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Top 10 Corporate Financial Analyst Certifications

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Updated 17 min read

Certifications are important for a corporate financial analyst in the job market because they demonstrate their commitment to the profession and mastery of relevant skills. Certified professionals have demonstrated that they have the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to excel in their role. Employers value certified professionals because they are more likely to be up-to-date on industry best practices, new technologies, and other changes in the field. Certifications also provide assurance that a prospective employee has met minimum standards and can be trusted with important financial decisions. Finally, certifications can help an individual stand out from the competition when applying for jobs as employers often give preference to certified applicants.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Corporate Financial Analysts and explain how they can help to advance a Corporate Financial Analyst's career.

What are Corporate Financial Analyst Certifications?

Corporate financial analyst certification is a type of professional credential that demonstrates a person’s knowledge and skills in the areas of corporate finance, accounting, and financial analysis. This type of certification is typically offered by professional organizations such as the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) or the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

The primary benefit to obtaining corporate financial analyst certification is that it can help individuals stand out from other job applicants in the competitive field of corporate finance. It also serves as an indication to employers that an individual has taken the time and effort to become educated in the field, which is often seen as a sign of commitment to their profession. Additionally, having this kind of certification can open up more opportunities for advancement within a company or organization.

Moreover, those with corporate financial analyst certification may be better equipped to handle complex tasks related to understanding and interpreting financial data, developing budget plans, creating forecasts, and managing investments. They may also be able to provide better insights on how changes in market conditions could affect a company’s bottom line. Finally, having this credential could potentially lead to higher salaries as employers often view certifications as an indicator of knowledge and expertise.

Pro Tip: Pursuing a corporate financial analyst certification can help you stand out from the competition and increase your marketability. Make sure to research the different certifications available, as some may be more applicable to your specific industry or career goals than others. Additionally, look into any prerequisites or continuing education requirements that may be associated with the certification you choose.

Related: What does a Corporate Financial Analyst do?

Top 10 Corporate Financial Analyst Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Corporate Financial Analysts today.

1. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation is a professional credential awarded by the CFA Institute to financial professionals who have met their rigorous standards. The CFA program provides a comprehensive understanding of the investment management industry and its key players, including portfolio management, security analysis, and ethical and professional standards.

To become a CFA charterholder, an individual must pass three levels of exams administered by the CFA Institute. The exams are offered twice a year in June and December. Each level requires approximately 300 hours of study time, so it typically takes three to four years to complete all three levels.

The cost for the entire program varies depending on which country you take the exam in, but generally ranges from $2,000 to $3,000 USD for all three levels. This includes registration fees for each exam as well as study materials such as textbooks and practice tests.

In addition to passing all three exams, individuals must also meet certain work experience requirements before they can receive their charter. To be eligible for the CFA charter, candidates must have at least four years of relevant work experience in investment decision making or related activities such as portfolio management or financial analysis.

2. Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a professional certification offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). It is designed to recognize and validate the expertise of management accountants in the areas of financial planning, analysis, control, decision support and professional ethics. The CMA credential is held by more than 60,000 professionals in over 100 countries around the world.

To become a Certified Management Accountant, you must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university and complete two parts of the CMA exam. Each part consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and two 30-minute essay questions. The exam covers topics such as financial statement analysis, cost accounting and management accounting.

The entire process takes approximately 12 months to complete. You can expect to spend at least three months studying for each part of the exam. Once you have passed both parts of the exam, you will receive your CMA certificate within four weeks.

The cost for taking the CMA exam varies depending on where you live but typically ranges from $1,000 to $2,000 USD. This includes registration fees, study materials and test fees.

3. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a professional designation given to those who have met certain educational, experience, and examination requirements established by the state in which they practice. CPAs are licensed by their respective state boards of accountancy and must adhere to the highest ethical standards.

It typically takes four years of college education plus one year of working experience to become a CPA. The educational requirement includes completing 150 semester hours of college-level coursework with a concentration in accounting, business, finance, economics, and other related areas. Additionally, most states require applicants to pass the Uniform CPA Exam before being granted a license.

To become a CPA, you must meet the education requirements for your state board of accountancy and complete the necessary application process. In general, this involves submitting an application form along with supporting documents such as transcripts from college-level courses taken and proof of work experience. Depending on your state's requirements, you may also need to take additional exams or classes before becoming eligible for licensure.

The cost to become a CPA varies depending on your state's requirements and fees associated with taking the exam. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200-$500 for the application fee alone. On top of that, you will likely have additional costs associated with taking classes or exams required by your state board of accountancy as well as any study materials you may purchase in preparation for the exam itself.

