Financial services are a very fast growing industry, and things here keep changing almost on a daily basis. The industry is vast and does business worth billions of dollars daily. The dynamic nature of this industry and the highly rewarding career prospects that it offers attracts thousands of students and experienced professionals to this industry every year. If you too want to become a part of this industry, then you need to prepare yourself for it. The best way to start a career in finance is to acquire one of the best finance certifications that are valued highly by the employers.
How to start a career in finance?
As mentioned already, you need to get one of the finance certifications that can get you started. This course will give you the passport to enter into the industry.
The opportunities that you can get with this certification are mainly of two types:
- Take up employment in one of the several companies that operate in this industry, or
- Work independently set up a new business on your own.
Once you start working, based on your knowledge, skills and the experience that you will acquire while working, you will move higher up the corporate ladder. If you are good at it, you can go places in your career.
Specializations Available under best finance certifications
As I already said Finance is a very vast industry and there are several areas and specializations in it. Some of the major ones are portfolio management, investment advisory, Financial accounting, auditing, risk management, Analytics, capital markets, and Asset Management.
The fastest route for entering into a finance profession is to go for one of the best finance certifications which focus on one or more of these specializations. There are many local and international finance courses that you can choose. The problem is that choosing one is not easy, and many students get confused while deciding which one is the best for them.
Here we will talk about some of the best finance certifications that are available today. We will look at the areas of specialization that each of these courses cover, and the job opportunities that you can expect to get by completing each of these. This will make it easier for you to choose the right course for yourself.
Finance Certifications That You Must Look Out For:
About the course
The Association Of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), UK offers The Chartered Certified Accountant (CCA) qualification, which is one of the most sought-after finance certifications in the world, and at present, there are 188,000 members and 480,000 students of ACCA in 178 countries.
The examinations consist of two levels: Fundamental and Professional, covering 14 papers in total. Depending on their educational background students can get exemption in some of these papers.
Check the ACCA section on our website for the full details about the ACCA examinations and the study options that are available.
Once you earn the ACCA qualification, you will become a highly regarded accounting professional. Your knowledge of financial accounting, auditing and taxation will set you on the high growth path as an ACCA.
ACCA has over 7,400 approved employers and more than 80 accountancy partnerships around the world. These companies look for students and qualified ACCAs who can be recruited as interns and in full-time positions.
The major industries where ACCAs get employed are Accounting, Financial services, Public practice, Advisory services, Shared services and outsourcing, Global Business Services, Management consultancy, etc. The designations that they get are: cashier, business advisor, administrator, business analyst, accounts payable manager, accounts receivable manager, financial accountant, compliance auditor, etc.
Some leading companies like KPMG, Abbot, Huawei, Morgan Hunt, RSM, Hays, etc. employ ACCAs in their offices around the world.
About the course
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification from the CFA Institute, USA is one of the best-known certifications available today. If you want instant recognition of your credentials, then CFA is probably going to be one of your safest options.
To become a CFA certified professional you will have to:
- Pass the Level I, Level II and Level II of the CFA exams
- Have an experience of 4 years in a job profile which is recognized by the CFA Institute as relevant to the course.
Know more about the CFA qualification from our website.
Once you earn the CFA Certification, you will be considered to be an expert in financial analysis, investment banking, portfolio management, investment research, and advisory. Moreover, you will become an expert in number crunching and prepare meaningful reports out of a vast repository of data.
Once you earn the CFA Charter, you can choose to work in a variety of finance profiles That includes Portfolio Manager, Fund Manager, Private Banker, Financial Advisor, Financial Strategists, Financial Analysts, Investment Analysts, etc.
Banks, stockbrokers, asset management companies, investment banks, wealth management companies, Hedge funds, etc. Around The World regularly recruit CFA qualified candidates. Some of the reputed organizations which have many CFA charter holders working with them include Blackrock, Pimco, Goldman Sachs, RBS, Ernst, and Young, etc.
About the course
CIMA is a globally renowned finance course offered by the Chartered Institute Of Management Accountants, UK. The course is available worldwide in 179 countries and has been in existence for almost a century now. It is a time-tested course, whose popularity has steadily gone up over the years. The course is ideal for anyone interested in working in the fields of Management Accounting, and Finance.
The students of CIMA have to pass nine objective type papers and three case studies based examinations conducted by CIMA. Once they pass, they will be granted the CIMA Professional Qualification Certificate.
Know more about the CIMA qualification from our website.
By completing the CIMA course, you will gain expert level knowledge in management accounting, finance, business management, accounting, risk management, etc. These skills are much in demand and the course will provide the necessary grounding to enable you to gain knowledge in additional areas depending on your job requirements.
There is a steady demand for CIMA certified candidates coming from businesses engaged in Accounting, B2B services, Banking, Financial services, Healthcare, Education, Manufacturing, and Engineering, etc. Accenture, JP Morgan, Deloitte, HP, etc. are some well-known companies where CIMA certificate holders work in entry level to senior level positions at present.
