CPA and other professional certifications for accountants

Many students who enter the accounting profession choose to enhance the value of their degree and expand their career opportunities by becoming Certified Public Accountants (CPA), the universally recognized credential for accountants.

CPAs are licensed by each state in which they provide accounting services. The CPA designation is regarded highly by employers who hire accountants for both auditing and non-auditing positions. Certification is a testament to an individual’s technical knowledge, understanding of ethical requirements and commitment to succeed in the accounting profession. Licensure as a CPA will enhance an accountant’s credibility with colleagues and clients, plus increase opportunities for career advancement. Requirements to become a CPA in the state of Texas are available from the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy.

Obtaining an additional professional certification (beyond the CPA) can also be important for accountants because it will indicate an area of specialization. This can include auditing, government accounting, management accounting, fraud examination and many others. Below is a list of some of the professional certifications available, but there are many others. Most involve meeting academic requirements and specified years of experience. For more information, refer to the websites provided below. Students should confer with a member of the Accounting faculty to identify certificates that will be relevant for their chosen career paths.

“The faculty provided me with the technical expertise and support for becoming both a CPA and a CFE. They stressed the importance of the credentials and based on the curriculum, I felt confident about passing both exams. These professional credentials assure that my clients know I am well-qualified and have high standards in my profession.” 
— Karina Parlato, MACT ’13

Additional Professional Certifications and Distinctions

CFE – Certified Fraud Examiner by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Certified Fraud Examiners possess unique expertise in preventing and detecting fraud.

CGFM – Certified Government Financial Manager by the Association of Government Accountants. Certified Government Financial Manager is a professional certification awarded by AGA, demonstrating competency in governmental accounting, auditing, financial reporting, internal controls and budgeting at the federal, state and local levels.

CGMA – Chartered Global Management Accountant by the American Institute of CPAs and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (UK). The CGMA designation is an accounting credential distinguishing accounting professionals who have advanced proficiency in finance, operations, strategy and management.

CIA – Certified Internal Auditor by the Institute of Internal Auditors. As the only globally recognized internal audit certification, becoming a Certified Internal Auditor is the optimum way to communicate knowledge, skills, and competencies to effectively carry out professional responsibilities for any internal audit, anywhere in the world.

CISA – Certified Information Systems Auditor by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. CISA is for those who audit, control, monitor and assess an organization’s information technology and business systems.

CITP – Certified Information Technology Professional by the AICPA. The Certified Information Technology Professional credential was established for CPAs with the unique ability to bridge between business and technology while meeting the strict requirements for a CPA license, as well as additional training and experience in IT assurance, risk, security and privacy, analytics and technology.

CMA – Certified Management Accountant by the Institute of Management Accounting. The certified management accountant certification qualifies those who hold it to work in corporate financial accounting and strategic management settings.

CVA – Certified Valuation Analyst by the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts. The National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts trains and certifies CVAs to perform business valuations as a service to both the consulting community and the users of their services.

Enrolled Agent – An enrolled agent is a person who represents taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service by either passing a three-part comprehensive IRS test covering individual and business tax returns, or through experience as a former IRS employee.