The world of accounting is a competitive one, meaning you will need to go above and beyond if you want to land the best positions with the top-rated employers around.
Getting the right certifications under your belt is the main way to achieve this, so here is a look at the most impressive credentials you should aim to add to your arsenal on your journey to career success.
In terms of certification for accounting, none is more venerable, established or desirable than being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
This is not just something that employers will be on the lookout for, but also a qualification that is required by states if you want to perform certain accounting duties, such as advising publicly traded firms on their financial decisions and also completing audits.
In essence, being a CPA will show that you have excellent all-round skills in accountancy that are recognized and regulated by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. This means that it is a certification that is valuable not only for those looking to work in the US, but also elsewhere in the world.
While the CPA is a general form of accounting certification, to progress your career further you may choose to specialize further, in which case the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) certification could be worth pursuing.
As the name suggests, it is a business-focused test that helps you to hone your abilities in a commercial accounting context, specifically with regards to managing larger projects and understanding how the role of an accountant operates in relation to the rest of an organization.
Should you wish to turn your attention to portfolio management and the analysis of investment markets, being certified as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) by the CFA Institute will be a feather in your cap that prospective employers in the banking sector will appreciate.
Indeed you may find that having CFA on your resume will be crucial to securing a role at investment firms, and could ultimately lead you to positions even higher up the food chain, such as hedge fund management.
Auditing is an important part of accounting and as a Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA) you will have the right credentials to work at the highest levels.
There is no denying that this is a somewhat specialized certification, since it is mainly concerned with internal auditing and should probably only be pursued by those who are passionate about this particular area of accounting.
Other related accreditations, such as the Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) and the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) offer even more targeted training and certification, so you can choose a path that is appropriate to your ambitions.
IT and accounting go hand in hand, so it is no surprise that a Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) license is available from AICPA.
In particular it will help those who want to deal with the data implications facing modern businesses and the other technical challenges that they face in the digital era.
Detecting and dealing with fraud is another major skill and service that accountants can provide, hence the existence of the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).
The examination process to achieve this involves not only proving that you can look into fraud that takes place in the form of financial transactions, but also that you are up to date with the steps that can be taken to prevent fraud in the first place.
As you can see, there are lots of accounting certifications to consider, and the ones you aim for will often determine the jobs you can get, so choose carefully.