10 Finance Certifications for a Professional - Must Know

December 18, 2015   |   Category: Soft Skills   |   Email this post


If you love mathematics and statistics and have good analytical and problem solving skills, you are in the right industry. But  finance certifications in itself is just the foundation of your finance career. It is a vast industry and has innumerable sub-fields consisting of dedicated services, each requiring a specialization. Specific finance certifications can enable you to gain an edge over the regular opportunities and help you to secure a job that best compliments your aptitude and interests. In the current job scenario, finance certifications have gained growing importance.

finance certifications

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One must identify the current industry requirements in order to open newer avenues and to ensure steady growth in one’s career. Also if one is looking for a little change in job or job- environment, a different finance certifications will help you acquire a job of your choice.

Individuals with higher credentials are always well- regarded in the corporate domain as these finance certifications hold great value. Obtaining finance certifications in a certain area exhibits your proficiency in that particular field and ensures faster career progression and higher returns.

Listed below are some advantages of  finance certifications:

  • They help individuals to perform better and strive towards excellence
  • They improve market value of a professional, thus increasing their visibility for recruiters
  • Higher qualification and credentials mean more job security
  • Individuals with such finance certifications can expect up to 15% higher remuneration than the current market average.

Each finance certifications is specific to the kind of role a financer needs to play in an organization. The duration and assessment method also varies from one program to the other.

Based on the various branches of finance, let us now look at some of the most sought after financial certifications list that can help you advance swiftly along your career path:

Finance Certifications;

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification

CFA Certification is among the most popular finance certifications. Demand for CFA certified professionals has grown manifolds over the last few years. This certification is granted by the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute to professionals. In order to qualify, one needs to appear for CFA exam that tests an individual on his knowledge and aptitude in finance.

About 50,000 candidates appeared for the CFA Exam in the last year, as per CFA Institute report.

A finance professional having CFA Certification is deemed highly qualified and exhibits his sound familiarity with a variety of fields such as investment banking & analysis, economics, portfolio management and ethical practices.

Note: Become a Financial Manager
Review financial reports, monitor accounts, forecast financials effectively. Learn to prepare solid financial plans. Learn to strategize for financial goals of an organisation.

Career Possibilities

With CFA Credentials up your sleeve, you can be a financial analyst and work for banks, investment groups, mutual fundsinsurance firms, consultancy firms that offer advice on finances and other sectors. Finance constitutes an important part within all the above industries and thus, CFA certified individuals are of great value to them.

Large corporate finance leaders prefer recruiting professionals having CFA credentials and also inspire their workforce to attain this certification so that they can offer better proficiency to their role.


A CFA accredited individual receives, membership in CFA Institute, which is a leading association of investment professionals in the world. He also gets associated with  more than 140 CFA member societies in over 65 countries,

Certified Public Accountant CPA Certification –

As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) average employment growth for accountants is expected to grow at a much faster rate in the coming years.

Certified Public Accountant certification is an advanced accounting accreditation that is offered by the reputed American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to professionals in the accounting and finance industry. It can be obtained by CFA certified professionals, who have extra-ordinary proficiency and knowledge as well as one year of experience of practicing public accounting.

CPA certified accountants get qualified for audit services in public accounting. It authenticates your proficiency in forensic accounting, tax, compliance, risk management and additional services.

CPA credential is highly valued in the job environment. A CPA license exhibits the highest level of methodical competence, is a representation of great accomplishment and an oath of excellence and commitment for the accounting professionals.

About CPA Exam

There are four sections in the CPA Exam, namely: auditing & attestation, accounting & reporting, business environment & concepts and regulation

Career Prospects

A certified public accountant can further enhance his earning capacity by  obtaining a master’s degree.

 Source: PayScale.com

There is an increasing need for CPA certified professionals due to advent of a larger number of start-ups, modified financial laws and intricacy of local and international regulations and taxes. Professionals  with CPA credentials showcase exceptional analytical skills and have the ability to solve complex business  challenges , along with decision-making skills and other soft skills such as communication and team-spirit..

Financial Risk Manager (FRM) Certification

There is an atmosphere of growing insecurity in the current economic situation. This drives business establishments to place stress on risk management practices in order to deal with any untoward circumstances. Thus, experienced professionals are in great demand in the field of risk management.

