Financial Modeling Certifications and Certificates

Discover the world of financial modeling, and understand the difference between acquiring a certificate and a certification in this field. Learn about the top certifications and courses available, and how they can mold your career path in banking, finance, and related professions.

Key Insights

  • Financial modeling is a process of evaluating a company's past performance to predict future financial outcomes, which helps in making informed business decisions.
  • A certificate in financial modeling is obtained by completing a specific course of study while a certification requires passing an exam administered by a third party.
  • The Certified Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) are top certifications in the field of financial modeling. The former is more aligned with finance and accounting skills while the latter focuses on investment analysis.
  • The FMVA certification is becoming popular due to its practical modules and applications in various finance professions. It requires over 200 hours of study and is valued by professionals for its comprehensive skill coverage.
  • Though not mandatory for most jobs, the FMVA and CFA certifications can enhance job prospects and distinguish applicants in a competitive job market.
  • Noble Desktop offers hands-on training in financial modeling through their Financial Modeling Bootcamp and Financial Analyst Training Program. These programs cover basics of accounting, finance, corporate valuation, and Excel proficiency.

If you’re looking for a way to demonstrate your skills in financial modeling, you might be overwhelmed by the different certifications and certificate programs available. You may also have many questions, such as whether pursuing a certificate will help you get a job or how you can best prepare for these credentials. This article aims to answer these questions so you can efficiently choose the right path toward a financial modeling certification. Keep reading to find out more.

What is Financial Modeling?

Financial modeling is the process of evaluating a company’s past performance to predict the likelihood of various financial outcomes. Those who create financial models rely on financial forecasts to do so. The assumptions in a forecast are played out using the organization’s financial statements to predict how various statements may look in the future. Since these models are based on financial statements, they are typically generated monthly, quarterly, or yearly. It’s common for financial models to be constructed using manual data entry in an Excel spreadsheet. 

Financial modeling is a valuable tool for estimating how a business or a specific project will perform based on relevant factors, as well as risk assumptions and growth, then evaluating their impact. This process helps to present a concise understanding of the variables used to make financial forecasts. Those who create financial models either build them from scratch or work with existing models, making changes based on newer data that’s become available since its creation. Because financial situations are complex and can change quickly and rapidly, financial modeling helps to create a detailed understanding of the different components.

Read more about what financial modeling is and why you should learn it

What Can You Do with Financial Modeling?

Without well-executed financial modeling, any business operation would be analogous to a ship floating aimlessly in the sea with no navigation system. Although one could use gut instinct to steer the ship in the correct direction, there would be no guarantee that this course would be accurate. The more sound a financial model is, the less unnecessary risk a business will likely encounter. And the less likely it will be to drift aimlessly. 

Financial modeling has numerous applications across industries. Strong financial models are the backbone of many businesses and are a critical component to help them continue to grow and mitigate risk. Financial models provide a way to perform a detailed analysis of all possible financial outcomes of a business decision. These models seek to avoid loss as well as increase profits.

Financial modeling is a powerful tool for a range of financial analysis tasks. It can help an organization budget for the future and analyze the company’s performance against goals and targets. It also can be used for business valuation. Financial models allow individuals to compare one company’s performance against its competitors. It is often used to analyze financial statements, ratios, and capital structure, as well as to estimate financial metrics for new projects. Not only are these models imperative for solving problems, but they are used to make decisions about future outcomes. Some of the many decisions financial models can help with are estimating a company’s projected growth, organizing its budget, choosing investments, deciding between acquisition or merger, and deciding which projects should be prioritized.

Certifications vs. Certificates: What’s the Difference?

If you are interested in studying financial modeling, you may wonder what the difference between a certificate and a certification is and which is best for you. Certificates in financial modeling are typically completion-based programs. These courses provide hands-on instruction in core financial modeling skills, such as working with advanced Excel functions. Once you complete the program, you’ve earned a certificate demonstrating your grasp of fundamental financial modeling skills. On the other hand, financial modeling certification requires sitting for an exam. The test is administered by a third party. If you pass the exam, you’ve earned certification.

