14 best corporate FP&A certifications and courses

Baha Makarem
Baha' Makarem

, FP&A Manager, Abacum

17 min read · Published: July 7, 2023

fp&a software (2)

🎯 Introduction

For decades, FP&A teams have played a critical role in the function of every business. Building reports, managing costs, and boosting revenue have been at the core of finance departments since their inception, but in recent years, demands have begun to change.

The role of the classic FP&A professional is shifting in every organization. Now, organizations rely on these teams to be the center of business operations, make strategic decisions, and guide analytical capabilities to a new level. Everyone from analysts to finance leaders is tasked with refining their skill sets and up-leveling their offerings, and FP&A certifications and courses are a great way to do that.

Although FP&A teams are central to business functionality, 64% of C-level executives feel that FP&A roles are the hardest positions to fill.

In that same survey, executives detailed the most important and most frequent tasks put in front of FP&A employees. These tasks are:

  • Use basic spreadsheet functions.
  • Validate data and assess its quality and consistency.
  • Use advanced spreadsheet functions.
  • Gather information for data analysis through research.
  • Build budgets, forecasts, annual plans, and related items.
  • Receive, analyze, integrate, and consolidate assumptions and data from business units.
  • Prepare reports and/or make presentations. 

This list is non-exhaustive and many of the line items are things that FP&A teams have been doing for decades. However, with new FP&A software, tools and technologies, as well as more detailed data demands, the methods to complete these tasks have shifted entirely.

Whether you’re trying to develop hard skills or soft skills, an FP&A certification or FP&A courses are great ways to transform your career.

What is FP&A certification?

There are many types of FP&A certifications. Different certifications target different business areas and functions. For instance, you might decide that a classic CFA program is what you need, or you could opt for an investment-specific certification if that’s more aligned with your role.

Typically, to obtain an FP&A certification, you’ll take a course and be required to submit a final exam at the end of the course. If you pass and meet all certification requirements, you’ll successfully secure a new certification and become even more marketable to professional opportunities.

How do I get an FP&A certification?

Most FP&A certifications aren’t easy to get, but they are accessible. After sorting through the below list, select the FP&A certification you’re interested in pursuing. Then, register for the associated course or lesson modules, complete the materials, and take the exam. Each certification will have different requirements, but all of them should clearly outline how you complete them.

You can select an in-person FP&A course or secure your enrolment in online courses that provide students with self-paced learning modules. A professional certification is never going to hinder your career, so really, the discussion becomes more about which certification will advance your career, fit with your years of experience, and get you the credentials you need.

The value of certifications and courses

Organizationally, investing in FP&A certifications and courses for employees offers many benefits. The two major benefits are boosting employee retention and enhancing the overall skill level of corporate finance. As your teams get better at utilizing today’s technologies, the capabilities FP&A can offer its business partners expand rapidly. Since employees are learning more and being invested in, they are more likely to stick around longer and invest back into your organization.

At the individual level, these opportunities offer new challenges, equip financial analysts with advanced credentials, and open the door to better career opportunities down the line. If you’re looking to change your FP&A career path, a professional certification can offer the momentum you need.

Best certifications and courses for corporate FP&A professionals

1. CFA Institute: Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program

Cfa institute chartered financial analyst cfa program

For over 190,000 finance professionals, the CFA Program has built a foundation in advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio management. If you’re ready to build a career in wealth management, investment banking, commercial banking, consulting, or FP&A leadership, this program can help pave your way. Similar to how accountants pursue their CPA, this course is the finance equivalent. This three-part certification is usually pursued by people with backgrounds in accounting, finance, economics, or business, making it the perfect opportunity for FP&A analysts.

Time Commitment: A minimum of 300 study hours is recommended to pass each level of the certification. It generally takes multiple years to complete all 3 levels.

Type of Learning: Self-taught learning is common, though there are many classes to help you prepare for the exams if you seek them out.

Course Highlights: As one of the most renowned FP&A certifications in the world, the CFA Program is constantly updating its teachings based on current events in the world of finance. It partners with active professionals to design, update, and refine course content.

Skills Covered: All the fundamentals of financial analysis are part of this exam, but with each exam level, the content gets more complex. After passing all three levels, finance professionals will be prepared to tackle intricate investment challenges and navigate changing financial markets with ease.

Cost: $350 enrollment fee and $1,200 per exam.

Student Review:

“The CFA charter has been an invaluable asset in my career. The CFA Program helped me improve my analytical abilities. The CFA designation also helped me win the trust and recognition of both colleagues and clients.”

– CFA Charterholder.

