Earning a college degree in a specialized field shows a student’s ability to learn and understand the core concepts behind the subject. In the financial industry, a graduate must expand from just the basic understandings and concepts of the modern financial world. As the industry changes constantly and rapidly, the struggle to keep current can seem difficult and exhausting. However, we can maintain our expertise. We can stand out from the crowd by obtaining the knowledge and skill-sets needed to retain our credibility.
Credibility allows clients to take us seriously, to trust our opinions. We must be able to prove to them that they have chosen the right person to perform the task at hand. To do this, we must understand the issue and effectively communicate back. One of the key steps in making this possible and allowing the client to know that we have what it takes is to prove our professional competency.
What better way to prove that we are the right fit for the job than by obtaining the professional certificates pertinent to our career? A number of professional certification programs are offered to meet the flexibility and convenience of our schedule. Some of these take years to complete while others require only a couple of months. One of the programs I find suitable for any entry-level professional is the CFA Institute’s Investment Foundations.
The Investment Foundation program is a global educational certificate offering a clear basic understanding of the investment industry. The program was designed for people with or without background knowledge about the financial world. It allows those with little knowledge to develop a framework for understanding the vocabulary and institutions within the financial realm. It gives those who already have such an understanding the confidence to identify key issues and develop sound opinions.
Whether we are an accountant, financial analyst or even an information technology expert, the program allows us to become more comfortable with speaking to clients and colleagues regarding topics in finance. Since it provides a clear explanation of industry functions and structure, it enables us to work more effectively in our roles, build stronger relationships and raise our professional competence.
The program is divided into seven modules, as indicated in the chart below:
The program is available free of charge on the CFA Institute’s webpage after registering for an account. However, to receive the certificate, a person must pay an examination fee of $250, a worthwhile cost, in my opinion.
We all know the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” Completing the program and obtaining the certificate are actions that will increase our competence and add credibility to the words we speak.