The Top 5 Accounting Certifications

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Accounting is one of the most competitive fields out there. Always in demand and needed practically everywhere, accountants are constantly looking for ways to diversify themselves from the crowd. After earning a graduate degree, the best move for accountants looking to get an edge is an official accounting certification. With a variety of top notch certifications available, each one carries its own specialties and should be analyzed carefully. Check out the top 5 accounting certifications below!

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Without a doubt the most recognized accounting certification, a CPA certification is highly respected and carries a lot of weight in the world of accounting. Unlike normal accountants, accountants with a CPA certification are able to write audit reports, represent clients in front of the IRS, and sign tax returns as paid preparers. In addition, certified CPA accountants are licensed by state governments to execute their financial duties. As one of the top ranked certifications, CPA’s are generally also able to perform a wide variety of tasks done by other certificatied accountants. In order to successfully become a CPA, all state education requirements must be met as well as a passing score on all parts of the CPA exam.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
Designed for accountants particularly interested in the world of finance and investment, a CFA certification will surely be a next level distinguishing factor. Commonly earned by financial professionals working on Wall Street and hedge funds, accountants looking to earn a CFA certification will learn critical analytical skills about business operations, solid investment practices, and finance. Although not nearly as common in the US as the CPA certification, the CFA certification is internationally recognized and very popular in Europe and China. In order to earn a CFA certification, a passing score on all parts of the CFA exam is required.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
A managerial accounting certification, the CMA certification truly differs from the CPA and CFA. Due to its specialized nature, the CMA certification is great for current accountants looking to climb the corporate ladder and achieve executive level roles in their companies. Whereas other accounting certifications may focus on audit procedures and tax write ups galores, the CFA solely specializes in bolstering management skills. In order to become CMA certified, all educational requirements, work experience, and overall passing score on the CMA are required.

Enrolled Agent (EA)
For accountants infatuated by taxes and US tax code, there is no better certification available than the EA certification. Like the CMA, the EA certification is a strictly specialized certification. Accountants looking to further their careers in tax preparation or internal tax work should find the EA certification to be a very advantageous credential. While many EA certification responsibilities overlap with CPA responsibilities, the EA certification doesn’t require nearly as many educational and experience requirements. In order to earn an EA certification, all parts of the EA exam must have a passing score.

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
Another specialized certification, a CIA certification focuses specifically on auditing. Accountants looking to help independent auditors or work for larger companies and perform audit procedures should consider a CIA certification. In order to become CIA certified, a passing score on all parts of the CIA is required.

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