Accounting certificate programs are beneficial to those who are planning to pursue a career in the field of accounting. Accounting is a subject that touches every area of business and management. It not only helps you to get into entry-level positions in companies but also helps to update current knowledge in accounting principles. These certificate programs also help to improve skills and competencies if you are a professional already in the work arena.
Although most certificate programs are open to those who have completed a bachelor’s degree, there are some that may not require prior secondary education. Those seeking an entry into the field of accounting or aspire to do a specialization like CPA, may find these certifications helpful for the knowledge they provide. However, for a CPA, one has to have a bachelor’s degree apart from these certifications in order to fulfil the state educational requirements.
The Pros and Cons of Accounting Certificate Programs
The advantages of these accounting certificate programs are:
1. It benefits those looking for entry-level positions in the accounting field; those interested in changing their career path, those who want to refresh and update themselves on current changes and also small business owners and entrepreneurs wanting to perform accounting operations themselves.
2. Typically, a course consists of 7-10 modules that give a strong foundation in financial principles and accounting practices.
3. The courses are usually conducted part-time and help those who are having full time jobs. It is also beneficial for students looking for additional qualifications and professionals wanting to upgrade their knowledge.
4. Most accounting certificate programs feature electives such as statistics, law, management and economics and include taxation, business law and auditing theory and practice.
5. Accounting for specific types of organizations like NGOs, partnerships etc. are also included in the program.
6. Scandals and frauds in companies have increased over the years and accounting professionals or those with the knowledge gained from the certification programs are sought after by companies. Many accounting regulations and laws have been changed or revised to respond to the needs of the current times.
Disadvantages of Accounting Certificate Programs
As with anything, there is also a flip side to the coin. Some of the disadvantages of these accounting certificate programs are:
1. One must first find out the credibility of the organizations that offer online accounting certification programs before applying to any of these.
2. If the certification program is perceived as an alternative to the 4-year accounting degree, then it needs to be understood that the latter is a professional degree which helps people land jobs like public accountants, management accountants, internal auditors, tax consultants and controllers commanding fairly high salaries and positions in accounting circles. A certificate program only allows a glimpse into the accounting world at entry level positions and will not equip individuals to understand and practice at the deeper levels desired.
3. Professional degrees offer students a complete and in-depth coverage of all the aspects of accounting. It also gives students an opportunity to study under experienced professionals in the industry and gain hands-on experience through internships or projects during the term of the course. A stand-alone accounting certification would not offer as much for someone who is considering accounting as a career choice. So, as you can see, accounting certificate programs do help, but do not take the place of a 4 year accounting degree.
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