Certifications are awarded by professional associations to validate a person’s knowledge and skills in a particular industry. These aren’t typically required to work in a certain field, but many are used as industry standards. Plus, these give professionals who want to advance their careers an edge.
As a company, you can help your employees expand their skills and achieve these certifications. You can do so by providing financial support and explaining the right certifications that align with their professional goals, as well as your company’s goals. After all, supporting your employees in their upskilling has many benefits for you too, from expanding your network or improving your reputation and bottom-line with highly qualified professionals in your employ.
If you want to give your employees the support they need to get certifications, it’s worth noting that despite the old tradition of passing and receiving physical credentials, Arda Helvacilar outlines that technological changes have led to an increase in digital credentials. Applicants can now take the required courses and training online. So if you want to help your finance professionals, below are some certifications you can guide them towards:
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
A CPA is probably the first thing that enters your mind when you think of financial certification. It’s one of the most widely recognized financial certifications in the industry, with at least 664,000 active CPA licenses in the U.S. There are various specializations covered under a CPA, such as financial analysis, internal auditing, and tax accounting. But on the general level, CPAs balance financial records, assist with external company audits, and work with executives and CEOs to establish budgets. The required skills for a CPA include problem-solving, excellent attention to detail, and the ability to analyze complex systems.
The AICPA estimates that passing the four-part CPA exam requires 300 to 400 hours of study. So to help your CPA candidate, encourage study groups or pay for review courses. Being an accountant may sometimes demand at least 40 hours a week — and needing to study on top of that may be taxing. However, you can follow the examples of law firms who pay their new recruits to study for the bar exams. Assign your new accountants to study for the CPA exam even for just one hour a day or one day a week so they can prepare while still gaining experience.
Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB)
There are currently around 1.7 million bookkeepers in the U.S., and those who want to have a shot at promotion and a higher salary can opt to be a CPB to set themselves apart from the competition. Standard bookkeeping includes keeping track of a company’s expenditures and income and making monthly reports regarding the company’s financial position. However, being a CPB ensures that someone is also skilled enough to become a full-charge bookkeeper. Financial advice site AskMoney describes this as having extra responsibilities from standard bookkeeping, including handling financial statements and payroll taxes. This may seem similar to what a CPA does. However, bookkeeping handles daily tasks of recording financial transactions, while an accountant does this alongside providing insight and analysis of the data they record.
There are different certification programs to become a CPB with varying qualifications. If your CPB candidate does not have a formal education in bookkeeping, you can direct them to the AIPB, which requires at least two years of work experience. Meanwhile, those with a degree in accounting can take the CPB exam through the NACPB. These CPB certification programs also offer exam preparation options, including practice exams and on-demand videos.
Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
While business owners and senior managers can do risk management, the bigger the business, the better it would be to bring in a dedicated FRM to manage risks and make recommendations for action on behalf of the company. Chron talks about how any kind of money flow is a potential financial risk, and FRMs must be able to properly identify risk exposures, quantify them, and decide how to act on the information. Other factors that should also be considered when deciding the company’s goals, the business environment, and whether the cost of mitigation justifies the reduction of the risk. An FRM must have good analytical risk assessment skills and be able to work under a lot of pressure.
To be certified, your FRM candidate must pass the two-part exam and have a two-year work experience within five years after clearing the exam. There are various online finance courses and training you can direct your employees to, one of which is an applied financial risk management course. Here, they’ll be able to further advance their knowledge and skills in the field.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
A financial planner helps individuals and businesses navigate the world of finance to achieve their financial goals. Though there are 300,000 financial planners, only 60,000 are CFPs. While some CFPs also call themselves financial advisors, Forbes differentiates the two — a financial advisor essentially helps someone manage their money, while a CFP also offers comprehensive financial planning and can give investment advice and recommendations. A CFP needs to have good analytical, decision-making and communicating skills to consider the risks and rewards that come with certain decisions. They should also be able to explain these to their clients in a way they can understand.
To be a CFP, a candidate must have client-facing experience. There are two pathways for this: standard and apprenticeship. For the standard pathway, you can offer your employee supervision and direct or indirect support work. While for the apprenticeship pathway, you can give them more supervised experience.
A finance certification can help finance professionals stand out from the crowd. It’s also easier for them to get a certification as it’s possible to do coursework and training online. You can also make the load lighter on your certification candidates by offering support, such as paying for review courses and helping them gain experience.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to make your digital certifications cater to more people, check our blog on Sertifier.