What is the best accounting certification?
The answer depends on your career path. There are numerous certifications and paths in accounting. Each certification has its own requirements and special skills. Talk with your advisor about course recommendations for each certification. A selection of some of the most recognized certifications in accounting are below:
CPA – Certified Public Accountant
The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential is a well-known and respected designation in the accounting profession. This license is versatile as CPAs work in public accounting, taxation, auditing, government accounting, compliance, finance, and other roles.
Each testing jurisdiction in the United States requires CPA candidates to complete 150 semester hours of college-level education. Wartburg faculty work closely with students pursuing this path to ensure eligibility upon graduation. Wartburg’s normal 4-4-1 academic schedule allows students to earn at least 126 credit hours. Careful planning, adding additional half-credit courses (2 credit hours each) each semester, and either bringing in college credit from high school or taking two summer courses allow students to earn the 150 credit hours needed for licensure without incurring additional tuition charges of a fifth year. Being able to earn a significant income after graduating in four years and avoiding tuition charges for the extra year in college can create a total savings of nearly $70,000!
More information relating to the CPA exam can be found at www.thiswaytocpa.com or www.nasba.org.
CMA – Certified Managerial Accountant
The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) awards the CMA certification to those who pass the CMA exams. The CMA credential demonstrates versatility due to its dual focus on accounting and finance. As such, credentialed professionals are qualified for a variety of roles, making them appealing to prospective employers. CMAs can work in a wide range of industries, including corporate finance or accounting firms, as well as government agencies, educational institutions, or large corporations, and can have roles such as financial analysts, accounting managers, controllers, and several other executive positions.
More information about the CMA can be found here.
Students can qualify for a scholarship provided by the IMA that covers the full cost of preparing for and taking the CMA exam. Contact your advisor for more information.
CIA – Certified Internal Auditor
As the only globally recognized internal audit certification, becoming a Certified Internal Auditor® (CIA®) is the optimum way to communicate knowledge, skills, and competencies to effectively carry out professional responsibilities for any internal audit, anywhere in the world
More information about the CIA can be found here.
CFA – Chartered Financial Analyst
Chartered Finance Analyst (CFA) certification demonstrates your knowledge and competence regarding principles of portfolio management, investment analysis, economics, and professional and ethical standards. Finance professionals who are (or aim to become) equity analysts, fund managers, or hedge fund managers will also find the CFA useful, as will anyone who hopes to reach the CFO or senior finance manager levels.
More information about the CFA can be found here.
CGFM – Certified Government Financial Manager
Certified Government Financial Manager® (CGFM®) is a professional certification awarded by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA), demonstrating competency in governmental accounting, auditing, financial reporting, internal controls, and budgeting at the federal, state, and local levels.
More information relating to the CGFM can be found here.