To be a risk management specialist, you can take up FRM certification, which is among the most widely accepted credentials in the field. The program helps to enhance your risk management skills and enables you to apply your knowledge in real-life situations. It is an extremely well devised course that is also revised periodically to include any new advancements and changes in the area of risk management and quantitative analysis.

About FRM Exam

FRM exam, which is divided into two parts, is conducted twice in an year, in the months of May and November by The Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). To be certified as FRM, you need to crack both FRM I and FRM II exams, and also have a work experience of 2 years as a financial risk management specialist or in any concerned area.

Career Prospects

An FRM accredited professional manages various types of risks pertaining to credit, market, liquidity, investment and non-market operational risks. As a FRM charter holder, you can work as an advisor, analyst, consultant, risk control manager,  asset liability manager or credit manager for investment / commercial/ central banks, hedge funds, insurance/ asset management companies, credit rating agencies, regulators and financial & non-financial corporations


 FRM certification adds great value to your professional profile as it has international recognition and demonstrates your dedication to the established principles of risk management.

Due the fast advent of companies into global markets, FRM credentials have become essential not only in financial services, but also in manufacturing, IT and many other sectors in the recent years. This has led to risk management being of the utmost importance and thus, FRM certified professionals being preferred by the recruiters..  Also, FRM includes a wide array of operational risks, which can be implemented in any industry as smoothly as in the financial services industry.


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Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certification

 CFP certification is among the most popular finance certifications for financial planners. It demonstrates a financial planner’s expertise in the planning of estate, retirement and insurance, employee benefits, investment, tax and risk. This is a unique qualification for implementing professional guidelines. This credential is bestowed to the candidates who qualify in the CFP exam by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) in the United States and by Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB), in countries other than the United States. Thus, this Financial Planning accreditation is recognized internationally and is accepted in about 25 countries world-wide.

CFP Course Structure & Exam

 There are five main constituents of the FP curriculum, namely: Insurance, which includes education planning, ethics and financial planning process modules, investment, Tax, Retirement and Estate Planning. Each module can take up to 45 to 60 days to complete and hence the total course duration is about 18 to 24 months.

Earlier, the CFP exam was a 10 hour long process and was conducted in 3 parts over 2 days. Lately, the exam format has been changed from paper to an  online  test that is divided into two sections of 3 hours each.


CFP Certification covers almost all aspects of financial planning and provide better career options and quick success

Financial Modeling Certification

If you are a financing professional, working in banking institutions as fund managers or investment bankers;  in real estate as property & fund managers; in corporate world as finance manager, consultant or analyst;  or as lawyer, accountant or insurance professionals, you can give a fresh lease of life to your career by obtaining financial modeling certification.

Financial Modeling is another basic and widely acknowledged  finance certifications. It enables the financing experts construct effective models to represent financial accounts and investment analysis by evaluating various factors to arrive at ideal business solutions and go aid them in making decisions. This is done by accumulating and studying the past records of a company. Thus, with financial modeling, we can deliver effective business forecasts to assess the overall health and viability of an organization.

Course Structure

The course includes training on valuation modeling, merger & acquisitionproject finance modeling, macros, advanced functions & charting and dash boarding techniques.

Career Prospects

Financial modeling certification can be extremely useful in the field of banking, finance as well as corporate world and will absorb the FMC experts in equity researchinvestment banking, project & corporate finance,  business/  financial/ IPO analysis, credit rating, and mergers & acquisitions

Certified Credit Professional (CCP)

CCP accreditation is granted by the Credit Institute of Canada (CIC) to endorse the significance of trained credit management professionals. They bring great professional expertise to their employers and hence are an important  part of the finance sector.

Course Structure & Exam

The Certified Credit Professional (CCP) program is designed to prepare candidates to handle all spheres of credit management. The program is divided into eight modules, each having an exam at the end of term. Although, it is possible to complete the CCP program between two to three years, one must conclude it in not more than seven years. It is mandatory for CCP aspirants to have a prior experience of five years in credit related responsibility.

Career Prospects

Credit program certified professionals are equipped to handle a credit department in various sectors and industries. They can be employed as credit analysts, credit risk managers or claims managers.


As a CCP graduate, you get not only the membership to CIC but also get to take part in their professional development [program from time to time].

