If you are looking to take the next step in your accounting career or financial career, you are probably wondering about your options and looking to compare certified public accounting to certified financial analyst. Both of these certification offer different career paths and choosing the right one will most likely determine your future. Here are a few ways to compare CFA vs CPA:
The Job: When looking at a CFA vs CPA, you want to make sure you know what type of job you want to get into. CFA’s deal more with stock portfolios and advising in investment options. A CFA will help determining weather a company, asset or investments are worth investing in. Many times a CFA will work for a financial company and be hired by an second company to preform investment audits.
While a CPAs job tend to deal with business strategy and business financials. Most CPA’s work for an accounting company and will work with any company that fires them for their accounting needs.
Both a CFA and CPA are highly regarded degrees in the international business arena. Before you choose, consider the type of job that you may wish to have after you complete your certification. Holders of CPA certification tend to pursue jobs like government accounting or international auditing or taxes, while CFA holders have a broader variety of opportunities such as portfolio management, consultant, relationship manager and investment strategies.
The Schooling: When looking at getting a CFA vs CPA, you want to consider how much time you are willing to spend in school. CFA certification is typically a longer path which requires quite a bit more schooling- and testing than CPA. In terms of fees, CFA is a bit more expensive, but the disparity is not very large with CPA certification costing around 1,000 and CFA certification fees totaling around 1700.
Each state has different school requirement for a CPA. For example California require a bachelors degree with a total of 150 semester hours and residency in the state. Where in Delaware they just require a bachelors degree.
Certification: CFA certification is more difficult if one can judge by the lower pass rates of the exam- though the CPA exams are also very challenging. The CPA pass rate is around 47%, where the CFA pass rate is around 44%.The good news is that there is an abundance of both CPA and CFA self-study materials for motivated and organized individuals.
Before you commit to any one path, research the job opportunities in each field. Even better than doing research, is taking time to sit down with professionals to find out about what each job will require on a daily basis which will help you make your choice.