How Can

You Use Your CFA Charter or CPA License to Advance Your Career?

How Can You Use Your CFA Charter or CPA License to Advance Your Career? It may be challenging to make a decision once you enter the finance and accounting industry because there are so many possible avenues. Additionally, CPA (Certified Public Accountant) certification is required in many countries, including the USA, if you intend to pursue a career as an experienced and independent accountant.

However, you have other qualification options besides CPA. There are additional professional certificates available, including CA, CFA, ACCA, ACMA, and CIMA.

CFA is a credential that is frequently brought up when discussing CPA. The idea that CPAs should get CFA certification in addition to their current credentials in order to increase their pay and job scope is widely held. But is it genuinely credible?

It can only be addressed after analyzing both qualifications, their benefits and drawbacks, and taking into account the combination of CFA and CPA.

What Is CPA?

CPA or Certified Public Accountant is the most sophisticated accounting credential available for obtaining a license and working as an independent accounting and financial professional.

In addition to completing certification, candidates for the CPA designation must also meet specific educational and experience requirements. Every state's Board of Accountancy is in charge of issuing professional CPA certifications. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, on the other hand, offers tools for earning a CPA license.

The most esteemed credential is the CPA, which is comparable to the Chartered Accountant(CA) title in many other countries.

Public accountants have three career options after earning their CPAs: public accounting, corporate accounting, or government service. CPAs are frequently given the opportunity to work as controllers, chief financial officers (CFOs), etc.

The fact that the CPA certification is particular to the country or state in which the applicant passed the exam is a noteworthy feature. For instance, a license will be issued in the USA if someone is trying to pass the CPA exam there.

How to Become CPA?

Let's begin with the education and experience prerequisites for taking the CPA examinations. A person who wants to become a CPA must satisfy the following conditions:

  1. Must have earned a bachelor's degree with a minimum of 150 credits. Contrary to common opinion, earning a bachelor's degree in accounting is not necessary. To compete well, it is suggested that you major in accounting. You can also pursue a master's degree to improve your chances of passing the CPA exam because master's degree holders are more likely to pass the CPA exam.

  2. Regarding any past CPA examination experience, there are no strict criteria.

The CPA exam is divided into three essay portions, 28 task-based simulations, and 276 MCQs. The entire exam is split into four parts:

  • Auditing and Attestation

  • Financial Accounting

  • Regulation

  • Business Environment and Concepts

The minimum passing score for each section is 75%, and all four parts must be passed within 18 months, or one and a half years.

What Is CFA?

The qualification, formerly known as AIMR (Association for Investment Management and Research), is called "Chartered Financial Analyst" and was granted by the CFA institution.

The CFA is a benchmark used to assess financial analyst competence. Accounting, security analysis, ethics, economics, money management, and other topics are among those in which professional accountants and financial analysts need to be proficient.

Like CPAs, CFAs are among the most esteemed charter credentials and are frequently regarded as the gold standard in investment analysis.

Professional financial analysts are said to possess proficiency in real investment analysis after receiving their CFA degree. It is a three-part exam that evaluates several professional areas and skills.

How to Become CFA?

You must have a bachelor's degree or be in your last year of a bachelor's degree in order to meet the educational criteria. The CFA institute states that you need to have completed 900+ hours of independent study, ten topic areas, and in-depth understanding of ethics, portfolio management, and investment analysis.

In addition to your degree, you must have four years of experience. The CFA Institute states that in order to take the CFA test, you must have 4000 hours of experience.

What About CPA CFA?

What if a public accountant also decides to pursue the CFA?

Two separate expert viewpoints exist about the combination of CFA and CPA. According to the first school of thought, having both a CFA and a CPA may not provide a significant benefit.

It will be more costly to pay for two distinct courses from different sectors.

The second school of thought, on the other hand, contends that earning a CPA and CFA simultaneously qualifies you as a financial and accounting expert.

If you have both a CPA and a CFA, you may rise swiftly in any given sector.

Leapfrogging by Passing Exams

For every accountant, earning the CPA certification is a crucial career move. A person's skill set, competency, and knowledge are demonstrated to present and future employers by passing the exam. For promotions and advancement to senior-level roles inside a corporation, the CPA certificate is typically recommended, if not a must. Young professionals may easily spend years in an entry-level associate position, but obtaining their CPA can speed up their career advancement by providing companies with concrete proof of their education and skills.

By Showcasing Pertinent Expertise, You Can Expand Your Job Options

The CFA and CPA examinations both make a point of remaining current with the skill sets that businesses need. Fintech-related content was added to the CFA charter examination in 2019 following an upgrade. The redesigned CFA exam also incorporates classic quantitative abilities with more contemporary subjects like blockchain technology and machine learning. You could be able to obtain employment in industries like cryptocurrencies or financial forensics because the exam tests your understanding of current financial subjects.

The CPA Exam is also evolving. The exam will be revised in 2024 to incorporate a core-plus-discipline model as part of the CPA Evolution program. In this model, the existing Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) component will be substituted by a more specialized segment chosen by the CPA candidate. These discipline section choices include Tax Compliance and Planning, Information Systems and Controls, and Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR). The revised style and content of the test allow professional accountants to specialize early in their careers as more careers are becoming progressively specialized.

Benefits of CFA for a CPA

Let's talk about the advantages of obtaining a CFA in addition to a CPA.

1. Enhanced Industrial Knowledge

One of the most well-known advantages of earning a second certification in addition to your Public Accountant certificate is having extensive industry expertise.

People who want to develop their research skills in hedge funds, investment banks, mutual funds, etc. must pursue both a CFA and a CPA certification.

2. Numerous Career Options

If you had four job options available to you while you had a CPA, earning your CFA certification will allow you to pursue four more career options.

Obtaining a CFA charter is the quickest route if you have already completed your CPA but wish to go to the investment banking and financial analysis industries, making you a more appealing candidate for employment with various banks and financial organizations.

3. More Credibility and Professional Skills

A wider range of skills and expertise will help improve your professional reputation. Even if you have completed the four stages of the CPA test and three levels of the CFA exam, you still lack paper knowledge.

However, it improves your professional skills in areas like accounting, portfolio management, economics, and finance.

Being a CFA certifies you as a highly driven and dedicated professional, which enhances your professional reputation.

4. Faster Career Advancement

When you obtain a CFA certification in addition to a CPA, your rate of job progression also accelerates. Having a CPA or merely an MBA will not help you discover your ideal career as a financial analyst.

A CFA degree is also more competent than an MBA or other certification since the educational programs and professional tools are up to industry requirements.     

5. Exemptions of Licensing

Holding a CFA degree in addition to a CPA speeds up and simplifies the licensing procedure in many countries. You can avoid the full CPA licensure process if you possess a CFA.

Obtaining your CFA is equivalent to moving one step closer to a trouble-free migration if you intend to relocate to one of the countries that offer exemptions.

6. Higher Salaries

The salary packages you will receive as a CPA and CFA are superior to possessing only one qualification. Depending on your title and years of experience, you may earn between $87,000 and $499,000 per year with your CFA qualification.


Once you've chosen that accounting is the right profession for you, you should research some of the additional certifications, such as CFA, that will help you further your career. Accreditation as a CPA or CFA is a lengthy procedure that involves dedication and many hours. The sacrifice, though, will be worthwhile.