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Top 11 Business Advisor Certifications

This article will explore the top certifications for business advisors and provide insight into their value and importance.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are important for business advisors because they demonstrate the advisor’s expertise and knowledge in the field. They provide evidence that the advisor has a certain level of skill and experience that potential clients look for when selecting an advisor. Certification also signals to employers that the advisor is committed to their profession and has taken the necessary steps to build their skillset. In addition, certifications can add credibility to an advisor's resume and help them stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs.

This article reviews the most beneficial certifications for Business Advisors and explains how they can help to further a business advisor's career.

What are Business Advisor Certifications?

Business advisor certification is a program designed to certify individuals who have the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to provide high-quality business consulting services. This certification is offered by a variety of organizations and educational institutions and it provides recipients with an official credential that can be used to demonstrate their expertise in providing advice on business operations, strategy, financials, marketing and more.

Having a business advisor certification can help individuals gain credibility within the industry and increase their chances of being hired as a consultant or working with clients. It also provides an opportunity for professionals to expand their knowledge base by learning from experts in the field or taking courses related to business consulting. The certification process also allows advisors to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices in the industry. Additionally, having this credential can open up new job opportunities for advisors as well as increase their earning potential. Finally, having this certification may give advisors access to exclusive resources such as networking events and professional development opportunities that are not available without it.

Pro Tip: When considering business advisor certification, make sure to research the credentials of the organization providing the certification and the qualifications of the instructor. It is also important to ensure that the course material is up-to-date and relevant to your industry.

Related: What does a Business Advisor do?

Top 11 Business Advisor Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Business Advisors today.

1. Certified Business Advisor (CBA)

Certified Business Advisor (CBA) is a professional designation that recognizes the expertise of individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge in business advising. It is granted by the Institute of Certified Business Advisors (ICBA), an international organization dedicated to advancing the profession of business advisors.

To become a CBA, applicants must first meet certain academic and experience requirements. This includes having at least two years of business advising experience or equivalent education, as well as completion of ICBA's CBA Exam Preparation Course. Once these requirements are met, applicants can take the CBA Exam, which is administered twice yearly in April and October. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as business planning, financial analysis and management consulting.

The cost for taking the exam varies depending on where you live; in the US it typically costs around $500. Once you have successfully passed the exam, you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion from ICBA and officially become a Certified Business Advisor.

The CBA designation is widely recognized by employers and provides individuals with an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to excellence in business advising.

2. Certified Management Consultant (CMC)

Certified Management Consultant (CMC) is a professional certification awarded by the Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA). It is the highest level of professional recognition for management consultants. The CMC designation recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in the field of management consulting and have demonstrated their commitment to ethical practices.

It typically takes between 2-5 years to become certified as a CMC, depending on experience and qualifications. To become certified, applicants must meet certain educational and experience requirements, pass an exam, and agree to adhere to the IMC Code of Ethics. Applicants must also demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of management consulting principles through a written application.

The cost for becoming certified as a CMC varies depending on the applicant's individual circumstances. Generally, the cost includes the application fee, exam fee, and any additional fees associated with meeting the educational or experience requirements. In addition, there may be additional costs such as travel expenses if attending an in-person training program or seminar.

Overall, becoming certified as a CMC is an important milestone for any management consultant looking to gain credibility in their field and demonstrate their commitment to ethical practices.

3. Certified Professional Business Coach (CPBC)

Certified Professional Business Coach (CPBC) is a professional certification program that provides business coaches with the knowledge and skills to help their clients reach their goals. The CPBC program is offered through the International Coaching Federation (ICF). It is designed to equip business coaches with the tools they need to effectively coach their clients in areas such as leadership, communication, team building, and organizational development.

In order to become a Certified Professional Business Coach (CPBC), one must complete an ICF-accredited training program and pass an examination. The training program typically takes between six months and two years to complete, depending on the type of course chosen. The courses cover topics such as coaching fundamentals, ethical considerations, communication strategies, assessment techniques, goal setting and more. Upon successful completion of the training program, candidates must pass the CPBC exam in order to receive their certification.

The cost of becoming a Certified Professional Business Coach (CPBC) varies depending on the type of course chosen. Generally speaking, it can range from several hundred dollars for an online course up to several thousand dollars for a more comprehensive in-person program. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking the CPBC exam as well as any other certifications or credentials that may be required by employers or clients.

