The finance domain is vast and working in various areas requires specialization of the domains. One can attain specialization in the field of their interest through finance certifications.
The granularity of the finance profession is increasing day by day. Digital transformation and continuous evolution of the financial markets demand specialization in a particular arena of the industry. This has compelled the professionals to earn the best finance certification that suits their area of focus and the scope of their designation.
A finance certification enables the individuals to increase visibility for recruiters, improve market value, perform better, and strive toward excellence. Professionals holding the finance certifications can expect up to 15% higher remuneration and more job security. Moreover, each finance certifications are specific to the role a professional play in the organization. As a result, the best finance certification depends on the kind of profession one intends to take.
To know which certification is most appropriate, professionals must understand their objective in finance. The right certifications help the candidates to close the knowledge gap, improve their skills, stay updated, and lead to career advancement in the ever-increasingly complex financial services.
Get introduced to a few of the finance certifications with their specific job roles here:
#1. Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
In college days, if you are one among the students, who would make a budget plan for a short quick trip and divide contribution of money, then you may pursue the path to be a Certified Financial Planner. A holistic planning approach is necessary for insurance, education, tax, estate planning, asset management, employee benefits, and more.
To have a bigger picture of clients’ finances, becoming a certified financial planner is best recommended.
#2. Chartered Private Equity Professional (CPEP™)
If you are determined to gain a position in the private equity market, then the globally recognized CPEP™ certification best suits you. If you are into designing deals, strategizing processes, and making critical decisions, then this certification adds value to your skills.
The CPEP™ certification offered by USPEC (the United States Private Equity Council) tops-up your business degree and facilitates easy entry into the private equity domain. It provides you with an advanced level of competency in the private equity space, benchmarks your skills and knowledge in finance, and ensures success in your private equity practice.
#3. Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
The CMA certification is recommended for professionals focusing on corporate finance and management accounting. CMA, offered by the Institute of Management Accountants is globally recognized. The certification enables you to gain expertise in advanced accounting such as planning, analysis, control, and decision support.
#4. Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA)
The designation focuses on asset allocation, ethics, due diligence, risk measurement, investment policy, and performance measurement. The certification focuses on asset allocation, due diligence, risk measurement, investment policy, and performance measurement.
CIMA designation holders generally possess their careers in financial consulting firms and gain extensive interaction with clients.
#5. Chartered Investment Banking Professional (IBCA)
The CIBP™ qualification offered by the Investment Banking Council of America helps you gain knowledge in advanced tools and techniques deployed in financial analysis and decision making. The participating candidates will gain sharp knowledge in leveraged buyouts, initial public offerings, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, and other investment decisions.
There is evidence that investment banking professionals with this certification have emerged with flying colors in their career trajectory.
#6. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
The CPA certification enables you to work efficiently in tax, compliance, risk management, and forensic accounting. The certified public accountants are experts in pursuing operational roles and serve in various designations like a chief financial officer (CFO) and chief operating officer (COO). The CPA certified professionals are highly proficient in financial statement analysis.
#7. Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
The finance professionals with this certification are skilled in practical applications of their knowledge. They can relate their knowledge easily to real-life scenarios and thus work as financial advisors mostly. They earn more as compared to their non-certified peer group.
They get well-versed in the integrated advanced arena of financial planning such as insurance, income tax, asset protection, estate tax, gift tax, employee benefits, and retirement planning.
#8. Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
PFS certification is offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. To become a PFS, you should have a current CPA certification, be an active member of the AICPA, and receive recommendations from colleagues and clients.
If you are already own a CFP or ChFC certification, then you have met the exam requirement conditions to become a PFS. The other way to get this certification is to pass the exam requirement that includes all the planning processes and professional responsibilities as instructed.
#9. Certified Treasury Professional (CTP)
The certification is meant for professionals interested to obtain a position as a Corporate treasury official. The only professional qualification for cash management available to date is CTP.
#10. Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM)
This certification expands your career opportunity as a government financial manager. It helps you gain competency in governmental accounting, internal controls, financial reporting, auditing, and budgeting. It is one of the respected qualifications that recognizes your specialized knowledge in the said domain.
#11. Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
The certification is accredited by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) and the professionals earn proficiency in risk assessment. They are trained to assess risk in insurance companies, regulatory agencies, asset management firms, and banks.
#12. Certified International Investment Analyst (CIIA)
Achieving the CIIA holder status enables you to work in domestic and international investment markets. The certification is well-recommended for professionals working in the finance and investment industry.
#13. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
Considered the gold standard in the field of investment analysis, it is one of the most respected designations in finance. One has to pass three levels of exams. The certification measures the competency and integrity of financial analysts.
The recent pandemic and market instability compel the finance professionals to get accommodated to the new realities and collaborations, with a new outlook.
It is necessary to relearn finance, earn programming and marketing skills, gain non-replaceable skills, and be patient to witness success. As the financial sectors reshape their business, it is high time that you keep your skills and knowledge updated, be aggressive and competitive to stay successful in your finance career.
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Top 13 Finance Certifications in Demand for 2021 was originally published in The Capital on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.