Financial Certifications: 4 Ways to Make the Most of Them

Financial Certifications

Earning financial certifications can feel like pursuing a whole new degree, with long periods of studying and stress culminating in final exams.

But unlike your bachelor’s degree in accounting or the Master of Business Administration, financial certifications must be continuously monitored and maintained. After all, the finance and accounting industry is constantly changing, and it’s easy to fall behind on new trends and developments.

By committing yourself to continuing education and professional training, you can boost your marketability and increase your chances of promotion. Just remember that keeping up with your credentials can be difficult when you’ve already busy in your career.

Here are four tips you can use to make sure you stay on top of your financial certifications:

1. Crunch your credit numbers

Accounting certifications come with different requirements. For example, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) must complete 30 hours of continuing education coursework every two years. The Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential, however, requires 60 hours every three years. If you hold multiple credentials, look for continuing education opportunities that will count for more than one to save time.

2. Stay ahead of the game

Don’t wait until three months before your deadline to start racking up those hours. Divide the number of hours you need by the number of years you have to earn them, and mark checkpoint goals for yourself on your calendar. For example, your aim for next year might be to have 10 hours recorded by May. 

3. Take advantage of all credit opportunities

Training workshops, seminars and conferences are the typical methods of earning credit. In addition, some financial certifications might count live presentations, self-study programs, taking exams for other certifications or publishing books or articles related to your field for continuing education credit. Check with your certification board for exact details. If you’re limited on time or unable to travel for training, there are many opportunities online.

Check out our free accounting and finance webinars that qualify for continuing education credit.  

4. Review — and change gears if needed

As your career progresses, you might find yourself moving in a direction you didn’t foresee. Perhaps you saw yourself climbing the accounting ladder, but last year a great job opportunity as an auditor piqued your interest. Is your current certification still relevant? Is there another credential that might better suit your current goals and interests? Periodically reviewing your financial certifications to ensure you have those most beneficial to your career can save you countless hours and keep you headed in the right direction.

Do you know what can increase your salary by 10 percent? Certifications! For more resources, check out our accounting certifications and training page.