Careers in finance and financial certifications – what do these letters mean?

Finance as a career option

A career in the finance domain is very fascinating and exciting for many college goers. Aspiring students who have a special inclination for mathematics and statistics can choose a career in finance because it is expected to suit their skill set. But the list of required skill set does not stop there and goes beyond to include traits like appetite for rigorous research, ability to quickly comprehend any business model, analytical acumen, problem-solving ability, lucid report writing quality etc. As far as the finance profiles are concerned, there are a plethora of options available but few of the sought after career options for a person opting for finance are an investment banker, fund manager and risk analyst. To prepare for such profiles one needs to enrol for finance certification which will open doors to many opportunities that actually pay really well. However, it is the passion for number crunching which can actually drive the career forward because after a certain point in time the pay becomes quite irrelevant.


Degrees can open the door but skills can build Career

There are different types of finance profiles that require different groups of skill set such as Accounting Skills, Analytical Skills, Technological Expertise, and Good communication skills. The appropriate guidance to achieve the right mix of skill set can be received through proper mentoring and a suitable certification course. There are various certification courses for finance that prepares a candidate for the desired profiles. Few of the popular finance certification courses are chartered financial analyst (CFA), a financial risk manager (FRM), certified financial planner (CFP), certified credit professional (CCP) etc. Each of the courses will help the candidate to mould his career for specific finance role. For instance, the course for FRM primarily deals with risk management from the point of view of a bank. The FRM course coaches a candidate in such a way that he/she will be able to see how a financial institution is vulnerable to different types of risk and what are the ways to mitigate those risks.

Few of the popular financial certifications courses are discussed below:

Certified Financial Planner (CFP):

This exam is conducted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. A CFP can help an individual to understand their investment options and assist them to make financial decisions pertaining to taxes, insurance, retirement planning, estate planning etc. It is recognised in 26 countries of the world. A CFP has two modes of earning one is by charging fees and the other is getting a commission for recommending the financial products. The various modules of CFP are :

  1. Introduction to financial planning
  2. Risk analysis and insurance planning
  3. Retirement Planning and Employee benefits
  4. Investment Planning
  5. Tax planning and estate planning
  6. Advance financial Planning

Financial Risk Manager (FRM):

The exam is administered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). The FRM certification enables individuals to grasp the analytical acumen required to manage risk in the global financial markets. There is a huge requirement for people with the knowledge of risk management given the ongoing implementation of Basel norms across all the banks globally.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA):

The CFA® designation is awarded by CFA Institute.  The program has three levels. Any individual honored with the CFA® charter inherently build competency in portfolio management, security analysis, equity research, etc. and has extensive accounting knowledge.

Financial Modeling:

If you are obsessed with data and reports interest you then this is a perfect career choice for you. A financial analyst collects data from the company and analyses it on the basis of certain parameters. He then builds up a financial model which are used to project the future performance of companies, Valuation etc. If you want to know how a financial model looks like see the following link where you will find a model for Tata Steel.

circles showing areas where financial modeling expert can work

Post Graduate program in Investment Banking and Capital Markets:

If you are interested in the program but are unable to pursue it, don’t give up! There is a  course called PGP IBCM which is focussed on practical applications of the entire CFA® Program curriculum and thereby promotes the holistic development of a candidate.

The syllabus covers  Asset class introduction, Technical Tools and applications, and Investment analysis tools in depth. To know more about PGP IBCM click here.

Advantages of financial certifications.

There are several advantages of financial certifications. To name few, just have a look.

Continue current  job — Learn Online

One of the striking features about joining a finance certification course is that he/she can continue their full-time day job and dedicate entire attention to their work while completing the finance certifications. This is possible because such courses are either conducted as part-time or they are being offered online.

Get an Edge over other courses – Professional Excellence

Such certification courses help a person to grow professionally by giving them an edge over the other regular courses. As a result, such individuals tend to perform better in their organizations and are able to achieve professional excellence at their job.

Improve Market Value 

In the current job scenario, it is very important that a candidate can demonstrate the skill set of the highest quality to beat the cutthroat competition. Such courses help them to accomplish the same and that eventually improve their market value and increases their visibility in the eyes of the recruiters.

Higher job position – Job Security

The higher one can make his position in the organization, the more secure is his/her job. As such, higher qualification and credentials tend to ensure a higher position in the management which means more job security.

High Compensation

Also, most of the finance certification courses offer expertise in some niche fields and as such individuals with such certifications earn much higher compensation vis-à-vis the market average and it can go up to 20-25% higher.


Therefore, it can be seen that a lucrative financial career can be propelled further through such certifications. Such courses act as an additional qualification that helps an individual to build expertise in a particular area and such knowledge can jumpstart a career and take it to the next level. It also aids in widening the professional horizon of the individual, improves employability and opens newer possibilities. The individuals with such certifications tend to develop professional authority and specialized knowledge about a specific area of finance which what helps them to excel in their career. The best part is these financial certifications can be carried out on weekends or virtually through various institutes. This can help to continue with the current job and get additional certification. To recommend, One such institute is  IMSPROSCHOOL which conducts weekend batches, virtual classes for a wide range of financial courses with internationally recognised certifications.

So, if you wish to work as an analyst in the corporate sector then CFA® Program would be a better choice for you. On the other hand, if dealing with individuals interests you and you have a flair of convincing people CFP will work wonders for you.  Whereas if you are interested in  Risk Management then FRM is your cup of tea. Don’t lose hope if you aren’t able to do CFA, you can still do wonders by becoming PGP IBCM certified professional. You may opt for financial modeling if reporting and analysing interests you!

Happy Learning!