2. Certificate of Corporate Finance from NYIF

Certificate of corporate finance from nyif

Analysis professionals can commit to the self-paced online modules to boost their knowledge of foundational corporate finance events such as the Sarbanes Oxley Act and learn how to understand and analyze critical corporate finance metrics and KPIs. Business valuation, financial leverage, and interest rates are all widely-utilized skills gained in this FP&A certification.

Time Commitment: 60 hours.

Type of Learning: Online, Self-paced.

Course Highlights: Structured with its students in mind, this course follows a logical flow, making it easy to build on the learnings from each module as you move through the coursework.

Skills Covered: Business valuation, capital markets, portfolio management, time value of money, financial analysis, strategic planning, and more.

Cost: $1,545.

Student Review:

“Such an amazing course. Really go into detail on valuation, etc. with the little time you have. Definitely recommend for anyone looking to change career paths into M&A or finance with little background!”

– Nick A.

3. LinkedIn Learning: Corporate Finance Foundations

Linkedin learning corporate finance foundations

Understanding corporate finance and the impact it has on the rest of the business is important for executives, mid-level managers, and individual accountants alike. This course is a fantastic introduction to corporate finance, diving into its operations and how it serves as the strategic decision-making center of any organization. If you are looking to make the jump from your current role into corporate finance, this is a starting point that will help prepare you for your next jump.

Time Commitment: 2 hours.

Type of Learning: Online, video instruction.

Course Highlights: The course instructors spend 2 hours building the foundation for corporate finance, helping learners connect the dots between the function and the organization overall. Students will learn how to manage business investments, risk, and cash flow, solidifying their ability to contribute to the finance organization in new ways.

Skills Covered: Financial decision-making, short-term and long-term financing, cash flow, equity, debt financing, capital asset pricing model, and the benefits of diversification.

Cost: LinkedIn course memberships are $19.99/month when billed annually.

Student Review:

“Articulate and easy delivery of very important concepts. Impressive instructors.”

– Amina B.

4. Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA) certification by Corporate Finance Institute (CFI)

financial modeling valuation analyst fmva certification by corporate finance institute cfi

Prior to taking the final exam, the course modules are split into three sections: prep courses, core courses, and elective courses. You can choose from 8 prep courses if you need to brush up on the basics such as Excel fundamentals o management accounting fundamentals. In the next section, you will complete 13 core courses ranging from operational modeling to scenario and sensitivity analysis in Excel. Lastly, a minimum of 3 3 electives will round out the learnings and prepare you for the final exam.

Time Commitment: For most learners, this FP&A certification takes 4-6 months to complete.

Type of Learning: Online, self-paced, video instruction.

Course Highlights: The elective courses make this FP&A course unique; you can tailor the course materials to topics you’re interested in. Learn about solar financial modeling or Power Pivot – it’s up to you!

Skills Covered: Business valuation, financial modeling, accounting principles, DCF valuation analysis, dashboards, and data visualization.

Cost: $497/year for self-study students.

Student Review:

“After 200 hours I was amazed. This course has taught me to create, visualize and present clear, flexible, and structured financial models. It teaches you critical hard skills that are necessary to efficiently build financial models from scratch.”

– Kobe W.

5. Certified Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis Professional (FPAC)

Certified corporate financial planning analysis professional fpac

As FP&A shifts from a back-office function to a central, strategic decision-making function, the FPAC credential will help elevate employees’ capabilities, allowing them to become trusted business advisors and financial thought leaders in an organization. Digital transformation will not be unsuccessful without the buy-in and support of FP&A professionals; the FPAC strengthens adaptability, willingness to learn, and leadership capabilities. With an application process and professional requirements to complete this certification, it’s one of the most respected and competitive FP&A certifications available.

Time Commitment: Preparation time and study commitments vary, but at least 100 hours overall is recommended.

Type of Learning: Self-paced.

Course Highlights: The certification exams cover detailed FP&A knowledge components, testing everything from FP&A project management to data mining, data visualization, macros, and more.

Skills Covered: Building and refining financial models, ratio analysis, NPV, investment and sensitivity analysis, rolling forecasts, zero-based budgets, and many other relevant FP&A topics.

Cost: $1,520 for each exam part.

Student Review:

“My career took off when I earned the FPAC – I moved into a controller and director of finance position. There’s no other certification like it.”

– Jake B.

6. Financial Planning and Analysis Modeling Certification (FPAMC) from Wall Street Prep

Financial planning and analysis modeling certification fpamc wall street prep

As a job-focused certification program, Wall Street Prep’s FPAMC connects the dots between finance theories and on-the-job best practices. FP&A professionals will learn how to forecast detailed operating models, create short- and long-term projection models, and curate interesting, interactive data visualizations. To prepare individual contributors for leadership roles, this professional certification explores how to use advanced corporate finance principles to influence and change business strategy.

Time Commitment: Average completion for the coursework and exam is 30 hours.

Type of Learning: Self-paced, online modules.

Course Highlights: Module 7 focuses on building dashboards and presenting business insights, helping transform accounting professionals and FP&A analysts into strategic business partners.

Skills Covered: The FP&A profession, budgeting, forecasting, data visualization, data presentation, corporate finance, market research, and project management.

Cost: $499.

Student Review:

“We use WSP’s FP&A program because it’s the only cohesive training we’ve seen that connects the dots of accounting, technical finance and corporate strategy and gets to the heart of the FP&A function.”

– Anon, VP of Finance.

7. Certified Financial Planner (CFP) by CFP Board of Standards

Certified financial planner cfp by cfp board of standards

In order to meet the rigorous certification requirements of the CFP Board of Standards, you’ll need to take a comprehensive financial planning exam and have at least 6,000 hours of professional financial planning experience. The experience requirement can be met before or after taking the exam, but with the heightened requirements, this certification stands out, setting you apart from other finance professionals. Whether you’re looking to make a career shift or go for a big promotion, this certification will set you up for success.

Time Commitment: Variable based on experience.

Type of Learning: Self-paced with online and in-person options available.

Course Highlights: The CFP certification has been around for 50 years, offering a wide network of certified professionals for you to connect with and learn from.

Skills Covered: Financial planning, risk management and insurance planning, investment planning, tax planning, estate planning, and retirement planning.

Cost: $655.

Student Review:

“CFP® certification is a worthwhile journey. You’ll have the chance to work with people from your community with diverse backgrounds and education. Helping people is the best part of the work.”

– Lauryn W.

8. FP&A Bootcamp by Christian Wattig

Fpa bootcamp christian wattig

Finding a mentor can be hard and watching educational videos on your own makes it difficult to remember detailed concepts and financial principles, but with Christian Wattig’s FP&A Bootcamp, you’ll be working through live classes with an FP&A expert. Not only will you have access to professional training regarding financial presentations, sophisticated reporting, business partnering, and more, but this course offers free downloadable cheat sheets and helpful materials that you can refer back to for as long as you need.

Time Commitment: 4-5 hours per week for two weeks.

Type of Learning: Online, instructor-led.

Course Highlights: Live online classes make this course stand apart from the rest. You won’t need to guide yourself through challenging materials or navigate topics without help.

Skills Covered: Visualizations, financial presentations, business partnering, financial modeling, and planning and forecasting.

Cost: $1,200.

Student Review:

“I recommend this to everyone who is interested in understanding FP&A. I’m transitioning to an FP&A role and this course helped me get a jumpstart to prepare myself with the skills required to succeed.”

– Joey J.

9. Leading with Finance from Harvard Business School (HBS) Online

Leading with finance from harvard business school hbs online

Throughout the 6 modules and 40 hours of this online course, you’ll start with the basics and move toward advanced FP&A topics. If you’re struggling to understand the difference between finance and accounting but someday want to be able to lead capital allocation discussions, then this course is for you. The course uses real-world case studies to understand complex FP&A topics, making it incredibly engaging and applicable to your career.

Time Commitment: 35 – 40 hours.

Type of Learning: The course is online and uses a syllabus to set the pace.

Course Highlights: Leading FP&A initiatives requires the ability to understand the bigger picture, and in this course, you’ll learn about why every competency matters, how it applies more broadly to the organization, and how you can think about it differently.

Skills Covered: Financial analysis, finance vs. accounting, capital markets, creating value, valuation, and capital allocation.

Cost: $1,750.

Student Review:

“I now feel that I have a broad overview of finance and can approach topics with a strong, integrated framework instead of approaching them in isolation.”

– Emer M.

10. The London School of Economics and Political Science Online MBA Essentials

The london school of economics and political science online mba essentials

Stepping outside strict FP&A, this course helps prepare leaders for new challenges by focusing on three pillars of business leadership: the strategic environment, the financial toolkit, and the human element. Holistic and well-rounded, professionals who are ready to step into strategic partnership positions can use the learnings provided here to link the FP&A function with the rest of the organization.

Time Commitment: 8-12 hours per week for 10 weeks.

Type of Learning: Online, self-paced.

Course Highlights: Students will be able to work with peers and learning facilitators on a weekly basis through small group discussions.

Skills Covered: Economics for managers, corporate strategy, financial accounting, management accounting, analyzing financial statements, and organizational culture.

Cost: £3,200.

Student Review:

“This course surpassed my expectations in terms of the content, online delivery and time required to complete the modules. The website used for the course is well designed and easy to navigate and the format of the modules and structured and straight-forward in its execution.”

– Jeremy H.

