Top Accounting Professional Qualifications

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Certifications in accounting and finance indicate that an individual has put forth a significant effort to enhance their skills and knowledge. Qualifying for professional accounting courses can boost your earning potential and enable you to qualify for more positions. To assist you in securing a suitable job, we have compiled a list of the top accounting professional qualifications, outlining the roles and responsibilities of each course. This information will aid in your understanding of the qualifications needed to succeed in this field and will aid you in improving your career prospects.

List of Professional Accounting Courses in India

  1. Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
The association of chartered certified accountants is a very competent and a leading accounting global body their qualification gives you recognition as an employee who has the ability in all aspects of the business. The term Chartered Certified Accountant is protected legally as anyone who claims to be a chartered certified accountant has to be a member of ACCA.
Career/Roles: – Banker, Consultant, Auditor, taxation, and law professionals

  1. Chartered Management Accountant (CMA)
Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a certification that qualifies the candidates those who want to work in strategic management and financial accounting settings. This accounting qualification is focused on decision making and financial accounting. CMA certification prepares the professionals for a wide variety of career

  1. Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) in Accounting and Finance.
B.Com Accounting and Finance is an undergraduate course of 3 years (Full time). This professional course teaches the fundamentals of accounting and finance practices. Through this course, an individual can learn the technical skills associated with many of the procedures of finance analysis and accounting standards

  1. Masters of Commerce (M.Com) in Accountancy and Finance.
M.Com Accounting and Finance is a 2-year PG program in the field of commerce. It is an advanced level of systematic study that is focused on finance and accounting topics. An interested candidate can apply for this program after the successful completion of B. Com, BBA, or BCA. In simpler words, Master of Commerce in Accounting & Finance is a program that primarily focuses on the systematic study of the concepts in the specialized subjects and topics related to the fields of Accounting and Finance. The duration of the Master of Commerce course in Accounting & Finance is two years and it is career orienting in nature.

  1. Chartered Accountant (CA)
Chartered Accountancy (CA) offered by ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India) is a prestigious qualification in the field of finance and accounting. It opens doorways to many opportunities in the financial domain. Several financial service firms and banks look for Chartered Accountants (CAs) to fill their different financial analysis roles. Besides, after qualifying as a CA, the candidate can start his/her own practice.

  1. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA):
Financial Analyst (CFA) is one of the focused certifications for the candidates who are  in making a career in security analysis, financial management, and investment analysis. A CFA holder accepts challenging roles in the finance industry across the world.

  1. US Certified Public Accounting (CPA)
Public Accountant (CPA) is the highest professional qualification in the United States  to accounting. One can become a US CPA by clearing the Uniform CPA exam conducted by AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants). This designation is highly regarded and accepted worldwide, including India.

  1. MBA in finance
Master’s in business administration (Finance) or master’s in finance from tier-I institutes is a career field which requires the candidate to have skills in economics, mathematics, and financial theory. The rigorous curriculum of this course trains the aspirants to be astute managers in future

  1. CFA - Chartered Financial Analyst (US)
Their options include FRM - Financial Risk Manager who are in demand with major banks. PhD in finance is also an option. They do some fancy-fancy stuff.
Career/roles: – If you want a career in accounting, this finance certifications program will definitely help. The only demerit of this finance certifications is its narrow focus on corporate finance.

  1. CMFC – Chartered Mutual Fund Counsellor
This is one of the best finance certifications programs you should pursue if you’re looking to master financial management and investment. Finance certifications alone is enough to enhance your career to the next level. It has three levels that you need to clear, and you also need to have 4 years of full-time, relevant experience to get certified. The course is very rigorous, and you need to study hard to clear it. The pass rate is lower than any other finance certifications – overall, the pass rate of CFA is less than 20%.
Career/Roles: – For availing jobs in asset management, private equity, equity research, investment banking, you should do CFA finance certifications. If you want to make a career in the world of investment and if you have the option of only one finance certification, CFA would be the only one you should choose.

