If you don't have the building blocks you need to succeed, it's not to late to get them. Whether you’re looking for a new job or simply seeking to advance your career potential, Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance offers a detailed overview of the professional accounting certifications and job skills in greatest demand.
Certifications can also help you command a higher pay range. Starting salaries for professionals holding graduate degrees or accounting certifications can be up to 15 percent more than the market average, according to the Salary Guide.
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Changing times, changing job skills
Overall, the hottest accounting and finance job candidates are the ones with technology expertise and professional accounting certifications. From advanced Microsoft Excel skills to enterprise resource planning systems and business intelligence tools, companies seek professionals who stay on top of the job skills in most demand.
In addition, given the increase in compliance mandates, regulatory and compliance expertise is in demand, particularly in specialized areas such as healthcare. And with more companies expanding into global markets, accounting professionals knowledgeable in country-specific reporting mandates bring valuable skills to the table. Multilingual abilities and knowledge of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are also highly valued.
Employers are on the lookout for stellar soft skills as well. Strong verbal and written communication skills, presentation abilities and a team-oriented attitude are key.
Coveted professional accounting certifications
Accounting certifications help demonstrate accounting skills or finance knowledge in particular areas. The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation is still the most sought-after. The MBA (Master of Business Administration) also remains in demand for higher-level roles.
Other valuable certifications include the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), CIA (Certified Internal Auditor), CPP (Certified Payroll Professional), CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor), CIMA (Certified Management Accountant) and CGMA (Certified Global Management Accountant) designations.
Do your homework to find out which of the professional accounting certifications can help you advance to the career you want.
Job skills development to advance your career
As an accounting and finance professional, you need to continuously increase your job skills to succeed in your role, and one of the ways to do that is with professional development. Consider asking if there are any training opportunities available at your company, joining professional associations, networking and finding a mentor.
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Editor's note: This post was updated recently to reflect current information.