Accounting and finance jobs are in demand year after year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 10 percent employment growth for accountants and auditors through 2026, which is above average for occupations.

In addition to education, a certification can certainly help you propel your career upward, and it serves as a point of justification when you’re negotiating a salary bump with your current employer or considering a new job offer.

For the five certifications in this article, employers require job candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or a related field, as well as some on-the-job experience. Becoming certified, and maintaining that certification, indicates you’re up to date on processes, procedures, laws and other aspects of your chosen profession.

Top 5 certifications, by the numbers

The following table lists top accounting or finance certifications and the number of open positions on a single day that call for the certification specifically or experience with the subject matter. This isn’t a scientific analysis in which every job description is examined, just an overall glance at search numbers.

Job site search results

Certification Simply Hired LinkedIn Jobs Total
Certified Management Accountant (CMA) 107 147 254
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) 2,226 2,596 4,822
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) 786 292 1,078
Enrolled Agent (EA) 401 530 931
SAP HANA Financial Accounting 116 178 294

The following sections provide details of popular accounting or finance certifications according to job site searches, as well as other certifications the various companies offer.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

IMA, short for the Institute of Management Accountants, is the membership organization behind the Certified Management Accountant (CMA), which aims at management accountants and financial professionals. Regarding the difference between a CMA and other accounting-related professionals, IMA explains that CMAs understand the “why” behind numbers, whereas the others understand the “what.”

A CMA certification can be lucrative. IMA reports the median income for CMAs is about 28 percent higher in the U.S. than for their peers without the designation.

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