An accounting certification bolsters your career, increases take-home pay, helps expand network, and amplify professional credibility for you and the company you are working with. In some cases, this designation acts as a tiebreaker between two eligible candidates for a job.

Below are the two accreditations widely recognized by several industries, as well as how it can help an individual’s career.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

Professionals holding this designation exhibit expertise in financial accounting and strategic management. CMAs focus on budgeting, financial analysis, organizational performance measurement, and strategic assessment.

The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) outlines the prerequisites for attaining this certification, including having a bachelor’s degree; passing the CMA examination; having at least two years of professional experience in financial management, accounting, or management; and completing at least 30 hours of ongoing professional education yearly.

CMA covers four major components:

  • Business Analysis - Financial statement analysis, global business, global economics, internal controls, and quantitative methods
  • Business Application - Behavioral issues, ethical considerations, organization communication, and organization management
  • Management Accounting and Reporting - Budget preparation, cost management, external financial reporting, information management, and performance measurement
  • Strategic Management - Corporate finance, decision analysis, investment decisions, strategic marketing, and strategic planning

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

It is essential to earn a CPA if you want to advance your professional career. These public accountants work in various specializations, such as appraisals, audit, compliance, forensic accounting, fraud examination, risk management, and tax. Basically, CPAs help corporations adhere to bylaws and regulations, support valuation, appraisal endeavors, improve processes, reduce risk for the entity, and establish and maintain reporting methodologies.

According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, requirements vary by state. But normally, it includes obtaining bachelor’s degree with 120 semester hours, passing the CPA exam, and finishing more than 40 hours of continuing professional education annually.

CPA exam is comprised of four sections:

  • Auditing and Attestation - Auditing procedures, generally accepted auditing standards, and other related standards
  • Business Environment and Concepts - Business concepts and business environment
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting - Accounting principles for businesses, governmental entities, and not-for-profit organizations
  • Regulation - Business law, ethics in tax practice, federal taxation, and professional and legal responsibilities.