How to become a certified accountant

How to become a certified accountant

Accountants are fundamental within the financial world. Without them, the entire sector would fall into disarray with no one to manage finances and taxation issues for large organisations. This reliability on accountants worldwide has boosted the compensation packages and opportunities in the field. Hence, accountancy careers have always been desirable, especially for those who want to establish a successful career.

Although there are plenty of ways to pursue an accountancy career, obtaining professional degrees and certifications can make your journey easier. There is no step-by-step guide to become a certified accountant — different people take different paths according to their academic background and professional aspirations. 

Read this article to learn more about the career prospects of becoming an accountant and the procedures and requirements necessary to acquire the relevant certifications.

Benefits of acquiring an accounting certification

There are many obvious advantages of pursuing an accounting certification. Getting certified in a specific accounting discipline can help you become a specialist in your niche and command greater respect and salary packages from prospective employers. The certification can also maximise the marketability of your skills and provide you greater credibility in your area of expertise.

In addition, the certification can also provide you the confidence you need to set up your own accounting firm and will be a major factor in attracting affluent clients and reputable businesses.

Career prospects after becoming certified

Almost all businesses, irrespective of their field, depend on reliable accountants to handle their financial matters. Hence, obtaining an accounting certification can allow you to explore career roles with high accountant salaries in any field of your choice. Here are some of the common accountancy careers available in different fields:

  •     Financial manager
  •     Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  •     Finance director
  •     Controller of finance
  •     Public service accountant
  •     Accounting officer
  •     Chartered accountant
  •     Taxation consultant
  •     Investment portfolio manager

What are the procedures and requirements for an accountancy certification?

There are many certifications in accounting globally that will help you gain expertise in specific branches of the field. The procedure of obtaining a certification and the requirements vary according to the certification in question. Below, we have listed some of the most widely-known qualifications:

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

This qualification is offered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy or NASBA. This is a highly sought-after certification, especially if you want an accounting career in public services or the government. The qualification also allows you to work in taxation and financial advisory services.

Each of the 55 jurisdictions offering CPA in the USA have their own rules and regulations regarding accounting education requirements and work experience. The most common stipulation includes 150 accountant study hours and a minimum of two years of work experience. All the jurisdictions however, mandate that you pass the Uniform CPA exam with the specified pass marks.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

This accountants qualification is apt for those who want to go into investment analysis, financial planning and corporate portfolio management.

You are required to pass all three levels of the certification as well as complete a minimum of four years of qualified work experience. As this is a very difficult exam, most students take the support of accountancy courses for additional help and educational resources.

Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA)

This is an international accounting body that offers the Certified Chartered Accountant qualification. This globally-recognised certification can be pursued right after your high school studies along with accounting degrees of various levels, such as a diploma or a bachelor’s degree.

You may be required to pass all 14 papers of the certification, as well as the minimum work experience of three years, depending upon your qualification background when you pursue the certification. Starting after your bachelor’s or master’s degree, completion can get you some exemptions on ACCA papers and the minimum work experience. ACCA is perfect for those who want to establish a global career or their own accounting firms.

Although, you can choose any accounting certification, selecting an internationally- recognised certification such as ACCA or US-CPA can allow you to pursue a global career.

There are many preparatory courses for ACCA and US-CPA that can help you master the basics as well as fulfil the educational requirements of the certification if any. 

The Singapore campus of the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) offers professional qualification courses for ACCA, CPA and the Singapore CA. These programmes can help you gather the subject knowledge and expertise required to pass the respective exams.

Learn more about the ACCA online course offered by LSBF Singapore.

Learn more about the preparatory course for the Singapore CA qualification.

Learn more about the US CPA-Becker Professional Education programme.

Suggested Programmes

Diploma in Accounting and Finance

This diploma will prepare you for a successful career in the financial sector. You will also learn about cost accounting, international business management, quantitative methods and much more.

Advanced Diploma in Accounting and Finance

Gain the key skills you need to start your career in finance. Alternatively, this diploma can be your first step towards a higher education qualification.

Higher Diploma in Accounting and Finance

This diploma, designed to help you achieve your academic and professional goals, focuses on complex financial subjects including taxation, auditing and business law.

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