20+ Difference between CPA and CFA

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between the many titles those working in the financial sector hold.

Both accountants and analysts play crucial roles in the financial industry, although the lines between their responsibilities might sometimes blur.

Becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) in the United States requires passing the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and meeting the requirements for membership in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants set by each individual state.

Comparison Between CPA And CFA

Meaning“CPA” stands for “certified public accountant,” which is what the name signifies. To qualify for this certificate, individuals must first pass all four sections of the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Exam and then receive a bachelor’s degree in accounting from an accredited university. Experience in public accounting is a necessity.“Chartered Financial Analyst” is the full name of this profession; “CFA” is the acronym. The CFA Institute offers three exams that must be passed to earn this qualification. In addition, the candidate must have the appropriate quantity of professional experience.
EarningsAs of 17 July 2022, the income range for a certified public accountant was $70,235 to $461,014, with the median wage being $461,014. Several factors determine compensation, including the employer’s location, the type of business, the employee’s seniority, and their role.According to research released by the CFA Institute in 2019, a CFA charter holder who works as a portfolio manager can expect an annual basic salary of $126,000. Depending on the industry, location, experience level, employment, and remuneration package, a CFA charter holder can expect to earn an average of $126,000.
ConsequencesIn many industries, a CPA can offer consulting, corporate analysis and management, personal finance, auditing, reporting, compliance, taxes, and accounting services. Other skills include public accounting. Public accounting is also on my resume.Candidates with a CFA designation are sought after in many countries’ banking and investment sectors. They know their way around the financial world like the back of their hand. Obtaining a Chartered Financial Analyst degree is a common goal in the investment management industry, and it’s often recognized as a major accomplishment.
SkillsYou should be prepared to spend a significant amount of time crunching numbers if you choose a profession that is solely focused on accounting, such as that of a certified public accountant. You can properly evaluate and comprehend financial data throughout your career if you take the Certified Public Accountant test. This will provide you with peace of mind.A person who has a CFA charter is expected to be able to think critically, evaluate data, make correct models, utilize Excel to its best potential, and communicate effectively.

Major Difference Between CPA And CFA

Who exactly is CPA?

Certified public accountants are responsible for preparing reports that accurately portray their clients’ financial activities. In addition, they help with filing and reporting taxes.

A certified public accountant (CPA) may advise individuals and businesses on the steps to take to minimize tax liability and maximize profit.

A certified public accountant (CPA) may provide guidance on the pros and cons of various business structures (partnership, corporation, limited liability company, etc.).

Key Difference: CPA

  • The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is a professional association that regulates who may call themselves certified public accountants.
  • CPA as an organization comprises the entire financial and accounting fields.
  • There is just one level of the Certified Public Accountant exam, and it consists of three parts. This requirement is dependent on the individual’s state of residency.
  • A bachelor’s degree and completing 150 semester or quarter hours of academic work are the bare minimum to qualify for certification.
  • One to two years of professional experience are needed to become a candidate for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. 

Who exactly is CFA?

Companies that handle investments, such as mutual funds, hedge funds, and private equity firms, often seek the services of a Chartered Financial Analyst.

A CFA will assess a company’s development and profitability, as well as its creditworthiness and debt load.

Furthermore, CFAs can handle financial planning for individuals and manage money. Day trading is just one example of a job where you can put your CFA training to use.

Key Difference: CFA

  • The CFA Institute is the organization in charge of administering the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) credential.
  • Research on investments and the management of portfolios are both parts of the curriculum for Certified Financial Analysts.
  • There are three different tests that you need to pass to get your CFA credential.
  • Candidates for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential must have completed at least a bachelor’s degree program.
  • Candidates require four thousand hours of work experience or a degree from an institution of higher education of at least four years’ duration for the CFA.

Contrast Between CPA And CFA


  • CPA- The initials “CPA” mean “certified public accountants,” which is what the word really means. To qualify for this certificate, candidates must finish all four parts of the Uniform Certified Public.

