A Closer Look at Accounting Designations to Advance Your Career

Posted by Robert Half

With a dizzying array of accounting designations to choose from, how does a savvy financial professional decide which ones to pursue? Following the unification of CA, CGA and CMA in 2015, the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation became the gold standard credential for accounting and finance roles in Canada. But by no means is the CPA your only option – here’s a look at several other designations that could help advance your professional accounting career.

For corporate accounting

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) – This designation is available from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It’s an achievement that demonstrates your competency in management accounting skills and your expertise in developing strategy that connects all aspects of business. An exam is required to receive the designation. CIMA also asks that you have a CIMA Professional qualification.

Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance (ACAF) – A new certification offered by CPA Canada, the ACAF is the only nationally recognized intermediate accounting and finance certificate in Canada. ACAF prepares certificate holders for technical intermediate level accounting and finance roles in business, not-for-profit, government and accounting firms. Designed to further develop technical and workplace skills, the ACAF program is made of six technical applications courses, an ethics and workplace skills course, an accounting software applications course, two electives and a business applications course. Each course is assessed through a series of quizzes and assignments, as well as a final exam.

For audit, fraud and risk management

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) – Offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), it is the only designation for internal auditors accepted worldwide. This designation shows that you are proficient working with internal staff and external clients and knowledgeable of best practices in the industry. You can qualify to take the exam with a four-year undergrad degree and at least 24 months of internal auditing experience or its equivalent. If you have a master’s degree, you need only two months of experience. Alternately, if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, you may be eligible with either two years of post-secondary education and five years of internal audit experience, or seven years of internal audit experience.

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