Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the title of qualified accountants in numerous countries in the English-speaking world. It is generally equivalent to the title of a chartered accountant in other English-speaking countries. In the United States, the CPA is a license to provide accounting services to the public. It is awarded by each of the 50 states for practice in that state. Additionally, almost every state (49 out of 50) has passed mobility laws to allow CPAs from other states to practice in their state. State licensing requirements vary, but the minimum standard requirements include passing the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination, 150-semester units of college education, and one year of accounting related experience.
Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a professional certification credential in the management accounting and financial management fields. The certification signifies that the person possesses knowledge in the areas of financial planning, analysis, control, decision support, and professional ethics. The CMA is a U.S.-based, globally recognized certification offered by the Institute of Management Accountants.
CMA-certified professionals work inside organizations of all sizes, industries, and types, including manufacturing and services, public and private enterprises, not-for-profit organizations, academic institutions, Government entities (USA), and multinational corporations worldwide. CMA has a better Career in Management Accounting Globally than Cost Accountants of SAARC Countries.
To date, more than 50,000 CMAs have been certified in more than 100 countries. To obtain certification, candidates must pass a rigorous exam, meet an educational requirement, experience requirements, and demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning through continuing professional education (CPE).
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program is a professional credential offered internationally by the American-based CFA Institute (formerly the Association for Investment Management and Research, or AIMR) to investment and financial professionals. The program covers a broad range of topics relating to investment management, financial analysis, quantitative analysis, equities, fixed income, and derivatives, and provides a generalist knowledge of other areas of finance.
A candidate who successfully completes the program and meets other professional requirements is awarded the "CFA charter" and becomes a "CFA charterholder". As of October 2018, there are approximately 150,000 shareholders around the world in more than 165 countries. Successful candidates take an average of four years to earn their CFA charter. Only around 9% of candidates have consecutively passed all three levels in the past decade.
Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is a certification offered to accountants who conduct internal audits. The Certified Internal Auditor designation is conferred by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and is the only such credential that is accepted worldwide.
Certified public accountants, or CPAs, are also trained in auditing and can perform many of the same functions as the CIA; however, the professional with a CIA designation will have a more micro-focused skill set. One important difference is that the CPA credential is often recognized only within the United States, whereas the CIA is an internationally recognized designation. While CPAs can be employed directly by a company in an auditor role, it is far more common for them to come into a company from the outside (external) to perform auditing functions. CIA's are thus more likely to be employed directly by a company. Although it is not very common, an accountant can pursue and hold both the CPA and CIA designations.