Financial Professionals Test Guide
By: Erin Hasinger, Tests.com
The world of finance offers a number of career fields, including accounting, financial analysis, planning, auditing and more. Many jobs in the financial sector require a college degree in finance or accounting, as well as a professional license or certification. Some fields, such as accounting, require practitioners to be licensed by the state. More often than not, certification and licensure are granted following a passing score on a financial examination.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
All 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam and the Mariana Islands require accountants to pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam in order to practice accounting.
The 14-hour exam is offered over a two-day period and is broken into four categories of testing: auditing and attestation, financial accounting and reporting, regulation, and business environment and concepts. The exam is computer-based and features multiple-choice questions as well as case studies. Fees for the exam range between $575 and $800, depending on where the exam is taken. All tests are hosted by Prometric Test Centers.
Certified Financial Analyst (CFA)
The Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) charter credential is aimed at investment professionals who want to take a voluntary step toward boosting their careers. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree or four years of professional experience (or four years combined experience and education) are eligible to take the CFA Institute’s three exams.
Each paper-and-pencil exam asks 100 questions. All are multiple choice, save for some essay questions in the third exam. Questions cover topics such as asset classes, investment tools, portfolio management and wealth planning. The exam series requires two fees: a $400 program enrollment fee and a $710 exam fee. Exams are offered in June and December worldwide.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
Financial planners can stand out among their peers by earning the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. This voluntary credential is offered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards through a ten-hour exam offered over a day and a half period on select dates in March, July and November.
The exam covers a number of financial planning topics, including investment planning, retirement planning, estate planning, income tax planning, insurance planning, risk management, financial planning principles and employee benefits planning. Financial planners with a bachelor’s degree and three years of full-time experience are eligible for certification. Test candidates must provide college transcripts and pay the $595 test fee when registering.
Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) credential is a voluntary one, but the only certification that is recognized worldwide. The four-part CIA exam covers internal auditing in governance, risk and control; conducting internal audits; business analysis and information technology; and business management skills. Each section includes 100 multiple-choice questions.
In addition to the CIA exam, the Institute of Internal Auditors offers specialty certification exams for Certification in Control Self-Assessment, Certified Financial Services Auditor and Certified Government Auditing Professional. Specialty exams ask 125 multiple-choice questions. All exams are offered at Pearson VUE Test Centers worldwide in May and November.
Certified Treasury Professional (CTP)
The Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) credential is offered for financial professionals who work in treasury and corporate finance. Candidates for the certification exam must have two years of full-time financial work experience to be eligible for the exam.
The exam asks 170 multiple-choice questions that cover treasury management; financially analysis; liquidity management; treasury technology; long-term finance and global finance. Registration fees include $186 for the application and $410 for the exam. Exams are given at Pearson VUE Test Centers year-round.
Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a voluntary credential for accountants who wish to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in universal standards of financial planning, control and analysis.
The exam is comprised of two parts, each asking 100 multiple-choice questions and a 30-minute essay question. Four hours is given for each part. Exams are offered at Prometric Testing Centers in January, February, May, June, September and October. There is a $200 entrance fee for the program, and each exam part bears a $350 registration fee.
To learn more about this certification program for accountants, please see the Certified Management Accountant Test Guide. To find materials to help you prepare for the exam, see the CMA Test Directory.