The pandemic has given us plenty of time to re-evaluate our lives and a chance to reimagine our careers or ponder how to elevate them. Earning an accounting designation could be your ticket to a more successful, lucrative career. Maybe you can use that extra time, if you’re not back to commuting to an office, to study for that accreditation.

Designations demonstrate competence in your area of the accounting and finance industry, make you a more desirable candidate for open positions and improve your salary potential. Current and prospective employers want professionals to have these designations, but you have to think critically when deciding which of the many accounting accreditations is best for your career path.

Certain designations create opportunities for a variety of positions, while others are geared toward highly specialized roles. Deciding between these options depends on your interests, skills and the flexibility of your career goals. Here are six examples of widely applicable accounting designations and 6 examples of more specialized designations:

Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA)

The Canadian CPA designation is one of the most popular accreditations. You are awarded this designation following the successful completion of education hours, work experience and the Common Final Examination (CFE), which denotes your skills in compliance, forensic accounting and other areas. Canadian CPAs may be involved in auditing, management consulting, management accounting, financial accounting and reporting, and many other areas.

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

The CGMA license is a globally recognized designation for management accountants. It has been offered since 2012, and the requirements for this certification depend on which of the two sponsoring institutions — the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) or Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) — you belong to. Members of the latter organization automatically qualify.

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is the only internationally accepted designation for the internal auditor career path. People who hold this financial certification demonstrate expertise in areas such as information technology and risk and control. The CIA is useful for internal auditors, particularly those who want to become managers or chief audit executives.

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

The CISA license is among the more specialized accounting designations. Accountants who receive this designation from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association are skilled in information systems control, auditing and security.

Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)

CFEs focus their career on tasks related to fraud, including identification, prevention and investigation. As instances of fraud increase and companies become more susceptible, demand for CFEs has risen.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

The CFA designation is another targeted license among accounting accreditations. CFAs are involved in investment analysis and portfolio management. The exam for this certification comprises three levels relating to topics such as ethics, economics and money management. They must be completed sequentially before the CFA license can be earned. CFAs are globally recognized, and earning this certification specifically enhances the skills used by portfolio managers. Some CFAs also become research analysts or consultants.