7 accounting certifications you need for a career in Singapore

By Robert Half on 21 February 2022
Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes

During this difficult time, and when goal posts seem to be forever shifting, companies are relying on accountants in Singapore to drive efficiencies that will keep businesses viable during financial turbulence as well as navigate unpredictable cashflows and shifting compliance requirements.

As the role of the accountant evolves into a critical business advisor, it pays to upskill to stay at the forefront of the field. When it comes to investments, earning additional accounting certifications ranks among the best.

Investing in your own skill set pays dividends for finance and accounting professionals both in terms of your marketability and your market worth.

There is no shortage of finance and accounting certifications that can be undertaken. Each comes with its own set of educational requirements, costs and advantages. So it is important to consider which certifications are most in-demand with employers, and which will actually help to advance your career.

Related: How to plan your career in Singapore

Let’s take a look at the most sought-after accounting certifications for finance and accounting professionals across Singapore:

1. Certified Public Accountant(CPA)

The CPA qualification remains the ‘gold standard’ for finance and accounting professionals in Singapore, and is well-regarded internationally. With this accounting certification, employers can see at a glance that you have skills spanning accounting, tax, audit, risk and compliance.

For information on the CPA, you can check out the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants here.

2. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Candidates holding a CISA accounting qualification are in high demand throughout Singapore. It demonstrates to employers you have proficiency in the audit, control and security of information systems - skills that are highly valued in today’s climate where IT security is a high priority for business leaders.

You can find out more about CISA courses in Singapore through the ISACA website.

3. Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

For professionals wishing to pursue a career in internal audit, the CIA accounting qualification is a must-have. It demonstrates competence across all areas of internal audit including risk and compliance – and is highly regarded by Singapore’s employers.

To get you started on the road to becoming a CIA certified accountant, explore the Institute of Internal Auditors of Singapore here.

4. Masters of Business Administration (MBA)

MBAs are not a dedicated accounting certification as such, however they are often highly regarded for senior and executive roles, and it could be the qualification that takes your career to the next level. That said, an MBA is a significant undertaking, which may be completed over one year full-time or several years of part-time study.

Related: How to advance your career in Singapore

The cost can be prohibitive, and while your employer may offer to pay all or part of the cost it pays to research the MBA courses available. MBAs from some institutions are regarded more highly than others.

Candidates looking to undertake an MBA in Singapore can visit MBA Studies Top 26 MBA Degrees in Singapore list to find out more.

5. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

The CFA accounting certification demonstrates skills and understanding of portfolio management, investment analysis, economics, and professional and ethical standards. It may be a suitable accounting qualification if you plan to focus your career on the wealth management and investment sectors.

6. Management Accountant (CMA)

The CMA accounting certification is sponsored by the Institute of Management Accountants and is internationally recognised. It may be the go-to accounting certification if you plan a career in finance as the main skill sets it will develop are financial analysis, budgeting and strategic assessment.

You can find more information on the process of becoming a CMA qualified accountant here.

7. Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

For CPAs working in business and government, the CGMA accounting certification is a relatively recent entrant, having only been issued since January 2012. It is designed to enhance management accounting skills with a global outlook.

You can find more information on the CGMA course main website.

Find the accounting certification that is right for you

Undertaking the necessary course work to achieve these accounting certifications can be challenging.

Related: How to get the most of your professional training programs

Especially as many of the courses are only available once you have already kick-started your finance or accounting career in Singapore, and gained some working experience. In which case the studying will need to be combined with full-time work.

This being the case, it makes sense to consider which accounting certification will propel your career forward – and ask your employer about the availability of any assistance including study leave to help you complete the course.

Learn from Robert Half’s expert recruiters so you can build a talented team of employees or advance your career. Operating in over 300 locations worldwide, our Singapore recruitment agency can provide you with assistance where and when you need it.

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