  1. FRM – Financial Risk Manager:
If you want to become a risk analyst in an organization or want to make your mark in risk management, this is the ideal certification for you. You can also help clients that want to make prudent investment decisions. FRM is administered by GARP (The Global Association of Risk Professionals). The pass rate of FRM is around 50%, but every year the percentage changes.
Career/Roles: – FRM is one of the finance certifications program that’s niche and only target a specific market. The only con of this finance certification is that the subject material won’t be applicable for all kinds of finance professionals until they’re interested in risk analysis and management.

  1. CFP – Certified Financial Planner-
If you want to hire a financial planner or want to be one, you should look out for CFP certification. CFP is not only about just finance, it’s also about understanding one critical element of business and that is client-relationship. To pass the CFP, you need to clear a 7-hour test. If you want to pass CFP, you need to study at least 1000 hours. The only con of this certification is that it is too narrow in focus. However, after passing this exam, you can be part of wealth management, retail banking, and private banking careers.
Career/Roles: – If you want to be part of wealth management, retail banking, and private banking career

  1. IMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK)
This accounting certification is for those who are looking for comprehensive knowledge in management accounting. In fact, it widens the scope of accounting by aligning its curriculum with strategic and risk management which is very useful from a business management point of view. It is a comprehensive 4-tier certification program divided into certificate and professional’s levels. One can earn CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting by completing the basic level and qualify for professional level studies which are further divided into three learning pillars including enterprise, performance and financial knowledge areas. Each of these pillars is further sub-divided into operational, management and strategic levels, resulting in a total of nine knowledge areas covered as part of professional studies. On completing the strategic level, 3-year work experienced verified by CIMA Institute would help earn the designation of CIMA Member.
Career/Roles: – This finance certification program can help build a career in advanced management accounting including career roles of Management Accountant, Financial Analyst, Finance Manager and Internal Audit Manager among others

  1. CAIA – Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst: -
If you’re particularly interested in hedge funds or asset management, this is the ideal finance certification program for you. By doing this certification, you would be able to catapult your career toward hedge fund or asset management industries. The chief subjects that are covered under this finance certification are private equity, hedge funds, ethics, risk management, asset allocation, and structured products. The certification is divided into two levels. The pass rate of this certification is quite high, around 70%. CAIA certification would take around 12 to 18 months to complete. Since it’s focused on very niche subjects, the scope of the certification is also limited.
Career/Roles: – hedge fund or asset management industries

  1. ChFC – Chartered Financial Consultant: -
If you’re somehow unable to go for CFP certification, you can go for ChFC certification. This certification is a great alternative because it not only covers everything you will learn in CFP; it will also help you specialize. For example, the CFP certification will teach you how to be a financial planner in a generic sense. ChFC certification will help you specialize in financial planning e.g. financial planning for small businesses or financial planning for divorce. This is though not very popular finance certifications, but it is one of the game-changer in financial planning. It is administered by the American College of Financial Services. If you want to specialize in financial planning, you need to study four months under this certification and clear the exam.
Career/Roles: – Financial Planner, Wealth Management

  1. CMA – Certified Management Accountant: -
If you want to get into management accounting, you won’t get any better certification than this. This is one of the most sought-after finance certifications & accounting. After passing out from CMA, you will get more opportunities on the corporate side. Finance certifications program are authorized by Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). The whole course is divided into two parts. And as a whole, you need to sit for 11 financial competency tests. In simple words, this certification will give you a strategic advantage in the field of management and accounting. As per the study, a CMA earns 47% more in the US than any other professional. If a lucrative career and financial gains seem like a good idea, you should go for CMA certification.
Career/Roles: – Management Accountant, Accounting

  1. CMFC – Chartered Mutual Fund Counsellor:
If you want to multiply your money, you would like to invest in mutual funds. And for that, you need someone who is qualified in mutual funds. If your mutual fund advisor has done CMFC certification, then be assured that you’re in good hands. Or else, if you want to do a finance certification program in a mutual fund, look no further than chartered mutual fund counsellor certification. This is a short course of 10 weeks. And you need to pass the exam after the course. This course is administered by the College for Financial Planning. This course includes the project work regarding mutual fund industry and related to other products of investment.
Career/Roles: – Wealth management, Mutual Fund advisor
By having only a university degree, you will not be having a competitive advantage in the present job market. To be job-ready and stand out from the crowd, you must obtain any of these certifications from qualified accounting professionals.

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