Updated: Feb 21
Many in the alternative finance space are seasoned finance professionals with a wide array of credentials but many have little to no educational background in Finance or Credit experience. Depending on your role within any funding company or commercial finance brokerage, many stand to upskill themselves which will be a benefit to both employee and employer. The CFI or Corporate Finance Institute is a leading online education platform that focuses on Finance Certifications. They are rapidly growing with over 700,000 users having completed courses and certifications including myself. Their three main certifications are the Certified Banking & Credit Analyst, the Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst, and the Capital Markets and Securities Analyst.
CFI can be a huge asset to many in the alternative finance space, mainly for the Certified Banking & Credit Analyst(CBCA) certification. The program “covers the most critical knowledge and skills required to become a skilled credit analyst including accounting, industry analysis, business analysis, management assessment, financial analysis, loan security, credit evaluation and documentation, and review procedures.” These skills would really be helpful to almost any position but certainly underwriters, operations managers, and even ISO managers given they are reviewing files from beginning to end fairly often.
Do you NEED this when selling merchant cash advances or other short term loans or lines of credit? No.
Will you likely be a better business finance salesperson after completion of the CBCA? Very likely yes, especially when dealing with larger or asset-backed files and more sophisticated business owners.
In having taken the first half of the CBCA courses, I can already attest to the high quality of the overall program. The content is well outlined, engaging, detailed, interactive, intuitive, the interface is really easy to use, can rewind and fast forward at will, replay videos, retake quizzes, and all with few if any glitches. The study time is very reasonable and since you go at your own pace it makes it simple to complete.
They start you off with courses that bring you up to speed if you have little education or experience in credit and banking then they start to really hone in on subjects that you will use right away in the workplace.
A great part about CFI is you can take any of the Prep courses ABSOLUTELY Free with no obligations! Yes, just create an account and take one Prep course to test the whole platform. You can finish one course in literally a couple of hours.
“The CBCA Program is designed to teach you all the skills you need to excel on the job as a credit analyst. The courses will walk you through the entire credit process from start to finish, including how to read business financial information, how to analyze financial statements, how to assess a company’s capacity for debt, how to establish covenants, how to assess collateral and liquidity, and much more!”
Both of the other certificates, the FMVA and the CMSA, would also enhance anyone's skills in the finance or banking industry even if you have a college degree in Finance or Accounting. They would demonstrate to your employer the eagerness to either learn new skills to be applied immediately or enhance your educational background with real-world examples and applications. At the same time, a certification in all of the above will help your resume or Linkedin profile stand out.
In 2021 they are launching a Business Intelligence and Data Analyst certification, which is a top skill for many high-paying jobs in the new 20201 economy.
When seeking ways to upskill from various platforms, I looked for a combination of benefits of skills learned that directly affect my job, the cost, time to complete, and future value in the workplace. CFI definitely provided the best value considering all of these factors.
The $497 USD cost for the Self Study in each Certification is such a super deal that the main decision is to make the commitment in the time it takes to complete. Each certification can be completed in less than 2 months even when working full time.
The Full Immersion route is $847 which includes more premium features.
CFI also offers The Basic All-Access bundle (Subscription plan) gives monthly/yearly access to all 4 of CFI's highly-sought-after certification programs: Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)®, Certified Banking & Credit Analyst (CBCA)™, Capital Markets & Securities Analyst (CMSA)™, and Business Intelligence & Data Analyst (BIDA).
Monthly Subscription: Pay $87 monthly
Annual Subscription: Pay $564 yearly (save 40%)
If you are an employee you should first ask your employer if they would contribute in some way to the cost since once completed your added value will be an asset for the company.
In fact, more funders and large ISOs should implement educational reimbursement programs into their company. As I see it, having more well-qualified employees would actually improve several things. It would create a more valued workforce, employees that are likely to stay longer with their employer, and higher quality service for the business owners who are ultimately the customers.
Having this in mind, CFI created a corporate training program for Business, where you can help your team fill any pre-existing skill gaps. They claim they have been used at companies such as Salesforce, Citibank, and J.P. Morgan.
CFI also offers Financial Aid and Scholarships. On their site, you can see some scholarship winners that include people who already have a Master's degree.
There are other valuable resources that CFI offers. They include some courses qualifying for CPE credits, free courses in Excel, Knowledge library, job descriptions, and free Ebooks.
For CPAs or accountants, Corporate Finance Institute is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education (CPE) on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors.
I would highly recommend the CFI and any of the certifications to anyone in the banking and finance industry but also beyond. Even top performers and C-level execs will benefit from some of the content. The ROI an individual will gain is only on the plus side with no downside upon completion. Employers don't recognize all educational platforms with the same value but CFI is one of the few that has tremendous credibility.
Investing in yourself is the number one thing to do to enhance your value in the marketplace and improve your career trajectory. If you aren't investing yourself after this very difficult 2020 year, where the future of many things is up in the air, then are you staying stagnant? Let us know below what steps you are taking to improve yourself or your company.
Corporate Finance Institute® (CFI), founded in 2016 with headquarters in Vancouver, Canada, is a leading global provider of online financial modeling and valuation courses. CFI’s programs and certifications have been delivered to over 700,000 individuals at top universities, investment banks, accounting firms, and operating companies around the world.
Shane Mahabir is the Founder and CEO of Funder Intel with over 8 years in the banking and finance industry.