12 May CFA vs CPA: Which is the Best for You?
Professionals in finance often pursue professional qualifications in order to advance their careers. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) are debatably the two most prestigious titles in their respective fields. What are the differences, and which one is better? The primary difference between the two are what each position covers and the career opportunities. CPA is considered to be “black belt in accounting” and prepares you for careers in Accounting and Auditing, whereas, CFA Program focusses on Investment Management covering broad topics like Corporate Finance, Portfolio Management, Derivatives, Fixed Income, Alternative Investments and prepares you for careers in Investment Banking, Portfolio Management, Financial Research etc. Rather than asking this question that “which is better?”, you should be asking “which is is better for you”.
What is a CPA?
What is a CFA?
The top employers of CFAs include the most respected financial corporations in the world, such as, JPMorgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.Many of these are investment banks, but the CFA Program goes beyond that into the knowledge and skills most relevant to the global investment management profession from the standpoint of a practitioner.
CFA vs CPA: The Application
CFA or CPA: Exam Content and Format
Most state boards require around 1 year of accounting experience before getting the license, and for most states this experience has to be supervised and verified by an active CPA.The CFA exam format is much less flexible. There are 3 levels of exam, and you need to complete them in the proper order to move on to the next. The exam is focused on financial analysis and portfolio management instead of accounting, audit and taxation. The test is administered twice a year for Level 1, and once a year for Level 2 and 3. There are many international testing centers for CFA exam in major cities and metropolitan areas. Although technically you can complete the CFA exam within 18 months (Level 1 in December, Level 2 in June, Level 3 in June the year after), most candidates take 4 years to complete the exams. It takes much longer to become a CFA than a CPA. You are required to have 4 years of relevant experience to get the CFA designation. Your supervisor, who will be verifying your experience, does not need to be a CFA.