The field of accounting is a wide-ranging one with a plethora of job types and career paths, many of which will have a requirement of one kind or another of accounting certification. In the sections below we will quickly review some of the more common accounting related career paths and the accounting certifications that are typically associated with them.
CPA – Certified Public Accountant
A certified public accountant is someone who has passed the Uniform CPA exam offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and has also completed the educational and certification exam requirements for the state in which the reside and work. A CPA has generally completed a 4 year degree from an accredited institution with a concentration in accounting or in a field of study that is closely related. Most of the following certifications will have similar educational requirements, but vary in the state and organization requirements for certification.
CIA – Certified Internal Auditor
This certification is offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors and is offered in 17 languages and recognized in 95 different countries. The exam is offered in four parts covering the areas of business analysis and information technology, management skills, governance and how it relates to the internal audit process, and the process for conducting an internal audit.
CFE – Certified Fraud Examiner
This certification is awarded to an accounting specialist that is recognized by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. These individuals will typically work for organizations and businesses in helping to deter fraud and to assist in its detection. The CFE exam will cover four areas, that of financial transactions, fraud investigation, ethics, and how fraud issues are handled and prosecuted under the law.
CISA – Certified Information Systems Auditor
This certification is offered by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association or (ISACA). This certification is awarded to those who demonstrate a proficiency in information systems auditing and system security. This certification will become more and more valuable as the information and organization handles is received, created, and stored electronically.
ABV – Accredited in Business Valuation
This accreditation is offered by the AICPA and is for existing Certified Public Accountants who have demonstrated significant understanding and knowledge in the area of business valuation. Successful candidates will have completed 10 business valuation assignments, 75 hours of lifelong classroom learning, and pass the certification exam. The examination is offered in two parts and covers practices, professional standards, regulatory standards, qualitative and quantitative analysis and valuation analysis.
CB – Certified Bookkeeper
This designation is awarded to bookkeeping and accounting professionals that have completed and passed the examination offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. The certification exam for this designation covers the areas of adjusting entries, depreciation, payroll, inventory, error correction, and internal controls. Those who achieve this bookkeeping certification are expected to observe the AIPB code of ethics.
CPP – Certified Payroll Professional
This certification is offered to accounting professionals that meet one of the criteria required by the American Payroll Association. The examination for this certification tests knowledge in all areas of payroll including compliance, paycheck calculation, payroll processes, payroll management, accounting, payroll administration and payroll concepts.
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