The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

November 15, 2011

Accounting & Finance Certifications Decoded: What Are They and What Can They Offer?


The pursuit of advanced education is highly recommended for professionals in today’s sluggish economy and competitive job market. There are numerous certifications within the fields of Accounting and Finance that can boost the marketability of job seekers.

Individuals working in Accounting and Finance can choose from an array of prestigious certifications that can ultimately supplement their personal marketability as job candidates. In fact, certain licenses are a prerequisite for some Accounting and Finance positions.  According to FINS, the salaries of employees who hold financial certifications are up to 10% higher than those who lack such credentials. Outlined below are some of the most popular accounting and finance certifications and their corresponding requirements and viable career opportunities. If you are considering the pursuit of such a license, the following chart may provide a useful starting point for your decision. 

Accredited in Business Valuation ABV CPA; exam completion; commitment to 60 hours of CPE every three years M&A management; valuation consultancy; shareholder disputes; divorce settlement management American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Chartered Asset Manager CAM Three years experience in asset management; degree approved by the AAFM; commitment to 15 hours of CPE annually Investment management; financial planning; asset management; personal finance consultancy American Academy of Financial Management
Certified Bank Auditor CBA Two years of bank auditing experience; completion of four-part exam; commitment to 30 hours CPE annually Bank audit, consultancy; mortgage banking; compliance Bank Administration Institute
Certified Credit Executive CCE 10 years in business credit/financial management or appropriate equivalent; commitment to organization participation and CPE3 Domestic and international credit management; credit analysis; security analysis National Association of Credit Managers
Chartered Financial Analyst CFA Completion of a rigorous three-part exam; four years of work experience in banking or finance Wealth management; investment banking; consultancy; stock analysis; computer forensic analysis CFA Institute
Certified in Financial Forensics CFF Five years of accounting experience; 75 hours forensic accounting CPE; CPA; exam completion Fraud detection/prevention; valuation; litigation support; bankruptcy reorganization American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Certified Fraud Examiner CFE Two years work experience in fraud detection or deterrence; exam completion Financial analysis; fraud investigation; compliance; internal audit; risk management; private investigation Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
Certified Financial Planner CFP Completion of a 10-hour exam; three years of financial planning experience; commitment to 30 hours of CPE biannually Personal financial advisory for long-term saving, asset protection, insurance, tax or general investment College for Financial Planning and Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.
Certified Government Financial Manager CGFM 24 college credits in various designated areas; two years experience in government financial management; exam completion; commitment to 80 hours CPE biannually Financial planning; cash flow management Association of Government Accountants
Certified Internal Auditor CIA Four-part exam completion; minimum two years internal audit experience Risk management; compliance management; systems audit; audit consultancy The Institute of Internal Auditors
Certified Information Systems Auditor CISA Exam completion; minimum five years of experience in auditing, controlling or securing information systems IT governance; information systems audit; disaster recovery; IT service support; infrastructure lifecycle management Information Systems Audit and Control Association
Certified Management Accountant CMA Two years of work experience in management accounting or financial management; completion of two-part exam Financial planning; financial fraud investigation; compliance; asset management Institute of Management Accountants
Certified Public Accountant CPA For NY state: BS degree; two years of accounting experience or other suitable equivalent; completion of a four-part exam Audit, budget analysis, taxation; SEC reporting; controlling; forensic accounting American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Certified Treasury Professional CTP Two years of accounting, finance or treasury experience; exam completion Treasury management; risk management; M&A management; cash management Association of Financial Professionals
Certified Valuation Analyst CVA CPA; case-study completion; completion of a two-part, single-day exam business valuation; litigation support; fraud consultancy; M&A consultancy; estate taxation National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts
Financial Risk Manager FRM Completion of a two-part exam; two years relevant work experience; commitment to CPE3 Portfolio management; consultancy; derivatives verification; financial analysis; treasury analysis; credit risk management Global Association of Risk Professionals
Personal Finance Specialist PFS CPA; 80 hours of personal financial planning (or other equivalent) education; two years business or teaching work experience; exam completion Personal finance management; tax, estate or requirement planning American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Professional Risk Manager PRM Completion of a four-part exam that can be taken in one sitting; two years relevant work experience in financial risk management Enterprise risk management; operational risk analysis; credit analysis; risk advisory consultancy; qualitative analysis Professional Risk Managers’ International Association

Of course, achieving a specialized Accounting or Finance certification does not guarantee employment, a promotion or higher salary.  Obtaining one or more advanced certifications does, however, significantly increase the odds of these accomplishments.  Dedication to achieving a certification of one’s choice, therefore, may prove extremely beneficial to one’s career while also enriching one’s education in a specific area of Accounting or Finance.

“The Alphabet Soup of Financial Certifications.”
Cussen, Mark P. “Financial Designations Aren’t All Created Equal.”
Dizik, Alina. “A Rush to Burnish Credentials.”
Mattioli, Dana. “Stacking Skills: Getting Finance Certifications.”
Raymond, Alex. “Finance Certifications: Pick the One That’s Right for You.”
Sundar, Sindhu. “The Top Three Financial Advisor Certifications and How to Get Them.”

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