The accounting industry should continue to grow over the next 10 years. The industry should see about 96,000 more job opportunities with 7% growth.
Despite the increase in demand, it’s still competitive to find top accounting jobs and opportunities. Accounting is an industry with little turnover and there are already more than 1.3 million accountants.
How can you set yourself apart from a crowded field? Accounting certifications help you grow your career and get noticed.
They show that you take your work as an accountant seriously. Certified accountants earn more and let you take on more exciting roles in your work.
Which accounting certifications should you get to increase your income and opportunities? Read on to learn the different types of accounting certifications and how to decide which ones are right for you.
1. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
A CPA is the most well-known and respected accounting certification. CPAs handle much more than those with an accounting degree. They can audit a company’s financials.
You need to pass a CPA exam and maintain your license with the state board of accountants. You need to uphold the high standards of CPAs.
The high standards are the reason why the CPA designation is so respected by accountants and clients.
2. Enrolled Agent (EA)
Enrolled agents represent their clients before the IRS in tax matters. For instance, if you have a client that received a letter from the IRS, you can contact the IRS directly to resolve it.
The EA is one of the most challenging accounting certifications because it involves a 12-hour exam. You’re tested on tax returns and related tax issues.
You need to take continuing education courses to maintain your certification every three years.
3. Certified Financial Forensics (CFF)
It used to be the fraud within an organization was the only threat. It’s common for employees to steal or skim off the top of earnings and underreport income.
Since most financial transactions happen online, there’s another fraud threat. Hackers and cyber theft are emerging trends in forensic accounting.
A person with a CFF certification works with law enforcement agencies, other accounting firms, and attorneys to audit financial documents to uncover fraud.
This certification is given by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).
4. Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
The CIA certification doesn’t mean that you’ll work for the CIA in Langley, Virginia. It does mean that you’ll hold the highest certification for auditors.
You’ll go on to work in a large organization to oversee internal financial audits, working with outside auditing organizations.
You need to pass the Certified Internal Auditor exam, which takes between six and seven hours.
5. Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)
Do you want to work in a global enterprise organization? If you do and you have a knack for business strategy, this is an accounting certification to get.
This is for those who are managers and leaders in accounting. They take financial data, analyze it, and develop a business strategy based on the financial information.
You can get this certification through the AICPA or Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
6. Certified Financial Analyst (CFA)
A CFA also analyzes reports, but they tend to look at different types of reports. CFAs analyze financial statements and create wealth planning and investment strategies.
CFAs work in investment firms such as mutual funds and private equity firms. They look at a company’s financial reports and determine if it’s a good investment or not.
They also consider the goals of the firm or client, and assess the risk tolerance, while balancing the tax advantages of each investment.
7. Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
This certification is offered by the Institute of Management Accountants. The focus of your work is on financial planning, corporate accounting, and management.
You have to show your knowledge about const management, auditing, and forecasting. The exam is given only four times a year and it takes about eight hours to finish.
8. Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA)
Do you want to work with financial services institutions like banks, insurance companies, and loan companies? This is the designation you should seek.
The CFSA certification means that you know how to audit and detect fraud. This is a certification program through the Institute of Internal Auditors.
How to Choose Accounting Certifications
The best place to start is to get your CPA certification. That allows you to take positions in accounting, compliance, auditing, and forensic accounting.
You can use your CPA designation to try out different accounting jobs and tasks. That gives you an idea as to what you like and dislike about certain areas of accounting. Assess your strengths and weaknesses to determine your career path.
Your career path helps you decide which accounting certifications you should get next. Some people are tempted to get every accounting certification they can.
That doesn’t mean you’ll apply for every job possible. It makes you look like that you don’t know what you want from your accounting career.
Remember that you have to maintain your certifications. That’s time and money you need to spend. Choose only the certifications that are relevant for the types of accounting jobs you want.
Know the Types of Accounting Certifications
Accounting certifications enable you to develop your accounting career. You can earn more money and create an accounting career that truly excites you.
The different types of accounting certifications listed in this article will further your career, whether you want to help individuals or work in large corporations.
You can learn how to audit, track tax cheats, or represent people and companies in front of the IRS. Which certifications you choose depends on your career path.
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