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Difference between CPA and CFA

Difference between CPA and CFA

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and Chartered Financial Analysts (CFAs) are both finance professionals, but their roles and responsibilities differ. CPAs are tasked with auditing financial statements and ensuring companies are following Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). CFAs work primarily with individual investors, providing investment analysis and portfolio management. There is a lot of overlap between the two professions, but knowing the difference can help you choose the right one for you.

What is CPA?

CPA is an abbreviation for Certified Public Accountant. CPAs are professionals who have completed a rigorous education and training program and have passed a licensing exam. In order to maintain their license, CPAs must adhere to strict ethical and professional standards. CPAs provide a wide range of services, including tax preparation, auditing, and financial consulting. They also play an important role in corporate governance by providing independent oversight of an organization’s financial statement. CPA certification is recognized throughout the United States and in many other countries as the gold standard for accounting professionals. As a result, CPAs are in high demand, and they command premium salaries. Those who are interested in becoming a CPA should be prepared to commit to a long and difficult educational and training process. However, the rewards of becoming a CPA are well worth the effort.

What is CFA?

CFA Chartered Financial Analyst is a globally recognized designation earned by investment professionals. Those who earn the CFA credential have completed a rigorous self-study program and have passed three levels of exams. The CFA curriculum covers a broad range of topics related to investment analysis and portfolio management. The CFA designation is considered to be one of the most respected and sought-after credentials in the financial industry. Earning the CFA credential can help set you apart from your peers and demonstrate your commitment to excellence in the field of finance.

Difference between CPA and CFA

CPA and CFA are both professional designations that denote a high level of expertise in the field of finance. A CPA is a Certified Public Accountant, while a CFA is a Chartered Financial Analyst. Both credentials require passing an exam and meeting certain work experience requirements. However, there are some key differences between the two. A CPA focuses primarily on accounting, tax, and auditing. In contrast, a CFA covers a broader range of topics, such as portfolio management, financial analysis, and equity research. As a result, CFAs are often employed in more senior positions than CPAs. For example, CFAs may work as investment bankers or wealth managers, while CPAs are more likely to be found in accounting firms or corporate finance departments. While both designations are highly respected, it is important to choose the right one depending on your career goals.


The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential is the most common accounting designation in the United States. To become a CPA, an individual must complete 150 semester hours of coursework and pass an exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). In contrast, to become a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), an individual must complete a rigorous program accredited by the CFA Institute and pass three exams. Although both designations are respected in the finance community, there are some key differences between CPAs and CFAs.

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