Financial modelling is a field that many people learn from a combination of hands-on experience, colleagues, and internet research. Others may read books or attend training courses that are on-line or in classroom.
We believe that none of these are a fully satisfactory way of becoming competent in the field:
- First, the subject has a large potential scope, not only covering many aspects of economics, corporate finance, valuation, decision-making, risk assessment, optimisation, and quantitative finance, but also increasingly including data analysis and manipulation, and advanced statistics, and even algorithms for machine learning. The scope of the subject renders it essentially impossible to master through classroom courses (or even with several books), since the cost of doing so, and the continuous-time commitment required is not realistic. (We do believe that classroom courses and books can be highly effective to address a specific small sub-set of the subject, however).
- Second, whilst learning through experience and hands-on practice are an important component of becoming competent in the mechanics of Excel and will help to reinforce understanding of some concepts, it is inherently self-referential: That is, the approaches used are the same as have always been used, and are not questioned, and nor are alternatives properly considered. The methods, models and decisions made are likely to not be aligned with best practice, may be inefficient, and may even be wring in some cases.
- Third, the piecing together of one’s skills together from various sources, that use different frameworks, language and philosophy is not only inefficient, but also leads to gaps in, or fragmentation of, one’s knowledge,
- Fourth, these forums offer few (if any) opportunities to test one’s knowledge though interactive quizzes, that can be retaken as needed to ensure mastery of the subject.
The CertFM Core Program is a rich program that covers all the concepts and methods that are needed in general modelling applications and data analysis. It starts “from the beginning” with basic aspects of modelling and Excel, but advances rapidly to cover topics that are generally considered to be quite advanced. It is designed to develop one into a highly competent modeller and analyst, when dealing with general applications in business, economics and finance. Its completion requires a significant level of study (of several hundred hours in total) and awards “The Advanced Certificate in Financial Modelling and Data Analysis (Core Program)”.
The CertFM Program also contains two specialist areas: Finance Specialist, and Data Specialist. These courses are run only as instructor-led programs in classroom or on-site by prearrangement. The precise agendas and content can be adapted according to a client’s needs (for example, a classroom course may be based on combining parts of several courses, including some from each specialism).
The combination of self-study on-line programs for core general materials and customised instructor-led courses for specialist topics optimises the cost and and flexibility of mastering the relevant aspect of financial modelling.