Certifiably Good: A Look at Professional Certs – Part Two

As we previously covered, there are a wide range of professional certification areas that accountants and finance experts can earn to make them more skilled and capable of performing in industry-specific career paths. These certifications help provide a higher and uniform level of training and education for all who work in the industry, providing both a standard level of knowledge for professionals and a more consistent experience for those who employ their services. Let’s take a look at four more common certification paths, their duties and how to earn these credentials.


Certified Fraud Examiners are highly trained professionals who are trailed to prevent fraudulent business practices within their own organizations or look for signs of improper activities as part of an audit or review of a company’s records. To earn this accreditation, candidates must first be members of the body that issues CFE certification – the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.  Afterwards, applicants need to submit an exam application with proof of their education and three professional references. After completing and passing the exam, individuals must also be approved by the ACFE’s certification committee. Find out more, including how to apply, on the AFCE website.


Now discontinued as an area of certification, the CFM, or Certified Financial Manager, program was administered by the IMA – Association for Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business. Despite it being discontinued at the end of 2007, many individuals still hold this certification – more than 4,000 according to IMA – and the organization maintains its active status list of CFMs for those looking to verify a person’s credentials. The four-part CFM test covered economics, management, corporate finance and other topic areas pertinent to performing financial management duties. In addition, CFMs must also remain members of the IMA and complete 30 hours of ongoing education annually to maintain their status. The organization offers more information and maintains an active list of CFMs on its website.

Certified Management AccountantCMA

CMA certification is the successor to IMA’s CFM program, and is recognized around the world. CMAs – Certified Management Accountants – work in many of the same fields as CFMs, managing the financial operations of public and private organizations, including nonprofits, educational institutions and multinational corporations. Testing for the exam takes eight total hours, and is open to IMA members who have enrolled in the CMA program. The test is given in two parts – the first covering financial reporting, planning, performance and control, while the second assesses financial decision-making skills. Applicants must take the first exam portion within the first year of participation in the CMA program, and finish testing by the end of their third year. Find out more about the entire CMA program on IMA’s website.


Certified Internal Auditors earn the CIA designation following their certification. The designation with the most interesting acronym, these individuals work within organizations to perform thorough reviews of financial operations to ensure that all of an organization or company’s records are accurate, balanced and in order. The certification is offered through The Institute of Internal Auditors, and testing is offered worldwide in 17 languages. CIAs must also complete 40 hours of continuing professional education yearly to retain their certification. Offered for more than 40 years, this certification is often a way for auditors to further their careers and their skills while highlighting their own abilities and professionalism. More information on the CIA testing process is available on The IIA’s website.

At CSS, we can help your business find qualified and certified candidates to join your accounting team or assist individuals in their search for a new career opportunity. Contact us today to find out more!