Certifications That Can Boost Your Career in Public Accounting

by | Nov 15, 2023


If you are a recent accounting graduate and working as an associate, you have many opportunities to improve your skills and increase your earning potential. There are several certifications you can earn that will increase your expertise and value in the marketplace. If you’re looking for ways to advance your career, here are several options to consider.

CPA Certification

  • The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification is the most distinguished accounting certification as well as the most difficult to achieve. It’s highly valued by potential employers and widely respected for the deep accounting and tax knowledge needed to obtain it.

Requirements to Become a CPA

  • While requirements vary by state, in general you must complete 150 hours of college-level education in accounting, in addition to earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. You also must pass each of the four sections of the CPA exam. A passing score is 75% and the pass rate average is 50%. Lastly, you are required to have at least 2,000 relevant work experience hours over a one to three-year period.

Benefits of a CPA Certification

  • Expertise in Accounting and Auditing: CPAs are widely respected for their extensive knowledge regarding financial statements and auditing procedures.
  • Credibility and trustworthiness with clients: Given the requirements, the CPA status promotes confidence in clients, who value working with a skilled professional.
  • Advantages in leadership roles: CPAs are well-positioned to take on a variety of leadership roles due to their extensive knowledge base and the respect the certification commands.  

CMA Certification

  • The certified management accountant (CMA) is recognized globally for its expertise in management accounting. CMAs apply their knowledge to help businesses manage their finances and make business decisions that can help a company achieve its goals.

Requirements to Become a CMA 

  • A CMA must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, or hold a related professional certification, and pass parts 1 and 2 of the CMA exam. You are also required to have two years of professional experience in management accounting.

Benefits of a CMA Certification

  • Analytical and Financial Management Skills: CMAs apply their blend of accounting and business acumen to the demanding task of managing a company’s financials to help them achieve their goals. 
  • Strategic decision-making capabilities: CMAs curate data and analyze that data to develop insights about the industry or individual company. They apply their expertise to adjust a business’s strategy to meet specific objectives. 
  • Contribute to cost efficiency and profitability: CMAs can identify whether a company needs to diversify its portfolio. CMAs can also capture key performance measures to offer guidance on which products to sell and what the margins need to be, as well as analyze ROI for things like advertising expenses.

QuickBooks Certification

  • Individuals who earn their QuickBooks certification gain a fundamental knowledge of accounting, bookkeeping, and advanced knowledge of the QuickBooks software. Given the popularity of the software, someone with this certification is highly sought after for their ability to generate reports, draft tax returns, produce profit & loss statements, pay stubs, and much more. 

Requirements to Become QuickBooks Certified: 

  • You are required to complete a training course offered by Intuit QuickBooks and then pass an exam to receive your certification. Once certified, you are required to maintain your proficiency by taking continuing professional education (CPE) credits. 

Benefits of QuickBooks Certification: 

  • Advanced Bookkeeping knowledge: Being fluent in QuickBooks is beneficial because it can help streamline the accounting process.  
  • Professional development: A QuickBooks Certification demonstrates a candidate’s overall commitment to professional development and specifically, to stay current with advances in technology.  
  • In-demand Skills: Many clients use QuickBooks and they value working with an accounting firm where employees are certified in the software. An employee with this certification strengthens the credibility of the firm in the eyes of clients who want to feel confident their data is being well managed.

Certifications Help Job Candidates Stand Out

  • Customers and employers have the highest respect for those who are willing to put in the time to obtain these certifications. It is a great way for a job candidate or business owner to differentiate themselves from a competitor.

If you are an accounting professional who is interested in working at a firm that is committed to helping employees acquire additional training and certifications, visit Hare CPA’s career page

Delivering high value to clients is Hare CPA’s top priority.

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