so I’m thinking of going for a cpa license as well as CFA title (or at least passing a couple exams and putting that on resume). but I hear that this isn’t enough to get a job as a financial analyst. (my understanding is that investment banking needs you to have a degree from a high tier school and networking and is just generally hard to get into, so I’m looking at corporate finance). along with some accounting experience I figure that has to account for something when applying. but what do you guys think? any experience with this?
cpa is better than cfa in that regard. most cos love ppl with big 4 exp. so if ur willing to do 60 hr weeks in audit for a few years, you should be good. shes in corp finance as a diretctor. netting 160k + stock options. woth maybe 40k per year right now. could be more.
Same situation here. I completed CFA and CPA education at the same time. In Canada, CPA education runs about 2 years to finish. It really depends on what your career path is. I took CPA because I have received a job offer upon graduation working in accounting firm. The firm required me to take CPA courses to employ me. But after a couple of years of bean counting, I started to fed up with working in public accounting firm. It’s repetitive and extremely long hours. You will encounter peer pressure of not working over time. You should consider if this lifestyle is what you want. If not, think twice of getting CPA.
CPA and CFA will take you a lot of energy. I am fortunate that I finish both of them when I am relatively young. I could not imagine doing them when I’m at my 30s. So think about if you have future family obligation before tapping into the water of exams preparation.
Well said, Edupristine. Tell me–do you know this from experience, by having both on your resume? Or are you just speaking based on what you perceive to be true?
CFA is more geared towards the investment industry, most investment bankers I know wouldn’t put too much value in it. It sounds pretty clear to me that your focus should be on the CPA and potentially a stint in bulge bracket accounting.
I have both CPA (well ACA) and CFA qualifications and to be honest I have never really found one to add any value to the other. The only bit where CFA helped was better understanding of derivatives and options, since my role requires me to manage and advice on hedge accounting. Apart from that whenever I have been approached by recruiters for accounting/reporting based roles, additional CFA qualification has hardly added any additional weight to my case.
CFA talks about your mastery over finance and investment topics. CPA talks about your mastery over accountancy. The combo will definitely give you recognition.
I hereby demand a garland of roses from all the lesser, non CFA+CPA types in the Water Cooler.
I have both the CPA and CFA designations. Each has significant value, but in different ways.
For starters, I don’t think anyone can be much of a financial analyst if s/he doesn’t have both a solid grounding in, and a good understanding of, accounting. That means taking at least twelve (12) semester hours, which would include both the Intermediate I and the Intermediate II courses. If you can make room for a third course, I would take Advanced Accounting. Really interesting topics tend to pop up in that course, and you won’t regret taking it. Ignore the courses in Income Tax unless you plan on becoming a partner in CPA firm. The value of CPA firms lies primarily in the recurring annuity flows of fees from tax clients who buy tax-preparation services every year.
That said, the greatest value of having the CPA credential is its brand value. In fact, that’s the only reason I became a CPA. In the United States, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t heard of it. Accounting work is pretty boring, but you can’t beat the brand value with a stick. There’s not a better financial brand anywhere. I think that the perceptions that most people I’ve met have of the difficulty of the CPA exams are inflated, but, if one holds the credential, one benefits from others having that inflated view.
In my mid-60s, I decided to pursue the CFA designation. I’m glad I did. Although the CFA is not nearly so well-known as the CPA, the CFA has real substance. The tests are rigorous–at least, they were when I was taking them–and I’ve never regretted the time I invested in preparing for the tests. Comparably speaking, I think the CFA exams are much harder than the CPA tests. Much, much harder, in fact. But the CFA designation is a wonderful designation to have, one that is well worth the time, effort, and money. Anyone who is doing analytical work for (or in) a trust department, pension fund, or money-management firm and who has the CFA designation will have a leg up on colleagues who don’t have it.
In addition, the CFA Institute is a first-rate organization in every respect. Those who have substantial knowledge about the American Institute of CPAs would never say that about its long-time CEO or about the organization itself.
My last comment is this: accounting looks mostly backward, while finance looks mostly forward. That is why having both designations is so valuable: One gets the best of both worlds.
Mastery is a little excessive, don’t you think? I’d say a very solid and respected starting ground into your field of choice.