What is Dual Certification?

The competition among undergraduate accounting students to differentiate themselves and stand out in front of potential employers is increasing. Interning at accounting firms to gain real-world, practical experience has been the conventional way of strengthening a resume; however, many students are earning professional accounting certifications to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Two of the most popular and valued certifications are the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and the Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Obtaining these certifications is proof that the holders have the education, skills, and experience that will ultimately benefit the company they are employed at.

Why Dual Certification?

Apart from the value and the respect that both certifications carry, the most lucrative feature, literally, is the financial benefit with regards to income that the holders enjoy. According to the Institute of Management Accountants’ 2018 Global Salary Survey, holders of both certifications in the US earned 59% more than the median total compensation compared to those who held neither certification.

A dual certification ensures differentiation for the holder, a vital advantage in a competitive job market like that of accounting. Along with the competitive edge it provides the holder, it indicates to prospective employers that the holder has the required skills and expertise to succeed in a business environment that is dynamic in nature. The effort taken to earn both the certifications is not less, which shows the determination, motivation and sincerity of the holder. All this enhances the chances of the holder getting employed at the top accounting firms in the world.

The examinations of each certifications themselves have several advantages:

  • In both the CMA and the CPA examinations, the candidates can attempt one part at a time (for example, either of the two parts—financial planning, performance, and control, or financial decision making—in the CMA examination, or either of the four parts—AUD, FAR, REG, or BEC—in the CPA examination).
  • Candidates are allowed to flexibly schedule their examinations.
    • CMA: Offered daily (except on Sundays and public holidays) in January-February, May-June, and September-October
    • CPA: Offered five days a week in January-February, April-May, July-August, and October-November; including first 10 days of March, June, September, and December
  • Both examinations are computer-based and are conducted at Prometric test centres with state-of-the-art facilities.
  • Candidates do not have to have prior work experience to attempt the examinations. However, work experience is required to obtain the certification after successful completion of the examinations.