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### 6 Specialized Certifications Bridging Skills Gaps in Modern Accounting

It should not be surprising that nearly every thriving enterprise employs an accounting expert. Without diligent bookkeeping, the longevity of a business may be in jeopardy.

Hence, the demand for individuals equipped with contemporary financial and business expertise is crucial in today’s rapidly evolving landscape. However, a significant hurdle persists: the scarcity of accountants.


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More than 300,000 individuals, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

“We are facing a talent pipeline dilemma,” states Mike DePrisco, the president and CEO of the [ppp1].

So, what measures are being taken in the accounting realm to address this issue? The focus lies on engaging with students at an earlier stage and equipping them with specialized knowledge to integrate accounting into their areas of interest. IMA, in conjunction with the organization responsible for the renowned certified public accountant (CPA) exam, plays a significant role in shaping accounting education.

“The current scenario in accounting and finance reveals a wave of retirements among professionals, with a noticeable gap in new talent opting for accounting,” DePrisco remarks. Many firms are reevaluating the requisite skills and personnel to fulfill their needs.

Recently, IMA introduced a new certification, the Financial and Managerial Accounting Associate (), aimed at providing early-career professionals a more affordable and expedited path to acquiring skills in this domain. Priced at $299 for the exam and recommending 50 hours of preparation, this certification offers a more accessible route compared to the substantial costs associated with becoming a CPA (further compounded by the necessity for around 150 university credit hours in many states).

The median salary for accountants and auditors stands at approximately $78,000, according to the [ppp2]. The field is experiencing a modest growth rate of 4%.

“The overall value proposition of formal education versus the traditional higher education track is being scrutinized due to factors like cost, return on investment, time, and the evolving demographics of college students,” DePrisco elucidates.

Lifelong learning: a requisite in accounting

Possessing fundamental knowledge in accounting and finance sets individuals apart from their peers and enables more effective discharge of job responsibilities, DePrisco emphasizes.

“We need to contemplate how, as a professional association, we can support individuals throughout their entire career journey, starting from early career stages—whether they are in university or have recently graduated,” he adds.

According to the rankings by Fortune, the University of Texas–Dallas, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, and the University of Massachusetts–Amherst are recognized for their [ppp3].

However, beyond mere theoretical learning of accounting, its practical application in high-demand domains holds increasing significance. Accounting associations and educational institutions have developed certificate programs focusing on areas such as [ppp4], ESG, [ppp5], and more.

“Today, accountants are expected to have a strategic outlook, comprehend data, interpret it effectively, and communicate the narrative behind the numbers to individuals not inherently inclined towards finance,” DePrisco stresses.

Above all, he underscores that “education is a lifelong journey,” emphasizing that continuous learning is pivotal for the future of accounting—especially with data playing an increasingly central role in business decision-making processes.

“It’s no longer the accounting profession of the past,” DePrisco asserts. “It presents a genuine opportunity to be at the core of business operations.”

For further insights, Fortune has curated educational opportunities enabling individuals to acquire relevant skills at the crossroads of accounting with two rapidly expanding industries: cybersecurity and data analytics.

Accounting intertwined with cybersecurity


Cost: \(305–\)495

Duration: Self-paced within one year

Sample Courses: Cybersecurity Frameworks and Regulations; Cybersecurity Risk Management; The Business of Cybersecurity


Cost: $249

Duration: Self-paced within one year

Sample Courses: Risk & Mitigation; Legal Compliance Considerations; Understanding the System

University of Maryland Global Campus:

Cost: $11,862 (out-of-state)

Duration: Expected completion within one year or less

Sample Courses: CyberAccounting: Management and Compliance; Fraud Examination; Accounting Information Systems

Accounting integrated with data analytics


Cost: $465

Duration: Self-paced within one year

Sample Courses: Data Visualization; Data Communication and Storytelling; Critical Thinking in Data Analytics


Cost: $399

Duration: Self-paced within one year

Sample Courses: Becoming Data-Driven; Visualizing the Present & Predicting the Future; Applying Data Analytics and Visualization

University of Illinois:

Cost: \(6,056–\)10,200

Duration: 8–24 Months

Sample Courses: Data-Driven Decisions in Accounting; Machine Learning for Accounting; Applying Data Analytics in Accountancy