3 Globally Recognized Certifications for Finance Professionals – CPA, CMA, CFA

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There’s no denying that the world of Finance is both highly lucrative but at the same time highly competitive. Young professionals need to have an edge over their competitors. Certifications are the answer. Professional certifications significantly boost ones career prospects. They indicate to the employer not just qualifications but also the individuals’ commitment to mastering their trade. In this article, we at Orbit Institutes show you the three most important certifications for global finance professionals i.e. – the CPA, CMA & CFA.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA): The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is amongst the top accounting credentials in the United States and is similar to the CA Qualification in India. Though the exam is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA, the world’s largest accounting organization), the certification is recognized across industries globally.

An accountant is one who handles all the financial transactions of a company. This includes bookkeeping, auditing, taxation etc. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is one who has achieved what is considered the ‘gold standard’ of certifications in the finance world. While the role of an accountant and a CPA may overlap there are two things a CPA can do that a regular accountant cannot.

  1. A CPA is licensed to file reports with the United States Securities & Exchange Commission or SEC. This is mandatory for all public companies in the United States.
  2. A CPA can represent clients in front of the Internal Revenue Service or IRS.

A world of opportunity opens up for those who have cleared the CPA examination. These candidates can work in hedge funds, investment banks, research firms and so on and so forth. For Indians who have done a CA, M.Com or B.Com, the CPA is an important way to move their careers forward drastically.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA): The CMA certification is awarded by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), the world’s leading organization dedicated to empowering accounting and finance professionals. The course covers financial accounting and strategic management.

A CMA is essentially an accountant who has the skills and certification to help companies take financial decisions. Planning, budgeting, profitability analysis, risk management and investment decisions all come under the purview of a CMA.

Unlike a CPA, the process of qualifying for the CMA is far more streamlined. This doesn’t mean that the course is easier; it just means that one can focus on the exam rather than eligibility rules.

A CMA can hold different positions in different organizations. Chief Financial Officer, Budget Analyst, Financial Manager & Treasurer are a few designations you will see that are held by CMAs. CMAs are highly valued by companies as they are directly responsible for financial decisions. Earning yourself a CMA degree will help you rise to the executive level of your company, which may not have been possible earlier.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation is a symbol of distinction and excellence in the investment management field. It is given by the CFA Institute which is a global body.

Management usually prefer hiring CFAs at senior-level finance positions as most CFAs work largely with portfolio management. However, CFAs can also work as stock brokers, risk managers, asset manager and financial consultants.

Many people prefer to obtain a CFA as opposed to an MBA as the examination fee is cheaper, the course structure makes it is easier to study for while doing other things like working and the pay at the end is much higher.

One of the biggest advantages of doing the CFA is that it establishes that you have a high level of integrity and ethics.

Obtaining a professional certification is something every student of Finance should consider seriously. We at Orbit Institutes will guide you right from helping you choose the best certification for yourself to receiving the final certificate. To know more visit our website.


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