What is a Certified Financial Analyst?
CFI’s Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)® program is your path to becoming a certified financial analyst. With 12 required courses on topics ranging from accounting and finance fundamentals to financial modeling, valuation, and advanced Excel skills, the CFI financial analyst certification will help you stand out in a crowded job market.
Why become a certified financial analyst?
There are more reasons than ever to become a certified financial analyst. Not only is the job market becoming more competitive, but the skills required, methods of learning, and access to information are all evolving rapidly.
Top reasons why you may want to become certified include:
- Gain the SKILLS required to get hired and move up the ladder
- Develop the CONFIDENCE to deliver high-quality work in a financial analyst career
- Demonstrate the COMMITMENT to becoming a leader in the industry
- Gain practical EXPERIENCE performing advanced financial analysis
- Supplement an undergraduate degree that wasn’t in business
- Supplement an accounting background
- Make a mid-career transition from one industry or function to another
These are just a few of the most common reasons why someone would enroll in CFI’s Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst certification program. Everyone has their own reasons, but the most common theme is a desire to stand out with employers in a competitive job market.
Requirements to become a certified financial analyst
If you’ve already decided you want to become a certified financial analyst in CFI’s program, then the first step is to enroll online. Once registered, it’s recommended that you develop a study plan or calendar to organize your time and make sure you meet all the requirements.
The requirements to complete the CFI program are:
- 7 optional prerequisite courses (accounting, finance, and Excel skills)
- 9 required core courses (financial modeling, business valuation, intermediate finance, and financial analysis topics)
- 3 required elective courses from a choice of 6 (industry specific financial models, special topics)
- Complete each of the above required 12 courses with a grade of 80% or higher on the final assessment
Each course will automatically issue you a certificate of completion upon passing the final assessment. Once completion certificates are issued for all required courses, the official certification of Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst will be issued.
The skillset of a certified financial analyst
The focus of CFI’s program is on practical applications of finance and accounting. This mostly involves using Excel to organize, analyze, and interpret financial data, using case studies of both real and fictitious companies.
The main skills of a CFI certified financial analyst are:
- A solid understanding of accounting principles and practices
- Familiarity with a wide range of financial analysis methods
- The ability to build financial models in Excel from scratch (three statement model, DCF model, M&A model, etc.)
- Valuing a business using various methods (comparable company analysis, precedent transactions, discounted cash flow)
- Distilling large amounts of information into an easy-to-understand format
- Creating insightful charts, graphs, and presentations
- Communicating the results of financial analysis in a way that aids executive decision making
Alternatives to analyst certifications
While we’ve made the case above for all the reasons you may wish to become a certified financial analyst, there are many reasons why an alternative option might be better for you.
CFI’s mission is to help anyone advance their career, and, depending on the situation, these alternatives may be more suitable.
MBA – A Master of Business Administration (MBA) can be a great alternative (or supplement) to an analyst certification. The reasons to do an MBA are that it has a broad curriculum, includes lots of networking, and is suitable for major career changes, people who aren’t sure what they want to do, and those who prefer to be generalists. Check out global MBA rankings to learn more.
Work Experience – An alternative to an analyst certification and an MBA is to keep on working in a position where you are experiencing lots of growth and development. If you are fortunate enough to find yourself in this situation, it may make sense to focus 100% of your effort on performance at work.
Everyone’s situation is unique, and you’ll have to decide if an analyst,or other,d certification is right for you.
Additional analyst resources
If you’d like more information about earning your financial analyst certification from CFI, these additional resources will be helpful for you to advance your career: