accounting certifications

accounting certifications

The Importance of Accounting Certifications

1. The Benefits of Accounting Certifications

Many employers look for candidates who hold these kinds of credentials because they offer a testament to one’s dedication to their education and job. The earning potential for accountants who possess a certification always far exceeds those who do not. However, one must first pass a difficult exam encompassing the most stringent of standards. This is true because CPA study material used by CPA aspirants covers the topics and skills that are used daily on the job as a practicing certified public accountant. Consequently, completing the certification process demonstrates the necessary knowledge and skills required by most modern employers. Once these exams have been completed, candidates must continue to take additional courses throughout their careers. Not only will they refine the skills necessary to be successful in their current positions, but many potential promotions are only open to people with these course credits.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors are expected to experience job growth due to the continued growth and complexity of business globally and an increasingly complex regulatory environment. Individuals seeking to differentiate themselves from a crowded field have a wide variety of accounting certifications available. The benefits of earning an accounting certification are numerous and can offer one a solid chance of landing a career working as an accountant. Utilizing CPA study material will help prepare one to take the exam and become a certified public accountant. Many significant benefits come from achieving this kind of additional education, such as increased earning potential and more job opportunities. These benefits not only show in the job market but also in the long-term career success the individual has.

2. Popular Accounting Certifications

The next most common certification in accounting is the CMA – Certified Management Accountant. Although this certification is not as widely recognized as the CPA, it is the second most important credential in the field of accounting. Individuals with backgrounds in accounting and management accounting are also required to take the CPA accounting classes, just like students just wanting to take the classes. This certification is without question the second most important for accounting students to have. Fraud has become a big problem in the accounting field. In response to this problem, the AICPA has created the certification designating someone as a Certified Financial Forensic (CFF) accountant. This certification was announced in May 2008 but wasn’t released until mid-2009. This credential is also important for students to have. The last of the 4 most popular accounting certifications is the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA). As their name suggests, these individuals work for corporations performing audits of a company’s process.

Some CPAs also choose to become members of the AICPA, which is the American Institute of CPAs. To become a member of the AICPA, applicants must meet the AICPA’s specific college credit requirement for membership. Members are known as AICPA Associate members. AICPA members have the ability to vote while Associate members do not. However, many states, including New Hampshire, now require a degree in accounting from a regionally accredited institution to be licensed as a CPA. This will result in most New Hampshire CPAs obtaining this degree. However, it is expected that almost all CPAs in other states will eventually obtain accounting degrees. Six states require this degree as of March 2007. Therefore, this is another good option for students. Another option is for students to obtain a 4-year degree which includes 120 credits from a regionally accredited institution. Then, a student can obtain an MBA with an accounting concentration. This can be done at a number of colleges. One possibility is online courses offered through Southern New Hampshire University. There are many other possibilities as well. Look into your particular state’s specific requirements.

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are probably the most widely recognized accounting credential in the accounting field. Individuals who have this certification have to pass the CPA Exam and meet their state’s work experience requirement. They are also required to get significant continuing education. Almost all practicing CPAs have to do this. The state requirements can vary. However, in general, most states require a Bachelor’s degree with a total of 150 semester hours in order to sit for the CPA Exam. This can be achieved through a combination of undergraduate and graduate work.

3. How to Obtain Accounting Certifications

Each accounting certification, although it varies in specificity and focus, will have some things in common. They will all require a one-time payment of around $100, at least in the United States, along with an annual fee. They will also require that an applicant have a certain amount of accounting experience. In the case of the CFA, or Certified Financial Analyst, it is generally around five years, though you can test for levels 1 and 2 of the exam before you have accrued any experience. The CFA also requires a college degree, and most other certifications require at least something like a CPA or CIA, if the certification itself doesn’t include a degree as its primary requirement. Since those kinds of verification and experience are not normally taught in school, and finding testing materials often requires spending more money, the process of getting accounting certifications is not typically very straightforward. One can expect it to take a significant amount of time, information gathering, and money to get through the entire process of getting accounting certifications.

There are many accounting certifications that will help demonstrate your proficiency in accounting and investing to potential employers, or to attract new clients to a business that you start or already work for. However, finding the answer to how to get accounting certifications is not as obvious as it is for other types of certifications or degrees. Most of the time, it either isn’t taught at a college level, or there aren’t courses available that cover the entire exam content. If you’re looking to advance your position in the accounting industry, you’ll want to learn all you can about accounting certifications and how to obtain them.

4. The Value of Accounting Certifications in the Job Market

According to the 2012 Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, there is a significant gap between the compensation earned by those with certification and those without. Specifically, people who possess one credential earn 25 percent more, whereas those who hold two or more certifications almost doubled the salaries of those with no certifications (97 percent higher). The guide also reports that of the 44 executives recently hired to anti-fraud roles, 35 hold at least one certification. Finally, the guide’s authors highlight the fact that the demographic least likely to hold certification are those with over 25 years of experience. The authors believe this is because older accountants are the least concerned about building their resume and the least likely to pursue new certifications.

First, a report from the Journal of Accountancy looks at the number of openings and unemployment rate for accountants and auditors going back to 1994. Between 1994 and 2015, there has never been an increase in the unemployment rate greater than 6.91 percent. Meanwhile, the number of openings during that same period was never lower than 63.4 percent. This is an important trend for job seekers to pay attention to, as it means that the industry is relatively recession-proof and that attracting the attention of employers is more of a challenge right now than finding new positions. By holding a certification, job seekers may be able to separate themselves from the competition.

Competition in the accounting industry is fierce, so holding certification is an important step in entering the job market. But the value of accounting certifications in the job market is a commonly debated topic. Do these certifications lead to increased job prospects and salaries, or are they just a distraction? There are a number of reasons to believe that accounting certifications make a measurable difference on the job market.

5. Continuing Education and Maintaining Accounting Certifications

The term “certification” has several different meanings, depending on what degree or profession you attain your qualifications from. There are accounting schools out there, though, that offer a variety of options, from bachelors to diplomas, and students are able to tailor their educational path to their exact career goals. For example, Taylor College of Professional Studies offers students seeking a chartered professional accounting designation a well-rounded, competitive post-graduate certificate to further help prepare them for their regulating body’s examinations—all the while ensuring that they stay on track to fulfill their other professional development requirements. Balancing advanced technical training with professional skills requirements is essential in today’s rapidly changing landscapes. No longer are professionals working in silos of specialization—today’s society sees professionals come back to school to increase their competences in diverse areas such as decision-making, leadership, and project management skills.

Earning your accounting certification can further enhance your career and open doors to new opportunities. While earning a certification is a great way to bolster your expertise in your chosen field, accountants should be aware that, in some cases, keeping up with their continuing education is also necessary to maintain their certification. Don’t let this designation intimidate you—learning institutes are set up to help you succeed, and some accounting schools will go beyond the required amount of hours needed to stay eligible to renew your certification.

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