How Professional Certifications & Qualifications Can Help You In The Finance Industry

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There are a number of compelling reasons why gaining professional qualifications will help you get ahead in the finance sector. They offer a structured pathway for progression and enhance skills and knowledge at every level while boosting employability and career prospects.

There are several globally recognised certification routes for those seeking to enter the finance industry and for those navigating their way up the corporate ladder.

If you are already employed in a financial role, your employer may already have a qualification trajectory in place with certain levels to achieve within given timescales. Alternatively, studying independently looks great for your portfolio, demonstrating motivation for professional and personal growth. If you’re new to the sector, you will want to study towards a certificate that provides the best chance of securing a position.

Either way, it pays to know your CFA from your FRM and your CPA from your CFP. Additionally, you want your CV to stand out from the crowd in this competitive industry and understand when to consider an ESG certificate and how a CAIA qualification could mark your resume out as one to watch. 

Acronymed-out already? There are many financial terms you will come across in a financial career, so taking a look at a financial glossary can help you familiarise yourself with commonly used words. 

The benefits of professional qualifications

  • Continued personal development – You will be able to secure your professional standing, keep your knowledge and skills up to date, and demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning and development. All of this will usually be considered essential for any employer whether you’re already in a role or applying for new opportunities.
  • Keeping ahead – One thing is certain, there will always be keen and talented individuals following you into the corporate sphere. Professional qualifications enable you to stay ahead of those others who both joined the company alongside you and then after you.
  • Professional support – You will typically join a professional body as you study for qualifications that come under their umbrella. This unlocks access to authority bodies on professional practice and standards with a wealth of resources you can call upon. You will also be able to benefit from career advice and support plus additional networking opportunities.
  • Salary progression – Professional qualifications will almost certainly increase your earnings potential. Achieving chartered status, in particular, can result in significant salary enhancements plus the potential to earn more in the future. You have to start somewhere of course, so it will always make sense to set out on a qualification pathway as soon as possible. You will likely find that your earnings keep pace with your educational attainment.
  • The personal benefits – Completing a professional qualification brings a sense of self-fulfilment, accomplishment and personal pride. After you’ve put all that hard work in, receiving a certificate at the end (and potentially some letters after your name) is particularly rewarding and will boost your confidence, commitment and motivation.

Career pathway, added value and specialism qualifications

There are many business careers that can benefit from financial qualifications, particularly one deep within the financial sector. The benefits you can receive from achieving professional qualifications most often depend on the reason for studying towards them in the first place. 

If the motivation is to ensure career progression and hit advancement milestones with the overall aim being to achieve certified or chartered status then the CFA and FRM routes are globally-recognised means of doing so. The difference between CFA and FRM is just that they deal with different avenues of development in different spheres in the sector and are accredited by different bodies. CFA takes a broad approach with a focus on corporate finance, accounting and portfolio management while FRM is a little more specialised in providing a route for those in financial risk positions.

In addition to such qualifications are everything else that you will study that adds to and enriches your personal and professional growth. You could well argue that there’s no such thing as a ‘bad’ thing to study. After all, you will always learn something – though being taught a form of bad practice would be a caveat to that.

ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) qualifications are a great example of this in considering non-financial factors in investment analysis and decision-making. Alternatively, CAIA (Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst) is a more specialist route to achieving chartered status for those considering, or already in, financial analyst roles. In addition, combining qualifications, for example, CAIA and CFA, is a powerful tool for career development and personal portfolio building.

It’s never too early, or indeed too late, to embark on a journey towards gaining professional qualifications in the finance industry. The number of resources and level of support available online means that access to such opportunities has never been so open to all either. Why not take a look to see for yourself at what useful study and exam resources are available to help you achieve certified or chartered status.

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