Which Certifications Should You Look For In Accounting And Finance Candidates?

When it comes to evaluating accounting and finance candidates, hiring managers have to weigh a lot of factors from personality and fit to skill level and, of course, certifications. Certified professionals come to the table with a demonstrated skill set and knowledge base, and they keep firms compliant with state laws.   However, there is a whole alphabet soup of accounting certifications in the market, and their practical applications (and legal requirements) vary from job to job. Here are some important certifications that hiring managers should look for when evaluating accounting and finance candidates.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

The CPA is by far the most popular and sought-after accounting certification, and hiring managers typically don’t have to look far to find a certified public accountant. However, because CPAs now work in such a variety of individual jobs, all CPAs are not the same. When searching for a CPA, be sure to know the areas of expertise the position requires, and match candidates on those specific skill sets.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

Professionals with a CMA demonstrate expertise in financial decision making and forecasting. Achievement of this certification suggests a candidate can be tasked with maintaining financial information systems and have the ability to extract meaningful information from the reports generated by those systems.

Certified Financial Manager (CFA)

This is an important certification for anyone who will work in the areas of investment risk analysis, financial education and investment decision making.  Individuals with this certification also typically hold a Certified Financial Planning (CFP) cert, as well, so that they may help clients make decisions regarding wealth management, personal asset management, and taxes relating to investment purchases and income.

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

CIAs have the knowledge to participate in and conduct audits of public companies and corporations. They are able to confirm that all financial transactions are, have been and continue to be properly recorded in company ledgers and ensure that those transactions are reported to appropriate government agencies. CIAs also help companies get compliance back on track when fraud is suspected or detected, whether that fraud is intentional or a result of negligence.

Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM)

CGFMs work with state and local governments to manage tax requirements, prepare budgets, manage spending and balance financial statements.  Because government agencies have very unique financial needs, this certification is not as popular as some of the others, and qualified candidates can be difficult to find, especially when demand is immediate.

Looking Beyond A&F Certifications

Accounting and finance professionals should come to the table with certifications to demonstrate their abilities and their compliance with federal and state law. However, candidates are about more than just their certifications.  Hiring managers must be able to identify specific skill sets and they must be able to evaluate candidates’ soft skills, their likelihood of success, and their ability to mesh well with the team. If you want to improve your accounting and finance hiring processes and locate top-tier talent the Mount Laurel area, reach out to Contemporary Staffing Solutions today.  As demonstrated leaders in accounting and finance recruiting, we can help connect you with the talent that will drive your business forward.