Although certification is not required to work as an accountant, it does increase job opportunities and potential earnings. Accountants can choose from a wide range of certifications issued a variety of regulatory bodies. Many of these certifications validate general accountancy skills, while others specialize in specific areas of accounting, such as management accounting. Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified General Accountant (CGA), and Certified Management Accountant are some of the titles available to a certified accountant (CMA).
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) offers CPA certification to accountants in the United States (AICPA). These certified accountants work in a variety of business and financial services fields, but the public accounting and business and industry sectors employ the majority of them. Only CPAs are permitted to provide audit services to publicly traded companies in the United States.
Accountants who want to work in public accounting and auditing outside of the United States frequently pursue the Chartered Accountant designation, which is offered a variety of organizations depending on the country. Chartered Accountants Ireland, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia, and The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants are among the accounting bodies that offer CA certification. Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) exist between these institutes, allowing certified accountants to work in a variety of countries.
The Certified General Accountants Association of Canada awards the CGA designation to some certified accountants (CGA-Canada). Accountants in Bermuda, the Caribbean, China, Hong Kong, Mauritius, and Mexico can also be certified the regulating body. CGAs can practice accounting in different regulatory jurisdictions thanks to MRAs with CPA Australia, CPA Ireland, Ordre des Experts-Comptables de France, and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
Some accountants choose to be certified international organizations like the ACCA, which has dozens of offices and active centers all over the world. The ACCA and the Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) are two qualifications held these accountants. The latter is easier to obtain, and many CATs go on to study for the ACCA.
Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) in the United States are certified accountants who specialize in financial planning, analysis, control, decision support, and professional ethics. CMAs have accounting and financial management skills that make them suitable for jobs in financial planning, analysis, control, decision support, and professional ethics. According to the Institute of Management Accountants, the regulating body that issues these certifications, CMAs earn more per year than their non-certified peers.
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) offers certifications in a variety of accounting fields around the world. Accountants with CIMA business accounting certificates typically have little accounting experience. CIMA also offers professional qualifications for more experienced accountants, as well as Islamic finance certificates for accountants interested in working in Islamic financial institutions.