Top Certifications & Certificates for Financial Modeling

If you’re interested in financial modeling certification or certificate study, several excellent options are available:

  • Certified Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst: The FMVA is the flagship certification for financial modeling. This course of study helps participants become more proficient with finance and accounting skills and financial modeling and forecasting. Students receive hands-on modeling training to prepare for real-world situations, such as creating presentations and developing a modeling strategy. Those who complete at least 14 of the 38 courses in this comprehensive training program can earn the in-demand FMVA certification, which can help in becoming a Financial Analyst.
  • CFA: The Chartered Financial Analyst program is another learning opportunity for those who want to gain real-world training in investment analysis. This comprehensive, rigorous class focuses on finance and requires about 300 hours of study time for each of the three provided situations. Advancing to the next position requires passing a three-hour proctored exam. The CFA is considered the most prestigious professional designation for those working with fiscal services. Only one in four test-takers pass. To date, over 170,000 professionals have achieved this recognition.

Should I Get Certified in Financial Modeling?

Deciding whether to seek certification in financial modeling will likely depend on several factors, such as your current profession, career goals, and employer. The FMVA, the premiere certification from the Corporate Finance Institute, has an annual enrollment of more than 100,000 students in 170 countries. Although it’s a relatively newer certification, the FMVA is becoming more popular, partly due to its use of modules for course content, which has applications for many banking and finance professions. Earring this certification can help not only with work efficiency but it can also increase the likelihood of finding a new job. Although it requires more than 200 hours of study time, most professionals value this certification, as it signifies the individual has mastered many complex financial modeling skills. 

Unlike the FMVA, the curriculum for the CFA is more geared toward security analysis, portfolio management, and investment. This certification is helpful for asset, investment, or portfolio management roles. This certification indicates that the applicant is committed to learning to create financial models and can apply their training to real-world situations. While neither the CFA nor the FMVA are requirements for most financial modeling jobs, they are a great way to stand out from other applicants.

How to Get Certified in Financial Modeling

To achieve certification in financial modeling, candidates must indicate that they’ve learned fundamental valuation and financial modeling skills. For most individuals, this requires hundreds of hours of study, in addition to rigorous, hands-on training such as that which occurs at private equity firms and investment banks. To pass the FMVA or CFA exam, many individuals elect to enroll in a training program, either online or in-person, which provides relevant training and study materials, as well as practice tests and other resources.

Learn Financial Modeling with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop offers several excellent learning options for those interested in studying financial modeling. Noble’s Financial Modeling Bootcamp covers the basics of accounting, finance, and corporate valuation. Those enrolled in this hands-on class work with Excel to create a discounted cash flow model. Students who don’t have a background in accounting or finance will be sent a short guide on terminology before class starts. All participants should have intermediate Excel proficiency as a prerequisite.

Noble’s Financial Analyst Training Program provides learners with instruction on pertinent corporate and financial concepts and how to create a full valuation model. This intensive program teaches core Excel skills, like how to work with PivotTables and shortcuts, as well as advanced Excel techniques, including cash flow projection tools and Goal Seek. All students will create an integrated, three-statement financial model based on current financial data.

Noble also offers financial modeling training courses in-person and live online. Those interested in learning more about how to use Excel for modeling can attend the Excel Bootcamp. In addition, FinTech courses such as Python for Data Science Bootcamp, Algorithmic Trading With Python, and FinTech Bootcamp are also available. Noble’s FinTech Bootcamp provides hands-on training from expert instructors in creating machine learning models, using programming languages like SQL and Python to analyze financial data, and working with various types of data, such as integers, strings, and floats. One-on-one mentoring and the option of a free course retake is included for all participants. 

Key Insights

  • A certificate in financial modeling can be earned by completing a program of study, whereas certification requires passing an exam. 
  • If you’re interested in becoming certified in financial modeling, you can choose from two industry-standard options: the FMVA and the CFA. 
  • The FMVA and CFA certifications require hundreds of hours of study to pass the exam. This is why these certifications are highly valued in the finance sector.
  • You can receive comprehensive financial modeling training through an in-person or live online course with Noble Desktop.

How to Learn Financial Modeling

Master financial modeling with hands-on training. Financial modeling is a technique for predicting the financial performance of a business or other type of institution over time using real-world data.

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