4. Financial Risk Manager (FRM)

Financial Risk Manager (FRM) is a professional designation awarded by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). It is the most widely recognized and respected certification for financial risk management. The FRM designation is designed to demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in financial risk management, and is earned after passing two rigorous exams.

The FRM program consists of two levels of exams: Level I and Level II. Each exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that must be completed within four hours. Level I covers foundational topics such as quantitative analysis, financial markets and products, and the legal and regulatory environment; while Level II focuses on advanced topics such as credit risk, operational risk, market risk, investment management, and enterprise risk management.

In order to become an FRM, you must pass both levels of the exam within a two-year period. You may take each level up to three times per year. It typically takes between 6 months to 1 year to prepare for the exams depending on your current knowledge base.

The cost of taking the FRM exams varies depending on when you register for them; however, it typically costs around $1,000 USD for both levels combined (not including study materials).

5. Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)

Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) is an international professional designation for individuals who specialize in alternative investments. It is the first and only credential of its kind to be recognized by the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association (CAIAA). The CAIA designation is designed to provide a comprehensive education in alternative investments, including hedge funds, private equity, real estate, commodities, structured products and derivatives.

The CAIA program consists of two levels: Level I and Level II. Both levels are composed of four modules each that cover topics such as portfolio management, risk management and financial engineering. To become a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA), candidates must pass both levels of the exam.

It typically takes between six months to two years to complete the CAIA program depending on how quickly you can study and prepare for the exams. Candidates are encouraged to use a combination of self-study materials and instructor-led courses provided by the CAIAA or other approved providers.

The cost of obtaining the CAIA designation varies based on which course provider you choose and whether you opt for self-study or instructor-led courses. Generally speaking, it costs around $2,500-$3,500 for self-study materials and $4,000-$6,000 for instructor-led courses. Additionally, there is a one-time enrollment fee of $1,250 when registering for either level of the exam.

6. Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) is an international professional designation for management accountants. The CGMA designation is jointly issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

It takes approximately 18 months to get the CGMA designation. To qualify, you must have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or related field, a minimum of three years of experience in management accounting, and pass the four-part CGMA exam. The exam covers topics such as financial reporting and analysis, strategy and operations, performance management, risk management and governance.

To get the CGMA designation, you must first register with the AICPA and CIMA. After registration is complete, you will be given access to study materials which include practice exams and an online learning platform. You can then take the four-part exam at any Prometric testing center worldwide.

The cost to obtain the CGMA designation varies depending on your country of residence. Generally speaking, it costs around $1,000 USD to register for the program and take all four parts of the exam. This fee does not include any additional study materials or other fees associated with taking the exams.

7. Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a professional certification for financial advisors who specialize in providing comprehensive financial planning services. CFPs are held to higher standards than other financial advisors, as they have met rigorous educational, experience and ethical requirements established by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

In order to become a CFP, one must complete the following steps:

1. Education: Complete an accredited college or university program with a focus on finance, economics, accounting or other related field.

2. Exam: Pass the CFP Certification Examination administered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

3. Experience: Obtain three years of full-time work experience in personal financial planning or a related field.

4. Ethics: Agree to adhere to the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Financial Planning Practice Standards.

5. Final Approval: Submit an application for certification which includes verification of education, exam scores, experience and ethics agreement to the CFP Board for final approval and certification.

The entire process typically takes between two and four years depending on individual circumstances such as prior education and work experience. The cost of obtaining the CFP designation varies based on individual circumstances but can range from $2,000-$5,000 including exam fees, study materials, coursework costs and application fees.

8. Certified Treasury Professional (CTP)

Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) is a certification program offered by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP). It is designed to recognize and promote excellence in treasury management. The CTP certification is the most widely recognized credential in the field of treasury management, and it demonstrates a commitment to professional development and mastery of the core concepts of treasury management.

To become certified, individuals must have at least three years of professional experience in treasury or related financial fields, pass an exam, and meet other requirements set by AFP. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as cash and liquidity management, investments, risk management, corporate finance, financial analysis and more.

The cost to take the exam varies depending on whether you are an AFP member or not. For AFP members, the cost is $375; for non-members it is $475. The cost also includes a one-year membership with AFP.

It typically takes about six months to prepare for the CTP exam. During this time, candidates should review relevant materials such as textbooks, study guides and practice exams to ensure they are adequately prepared for the test.

9. Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is a professional certification offered by The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). It is designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and experience required to perform internal auditing. The CIA designation is one of the most respected certifications in the field of accounting and auditing.

The CIA exam consists of three parts: Part 1 – Internal Audit Basics, Part 2 – Practice of Internal Auditing, and Part 3 – Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing. Each part consists of multiple-choice questions and essay questions. To pass the exam, candidates must score at least 75% on each part.

It typically takes between 6-12 months to prepare for the CIA exam. Candidates should plan to devote significant time studying for the exam and familiarizing themselves with IIA standards and guidance documents.

To become a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), you must meet certain eligibility requirements set forth by The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). These include having a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; two years of work experience in internal auditing or other related fields; passing all three parts of the CIA exam; and completing an ethics course approved by IIA.

The cost for taking the CIA exam varies depending on your location, but it typically costs around $1,000 USD per part ($3,000 total). Additionally, there are fees associated with becoming an IIA member ($200-$400 USD) as well as annual maintenance fees ($100-$200 USD).

10. Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV)

Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) is a professional credential offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It is designed to recognize CPAs who have demonstrated expertise in business valuation.

To obtain the ABV credential, applicants must meet certain educational and experience requirements, pass an exam, and complete a peer review. The educational requirements include completing a minimum of 75 hours of specialized education in business valuation topics such as financial statement analysis, economic and industry analysis, and valuation methods. The experience requirement includes at least three years of experience performing business valuations or related services.

The ABV exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately four hours to complete. Applicants must also submit their work for review by a panel of peers who are ABV credential holders. This review process can take up to six months to complete.

The cost for obtaining the ABV credential varies depending on whether you are an AICPA member or non-member. For AICPA members, the cost is $1,100; for non-members, it is $1,400. In addition to these fees, there may be additional costs associated with taking the exam and undergoing the peer review process.

Do You Really Need a Corporate Financial Analyst Certificate?

When deciding whether or not to pursue a corporate financial analyst certificate, it is important to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of such a credential. A corporate financial analyst certificate can provide an individual with specialized knowledge and skills in the area of financial analysis. It can also help open doors to new career opportunities, as many employers prefer candidates who have formal credentials in the field.

However, pursuing a corporate financial analyst certificate is not always necessary. Depending on an individual's experience and qualifications, they may be able to get by with just a basic understanding of finance. As well, the cost associated with obtaining such a certification may be prohibitive for some individuals.

Ultimately, whether or not someone needs a corporate financial analyst certificate comes down to their own personal goals and circumstances. If an individual is looking for more advanced roles in finance or wants to increase their earning potential then pursuing such certification may be beneficial. However, if they are already working in the field and feel comfortable with their current level of knowledge then it may not be necessary.

Related: Corporate Financial Analyst Resume Examples

FAQs About Corporate Financial Analyst Certifications

1. What is a Corporate Financial Analyst Certification?

Answer: A Corporate Financial Analyst Certification is a professional designation that demonstrates an individual’s expertise in financial analysis and corporate finance. It provides employers with assurance that the analyst has the knowledge and skills necessary to provide accurate financial advice and analysis.

2. What are the requirements for obtaining a Corporate Financial Analyst Certification?

Answer: The requirements vary depending on the certifying body, but generally include passing an exam and completing at least two years of related work experience. Some certifications may also require additional courses or continuing education credits.

3. How long does it take to become certified as a Corporate Financial Analyst?

Answer: Generally, it takes between 1-2 years to complete all of the requirements for certification. This includes studying for and passing the exam, gaining relevant work experience, and meeting any other requirements set by the certifying body.

4. How much does it cost to become certified as a Corporate Financial Analyst?

Answer: The cost of certification varies depending on the certifying body; however, most organizations charge application fees, exam fees, and annual renewal fees for their certifications. Additionally, some organizations may offer discounts for certain groups such as students or veterans.

5. Is there any way to prepare for the Corporate Financial Analyst Certification Exam?

Answer: Yes! Many organizations offer study materials or prep courses specifically designed to help individuals prepare for their certification exams. Additionally, some employers also offer in-house training programs or resources to assist employees in preparing for their exams.

Editorial staff

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Brenna Goyette

Expert Verified

Brenna is a certified professional resume writer, career expert, and the content manager of the ResumeCat team. She has a background in corporate recruiting and human resources and has been writing resumes for over 10 years. Brenna has experience in recruiting for tech, finance, and marketing roles and has a passion for helping people find their dream jobs. She creates expert resources to help job seekers write the best resumes and cover letters, land the job, and succeed in the workplace.

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