As an accounting professional, you’ve probably put some thought into whether or not you want to start obtaining accounting certifications. Like many other professionals in your industry, however, you’ve probably also wondered if the time, energy, and cost of doing so is worth it. While it can be a major commitment that you think you don’t necessarily have to make, getting certified now can set you up for long-term career success.
“Even if you’re seeing that most jobs you’re applying to don’t say you need accounting certifications, the reality is that most non-entry level jobs require you to have or be in pursuit of one,” says Elisa Dammacco, Senior Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting & Finance division. “However, it’s important to remember that getting certified isn’t just about meeting the requirements of a role. For many employers, accounting certifications are indicative of a strong work ethic and commitment to the field.”
If you’re interested in obtaining accounting certifications, here are five of the most highly sought-after ones to consider pursuing:
Certified Professional Accountant (CPA)
Widely considered the “gold standard” of accounting certifications, becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can make you one of the top candidates for a role! Obtaining your CPA can be difficult, but the benefits of doing so will ultimately pay off in the long run. “Since the process of getting your CPA can be long and challenging, many accountants are unwilling to pursue it,” says Elisa. “However, if you do get your CPA, your hiring and earnings potential will increase, as well as your job security.”
Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
With the demand for compliance and audit professionals increasing, the desire for Certified Internal Auditors (CIA) has risen as well. If you’re looking to pursue this area of accounting, then you’ll likely need to obtain your CIA before your career takes off. Not only will getting your CIA make you a more attractive job candidate, but it could also increase your salary by $25,000 to $38,000!
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
Since companies are becoming more and more reliant on technology, the demand for Information Systems Auditors has risen as well. Although the need for these professionals is high, you still need to set yourself apart from your competition by having accounting certifications under your belt. “Despite the growing need for Information Systems Auditors, companies can still be very picky about who they extend a job offer to,” says Elisa. “Becoming a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is one of the best ways to set yourself apart from other professionals who are applying for the same job.”
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
If you’re more interested in the finance side of the industry, becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) can put you at the front of the line for just about any position you’re interested in. Why? The CFA exam is incredibly challenging, making the CFA one of the hardest to get. Obtaining or at least pursuing one can be a positive indicator of your professional character. “It’s notoriously difficult to get your CFA, so you need a solid combination of skill and drive to do so,” explains Elisa. “If you do get your CFA, it demonstrates to a potential employer that you have a very strong work ethic.”
Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
As more and more companies begin to see a rise in cybercrime and hacks into their systems, the need for anti-fraud professionals is increasing. Because of this, becoming a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) can make you a valuable addition to any company. In fact, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, companies that employ CFEs uncover fraud 50 percent sooner. As a result, these companies experience fraud losses that are 62 percent smaller than organizations that do not have CFEs on staff! By becoming a CFE, the value you add to a company can put you in a prime position to negotiate the best offer possible.