About the course
The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) is headquartered in London and has its offices in Sri Lanka, India, Singapore, Dubai, and Dublin. It offers various finance certifications in the areas of Operations, Wealth Management, compliance and risk, Capital markets and corporate finance, Islamic Finance, and financial planning.
You can get a full list of the qualifications on the CISI website.
The courses offered by CISI are very prestigious and provide the practical knowledge that the students will need to do their job successfully. The specialization that you will gain will depend on the area of your study that you have chosen. The technical understanding of how to practically implement the theoretical concept that you have learned will help you to get an opening in a financial services industry and grow in your chosen role steadily.
After completing one of the courses offered by CISI you can work in various job sectors like research, trading, financial planning, retail banking, Insurance, investment banking, operations, Information Technology, Asset Management, capital markets, and accounting and Finance.
About the course
The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) USA course conducted by the Institute Of Management Accountants (IMA) is one of the best-known finance courses globally.
To become a CMA, you have to:
• Complete a bachelor’s degree or a professional course in Accounting,
• Pass Part I and Part II of the CMA examinations
• Have a work experience of minimum two years in a job function related to finance and accounting.
Know more about the CMA USA qualification from our website.
The CMA course focuses primarily on Financial and management accounting. This program will provide expert knowledge on topics like Planning, budgeting, and forecasting, Performance Management, Cost Management, Risk Management, Decision Analysis and Professional Ethics to you.
Over the years, the number of companies recruiting CMA certificate holders has gone up significantly. CMA certificate holders are in high demand in more than 100 countries now.
Some of the companies in which CMA’s get recruited are large multinationals, Manufacturing, Financial services, Investment banks and Consulting firms.
Renowned companies like Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson, And Verizon, have CMAs working in various roles, including some very senior level positions like CFO.
About the course
The CPA course leading to the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) degree conferred by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is one of the most widely recognized and coveted finance certifications in the USA. Upon completion, the candidates get the license to work as Public Accountant in the state from where they have earned the qualification.
The CPA license, which is backed by legislations passed by all 50 states and 5 districts of the USA. As per these legislations, anyone wishing to work as a public accountant, or work for companies which render public accounting services in the respective states and districts have to be CPA license holders.
To qualify for the CPA, the candidates need to possess:
• A standard bachelor degree of 4 years or more along with minimum 150 hours of post-secondary education from a regionally accredited institution
• Pass the 4 parts of the Uniform CPA examinations within 18 months.
• A minimum of two years of experience in any industry like public accounting, industry, education or Government.
Know more about the CPA qualification from our website.
The CPAs are considered to be experts in various aspects of finance like public accounting, auditing tax preparation, etc.
CPA is one of the most prestigious finance certifications internationally. Companies across the globe look for CPAs, who are considered to be highly professional and have an in-depth knowledge of accounting.
Once you are CPA certified, you can get a job of your choice in many national and foreign companies in the banking, insurance, financing, asset management, manufacturing, and consulting sectors.
The companies which recruit CPAs regularly include some well-known names like PWC, HP, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. Hays, The World Bank, Fidelity Life Association, San Diego State University, Purdue University, Hewlett Packard, etc.
About the course
For a company, taking any financial decisions like bidding for a project, raising capital, arranging for project finance, financial planning, expansion plans, etc. require the management of the company to understand a large number of data points and use them meaningfully.
To help them in this process, financial models prepared. These models present and put the relevant data and numbers in a clear perspective. Financial Modelling is regularly used by every major financial entity so that predictions can be made accurately and easily by the management without having to go through the large chunks of data.
Unlike the Other courses mentioned here, financial modelling is not a single course, but a discipline in itself. There are many Educational Institutes offering courses on financial modelling that you can enrol for and get yourself certified.
Know more about the Financial Modelling from our website.
Financial modelling certificate holders are proficient in forecasting market conditions and financial implications, estimating capital requirements, risk management, scenario analysis, valuation of companies and mergers and acquisitions and several other skills. They help the management of the company in the formulation of strategic and tactical plans for taking the business forward.
Financial modelling is a new concept and at present, not many people are proficient in creating a financial model accurately. Since most of the medium and large companies need Financial models to be created, there is a steadily growing demand for financial modelling professionals.
The majority of the demand comes from Equity research companies, Investment Banks, Mutual fund companies, Project finance companies, Credit rating agencies, Stockbrokers, etc.
In India, Citibank, Ernst And Young, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, CRISIL, McKinsey And Co, Accenture, and KPMG are some of the companies which regularly recruit freshers as well as experienced Financial Modeling certified professionals.
About the course
The Certified Financial Risk Manager Program (FRM) offered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) is one of the most well-known international finance certifications on risk management Available in the world today.
