What Is a Financial Management Certificate?

A financial management certificate is almost always an academic credential that indicates specific training in accounting or business financial planning. It’s more than a single course, but not quite a diploma. Certificate programs are typically designed for seasoned accounting executives who want to improve their knowledge in a specific area. A financial management certificate can also help professionals improve their resume and job prospects demonstrating their knowledge.

Financial management certificate programs come in a variety of formats. Most are offered at universities, usually through business schools and accounting institutes’ continuing education divisions. They are primarily targeted at working professionals, though students and recent graduates may enroll to improve their long-term employment prospects. As a way of maintaining a competitive edge, some financial firms and employers require their employees to complete certificate programs on a regular basis.

Certificates are typically obtained successfully completing a set of core courses. Almost all programs have required classes that cover broad financial management techniques. Specific financial management tools, business finance management skills, and basic financial analysis are likely to be covered in courses. One of the main goals of any financial management certificate program is to identify individuals who have a superior understanding of the field. This necessitates students demonstrating excellence in a variety of skill sets.

Universities typically offer financial management certificate programs that align with their faculty’s expertise or that otherwise fall within the school’s larger mission. For example, a school with a strong nonprofit management faculty may offer a certificate course specifically for students interested in working in the public interest, while an accounting program known for its expertise in international finances may offer a transnational financial management certificate. The same can be said for personal financial management and analysis.

School schedules are usually designed to accommodate the needs of working professionals. Certificate programs are typically a set number of weeks long, with classes held in the evenings or on weekends. Some programs also provide condensed certificate programs that last a certain number of days. Most classes end with an exam, a paper, or some other form of grading, and participation may be graded as well. However, because transcripts are rarely issued or even requested, finishing the course is usually more important than getting good grades.

A financial management certificate can sometimes be earned over the Internet, depending on the program. Students can usually log in and complete prerequisites as their schedule allows in online programs, giving them greater flexibility. When it comes to strictly online programming, financial professionals must usually exercise caution to ensure that their education is as valuable as it appears at first. University certificates obtained through online extensions are almost always a safe bet. Those issued Internet corporations or schools that exist entirely in the virtual realm may raise eyebrows within the financial management world, however, which can defeat the entire purpose of earning the credential in the first place.