The Best Designations to Combine With a CPA

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The Certified Professional Accountant (CPA)is one of the most sought-after and well-respected professional designations in the financial services industry.

Recognized throughout the United States and regulated at the state level, CPAs allow credential-holders to work in a wide range of roles and industries.

On its own, the CPA is viewed as a top certification for job security and career success, but there are ways to level up your CPA that can greatly increase the value you add to a role or organization.

Below are the best designations to combine with a CPA:

Project Management Professional (PMP) 

The PMP, or Project Management Professional designation, is the gold standard for project management and is highly valued in both commercial and government applications across industries.

PMPs learn a holistic set of skills that enable them to manage the logistics, operations, finances and interpersonal side of project execution. 

The PMP complements and augments the CPA nicely because it creates an accounting professional who has the dual ability to provide deep financial analysis and insight into a business who also understands the macro side of operations.

The PMP involves a rigorous exam that requires a substantial amount of studying and preparation.

If you are a CPA or a PMP who can communicate across divisions and understand the varying operational and financial needs throughout an organization, you are a major asset. 

Accredited Business Valuation (ABV)

The ABV is an additional certification provided by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and requires the completion of 10 business valuation engagements and 75 hours of industry-specific learning activities.

Following this, you write a two-part exam that tests you on engagement practices, professional and regulatory knowledge, and quantitative and qualitative analysis. 

After successful completion of the course, the CPA will now be specialized in valuing businesses, which could open up opportunities at business valuation firms, consulting firms and other organizations which evaluate businesses.

The ABV experience can also be contributed towards general CPA CPE credits. Knowing how to value businesses makes a CPA a major asset to have around during mergers and acquisitions, sales of businesses and when evaluating investment opportunities. 

Law (JD)

Getting a law degree on top of a CPA designation is likely one of the most substantial value-adds an account can pursue, although the time and financial requirements to pursue this combination are considerable.

A tax accountant with an in-depth understanding of the law, for example, is more capable of handling complex tax issues, and vice-versa and an attorney with a CPA and a deep financial understanding would be able to offer a firm’s clients a much broader range of services and expert advice.

There are a number of colleges throughout the United States that offer dual degree programs, meaning you leave as both a JD and a CPA.

Or, you can find an accounting program first and complete your JD after. 

Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA)

A CVA is a certification that is administered and issued by the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts.

It requires you to complete a five-day training program, include three personal and professional references, pass a two-part final examination, and be registered with the NACVA.

CVA’s are able to accurately assess the value of businesses, making them an important part of any sales and acquisitions.

The primary benefit of the CVA is that it provides CPAs with an effective and valuable addition to their primary financial education in a short amount of time.

While not as in-depth and comprehensive as the CFA, the CVA is straightforward, focused, and the final examination has a high pass rate

Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

A data analytics certification may not have seemed like an intuitive complement to a CPA a couple of decades ago, but accounting and big data continue to merge in a major way, creating all kinds of opportunities for professionals who can do both.

There is a whole new skill-set that accountants will need in order to thrive and ensure job security throughout the data revolution–which is already well underway. 

The certified analytics professional designation is a general analytics cert that provides candidates with end-to-end knowledge of the analytics process–from framing problems and data collection to methodology, modeling, deployment and management at every stage of the analytics life cycle.

Knowing how to extract, analyze and synthesize data is quickly becoming a prerequisite for CPAs in many industries. 


The CPA, on its own, is a highly-respected designation that enables holders to practice different kinds of accounting specializations throughout the U.S. economy.

The salary potential, job security, and complexity of the work have made it highly sought-after for financial services specialists and business graduates for a long time.

In today’s hyper-competitive job market and rapidly evolving workplace and economy, however, CPAs need to bolster their credentials with extra value.

The above designations are five of the best ways to do exactly that. 

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