The practical and work experience is important, but adding the wealth of certifications can only help your career. The certifications do cost money through studying and exam fees, but these investments pay over the years.
The number of certifications mentioned here would determine what is required to step up in for the auditor’s job. The auditing career of yours lies ahead and you can definitely add one or two certifications in the line.
Each of these accounting and auditing designations is a bit different and has a different career focus. So, depending on what you would like for a career to acting out wide, you have to take the right decision. Let’s list down all the good certifications as:
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Certified Financial Analyst (CFA)
- Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
- Enrolled Agent (EA)
- Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
- Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP)
- Certified Bank Auditor (CBA)
Among the above, we will look only at five best certifications based on salary outlook and career graph of last 10 years.
1) Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
A Certified Public Accountant is someone who’s achieved a CPA licensure. There are varieties of work line including consulting, forensic accounting, internal accounting, tax and financial modelling and planning, and much more.
The course has highest scope for the auditors as you would be able to showcase your talent in the biggest market directly. CPA’s assesses and test the quality of financial disclosures and make sure that organizations/individuals follow generally accepted accounting principles.
CPAs are known as the oldest and most respected accounting designation in the profession. CPA certification is regarded as the gold standard.
CPAs are licensed by state governments in United States and allowed to opine on financial statements of publicly traded companies. CPAs can also sign tax audit reports and represent clients in front of IRS, the tax department of United States of America. CPAs can do all tasks that other certifications can also do.
To become a CPA, you will have to take and pass all four parts of the AICPA uniform CPA exam along with fulfilling the education and work experience requirements of your state. Each state has separate criteria for passing.
2) Certified Fraud Examiner
Certified Fraud Examiners are awarded certification by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). The responsibility of fraud examiners are to prevent and identify frauds.
This position requires people with expertise in the investigation of accounting with legal and criminology skillsets. CFE’s learn how fraud is second to no.
They inspect accounting books for signs of fraud and expose suspects. CFE line of work includes working alongside auditing and accounting, criminology/sociology related to fraud, fraud investigation, fraud law, code of ethics and much more.
To become CFE, one must have bachelor’s degree in related fields as business administration, accounting, etc and build foundations from therein to CFE.
3) Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
CISA ensures that IT business systems are properly checked, controlled, and protected. This role uses accounting, auditing, and computer skill sets.
CISA uses the knowledge of auditors in the line of IT< assessment of vulnerabilities while conducting technology controls in an enterprise environment.
To become CISA certified, one must have five years of work experience in the field of information systems auditing, control, assurance, or security. CISA exam is extremely difficult and takes four hours to complete.
CISA holders have to train 20 hours per year, and 120 in a three-year period to keep their certification. They also must maintain the auditing standards of ISACA and adhere to the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics.
4) Certified Management Accountant (CMA) Certification
CMA specializes in company accounting management. This certification covers the aspect that CPA also do not cover. Thus, it makes these candidates great for internal management and executive level roles in companies. They may hold position as COO or CFO.
The certification is not that great for public accounting. It does not train the applicants about the audit, drafting of audit reports. It is strictly focused on the management aspect of the company.
CMA course is half the size of the CPA and is regulated by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)
To become CMA, one should have a bachelor’s degree with proper amounts of educational credits in specific subjects. You will also need to fulfill at least two years of work experience before becoming certified.
5) Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) Certification
This certification is strictly for compliance officers and auditors. CIAs typically work for companies with a larger structure.
They perform audit procedures and help independent auditors do their jobs. To become CIA, one must have bachelor certification and experience of relevant years in the field of auditing and accounting.