11. Certificate in Financial Modeling and Valuation [eLearning] by Ernst & Young

Certificate in financial modeling and valuation by ernst and young

Financial modeling is becoming more complex, innovative, and impactful for businesses around the globe; being able to understand the impact of different variables and business decisions on finance outcomes is key to success. EY Virtual Academy’s certificate in financial modeling equips learners with the ability to apply financial models to business valuation in many settings including selling a business, settling a business separation, determining tax obligations, and more.

Time Commitment: 36 – 40 hours.

Type of Learning: Online video learning modules.

Course Highlights: At the end of the course, students will be challenged with a case study to apply the teachings of the course. They will be able to directly see and understand how the learned skills add value in real business scenarios.

Skills Covered: Structuring and designing models, tax calculation, financial statement integration, building macros, valuation approaches, and outcome presentations.

Cost: $250.

Student Review: Not available.

12. Best Practice FP&A by Ron Monteiro and Paul Barnhurst

Best practice fpa by ron monteiro and paul barnhurst

Split into four sessions, this course covers the technical skills needed to succeed in FP&A as well as some of the soft skills that will boost your impact in any organization. The sessions are: FP&A Overview & Analytics That Drive Insights, Best Practices in Budgeting and Forecasting, Management Reporting & Data Visualization, and Business Partnering, Storytelling, & Influencing.

Time Commitment: 12 – 15 hours.

Type of Learning: Online, instructor-led sessions.

Course Highlights: One of the only FP&A courses that offers interactions with real experts, this course includes a 30-minute consultation with Ron or Paul after course completion.

Skills Covered: Storytelling, influencing, budgeting, and report preparation.

Cost: $500.

Student Review:

“Amazing course! All 4 sessions added tremendous value to my role and team. They were all very relevant to not just F&PA, but any Finance role. The visualizations really allowed me to understand how to display and share my story in a more understandable way (not just within finance).  You both provided incredible tips, resources and examples that catered to everyone.”

– Jennifer C.

13. Power Query for Finance and Accounting Professionals by Khaled Chowdhury and Paul Barnhurst

Power query for finance and accounting professionals by khaled chowdhury paul barnhurst

Power Query is Microsoft’s data preparation engine. It is an accessible tool that many FP&A teams underutilize because it’s always intuitive to learn. In this 4-hour course, professionals will dive right into the details of Power Query, learn how to apply it in their own roles, and walk away with the technical skills to be successful. Many finance and accounting tasks can be made easier with Power Query, a tool most organizations already have access to.

Time Commitment: 4 hours.

Type of Learning: Online, instructor-led sessions.

Course Highlights: Working with real Excel files, the tool will be less theory and more of a hands-on approach so the content is applicable to all students.

Skills Covered: Power query introduction, pivot data, merge tables, grouped calculations, and nested headers.

Cost: $999.

Student Review: No reviews are available.

14. Financial Storytelling and Presentations by Soufyan Hamid, Ron Monteiro, and Paul Barnhurst

Financial storytelling and presentations by soufyan hamid ron monteiro paul barnhurst

No matter how good your data insights are, they won’t be helpful business tools unless you can clearly communicate and articulate your findings. Not many people think about “storytelling” and “finance” in the same sentence, but in order for organizations to increase profitability and decrease costs enough, FP&A professionals need to be able to tell a story with data. This course will equip you with the skills to shape your story, communicate it with your colleagues, and present it to larger audiences.

Time Commitment: To Be Announced.

Type of Learning: Online, instructor-led sessions.

Course Highlights: Breakouts and practical work is included in the course, giving students the chance to put the teachings to practice before applying them at work.

Skills Covered: Creating your message with data, aligning visuals to support your story, getting ready to present, and delivering your presentation will all be covered in this course.

Cost: To Be Announced.

Student Review: Because this course is a new offering, no reviews are available.

Career goal and course alignment

When selecting an FP&A course or deciding which FP&A certification to pursue, you should first be considering how you want to map out your career. Depending on the specialty you are targeting, one course may be better than another. It’s a personal decision that requires a lot of research and a bit of soul-searching, but when you are armed with the right skill set for your niche, you’ll be unstoppable.

These courses can come with a high price tag, but many organizations have budgets for learning and development opportunities. If you can work with your manager or your HR department to get the costs covered, then the hardest part is out of the way.

If you’re still not sure which course is the best fit for your career goals, ask professionals in your field what they recommend. Managers, mentors, and even peers can offer helpful perspectives and share their own experiences with the above courses. Now get to learning!

FAQ

How do I become an FP&A professional?

Does FP&A pay well?

What is the best qualification for FP&A in the US?

What are the benefits of FP&A certification?

Spend 75% less time on manual tasks with Abacum

Book a demo