An MBA Is Still Important, but a Certification Will Help You Stand Out

Today, competition for top accounting talent is fierce. Since the labor market is tight, many accounting professionals are shying away from getting an MBA; at times questioning if it is necessary or worth the major financial investment that is often required to pursue this level of education.

While completing an MBA program undoubtedly won’t hurt your career, it isn’t the only option for career advancement. By having the right certifications, you can stand out from the crowd. Additionally, a certification is often more affordable as well as less cumbersome from a time and energy standpoint.

However, if you are an accounting professional, you might be wondering which certifications will provide you with the most value. If you are trying to decide, here are some potentially lucrative and beneficial certifications worth exploring.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Many consider the CPA to be the quintessential accounting certification. It has a long-standing history and is highly respected, and many employers actively seek out candidates with this credential.

The CPA is highly focused on auditing and skills that allow an accountant to provide valuable insights regarding the preparation of tax returns. While the CPA is less specialized than some alternatives, it remains prestigious since it clearly demonstrates an accounting professional has mastered the fundamentals of the field.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

The CFA is more specialized than the CPA, showcasing that you have the skills necessary to work as a financial analyst and in the area of investment management. It also highlights your critical- and strategic-thinking capabilities, which is also beneficial.

Often, the CFA is ideal for accounting professionals interested in working for investment firms and hedge funds. However, it could also be helpful in other financial segments as well.

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

The CIA is the only internal auditor certification that is accepted on an international level, making it ideal for anyone pursuing a career as an auditor. Those with this credential often oversee internal financial operations, remaining objective at all times when completing an analysis. It also serves as a demonstration of the certification holder’s mastery of key concepts, including risk control and related information technology.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

If your goal is to reach the C-suite, the CMA is a smart addition to your resume. By passing the CMA exam, you are demonstrating your analytics skills and understanding of concepts like cost management, risk management, data analytics, and relevant technologies.

Ultimately, all the certifications above can help an accounting professional stand out from the crowd and further their career. While they do require a substantial investment, they could be more feasible for many when compared to pursuing an MBA.

If you’d like to learn more about certifications that can elevate your accounting career, the team at The Squires Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our skilled staff members today and see how our accounting career planning expertise can benefit you.

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