When it comes to investments, earning additional accounting certifications ranks among the best.

Investing in your own skill set pays dividends for finance and accounting professionals both in terms of your marketability and your market worth.

There is no shortage of finance and accounting certifications that can be undertaken. Each comes with its own set of educational requirements, costs and advantages.

So it is important to consider which certifications are most in-demand with employers, and which will actually help to advance your career.

What accounting certifications are best for you?

Let’s take a look at the most sought-after accounting certifications for finance and accounting professionals across Asia:

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

The CPA certification remains the ‘gold standard’ for finance and accounting professionals in Asia, and is well-regarded internationally.  With this accounting certification, employers can see at a glance that you have skills spanning accounting, tax, audit, compliance and risk management.

For information on the CPA, you can check out the Japan Institute of Chartered Accountants here.

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Candidates holding a CISA accounting certification are in high demand throughout Asia. It demonstrates to employers you have proficiency in the audit, control and security of information systems - skills that are highly valued in today’s climate where IT security is a high priority for business leaders.

You can find out more about CISA courses in Japan through the ISACA website.

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

For professionals wishing to pursue a career in internal audit, the CIA accounting certification is a must-have. It demonstrates competence across all areas of internal audit including risk and compliance – and is highly regarded by Asia’s employers.

To get you started on the road to becoming a CIA certified accountant, explore the Institute of Internal Auditors of Japan here

Masters of Business Administration (MBA)

MBAs are not a dedicated accounting certification as such, however they are often highly regarded for senior and executive roles, and it could be the qualification that takes your career to the next level. That said, an MBA is a significant undertaking, which may be completed over one year full-time or several years of part-time study. The cost can be prohibitive, and while your employer may offer to pay all or part of the cost it pays to research the MBA courses available. MBAs from some institutions are regarded more highly than others.

Candidates looking to undertake an MBA in Singapore can visit Top 20 MBA Degrees in Japan list to find out more.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

The CFA accounting certification demonstrates skills and understanding of portfolio management, investment analysis, economics, and professional and ethical standards. It may be a suitable accounting certification if you plan to focus your career on the wealth management and investment sectors.

Candidates interesting in completing the CFA exam, can register at the CFA Institute.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

The CMA accounting certification is sponsored by the Institute of Management Accountants and is internationally recognised. It may be the go-to accounting certification if you plan a career in finance as the main skill sets it will develop are financial analysis, budgeting and strategic assessment.

You can find more information on the process of becoming a CMA qualified accountant here.

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

For CPAs working in business and government, the CGMA accounting certification is a relatively recent entrant, having only been issued since January 2012. It is designed to enhance management accounting skills with a global outlook.

You can find more information on the CGMA course main website.

Undertaking the necessary course work to achieve these accounting certifications can be challenging. Especially as many of the courses are only available once you have already kick-started your finance or accounting career in Asia, and gained some working experience. In which case the studying will need to be combined with full-time work.

This being the case, it makes sense to consider which accounting certification will propel your career forward – and ask your employer about the availability of any assistance including study leave to help you complete the course.

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