4. Certified Professional in Business Analysis (CPBA)

Certified Professional in Business Analysis (CPBA) is a professional certification program offered by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). It is designed to recognize and validate the skills and knowledge of business analysts who are working in the field of business analysis.

The CPBA certification requires applicants to demonstrate their understanding and application of the IIBA’s Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK). The certification exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions, which must be completed in 3 hours.

To obtain the CPBA certification, applicants must have a minimum of 7500 hours of experience in business analysis activities over the past 10 years. They also need to have at least 900 hours within the last 4 years that are related to tasks outlined in BABOK.

The cost for taking the CPBA exam varies depending on where you take it, but it typically ranges from $325 - $400 USD.

5. Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual's expertise in financial planning. It is awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to upholding the highest standards of financial planning.

The CFP certification requires individuals to complete extensive coursework and pass an examination covering topics such as investments, insurance, taxes, retirement planning, and estate planning. To become certified, applicants must also have three years of full-time financial planning experience or equivalent education and experience.

It typically takes two to three years to complete the educational requirements for CFP certification. The cost of the program varies depending on the provider but can range from $2,000-$3,500. Additionally, there is a one-time fee of $695 for the CFP exam and a $325 annual renewal fee for maintaining the certification.

6. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a professional certification for financial analysts. It is offered by the CFA Institute, a global association of investment professionals. The CFA designation is considered to be one of the most prestigious credentials in finance and investment management.

The CFA program consists of three levels of exams that must be completed in order to earn the designation. Each level requires at least 300 hours of study and preparation, and the entire program typically takes two to four years to complete. To become a CFA charterholder, candidates must pass all three exams and have four years of qualified work experience in the investment decision-making process.

The cost of taking the CFA exams varies depending on when you register and which exam levels you take. The registration fee for each level ranges from $700 - $1,500 USD, plus additional costs for study materials, practice tests, and exam prep courses.

In addition to passing all three exams, candidates must also adhere to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct as part of their membership requirements.

7. Chartered Business Valuator (CBV)

A Chartered Business Valuator (CBV) is a professional designation earned by individuals who have successfully completed the rigorous requirements of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators (CICBV). A CBV is a financial expert who specializes in valuing businesses and other entities. The CBV designation is recognized as the gold standard for business valuation in Canada.

It typically takes three to four years to complete the necessary education and experience requirements to become a CBV. In order to be eligible, applicants must have an undergraduate degree in business or accounting, with at least two years of professional experience in business valuation or related fields. Applicants must also pass a series of exams administered by the CICBV and demonstrate their knowledge and skills through written assignments, practical case studies, and interviews.

The cost of becoming a CBV varies depending on the individual’s educational background, experience level, and location. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 for tuition fees alone. Additional costs may include exam fees, study materials, travel expenses for workshops or seminars, membership fees for professional organizations such as CICBV or IMA-Canada (Institute of Management Accountants), and any other related costs associated with earning the designation.

Once an individual has earned their CBV designation they are required to maintain their credentials by completing continuing education courses each year. This ensures that CBVs stay up-to-date on changes in business valuation practices and standards.

8. Accredited Business Valuation Specialist (ABVS)

Accredited Business Valuation Specialist (ABVS) is a professional designation offered by the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA). The ABVS credential is designed to recognize those who have achieved a high level of expertise in business valuation.

To become an Accredited Business Valuation Specialist, applicants must meet certain education and experience requirements. They must also pass a comprehensive exam administered by NACVA. The exam consists of seven modules, covering topics such as financial statement analysis, industry analysis, economic principles, and valuation methods.

The process of obtaining the ABVS credential typically takes between six months and one year to complete. Applicants must first submit an application to NACVA along with proof of educational qualifications and relevant work experience. Once approved, they will be given access to the online study materials for the exam. After studying the material, applicants can register for the exam and take it at their convenience at any of NACVA’s testing centers located throughout the United States.

The cost of obtaining the ABVS credential varies depending on whether or not you are already a member of NACVA. If you are not a member, then you will need to pay a $395 application fee plus $795 for the exam fee. For members, there is no application fee but they still need to pay $795 for the exam fee.

9. International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (IARFC)

The International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (IARFC) is a professional organization dedicated to providing financial professionals with the resources and support they need to help their clients achieve financial success. The IARFC was founded in 1989 and has grown to become one of the largest organizations of its kind in the world.

