CIA vs CPA :Which one enhance Your Career!


Both the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and  CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) are credentials that you earn by passing an examination. CPA s must be licensed by the state(s) in which they practice, but CIA s do not have to be licensed. If you become a CIA then your focus will be on overseeing a company’s internal financial processes to ensure compliance or flag deficiencies.

CPAs are also trained in auditing and can perform the same functions as the CIA; however, the CIA has a more micro skill set. One big difference when comparing CIA vs CPA is that the CPA credential is recognized in the U.S., whereas the CIA is an international designation.

The CPA exam is administered by the AICPA and consists of 4 parts: Accounting and Auditing, Business Environment and Concepts, Financial Accounting, Reporting, and Regulation. The CIA exam is administered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and consists of 3 parts: Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing, Practice of Internal Auditing and Essentials of Internal Auditing.

The educational requirements are 150 hours of undergraduate study for the CPA and a 4-year bachelor’s degree for the CIA. However, a combination of education and work experience is also acceptable for CIA eligibility. You can have 2 years of post-graduate education and 5 years of related work experience or 7 years of experience as an internal auditor.

CPA requirements vary from one jurisdiction to the next. However, due to the unifying efforts of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), the state CPA requirements do share general areas of overlap.

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) created the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification. Now, the CIA is the only globally recognized internal audit certification, and this certification demonstrates that internal auditors have the necessary knowledge, skills, and competencies to effectively perform any audit, anywhere.

While CPA Exam fees  vary from state to state, most jurisdictions follow NASBA’s fee schedule of $208.40 per exam section. Candidates must also pay an application fee of anywhere from $30-$200.Taking the ethics exam (which most states require) will cost you another $150-$190.

The cost of the CIA exam includes the application and exam registration fees, which total $1,315 for non-IIA members. If you pay the $250 for IIA membership (which is not necessary for entering the CIA program), you’ll enjoy lower CIA Exam  fees  that come to $1,105.

Furthermore, while the CPA Exam is available for the majority of the year, you can only take it during these 4 annual testing windows:

  • January 1-March 10
  • April 1-June 10
  • July 1-September 10
  • October 1-December 10

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