How to Become a Certified Financial Analyst

With each passing year, the number of financial analysts is constantly growing. An expert with bigger credentials is always valued, now more than ever. Constant professional development is the key to success in a corporate domain. For a professional finance analyst, proper certification is a necessary step that keeps them moving forward. For them, this is an insurance that, tomorrow, their job will be still valued.

Financial certifications present a number of advantages culminating in the rapid growth of one’s career. From a substantial factor in the increase of a salary to a core of one’s reputation, a certification is a foundation stone of a finance expert’s career.

Starting a new career or changing the sphere one works in is much easier for a certified financial manager who has a reliable foundation and guarantee of their prowess in procedures, laws, and other aspects of the field. From a simple benefit, it changes to a necessity that determines one’s future.

Becoming a certified financial analyst requires not only a higher education degree in a related field but also some on-the-job experience. Getting certified is a process that requires effort and time but pays off greatly. It makes a person valuable for recruiters by increasing their market value; it improves their performance, and secures a current job position; it boosts the payment by at least 15%.

Depending on the sphere of expertise and branches of finance, there are various types of financial analyst certification. They are all connected to a specific role an expert plays in an organization. Thus, the demand for some kinds of certification is bigger and others are left rather unpopular. Let’s look at the various certifications every financial expert strives to get, but only few can.

Leaders Among Financial Certifications

Generally, there are dozens of certifications in the financial world. All of them bring certain benefits and job prospects. It is up to a finance worker to decide what kind to get and in what direction to move forward.

As in all spheres, certain areas are more popular than the others. For finances, everything is determined by demand and the size of a salary. The more specialists of a sphere are needed, the more people are ready to spend their time trying to achieve a certification. Unfortunately, some of the most popular and required certifications are the hardest to get.

Certified Public Accountant

Certified Public Accountant is an advanced accreditation in accounting that requires applicants to express extra proficiency and knowledge on addicting to having at least a year of practical work. Among the spheres an applicant gets tested and approved are taxes, risk management, forensic accounting, compliance, and additional services. The CPA certification is one of the highest credentials an accountant expert can get. It proves one’s higher competence.

To get certified, one has to go through four sections of tests including accounting and reporting, auditing and attestation, business environment and concepts, regulation. Only when all section tests are successfully completed, one can get a CPA certification.

After that, a newly-formed expert is bombarded by a flood of job prospects of a new scale. The rising demand for CPA certifications ensures that each financial analyst gets new propositions. To enhance their earning value, an individual can get another higher education degree.

Certified Financial Planner

Certified Financial Planner is a degree considered to be the most popular among financial experts. It opens many doors in the spheres of real estate, insurance, retirement, investment, taxes, and more. Moreover, these finance certifications are recognized in more than 25 countries making it a highly desirable international certification.

For this certification, one should go through five modeled and tests taxes, planning, ethics, investment, retirement, and estate planning. Taking the whole course at once takes from 18 to 24 months. Nowadays, the final test can be taken online.

The job prospects that come along with this certification include many financial spheres all over the world. Among the most popular choices are investment and wealth management. Notice that the pass rate for this certification is about 67 percent.

Chartered Financial Analyst

Another widespread name among accounting certifications is Chartered Financial Analyst. This finance certification focuses on portfolio management and investment analysis. The whole certification consists of 3 levels that take up to four years to complete. However, the result is an internationally recognized certification of the highest demand.

The only downside of CFA is the smallest pass rate among all other certifications. The longevity of courses, huge student resources, and high price may easily result in nothing but refusal. That is why CFA is considered to be the hardest-to-get kind of certification.

Finally managing to get past all necessary tests, one can become a financial advisor in any corporation of the world.

Financial Risk Manager

A dream of becoming a successful financial risk manager unites millions of people around the world. However, to get proper certification, one needs time and persistence. This is not as easy as it’s showed on TV when an intelligent risk manager saves the company from bankruptcy in a few clicks. It is hard work.

To get certified, one has to enter a course and professional materials and be revised regularly to follow the international financial situation. The course results in two tests that are twice a year in May and November. Both exams are needed for a successful certification. Besides, an applicant has to have at least two years of work experience as a financial risk manager or in a concerned sphere.

An FRM certification gives people a chance to move forward on their career ladder.  Now, they can manage all kinds of risks, work as an advisor, asset liability manager, or analyst, in the spheres of insurance, hedge funds, and credits.

Financial Modeling Certification

Financial Modeling Certification usually serves as a career boost to everybody working in banking, real estate, and insurance. It is considered to be a basic financing certification. The course includes the construction of effective financial account models, investments analysis, and business forecast.

After acquiring this kind of certification, an expert is welcomed both to remain in the sphere they’ve previously worked in and further advance or to change it altogether. The prospects are presented in banking, equity research, project and corporate finance, credit rating, and mergers. These experts are highly regarded by companies as an aid to constructing business solutions.

There are the top 5 certifications a financial analyst can hope to achieve. All of them require hard work and complete devotion. The courses take a lot of time but give a chance to improve one’s skills and knowledge. All kinds of certifications require at least a bachelor degree and various periods of work experience. There is no chance to become a certified financial expert with only the theory of university to back you up.

This highlight of the top 5 doesn’t mean that the rest of certifications are left behind and only passed by outcasts. There are enough decent and demanded ones out there that deserve a notable mention at least. Among them is a Certified Credit Professional that is the main credential in the sphere of credits becoming an important part of the finance sector. An expert can be involved and rule all spheres of credit management with wide career prospects in the area. Charted Global Management Accountant is another certification that deserves to be mentioned. CGMA certification is a highly recognized credential that shows the highest proficiency in finance, operations, strategy, and management. The candidates are required to pass certain tests. In addition, three years of work experience are required.

Great Career Boost

For a finance expert, all these certifications present a great chance to become better, richer, and higher ranked. Besides, there is no rule prohibiting to gain not one but a few of them. The more of them a person gets, the more valuable they become. For some, collecting financial certifications becomes a kind of hobby, for others, it’s a risky business.

To tell the truth, the pass rates of some certifications may scare off the applicants. Besides, each course takes much time and even more money. However, a successful result will mean everything for a finance worker. It is a beginning of a new era in their career. It is an international ticket to the corporations around the whole world.

No matter what areas of finances a person chooses, this is a kind of designation that will help them advance and develop as a specialist. Becoming one of the few certified finance specialists is a goal that is worth all those years of studies and hours of examinations. Deciding to become a part of the financial sphere, you should be ready to develop your skills and knowledge to move up your dream ladder.

 

Author: Chakraborty

Dr Chakrabarty is the Chief Innovation Officer of IntuiComp TeraScience. Earlier she was Assistant Professor of Delhi University, a QS ranked university in India. Before that she has held research positions in IITs and IISc. She holds 2 patents and over 20 publications in her name. Her area of research is in smart technologies, integrated devices and communications. She also has a penchant for blogging and is an editor of Business Fundas.