Financial certifications are proof of your expertise in certain areas of the financial industry. A graduate with the certifications is capable of being hired as an account Administrator, investment analyst, a Specialist in contracts and transaction technicians. A huge boost to all the job Hunters in their skills as well as experience. The certification requires a course to be completed and an exam that needs to be cleared for qualification. Hence, financial certifications demand a lot of investment in terms of both time and money. Thus, it is necessary for one to carefully choose the certification course they want to apply for.
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Certification
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Certification
- Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Designation
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certification
- Financial Risk Manager (FRM) Certification
- Financial Modelling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)® Certification
List of top financial courses
1. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Certification
One of the most popular courses in the financial industry. Consisting of three levels it takes almost four years on average to complete the course and take the exam.
The major focus of the certification is Investment analysis and portfolio management.
Pros: Internationally regarded and one of the toughest exams to clear. The essential requirement for the jobs involving equity research and asset management.
Cons: Extremely challenging to clear. It stands out among most financial certifications because of the low qualifying rate and the material covered is extremely vast.
2. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Certification
CPA is a very well-established standard in the accounting world and holds importance in the financial industry. The CPA syllabus consists of business environment and concepts, auditing and attestation, financial accounting and reporting, and regulation.
Pros: The certification is mandatory for a person aiming for an accounting post. An accelerator for someone who needs a CFO’s job.
Cons: CPA does not majorly focus on corporate finance.
3. Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Designation
The CAIA is one of the highly regarded certifications. This certification is majorly focused on hedge funds and Asset Management. The curriculum covered in the CAIA are ethics, hedge funds, private equity, real assets, structured products, asset allocation, and risk management.
Pros: It is a great program when it comes to managing alternative investments in niche areas.
Cons: It is not as versatile and broad a spectrum as courses like MBA.
4. Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certification
Exactly as the name implies, it is focused on financial planning which involves wealth management or investments. It is a perfect fit for people who are interested in retail or managing the wealth of clients with high net worth.
CFP® is one of the finance accreditations which is highly sought after and even valued.
Pros: It’s worth in the market and adds to your profile in retail banking, private banking and Wealth Management careers.
Cons: It has a fairly narrow focus and is not suited for sectors other than Wealth Management.
5. Financial Risk Manager (FRM) Certification
Risk Officers risk analysts and other positions in risk management require this certification as a mandatory prerequisite. It approximately takes a year to complete.
Pros: It is the most popular and targeted certification. It is good to have if a person is targeting only positions in the risk management sector. Also, it is quite cost-effective and time-efficient compared to other certifications.
Cons: This certification is a very novel one and hence does not have much recognition. Also, it might not come in very handy for positions in sectors other than risk management.
6. Financial Modelling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)® Certification
It is a fairly new yet popular certification for Corporate finance Professionals. Financial Modelling certification is an affordable investment. It includes advanced valuation techniques and sensitivity analysis on how to build a financial model and build it on practical applications such as Excel. The pass rate is approximately 70% for the FMVA™ test.
Pros: It helps you learn the most practical analyst skills such as How to build a financial model on excel, e-commerce, Retail, and other financial models specific to the industry. Advanced applications such as mergers and acquisitions Modelling, sensitivity analysis, financial analysis, scenario analysis, ratios, and company performance on excel.
Cons: Being new it is not well established in the financial industry.
Financial certifications boost the credibility of your skills and at the same time provide you with more arsenals during the course. Also, there is better career flexibility and they earn about 16% higher salaries than their non-certified peers. On one hand, it does improve job security but one must give a lot of thought when opting to go for a certification.