Students earn accounting degrees to gain technical knowledge and skill so that they can eventually pursue professional certifications in accounting. A professional certification in accounting or in finance will show government agencies and employers that you have demonstrated your expertise and that you possess the advanced skills that you need to be an experienced and designated accounting professional. While the CPA designation is one of the most popular ones pursued by accounting graduates, the offerings expand much further than this. Here are some of the most desirable designations in public, corporate and government accounting and what type of professional they are designed for.

Public Accounting Certification Options

The Certified Public Accountant is the most well-known public accounting designation, but there are several others designed for accounting professionals who want to advance their careers. The Accredited Business Accountant (ABA) credential is for professionals who have an expertise in financial accounting, taxation, business consulting and business law for small and midsize businesses. The Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) is just for those who have already become CPAs and who want to specialize in business valuation services. There is also a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) designation for CPAs who perform asset valuations on those that are not tangible, according to The National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts. Each of these designations will help make you a more distinguished public accountant.

Corporate Accounting Certification Options

If you are planning on pursuing a career in corporate accounting, there are a handful of certifications that you may be able to test for. The Certified Accounts Payable Associate is for professional in accounts payable who uphold the code of ethics and pass the CAPA examination. The Certified Accounts Payable Professional is for more experien
ced professionals with a higher level of education and will help you get promoted. If you are an accounts payable clerk and a bookkeeper in a smaller setting, the Certified Bookkeeper designation may be right for you. This is offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers and is granted to those with two plus years of experience.

Other corporate accountants who work in management or finance can also get credentialed. The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation is for those who are competent in financial strategy and management. The Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) credential is for expert cash managers who know about mergers and acquisitions, risk management and more.

Government Accounting Certification Options

Government agencies have unique needs which create the need for professionals who have their own certifications relevant to the sector. The most popular of these is the Certified Government Financial Manager. With this, you will have demonstrated that you have knowledge and skill in government financial management. The Certified Defense Financial Manager (CDFM) is another option, which for those who are competent in fiscal law as it relates to the Department of Defense.

Related Resource: Accounting Internships

Earning an accounting certification can make a huge difference in your career. Not only can getting certified help open up doors, it can also help you get pay raises and more notoriety. Whether you want to be seen as a distinguished professional or you want to earn a higher lifetime salary, earning a certification could make a difference, according to Investopedia. Take the time to choose the right certifications in accounting, and then review education and experience requirements so that you can find out how long getting certified will take.