Top Three Certifications for Finance and Accounting Careers

Getting a certification in finance and accounts is a significant step in boosting the marketability of a professional as well as the prospects of career advancement.

For professionals looking to start or succeed in finance and accounting careers, the typical route is to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting and to get some relevant work experience. To improve the career prospects further, though, a popular option is to choose some of the best accounting certifications. These credentials are used by accounting professionals to expand their professional skill sets and enhance their chances of success.

Why are certifications good?

Getting a certification in finance and accounts is a significant step in boosting the marketability of a professional as well as the prospects of career advancement. Along with this, there is a higher likelihood of earning better pay packages. The world of accounting is competitive, no doubt, and landing the best job openings with top employers requires candidates to go above and beyond.

Do employers support certifications?

Certification represents a not-insignificant investment of time and money, and employers do recognize this. Robert Half conducted research on this matter by interviewing CFOs, and revealed the following statistics:

· 72 percent said their companies would cover some part or the full cost of obtaining a professional certification

· 76 percent said their companies helped employees in maintaining the certifications once they had been earned

Does the choice of certification matter?

Making the right choice among the best accounting certifications is critical. There is no one clear choice for all candidates, with individual career goals, eligibility, and resources being important determinants.

How significant is the preparation for certifications?

Those who work in or want to work in finance and accounts understand how important it is to prepare well if they wish to clear the certification exams and obtain the desired certifications. Work and family responsibilities make it difficult to find time to devote toward courses and preparation. Here, online courses become extremely useful, as they are flexible and allow for limited preparation time to be used efficiently.

Which are the top certification choices?

Here are the best choices for certification in finance and accounts:

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

This is one of the most reputed certification choices for finance and accounting roles in the US. The CPA license validates the competence of the holder in the areas of compliance, forensic accounting, risk management, tax, and other skills that are a surefire route to top CPA jobs.

The exam itself has four levels, which can be taken in any order. Clearing the exam usually takes a year, and each state has its own exam and license requirements. One year of experience is mandated by most state boards.

Chartered Investment & Management Accountant (CIMA®)

From the CIMA Institute USA, this designation is uniquely positioned in that it offers two specializations in one qualification — investment accounting and management accounting. CIMA® is a testament to the candidate possessing skills in complex analysis, modeling of investment and business management solutions, and strategic evaluation and reporting of challenges and opportunities. This certification is a great way to embark on finance and accounting careers in accounting KPOs, asset and wealth management firms, global conglomerates, and investment banks.

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

For CPAs working in business or government, CGMA serves as a financial certification and validation of competence in management accounting as well as strategy development across several business areas. CGMA is granted by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) as well as the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). Candidates must clear an onsite computerized case study with long-form answers, and they must also have three years of relevant practical experience.

To sum it up…

Making a choice depends on career priorities — for instance, work in private or public accounting. Other determinants include own aspirations and the focus of the employer. The right choice could be a significant career milestone!

Investment & management accountants Writer, Adviser, Researcher and Investor.