    Accountant Exam and then earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting from an institution recognized as meeting the criteria for accreditation. In addition to this, experience working in public accounting is an absolute must.
  • CFA- “Chartered Financial Analyst” is the full name of this profession; the abbreviation “CFA” refers to this career.

    There are three distinct examinations provided by the CFA Institute, each of which must be completed to get this certification.

    Applicants must also demonstrate that they have the necessary level of relevant work experience.


  • CPA- As of the 17th of July in the year 2022, it was claimed that the income range for a certified public accountant was from $70,235 to $461,014, with the median wage being $461,014.

    Several aspects go into determining remuneration, such as the location of the employer, the kind of business, the employee’s degree of seniority, and the role they play.
  • CFA- According to research that was conducted and released by the CFA Institute in 2019, a CFA charter holder who works as a portfolio manager (a common application) may expect an annual basic salary of $126,000.

    Even though this amount might fluctuate substantially based on industry, area, experience level, employment, and remuneration package details, the CFA charter holder can expect to earn an average of $126,000.


  • CPA- A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can operate in various industries, offering services such as consulting, corporate analysis and management, personal finance, auditing, reporting, compliance, taxes, and accounting.

    Other areas of expertise include public accounting. One other area of specialization on my resume is public accounting.
  • CFA- Candidates with a Chartered Financial Analyst designation are highly sought after for several professions throughout the banking and investment sectors in a variety of countries across the globe.

    This is because they have an exceptionally deep understanding of and competence in the various financial markets.

    Earning a Chartered Financial Analyst degree is a goal widely sought in the investment management industry. Once it has been achieved, it is often acknowledged as a significant accomplishment in the industry as a whole.


  • CPA- Regulation, auditing, and attestation, the business world and its tenets, financial accounting and reporting, and ethics are the four main pillars of the CPA curriculum.

    Economic concepts and analysis, financial statement accounts, entity and individual federal taxes, professional obligations, ethics, general principles, corporate governance, etc., are only some of the topics covered in this course.
  • CFA- The curriculum of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program is split into three levels: Level I, which covers fundamental financial concepts, and Level II, which emphasizes financial analysis and accounting. And Level III, which digs more deeply into portfolio management.

    Course topics include financial reporting and analysis, stock valuation, quantitative techniques, corporate finance, economics, portfolio management, derivatives, fixed income, alternative investments, ethics, and professional standards.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What exactly does the CPA course cover?

The Certified Public Accountant exam curriculum is comprehensive and covers many subjects besides accounting.

Some of these subjects include law, analytics, taxation, auditing, evaluation, regulatory frameworks and procedures, ethics, financial planning and management, and more.

The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) training not only makes one a specialist in accounting but also offers up a wide variety of doors to prospects.

Q2. Is the test to become a certified public accountant really difficult?

To fulfill the requirements for becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), one must first get a passing score on the Certified Public Accountant Examination.

The CPA test is difficult, but it is not impossible to pass if you have sufficient assistance and enroll in the most respected CPA certification program that is accessible to you.

The test is challenging and organized in a manner that is challenging for various reasons.

Q3. How long does it take to finish the requirements to become a certified public accountant?

This certification program focuses on the following areas: auditing, attestation, financial accounting and reporting, business environment and principles, and regulation (REG).

Candidates must pass all four sections within 18 months while attaining a minimum score of 75 on each of those components.

Q4. How much does it cost to take the Chartered Financial Analyst examinations?

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam has three levels, each costing $1,000 to take, but if you sign up for it early, you may save $300 on the total cost.

Additionally, a one-time registration fee of $350 must be paid to participate in this event. If you registered for the course in advance, the total cost that you would be responsible for paying would be $2,450.

Q5. Who may participate in the CFA program?

The CFA exam is overseen and coordinated by the CFA Institute. Candidates must either already possess a bachelor’s degree or be in the last year of their undergraduate degree program to be eligible for registration.

Applicants can also meet the qualification requirements by completing 4,000 hours of professional work experience or by combining professional work experience with higher education.

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