Last Updated: September 03, 2022
Popular Certifications in Accounting
Candidates who have taken up the field of accounting will know that while the basic requirement for getting a high-paying job in the sector is a master’s in the subject, taking a certification in any field of specialization is probably one of the best ways of growing in the field. Undergraduate and graduate programs in the field allow students to choose from various specializations most of which overlap which each other and at the same time allow candidates to work within a sector they prefer.
Taking any certification in the field of accounting can require candidates to invest more time, effort, and money into their education. But at the same time, this will increase their chances of getting higher-paying jobs that are very specialization-specific. A few of the certifications that are popular among accounting majors include CPA, CFA, CIA, EA, etc. The eligibility requirements for each specialization will differ from one another as will the fee one will have to pay for the certification.
Popular Certifications in Accounting
The most popular certifications that accounting majors can take include-
- CPA/Certified Public Accountant
- CMA/Certified Management Accountant
- CFA/Chartered Financial Analyst
- CIA/Certified Internal Auditor
- EA/Enrolled Agent
- CFE/Certified Fraud Examiner
- CGMA/Chartered Global Management Accountant
- FSAC/Financial Services Audit Certificate
The CPA Certification is for being a Certified Public Accountant which is one of the most sought-after professions in the field allowing candidates to prepare audited financial statements and file reports in association with the Securities and Exchange Commission which is something normal accountants are not qualified to do. They will also be allowed to represent clients without being an attorney or EA certified in front of the Internal Revenue Service by taking this certification. It is awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Candidates who are CPA certified will be able to work for businesses and large corporations by providing tax services, audit/assurance services, or management services depending on their interests. With this certification, they will be able to apply for higher-level management positions in organizations without having to climb the ladder step by step. They will also be able to work for government agencies or non-profit organizations with this certification.
Eligibility Requirements for CPA Certification
The eligibility requirements that one will have to meet for this certification will be dependent on the state they wish to practice in. The general requirements that one must meet include-
- 120-150 credit hours of coursework with a concentration in accounting
- minimum age requirement of 18 or 21 depending on the jurisdiction
- being a resident for 6 months in the jurisdiction, is required
- take an Ethics Examination depending on jurisdiction before applying for licensure
Fee for CPA Certification
The fee that one will have to pay for CPA certification is depending on the jurisdiction they are applying in. Candidates will be able to check the fee amount they have to pay by visiting the website of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. Candidates are required to pay a separate fee for each section of the examination based on when they are registering. The fee is estimated to be around $208 per section.
The CFA certification is for candidates who wish to be a Chartered Financial Analyst and it is awarded by the CFA Institute. The focus areas of this field are investing and finance and hence it is mostly opted for by candidates who have specialized in either of these fields. This examination takes a little longer than the CPA certification for candidates to complete since it is not offered frequently throughout the year. Candidates are required to complete the CFA program which enables them to take a 3-part examination for the certification.
The areas that the examination will deal with include the basics of fundamental tools, valuing assets, portfolio management, and even wealth planning. Candidates need to be from an accounting background involving finance, economics, and business to take the certification. Having this certification will allow them to work in top management positions of organizations with tasks like risk management, asset management, investment management, etc. They will also be able to work as research analysts and portfolio managers with this qualification.
Eligibility Requirements for CFA Certification
The eligibility requirements that one has to meet for taking the first examination in the CFA program are as follows-
- Candidate should have a bachelor’s degree in accounting
- OR Candidate should be 11 months away from graduation
- OR Candidate should have 4,000 hours of professional work experience in the field that has been acquired over 3 sequential years
Fee for CFA Certification
The fee that candidates will have to pay is dependent on the time they decide to register for the same. Candidates will only be able to apply during February and May for the examinations with the early registration fee being $900 and the standard registration fee being $1,200. Candidates will also have to pay an initial enrollment fee which can range from $450 to $500.
This certification is for being a Certified Management Accountant and it is a certification provided by the IMA for Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business. The examination has 2 parts which cover 12 competencies in all. Part 1 of the examination deals with Financial Planning, Performance & Analytics whereas Part 2 deals with Strategic Financial Management. Candidates will be able to complete the certification within a duration of 12 to 18 months in all.
Candidates will be focusing on areas like cost management, decision analysis, internal control auditing, etc. for the certification. It will be highly beneficial for candidates to take both the CPA and CMA certifications especially if they are working for multi-national companies since they deal with two areas that overlap within the workspace.
Eligibility Requirements for CMA Certification
The eligibility requirements for the CMA certification are as follows-
- Candidates are required to hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting
- OR Candidates are required to have a professional accounting certification
- Candidates must have 2 years of work experience in the field
- Candidates must complete both parts of the CMA examination in any order.
Fee for CMA Certification
The fee for CMA certification has to be paid while registering for each of the examinations. Candidates are also required to pay an entrance fee initially before registering for either of the examinations. The initial entrance fee that one has to pay is $280 whereas the fee to register for each examination is $460. Out of these, the entrance fee that one pays will remain non-refundable under all circumstances.
