Corporate finance is one of the popular career aspects for most commerce and accounting students, especially in India. Due to the number of international companies coming down to make a spot in the Indian market, the need for corporate finance professionals is also increasing. For a long time, we have all been hearing of CA as the most lucrative career option for commerce students, due to its popularity. But there are some others which you as an aspirant might not be aware of. We will take you through three major finance certifications that will help you build a successful career in corporate finance. It will also help you understand the options available for you, if you are someone who has a keen interest in banking, finance, and auditing.

Chartered Accountancy (CA)

Chartered Accountancy is one of the most lucrative and popular career options in India. It mainly aims at teaching the nitty-gritty of managing finances, accounts, business strategy, auditing, taxation and other money-matters for an entity.

What do you do as a CA?

CA professionals are known to work with various entities to help them figure out finances, provide guidance and financial advice to help out the organization or person with money management. It can be business, individual or government.

You can work for businesses, industries, institutions, and CA firms. Not only that but you can also start your own CA firm. It provides a versatile career path that is appealing to you as per your requirements and interests.

Who is eligible?

This question can have two answers based on who you are talking to. One is you can start with the preparation just after your Higher Secondary level that is 12th standard or you can pursue it after completing your graduation or post-graduation.

Exams in the route

There are three important stages of becoming a CA in India. The CA foundation course, IPCC exam, and CA final course. The three courses become two if you are attempting it after your graduation or post-graduation. You will be exempted from the foundation course if you have secured an aggregate of 55% in graduation or post-graduation through the commerce stream.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

With Globalization ticking in and India becoming an IT and BPO hub for the last few years, the popularity of the CPA course is also increasing day by day. These professionals are in demand especially in the MNCs dealing in IT services and finance. The CPA course and professionals are accredited by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). They are responsible for taking care of bookkeeping, financial planning, and prepare tax returns documents along with profit and loss statements.

Who is eligible?

CPA is a course that requires an all-round educational background. The minimum eligibility criteria for becoming a CPA is a Master’s degree in Commerce or an MBA or BCOM + CPA. That means you require formal education of around 6 years in total.

Exams in the route

There are only 4 exams for becoming a US CPA. The CPA exam is divided into 4 disciplines: Auditing and Attestation, Financial Accounting and Reporting, Regulation, Business Environment Concepts. You have to complete 150 hours, of course, a semester to finally be ready for the CPA exam. It is a 16-hour assessment (4 Exams x 4 Hrs/exam) that aims at testing your knowledge about the course and finally awards you the degree if you clear the test.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

CMA is again a new career prospect for the students with a commerce background. It consists of management accountancy that can help in financial accounting and strategic business management. CMA professionals do not go into auditing, taxing, or general accounting, but assist an organization in business management and forming strategies.

Eligibility criteria

CMA is gaining popularity over the last few years and many students are aspiring to become a CMA professional. But before you sail your ship towards the destination, you need to understand the eligibility criteria before getting into the ship. Here is a small list that can help you:
You should be a member of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)

* Bachelor’s degree
* 2 years of relevant experience
* Passing both parts of CMA examination
* Exams in the route

CMA exam is divided into 2 parts of 4 hours each. You have to clear or pass the exam within 3 years of enrolling for CMA. It covers everything from financial reporting and cost management to corporate finance and risk management. You can appear for these exams in January, February, May, June, September, October.

When it comes to pursuing a certification or an educational qualification, the aim is to add credibility and earn respect. In both cases, you need something really solid foundation built which will bring you to the level you want to see yourself. The courses we discussed so far are exactly going to help you bring out the best in you in the long run.

Author's Bio: 

Miles Education is founded by Varun Jain, CPA, CMA, Harvard B-School alumnus. We are partners with Wiley, AICPA, IMA, and IIM Lucknow – Wiley Executive Education Programs.

Miles Education offers a range of upskilling programs to professionals and students:
-US CPA / CMA Review
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Analytics in Finance and Accounting
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We have partnered with more than 50 MNC’s for training their professionals and 100+ corporates for placements for our alumni. We have offices and training centers across India, UAE, and the USA and offer live online training to candidates across the world.