Top Skills For A CPA & What They Will Help You Achieve

Certified Public Accountant

Certified Public Accountants or CPAs are highly respected professionals. This group of elite accountants don’t just earn well, they are also considered to be extremely ethical in their work. They have earned the respect and admiration of society as a whole. However, as with any other career path there are some CPAs who are good and others who are considered great. So, how does one stand out in the crowd? What skills can help a CPA achieve the next level of professional respect? We at Orbit Institutes take a look.

Organizational & Time Management Skills: CPAs need to have immense information about their clients. They also need to be able to access this information quickly and efficiently. The less time they spend on accessing the information, the more time they can spend on research and strategy. Time is of essence in the world of accounting. Businesses make important decisions on the basis of the information a CPA provides. Information received too late can impact the future of the company. Therefore a good CPA should have excellent organizational & time management skills.

An Eye for Detail: This is perhaps the most obvious skill for a CPA or any accountant to have. However, students should assess themselves early on and understand if they truly possess this skill or not. CPAs need to read numbers and information in detail, all the time. Even if one has an eye for detail, they need to see if they can maintain it consistently.

Communication Skills: Those who believe that accountants stay buried behind a stack of papers, not having to communicate with the rest of the world; cannot be more wrong.  CPAs need to communicate effectively not just with their clients but also with other departments within a business. CPAs must therefore be able to explain financial details in a clear & simple manner to non-finance professionals. For this reason they must have both effective presentation & communication skills.

Leadership Skills: All qualified CPAs have accountancy skills but very few have leadership skills. CPAs are required to drive financial decisions for companies. They must therefore gain the trust of their employers/clients. Leadership skills allow CPAs to think strategically & implement decisions effectively with the rest of the team. Many CPAs are known to take an additional course in management or a related field.

Technical Skills: Almost all accounting is now conducted electronically. While CPAs don’t need to be tech wizards, they do need be extremely comfortable using a variety of accounting software. Businesses are constantly changing the software they use, and a CPA today needs to be able to adapt to these changes. Advanced Microsoft Excel skills are a must since this software is used almost globally.

An Understanding of Business: Companies range in size, structure & business model. A good CPA needs to have a strong grasp on how different businesses operate. Only then will they be able to provide useful financial guidance. Additionally, as CPAs grow in their careers, top-management further relies on them to make financial decisions at the macro-level. Their understanding of the business at the micro-level will help them gain perspective and give valuable insights at the macro-level.

The Ability to be Creative: Though, creativity is not something people usually associate with the practice of accounting; it is extremely important. Accountancy is a dynamic field. Almost every challenge is unique. While CPAs are usually very comfortable with structure, they need to have the ability to view problems differently. Creative CPAs are more adept at embracing change & providing clients with innovative solutions.

Abreast With the Times: The world of finance is consistently changing in a variety of ways be it legally or operationally. As with any other profession, a good CPA needs to be aware of these changes at all times. Most CPAs spend a large amount of time attending seminars and additional courses. Often employers encourage their CPAs to study the latest trends.

As you can see, being a good CPA requires an individual to go beyond their curriculum. One needs to have a proactive approach & the desire for continued learning. We at Orbit Institutes work towards providing students with an environment where personal development flourishes.

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

CPA CMA CFA Certifications

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.