To earn the Financial Risk Manager certification, you will have to:
• Register a pass in Part I and Part II of the FRM Exam
• Gain a work experience of two years in a job role that requires the candidate to apply his knowledge about full-time financial risk management.
• Earn Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits of 40 hours every 2 years.
Know more about the FRM course from our website.
The FRM certificate holders are professionals who specialize in understanding, assessing, and minimizing risk. They can understand and measure the business environment, the complexities that the business might face in the future and also help the companies to grow without compromising on their financial stability.
FRM is a highly specialized course and is in much demand nowadays since most of the companies engaged in financial services and other sectors need to identify and manage their financial risk actively to avoid financial disasters.
A large number of companies regularly look for freshers and experienced FRM certificate holders to fill up various positions in their finance departments. Some of them are HSBC, Bank of China, Citigroup, KPMG, Deutsche Bank, PwC, JP Morgan Chase, etc.
About the course
If you want to build your career as an internal auditor, then you should choose the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification that The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) offers. It is the only internationally recognized internal auditing qualification available in the world at present, and it can give a highly rewarding career to you.
The requirements that you have to fulfil to earn the CIA qualification are as follows:
Education: The candidate needs to have any one of the following:
• Post-secondary degree of 3 or 4 years;
• Post-secondary education of a minimum of two years and an additional five years of work experience in the profile of internal auditor or a similar role;
• 7 years of work experience as an internal auditor or in a similar profile.
• Those who hold a Bachelor’s degree need to have 2 years of work experience in the profile of an internal auditor or in a similar role, along with a 4 years’ post-secondary degree.
• Candidates with a Master’s degree need to have a work experience of 12 months.
Character Certificate: The candidate has to submit a certificate certifying that he has a good character and his conduct is satisfactory.
Know more about the IIA course from our website.
The CIA certificate holders specialize in Internal auditing and are considered to be the best in class in the world. Their skills are valued very highly by the recruiters and they earn attractive salaries.
Internal auditors are in high demand in Companies of all sizes around the world. The CIA certification is highly valued and once completed, you can land big jobs in banks, audit service providers, and consulting companies. The CIAs are in high demand among the big brands like Ernst and Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, JP Morgan Chase & Co., KPMG LLP, etc.
About the course
Getting yourself certified under the NSE Academy’s certification in Financial Markets (NCFM) program conducted by NSE Academy is a good option for you if you want to work in the financial services industry in India. NSE Academy is the education vertical of India’s premier stock exchange. National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE) and the NCFM certifications have been around for more than 20 years now.
At present, there are more than 50 + certifications covered under NCFM covering various aspects of finance which are available. To get yourself NCFM certified, you will have to choose a certification, register online and then appear the online computer based examinations that are conducted in more than 150 test centres across India.
The NCFM certifications cover capital markets, mutual funds, banking services and many other aspects of the Indian financial industry. You will get recognized for the skills that you acquire from the finance certifications that you have chosen.
Getting the NCFM finance certifications will help you to start your career if you are a student, by making you eligible to get an entry level job. If you are an experienced professional, then it can certainly help you to boost your career.
As an NCFM certificate holder, you can find job opportunities with banks, stock brokers, portfolio managers, mutual fund companies, depository participants, equity research companies. ICICI Bank Sharekhan and India Infoline are some of the companies in which NCFM certificate holders work currently.
About the course
The National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) conducts more than 21 certifications on various aspects of finance. NISM is a subsidiary of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and most of these certifications are mandatory for anyone who is willing to work in the financial services industry in India.
At present, the computer-based NISM certification examinations are conducted by NISM across more than 150 test centers in India. Each of the NISM certificates has a validity of 3 years, after which it expires. The candidates will have to either appear for the examinations again, or attend a Continuing Professional Education (CPE) program conducted by NISM to renew their certificates for another 3 years.
The NISM certifications cover topics pertaining to many areas in finance like capital markets, derivatives, mutual funds, Wealth Management, currency derivatives, etc. As is in the NCFM examinations, the NISM certificate holders also considered as experts in the area of the finance certifications they have chosen.
Since SEBI has made it mandatory for anyone who is willing to work in the financial services industry in India to process the relevant NISM certifications, there is a steady demand for NISM certificate holders at all times. The companies where you can apply after becoming an NISM certificate holder include stock exchanges, stock brokers, mutual funds, investment advisory companies, and wealth management companies.
National Stock Exchange, Bombay Stock Exchange, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Securities Ltd, National Securities Depository Ltd and Reliance Mutual Fund are some of the companies recruit NISM certificate holders regularly.
What to do next?
By choosing to go for a career in finance, you have taken one step forward in the right direction. Now, you will have to choose one or more of the above-mentioned finance certifications very carefully to get started. A national or international certification in finance along with your hard work and continued learning can help you to work your way up to the top in the companies that you will work for.