05 Nov

Boost Your Career with a Financial Qualification

Robert Half Salary Guide 2014 Global Accountant

If you’re looking to advance in your career or secure a job interview, you want to have every advantage possible to achieve your goal. One strategy to consider is earning a professional qualification.

Around the world, employers value financial accreditations. These documents are viewed as extra assurance that accountants have the skills and expertise they claim. In public accounting, clients may feel more confident that you have the qualifications to advise them on complex matters.

Taking the time to pursue and earn certifications shows you’re highly motivated, too. It takes a lot of determination, ambition and ability to follow through with related exam preparation and completion.

It’s no wonder, then, that companies often are willing to pay higher salaries to individuals who’ve earned certifications. In the United States, for example, employers typically offer five to 10 percent more to new hires with accreditations than to those without, according to the 2014 Salary Guide from Robert Half.

The most in-demand designations vary by country or geographic region. Here are some of the sought-after certifications globally:

USA Flag Global AccountantUnited States


Certified public accountant is the most valued accounting certification, and is issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Each state/jurisdiction has different experience and education requirements to take the exam. However, everyone takes the same test, which covers auditing and attestation, business environment and concepts, financial accounting and reporting, and regulation.

CISA – The certified information systems auditor accreditation from the ISACA (formerly Information Systems Audit and Control Association) is in growing demand as financial professionals become more involved in technology initiatives. This designation confirms that individuals are knowledgeable about information system auditing, control and security.

CIA – Certified internal auditor from the Institute of Internal Auditors is the only globally accepted certification for internal auditors. Exams are administered year-round via testing centers worldwide.

CMA – The certified management accountant exam from the Institute of Management Accountants is designed to measure the accounting and financial management skills that drive business performance. The test covers financial planning, performance and control, as well as financial decision-making.

CFA – The chartered financial analyst program from the CFA Institute assesses the industry practice, investment theory, and ethical and professional standards necessary to provide investment analysis and portfolio management.

CGMA — Created through a joint venture of the AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the CGMA is the new global designation for accountants working in business and government. The exam covers topics like performance measurement, risk management and asset protection.

PMP – The project management professional certification exam from the Project Management Institute reviews all aspects of leading projects. It assesses knowledge of the necessary steps to the process, as well as knowledge of related topics like cost and risk management, and communication.

Canada Flag Global AccountantCanada


Not to be confused with the American CPA designation, this one stands for “chartered professional accountant.” This is a new accreditation, formed by merging three existing Canadian designations (CA, CMA, CGA). It is being rolled out in various stages across Canada. The exam covers financial reporting, strategy and governance, management accounting, audit and assurance, finance and taxation.


See above, United States.


This chartered certified accountant qualification is issued by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. The exam has two sections: Fundamentals, which assesses knowledge and skills, and Professional, which covers the main areas of financial and management accounting.

UK Flag Global AccountantUAE Flag Global AccountantUnited Kingdom and United Arab Emirates (UAE)


The associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales is a global qualification. Candidates must complete an ACA training agreement with one of more than 2,850 authorized training employers. The training covers 15 modules across accountancy, finance and business, which are followed with exams.


See above, Canada


See above, United States.


UAE only. See above, United States.

Australia Flag Global AccountantAustralia and Asia


The Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia chartered accountant qualification combines technical learned principles with practical application in such areas as taxation and audit. The program includes both experience with a mentor and a Graduate Diploma of Chartered Accounting exam (with exemptions for more than 60 master’s degrees).


Not the same as the American or Canadian versions, the Australian CPA stands for “certified practising accountant.” The designation is from CPA Australia and focuses on accounting knowledge as well as strategic thinking. CPAs work in all sectors, from academia to industry and public practice. To earn this qualification, candidates must complete an assessment form, and then take additional coursework or professional level exams.


See above, United States.


See above, Canada.


See above, United States.


See above, United States.


The certified credit executive award from the Australian Institute of Credit Management recognizes current knowledge and practice in the credit industry. Candidates must complete an online exam and then submit an essay on a given credit topic.

If you’re considering earning a certification/qualification, make sure you’re in it for the long haul. Once you’ve earned a designation, you’ll typically need to complete continuing education classes to maintain it. Although it requires time and money (if your employer won’t cover the costs), earning an accreditation can give you an edge in your financial career. Make sure it’s a good match with your unique personal and professional situation.

Robert Half Global AccountantThis article is provided courtesy of Robert Half, parent company of Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources. Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm placing accounting and finance professionals on a temporary, full-time and project basis. Follow Robert Half on Twitter at twitter.com/roberthalf

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