To become a member of the IARFC, an individual must first meet certain educational and experience requirements. These include having at least five years of experience as a financial professional, passing an examination administered by the IARFC, and completing continuing education requirements every two years.

Once these requirements are met, individuals can then apply for membership in the IARFC. Applications are typically reviewed within four weeks, after which applicants will receive notification of their acceptance or rejection.

Membership in the IARFC comes with several benefits, including access to exclusive networking opportunities, discounts on conferences and seminars, and access to publications such as The Journal of Financial Consulting. Membership also includes access to exclusive resources such as webinars and online courses that can help members stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices.

The cost for membership in the IARFC varies depending on whether an individual is applying for regular or associate membership. Regular membership costs $295 per year while associate membership costs $150 per year.

10. Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA)

The Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA) is a professional association for management consultants. It was founded in 1968 and is dedicated to promoting the highest standards of consulting excellence, ethics, and professional knowledge. IMC USA provides certifications for management consultants, including the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP).

To become certified as a CMC or CBAP, you must meet certain qualifications and pass an exam. The qualifications vary depending on your experience and education level. To qualify for the CMC certification, you must have at least five years of consulting experience or three years of related business experience plus two years of consulting experience. To qualify for the CBAP certification, you must have at least seven years of business analysis experience.

The exams are administered by Prometric Testing Centers located throughout the United States. The exams consist of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as project management, client relations, problem solving, and ethical considerations. The exams cost $400 each and take approximately three hours to complete.

Once you have passed the exam(s), you will be eligible to apply for certification through IMC USA. The application fee is $250 for either certification and includes a one-year membership in IMC USA. Once your application is approved, you will receive your official certificate from IMC USA recognizing your achievement as a Certified Management Consultant or Certified Business Analysis Professional.

11. National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD).

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) is a professional association for board members of publicly traded corporations, private companies, and nonprofit organizations. It was founded in 1977 and has grown to become the world’s largest membership organization for corporate directors.

The NACD provides resources and education to help board members stay up-to-date on governance issues, trends, and best practices. They also offer certification programs to recognize the knowledge and expertise of individual directors.

To become an NACD Certified Director, you must meet certain qualifications including having served as a director or officer of a public company for at least three years. You must also complete the NACD Certification Program which consists of four courses: Board Leadership Fundamentals; Financial Literacy; Risk Oversight; and Strategy & Value Creation. The program takes approximately 30 hours to complete and can be done online or in person.

The cost of the NACD Certification Program varies depending on whether you are an existing member or not. For non-members, the cost is $2,500 while members pay $1,250.

Do You Really Need a Business Advisor Certificate?

Whether or not you need a business advisor certificate depends on your individual circumstances. Generally speaking, certificates are useful for demonstrating knowledge and expertise in a particular field. If you plan to become a business advisor, having a certificate can help demonstrate your qualifications and make you appear more attractive to potential clients.

However, it is important to remember that certificates alone do not guarantee success. Even with a certificate, you will still need to develop your skills and knowledge in the areas of business strategy, management and finance. Additionally, it is important to be able to communicate effectively with clients and understand their needs.

In short, while having a business advisor certificate may help you stand out from the competition when seeking new clients, it is not necessary for success in this role. What is ultimately most important is developing the necessary skills and being able to apply them effectively in practice.

Related: Business Advisor Resume Examples

FAQs About Business Advisor Certifications

1. What is a Business Advisor Certification?

Answer: A business advisor certification is a professional designation that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated expertise in providing advice and guidance to businesses on topics such as finance, operations, marketing, and strategy.

2. How do I become certified as a Business Advisor?

Answer: To become certified as a business advisor, you must complete an accredited training program and pass a certification exam. The requirements for the specific certification may vary depending on the organization offering the program.

3. What are the benefits of becoming a certified Business Advisor?

Answer: Becoming a certified business advisor can help you stand out from other professionals in the field by demonstrating your knowledge and skills in advising businesses. Additionally, it can provide credibility to potential clients and employers when seeking new opportunities or consulting engagements.

4. How long does it take to get certified as a Business Advisor?

Answer: The time required to complete the certification process varies depending on the program and individual circumstances, but typically takes between 6 months and 1 year to complete all requirements for certification.

5. Is there an exam required for Business Advisor Certification?

Answer: Yes, most programs require participants to pass an exam in order to receive their certification designation. The specifics of this exam will vary based on the organization offering the program.