How a certification can add value after graduation

A current Forbes article argues that businesses have begun to focus more on specific, in-demand skills to enhance general degrees. Certifications help candidates differentiate themselves this way. They are particularly valuable add-ons in the accounting and finance sector.


In a competitive job market, jobseekers need to differentiate themselves and stand out from the crowd. One way to do this are certifications that can be added after a general degree. According to a recent article in Forbes, certifications are an effective way to show you have what it takes to manage change, learn new skills, and lead other people.

They are particularly valuable for accounting and finance professionals and there is a broad variety to help candidates specialize further and develop their talents:

Certified Public Accountant (CPA): According to the Forbes author this is the most-established and probably the best-known certification and license in the accounting profession, with a focus on auditing, providing insights on public companies and preparing tax returns.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): More specialized than the CPA, the CFA equips candidates with the skills they need to work in investment management and financial analysis. This certification is recommended for anyone who wants to work with Wall Street firms and investment or hedge funds.

Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA): Like the CFA, the CAIA prepares candidates for a job as a financial analyst. It is however more specialized than the CFA, focusing specifically on investments other than equities and bonds, such as real assets, commodities, structured products, intellectual property and insurance-linked securities.

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA): CIA holders can apply as auditors – they have the unique position as companies’ financial “watchdogs”. Their responsibility is being independent and objective and their skill sets involve risk and control, information technology and the ability to work with both internal staff and external clients.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA): This is the right certification for finance professionals who want to become a CFO or COO.

Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis (CSCA): This certification is an add-on for people who already hold a CMA but want to develop even more strategy skills.