Accounting Certifications Overview
Businesses and individuals prefer to entrust their finances to qualified professionals with high ethical standards. Many accountants choose to demonstrate their abilities and enhance their career opportunities by pursuing industry certifications. Professional accounting organizations offer a variety of certifications, including credentials for bookkeepers, auditors, public accountants, and fraud examiners. Some accounting certifications feature additional specialization options, which can help candidates land advanced roles and stand out in the workforce.
Professional organizations strictly regulate certification programs, so employers and clients know they can trust certified accountants. As a result, certified professionals often earn more than their uncertified peers. Furthermore, the certification process requires credential seekers to complete additional education. Continuing education requirements ensure that certified accountants stay up to date on the field. Typically, candidates must take courses, pass exams, and swear to uphold high ethical standards before earning their credentials.
What Benefits Do Certifications Give Accountants?
While most professionals seek credentials to increase their earning power, there are many other benefits to earning accounting certifications. Some positions require candidates to hold certain credentials, and certified accountants enjoy excellent career growth potential. In addition, continuing education programs help accountants acquire new skills and enhance their workplace performance. Certified accountants also benefit from membership in a community of like-minded professionals. Accounting organizations encourage collaboration and help members build strong industry-wide networks.
- Increased Pay: Many employers offer higher salaries for candidates with accounting certifications. However, pay rates depend largely on the individual position and certification in question. For example, PayScale reports that accountants earn an average annual salary of $50,646, while certified public accountants (CPAs) draw an average salary of $77,000 each year.
- More Career Mobility: Many high-level and managerial positions require applicants to hold relevant certifications such as certified management accountant credentials. Certifications also allow accountants to pursue specialized roles in fields like fraud examination, financial forensics, or auditing without earning additional degrees.
- Better Work Performance: Certification programs typically require candidates to complete courses and exams. Building on applicants’ prior knowledge, these courses present new financial strategies, professional techniques, and concepts. Continuing education coursework also sharpens existing skills, helping candidates perform better in their current roles.
- Become a Lifelong Learner: Professionals are usually expected to keep their certifications current by earning continuing education credits. Many individuals take courses to renew their accounting certifications online, hone their professional skills, stay up to date on regulations, and gain personal fulfillment from lifelong learning.
- Enter a Professional Community: Some professional organizations require accountants to become members before pursuing credentials. These groups offer a host of career-boosting opportunities, including networking events, educational resources, and subscriptions to industry publications. Many professional organizations also provide members with access to exclusive job boards, employment opportunities, and scholarships.
General Accounting Certifications
Professional certifications can benefit every type of accountant. Read on to explore some versatile general accounting certifications that can help propel your career forward.
Some accounting positions demand specialized skills and knowledge. For example, fraud examiners and forensic accountants must understand financial investigation strategies. Career-specific accounting certifications demonstrate that the holder has mastered niche concepts and competencies.
Additional Certifications and Credentials
Many professionals expand their employment opportunities by pursuing tax credentials in addition to accounting certifications. The following designations allow accountants to take on a variety of tax-related roles.