Tips and Resources for Pursuing Accounting Certifications

Oct 29, 2020 by

Most careers with widespread opportunity like healthcare, finance, accounting, and more also have a lot of certification options for specific jobs within those large-scale areas of employment. Certification programs help both those pursuing the certifications, as well as potential employers, as many will narrow their work searches down to only individuals who have successfully completed a given cert.

For accounting, those certifications are aplenty. From the more popular ones, such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Financial Analyst (CFA), to the more obscure like forensic accounting certification, or certification in the field of hospitality accounting, options to narrow your niche and make your accounting career path more directly inline with things that interest you are not in short supply, and here are some tips and resources for those looking to pursue certifications in accounting that will set them apart.


Money, of course! Though not the only reason, advanced certifications allow individuals to make more money. In a smaller business, where the certification will just be a tool to improve your work and, thus, your value to the company, the additional money may have to be discussed, but in many corporate structures, certification can be the sole reason for a pay increase. These certifications allow for more opportunities, more pay, and more flexibility if ever you decide to make a lateral career switch, or just want to move up from midlevel to senior management in your current workplace.

Trending Certifications

This list is not exhaustive, as far as certification options, and if you have an interest in, literally any field, there is a real chance an accounting certification relative to that field exists, but if you’re looking to just advance your career, here are a few certifications worth pursuing, if, indeed, they interest you.

  • Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) – Not only do you get to make plenty of “CIA” work jokes, but a certification as an internal auditor can help you make nearly $40,000 more per year. Exams are offered across the country through The Institute of Internal Auditors.
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA) – For aspiring management accountants, a CMA certification will teach you the tricks and trades of analysis and accounting relevant to management. For the certification, you must be a member of the Institute for Management Accountants and have 2 years of experience to request the exam.
  • Enrolled Agent (EA) – Though not a new trend, the need for certified tax accountants is omnipresent, and the EA designation is for individuals wanting to do tax accounting. The in-person exam is available at hundreds of centers across the country.
  • Certified Global Management Accountant (CGMA) – Much like the world of taxes, the CGMA program changes based on needs and demands surrounding global finance. This certification can open a lot of doors with a lot of dollars behind them. To qualify, you must first become a member of the American Institute of CPAs and have 3 years of relevant work experience.

Tips for Success

Don’t rush! These exams (among others) are always readily available. Study often, study hard, and only request an official examination when you feel confident that you are going to pass with flying colors. Not only does this prepare you better for the exam itself, but it helps to ensure the knowledge stays in your head. Cram studying may have been a decent means for getting grades, but data dumps following cram study sessions should not be part of your certification process. These certs exist for a reason, and people with the knowledge behind the extra letters (e.g., CPA, CMA) are the ones who set themselves up for lifelong success in accounting.

Even when you feel 100% prepared, statistics dictate that you might not pass your first time. Don’t let it affect your confidence. Evaluate your mistakes, focus on improving your shortcomings, and test again!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email