Some other common finance certificate programs are listed below with a brief description:

Certified Management Accountant

The CMA certification is an internationally accepted certification granted by the Institute of Management Accountants.  It is especially useful in  financial analysis, budgeting and strategic assessment.

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

CGMA certification is jointly formulated and granted by ICPA and CIMA, both leading accounting organizations of the world,

With the CGMA designation, you acquire research, tools and a global network. It is the latest international position for CPAs working for government and corporate world.

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

CISA certification is conferred by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association and deals with information systems control, security and auditing.

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

CIA is the only certification for internal auditors that is accepted internationally  and deals with risk,  control and information technology.


Having an additional qualification and knowledge about a particular area of finance can work wonders for your career. It widens the horizons, opens newer possibilities for you and attracts prospective employers to you. Financial professionals gain authority and dedicated knowledge about a particular area of finance and keeps professionals, well-informed in their respective field. It proves your dedication and trust worthiness and your commitment to ethical conduct.

The best part about enrolling for these finance certifications is that, you can continue to work full time and devote complete attention to your work while procuring these finance certifications as they are either part-time studies or offer online resources and even exams. Most employers also encourage employees pursuing additional finance certifications and hence, they not only offer cooperation at work but also provide monetary support to pursue these courses.

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  • Comment Avatar

    I’ve total of 6 years of experience in project management and I’m currently working as a Project Coordinator (Oil & Gas Sector). I’ve completed my B.E (Electronics & Communication), M.Sc (Mobile & Pervasive Computing) & MBA (Project Management). My goal is becoming Project manager/Project Director. As i’m a non-finance professional I would like to get an insight and a through knowledge of finance management. Can any one guide me which course I should opt for?

    • Comment Avatar

      Brother Harish, i would recommend go for that finance qualification that won’t take long time. Professional certification needs commitment & time, being a Project Management person, sparing time with commitment shall be difficult or almost impossible for you. Therefore, you must go for any finance masters that can be completed within the stipulated time.

  • Comment Avatar

    I have a background in Finance but I am wandering if these certifications are recognized in Canada ? Please I am waiting for your help


    • Comment Avatar
      Jesal Shethna

      All these are top finance certifications and designations for professionals around the world. You can choose one according to your career interests. Know more about them on their official website before finalising.

  • Comment Avatar
    Pawandeep Singh

    Hello Sir, Could you please let me know which course can give me a better career CFP or CWM in Canada. I have gone through your article in Wall street mojo and there you mentioned CWM as a good course , however, here you didn’t mentioned it.

  • Comment Avatar

    My name is Belinda and I feel like I have an interest in providing counseling or advice to people, which professional course would u recommend ? I have a bachelors degree in economics majoring in international finance. I also would like something that will enable me to work in the accounting field as well.

    • Comment Avatar

      Hey Belinda, if you have strong basics in Economics, i would suggest you must go for CFA. But beware, professional certification needs time & commitment.

  • Comment Avatar

    I am Indian graduate in Finance and Investment Analysis(B.com),i looking to CFA integrated MBA in JBS(John Molson Business School,Canada),age 35 any scope In Finace world, can I get admission in JBS in this age,this CFA course is a same as global CFA course,other wise can I joining CFA course in India it’s valid or Indian CFA course is same global CFA course?

  • Comment Avatar
    Lakshman Kumar Sah

    I am working with finance company for fixed income plan and looking for Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certification.
    please guide.
    Lakshman Kumar Sah

  • Comment Avatar

    Hello. I am working in the field of maritime investment and i am looking a certification to help me and provide more qualifications

  • Comment Avatar

    I am an IT professional (BE graduate in Electronics and Communication). I have worked in Wealth management project where I have learnt few concepts related to wealth management.
    I am very interested in working in a Bank rather than in IT industry. Please guide me on how I can take it forward.

  • Comment Avatar

    Hi ,
    Am a MBA finance person just 8 months experience only searching for a job in finance sector or in private banks which exam will help full for me to get a job. Please guide me.

    • Comment Avatar
      Jesal Shethna

      Hi Ishwarya

      No exams will assure a job opportunity. If you have decided in which field interested to make a career in you can learn more about those and enhance your skills. Certifications on those subjects could help you gain confidence in the technicals and help you clear the job interview hence a job. You could learn from our courses too, give it a thought. All the best.