Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) is a fast growing and multifaceted job description. FP&A requires different levels of accounting and finance, tech savvy skills, storytelling, leadership, and strategic and critical thinking.
Because there are so many aspects to the job that move very fast (tech updates, leadership changes, market disruptions, etc.) staying ahead professionally can be difficult for those involved in FP&A. One of the best ways to learn more is by completing FP&A courses.
FP&A courses allow you to stay up to date with skills and trends and along the way it adds another certificate to your resume. Many of the courses also provide a finance community or live feedback which allows finance professionals to network and expand their communication outside of their own organization.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 FP&A courses for finance professionals:
1) Certificate of Corporate Finance from NYIF
Number of hours: 60
Type of learning: Self paced, online
The New York Institute of Finance (NYIF) provides one of the most advanced courses for financial analysis, and it does a great job of covering many subjects in depth. Here are a few highlights of what the course will cover:
- Corporate Credit Analysis
- Industry and Company Forecasting
- Project valuation Mergers and Acquisitions
- Treasury and Risk management
- Short and long term financing
- Financing working capital
It is advertised for those with a high level of experience, and is best suited for equity and debt analysts, investment bankers, traders, or others who need a deeper and more advanced understanding of FP&A. However, it is a great course for all types of people involved in corporate finance due to the large quantity of topics covered.
In addition to being a high level course that covers a wide variety of topics in a professional way, NYIF is also a big name in finance. It was established 100 years ago and they have been teaching financial analysts, bankers, and traders since then.
NYIF certificate is great for both people looking to upgrade their financial expertise and for those looking to transition into finance.
2) FP&A Bootcamp
Number of hours: 2 week course – 8 hours altogether
Type of learning: Live Zoom workshops
FP&A Bootcamp is one of the best and most condensed learning platforms specifically for full time finance professionals. Some of the highlights include:
- Financial storytelling
- Improving all phases of planning and forecasting
- Top-down and Bottom-up Forecasts
- Upgrading Excel skills and efficiency
- Learn and improve business partnering
- Learn to create reports and financial presentations
As seen from the list of topics covered, one of the most unique things about FP&A Bootcamp is that you will not only learn hard skills such as Excel, forecasting, and financial modeling, but you will also learn the increasingly important soft skills of business partnering and financial storytelling.
More and more emphasis is placed on collaboration and storytelling, yet there are very few FP&A courses that teach this at a high level. FP&A Bootcamp does just that, and in an interactive way through live Zoom sessions. Through this, students learn from others and can apply their knowledge immediately in group sessions and exercises.
FP&A Bootcamp is taught by finance veteran Christian Wattig who has FP&A experience at Procter and Gamble, Unilever, and Avon, and is currently an FP&A Solution Architect at Datarails, an Excel native FP&A software solution.
In addition to only committing to 8 hours over 2 weeks and being catered to full time professionals, FP&A Bootcamp is particularly attractive for the unique aspect of having a full refund if you do not find the course valuable (provided you attend the sessions, actively participate, and do the exercises).
3) Certified Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis Professional (FPAC)
Number of hours: 80-100
Type of learning: Self paced, online
Cost: $1,025- $1,520 depending on membership/ early bird prices
Similar to FP&A Bootcamp, the FPAC certification is an all encompassing FP&A learning platform that includes communication and business partnering. FPAC, by the Associate for Financial Professionals (AFP) is also one of the most famous FP&A certifications out there. According to their website those who complete an FP&A certification earn 8-16% more than those who don’t depending on the job (controller, CFO, or analyst)
In order to qualify for the certification, applicants must pass an exam which is made up of two sections. The first part contains 120 questions (participants can get an exam part 1 waiver under certain circumstances) and the second part has 55 questions. Although the certification contains less course material than the other courses on this list, 96% of FPAC credential holders say the certification and its study material are relevant to their jobs.
In addition to receiving an FP&A certification, those who complete the tests also have access to the AFP community and resources through the virtual AFP Collaborate Group and access to the largest conference for finance professionals each year.
4) Certified Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA) from CFI
Number of hours: 120-200
Type of learning: Online, on demand
Cost: $41- $70/ month depending on the plan
The financial modeling and valuation analysis certification is the premiere name for financial analysts across the globe. In addition to being one of the most recognized certifications, it also has a unique course structure that allows students to get the most out of their studying.
Students have a bunch of optional prep courses that they can take based on skill level. However, these prep courses or any of the elective courses can be skipped if you already have a good grasp on those topics, which can save a lot of time.
A few examples of the courses to choose from include real estate modeling, M&A, and startup modeling. By having a wide variety of options, students can pick and choose what interests them or what is important for their career and allows them to spend time and energy on what works best for them.
As part of the certification, the budgeting and forecasting course is a short 7 hour online and self paced course that is only one part of FMVA certification that includes 29 courses altogether. The financial budgeting course teaches students about the entire budgeting process including how to build, analyze results, and improve budget accuracy and efficiency. The good quality, variety of choices available, and the brand name of FMVA makes this FP&A course particularly popular for those looking to advance their career.
5) Financial Planning and Analysis Modeling Certification (FPAMC) from Wall Street Prep
Number of hours: 30
Type of learning: Online, Self paced
The Wall Street Prep course is another highly professional, self-paced course that will provide a huge amount of value for an average of 30 hours of learning. The course was developed by FP&A professionals and is advertised as “the first rigorous certification for the FP&A profession”.
The FPAMC program is completely career focused and caters to finance professionals of all types including FP&A Analysts and Managers, Financial Reporting Groups, Controllers and CFOs, and Accounting Professionals.
The eight self-paced modules are broken down into clear chapters such as building operating models (income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement), long range planning, and building dashboards. The course is also great for FP&A onboarding and employee training as many Fortune 500 and other large companies use this module to teach new employees the ropes.