supervisor and Participant will then sign and return the Contract of Enrollment for program participation. The submission of signed contract verifies confirmation of registration information and agreement to terms of participation.
  5. The Curriculum Leader will enroll the candidate in the program and will send a confirmation notification to candidate and supervisor.
  6. The Participant will be emailed a verification notice and commitment expectations reminder.

** Enrollment is not guaranteed until a candidate has received a Confirmation of Enrollment from the Curriculum Leader of the FCP Speciality of interest

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Expectations of Supervisors

Professional development is central to Duke University's mission of excellence. Support for employee development opportunities is expected from all supervisors when the opportunities are reasonable, applicable, and manageable. The program requires:

  • Respect for program guidelines
  • Recognition of the time commitment involved in completing certification
  • Understanding of the value to professional development for your employee
  • Allowance for class attendance without repercussions. No personal time is required when employees are participating in employer sponsored professional development
  • Acceptance of departmental penalty fee forfeiture for class absences in which an employee has registered

Failure to Attend Charge

The program is based on a sequenced and structured model with time constraints for completion. Failure to attend a class for which a participant has registered results in inefficient use of instructor time and classroom space. A $100.00 fee (per occurrence) will be assessed to the department of the participant, and will be disclosed in the enrollment material online and the supervisor confirmation described above. During enrollment, the participant and/or supervisor will supply the default cost center to which any such charges will apply.

Expectations of Participants

Duke's investment in your professional development and growth dictates expectations from all participants. The FCP requires that all participants:

  • Commit to attend all certification classes and/or test out if applicable before the certification deadline
  • Fulfill official work assignments, taking the initiative to ensure work and program classes are aligned
  • Clearly communicate with their supervisor to ensure proper management of work and office absence
  • Commit to taking certification exam
  • Commit to renewal of certification on a yearly basis or forfeit certification status
  • Commit to share information and ideas to help others around you

Notify Curriculum Leader within 48 hours if you are unable to attend a registered class (doing so will waive failure to attend charge)

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Program Length & Program Pacing

Completion of the program in a timely manner is central to the certification process. Failure to do so will result in forfeiting certification. Should a participant be an active member of the certification group but unable to attend a particular session, a Curriculum Leader may offer a signed waiver for that individual to attend a later class.Participation in the certification program requires a commitment to consistent pacing of coursework. Mandatory course completion benchmarks are required for each certification specialty, based on curriculum groupings provided.

The Financial Certification Program must be completed within six (6) months of enrollment.

  • FSS: Three Course Groupings with Benchmarks at Month 2, 4, and 6
  • Payroll: Two Course Groupings with Benchmarks at Month 3 and 6

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The Financial Certification Program is based on a sequenced and structured model with time constraints for completion. Due to wide participant interest, program demands, and flexibility of course selection, it is critical FCP participants attend the courses for which they are registered. Failure to attend courses without notifying the Curriculum Leader at least 48 hours in advance, will result in a departmental penalty fee of $100.00 per occurrence

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In lieu of a live classroom meeting, participants are required to complete an online Enrollment Course to orient them to the Financial Certification Program. Additionally, individual curriculum leaders may initiate contact in the form of a phone call or one-on-one meeting to welcome the participant to the program.

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Course Offerings

The Financial Certification Program curriculum is comprised of both classroom training and computer based training.

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Community-Based Learning

While it is important to offer online options on a multitude of classes to manage demand and availability, for the purposes of the FCP, some classroom learning is critical to building a community of colleagues. Therefore, participation in and mandatory attendance at various courses throughout the program (e.g. annual updates for the community of certified individuals within the discipline) will contribute to community building within this cohort.

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Foundational Courses

Several core courses are consistent across certification tracks. Completion of these courses applies to all Specialties for individuals seeking multiple certifications due to related professional duties.

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Learning Validation

All courses have test materials at the conclusion to verify participants have command of the necessary content from the course. Participants who do not achieve 80% competency level on their End of Course Exam may take the exam a second time if they score above a 50% competency. If the participant fails to pass the exam on the second try, he/she will be required to retake the class. If a participant scores below 50% competency on their first End of Course Exam, they must take the class again without the option of a second exam attempt.

Each curriculum has a final Certification Exam designed to demonstrate the individual's mastery of the necessary material. An 80% competency level must be achieved to pass the Certification Exam. Results below 80% will be subject to review by the Curriculum Leader to determine appropriate next steps. A participant's area of deficiency will be identified from the exam results and specific classes may need to be completed before retaking the final exam; participants who do not successfully complete the final exam will not be required to retake all courses in the curriculum.

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Steps for the Certification

Enrollment in the FCP does not guarantee certification. Participants must fulfill the following standards:

  • Mandatory completion of the online orientation session
  • Demonstrate 80% proficiency on all End of Course exams
  • Demonstrate 80% proficiency on a final Certification Exam, encompassing all curriculum-relevant material
  • Completion in stated amount of time for individual certification program
  • Minimum length of one year Duke employment before certificate is awarded*


*Applies to employees new to Duke

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The Certification Exam

A Certification Exam will be offered two times per month and an 80% passing grade is required to attain certification upon completion of the FCP program. This test will be held in a designated computer lab and will be open to all certification tracks (each certification track will have a different exam relevant to that track). Failure to pass will result in review by the Curriculum Leader for the applicable certification track. A participant's area of deficiency will be identified from the exam results and specific classes may need to be completed before retaking the final exam; participants who do not successfully complete the final exam will not be required to retake all courses in the curriculum.

Course material (does not includes course quizzes) may be brought to Final Exam for reference. For copies of the most recent course material, please contact your Curriculum Leader.

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Recertification/Renewal of the Certification

Certification in the FCP is valid for one year. Certification will be renewable by participation in a general session designed to ensure that certified individuals across Duke remain aware of recent changes in the relevant subject matter. Certification will be revoked if a participant does not maintain appropriate renewal credits on an annual basis.

The renewal process is determined by individual certification programs.

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Certification Verification

Verification of the certified status of individual Duke employees (e.g. by a hiring manager) will be available through a maintained listing on the FCP website.

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Program Evaluation

Program participants are given multiple opportunities to provide anonymous feedback on individual courses and on certification programming. The health and success of the Financial Certification Program relies on candid analysis and thoughtful consideration by all program participants. The leaders of Duke University Financial Services welcome and appreciate all feedback and will make every effort to maintain and improve upon the highest standards for our programming. To this end:

  • Course Evaluations will elicit written feedback to determine content, learning outcomes, facilitation and logistics satisfaction. Completion of a course evaluation will be required for course credit.
  • Certification Program Evaluations will elicit written feedback to determine program satisfaction, learning outcomes, programming satisfaction, and will seek input for improvements.
  • Supervisor Evaluations will elicit feedback on value added to employee participation, programming and logistics satisfaction, and will seek input for program improvements.

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