The EA or the Enrolled Agent exam is also known as the SEE/Special Enrollment Examination. It is conducted by Prometric on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service. An Enrolled Agent is provided with the privilege of representing taxpayers like an attorney in front of the Internal Revenue Service. The certification for the same includes a comprehensive IRS test that has been divided into 3 parts. Upon completing the certification, candidates will have unlimited practice rights like CPAs and attorneys.
Eligibility Requirements for EA Certification
There are no set eligibility requirements for candidates to apply for the EA certification. There is no specific bachelor’s degree qualification they are required to hold nor do they have any citizen or residency requirements. Candidates will have to register for a Preparer Tax Identification Number or PTIN before enrolling for the examination and they will also have to pass the background checks conducted by the IRS to take the examination.
Fee for EA Certification
The time one will have to invest to get EA certified is far lesser than that for CFA or CPA. The fee that one has to pay for each part of the examination is $203. This fee amount is non-refundable and non-transferable.
The CIA certification is taken for those who wish to be certified as Internal Auditors within organizations. This certification is provided by the Institute of Internal Auditors. This certification requires candidates to take a three-part examination in the field which includes areas like accounting, internal auditing techniques, management principles, etc. Since it is the only global certification provided for internal auditing, candidates who have taken this certification will be able to apply international standards for the services they offer.
Candidates who have a CIA certification will be able to work for organizations at any scale as long as they are dealing with internal audits. They will be able to work in designations like audit specialists, audit managers, operational risk consultants, staff internal auditors, etc.
Eligibility Requirements for CIA Certification
The eligibility requirements that one ought to meet for getting a CIA certification are as follows-
- Candidate must have a bachelor’s degree
- OR Candidate should have an active Internal Auditor Practitioner designation
- OR Candidate should have 5 years of internal audit experience
- Candidate must have at least 24 hours of internal auditing work experience
- Candidate must provide a character reference from a CIA official or supervisor
Fee for CIA Certification
The fee that one has to pay for getting a CIA certification is $265 for each part of the examination if one is a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors. If they are a non-member, they will have to pay $425 for the 1st part and $395 for the last 2 parts of the examination. Students who are months away from graduation will only have to pay $245 for the 1st examination and $215 for the last 2 parts of the examination.
Candidates are also required to pay a non-refundable application fee of $115 for members, $230 for non-members, and $65 for students.
This certification is for those who wish to be certified fraud examiners and it is available only to those who become a part of the Association for Certified Fraud Examiners. Once the candidate has become a part of the ACFE, they will be able to register for the examination if they meet the eligibility requirements. The content that the certification will focus on include topics like fraud examination in financial transactions, fraud schemes, fraud prevention, etc.
Certified Fraud Examiners often collaborate with legal investigative teams and they can work for both the public and private sectors depending on their interests. They will also be able to work in fraud-related fields like criminology & sociology, fraud investigation, loss prevention, law, etc.
Eligibility Requirements for CFE Certification
The eligibility requirements that one must meet for getting a CFE certification are as follows-
- Candidates must become an associate member of the ACFE
- Candidates should earn 50 points based on their educational and work experience-related credentials
- Educational requirement does not include a degree from any specific field of study
- Candidate should have a minimum of 2 years of fraud-related work experience
Fee for CFE Certification
The cost of taking the CFE examination is $450 for those who have not enrolled for the CFE Exam Prep Course offered by the ACFE. If they have chosen the prep program, they will have to pay only $350 for the certification examination.
The CGMA certification is similar to the CMA certification with the difference being that this is a globally recognized certification. Candidates who wish to mainly deal with management accounting skills in both the private and public sectors will be able to take up this certification. It is globally recognized and hence provides candidates with the opportunity of taking up the same designation anywhere in the world.
To get CGMA certified, one will have to enroll in a CGMA program and complete the necessary coursework. They will have to take the case study exams involved and subsequently also complete 3 years of practical work experience.
Eligibility Requirement for CGMA Certification
Candidates who wish to take the CGMA certification will have to fulfill the following eligibility requirements-
- Candidate should be a member of the AICPA or the CIMA
- Candidate should have a minimum of 36 months of practical work experience in the field
- Educational requirements depend on whether one applies through the AICPA or the CIMA
Fee for CGMA Certification
The examination cost for the CGMA certification is $325 which one will have to pay while registering for the same. Apart from this, candidates will have to pay an annual membership fee either at AICPA or CIMA depending on how they are taking the examination.
This certification is taken by candidates who wish to be certified in Financial Servicing Audit. They will be dealing with financial statements, internal control & governance testing, risk management process analysis, etc. They will also have to ensure the prevention of fraud to a certain extent in the tasks they have been assigned to.
The qualification is provided by the Institute of Internal Auditors and has a total duration of 15.3 hours. Candidates will have to take 2 examinations for getting the certification.
Eligibility Requirement for FSAC Certification
There are no prerequisites and eligibility requirements that one has to specifically meet for taking this certification. A few of the general eligibility requirements include-
- Candidate must have completed an undergraduate degree with a focus on management accounting on financial accounting
- Candidate must have at least 24 months of auditing experience
Fee for FSAC Certification
The fee that one has to pay for getting FSAC certified can range between $719 to $954.