Finance professionals struggle to choose the best accounting certification options. They do not know what to do with an accounting degree, but want to advance in their careers. As a finance professional yourself, you likely know that employers prefer certain certifications over others. However, you may not know which ones are most favored. If you want to work for a great company, earn a substantial income and have the knowledge you need to provide quality work, you need to enroll in the top programs. Read this post to learn about the best accounting certification options for finance professionals.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Firstly, employers highly value the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. It is, after all, one of the most popular certifications in the financial field. Professionals with their CPA licenses can legally write audit reports, offer professional opinions on publicly traded company financials and sign tax returns as paid preparers. No other certification permits these abilities, which is why CPAs are so highly valued by both individuals and companies. To get your CPA certification, you need to pass the AICPA uniform CPA exam. Look into your state’s work experience requirements as well. If you meet the requirements, have an education and pass the four parts of the exam, you can obtain this top accounting certification.
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
Consider obtaining a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification as well. If you want to work on Wall Street or have a dream of working for a hedge fund, this is a great accounting certification for you to get. In order to achieve a CFA designation, you need to undergo thorough training that revolves around finance and investing topics. Once you complete the training, you must pass the CFA exam that the CFA Institute offers. If you are interested in this accounting certification option, inquire about the exam times and study hard to earn your title.
Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
Furthermore, many finance professionals get their Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certifications. CMAs are often compared to CPAs, but there are major differences between the two professions. For instance, CMAs focus more on financial analysis than CPAs do. They also measure organizational performance, specialize in business budgeting and strategically assess companies. If this type of work interests you, become a registered member of the Institute of Management Accountants. Then, earn a bachelor’s degree and take the 4-part CMA exam. Keep this accounting certification option in mind to impress employers.
Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
Another great accounting certification to obtain is the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification. This option stands out among the others because it is the only internationally accepted certification for auditors. Therefore, finance professionals looking to obtain auditor positions should get their CIA certifications. If you do, you will become an expert in control and information technology. You will also have skills for working well with internal staff. To obtain this type of designation, you need a 4-year accounting degree and either two years of internal audit experience or a master’s degree. Once you have these prerequisites, you can take the 6.5 hour exam to achieve this accounting certification.
Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)
Additionally, employers value job candidates with Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) certifications. This option is great for finance professionals who want to stand out in the investing world. Similar to a commodity broker, these professionals work specifically with alternative investments. They work with hedge funds, commodity trading (CTA) and real estate investments. If these fields spark your interest, meet the necessary requirements and pass the CAIA examination. Then, you can earn this accounting certification and move up in your career.
Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
If you are looking into financial planning, this accounting certification gives you the option to become a financial consultant. While this certification is less recognizable than other planning certifications, it can be completed in as little as six months. You will learn many financial planning skills related to insurance, taxes and retirement. To complete the certification, you will have to take eight courses with a final exam at the end of each one. To upgrade your financial career quickly, this could be the perfect designation for you.
A great way to take your finance career to the next level is to earn accounting certifications that employers want to see. Consider getting your CPA certification so that you can sign tax returns as a paid preparer and write audit reports. You can also earn your Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification. If your preferred field is in auditing, take the Certified Internal Auditor exam. Finally, keep the CAIA option in mind if you want to enter the investing industry. Choose one of these best accounting certification options to achieve your financial career goals.