If money makes the world go round, then financial analysis keeps that money moving. Financial analysts examine the details of a business’s financial performance and assess investment opportunities that may improve it. This can involve the evaluation of current or past financial data, the recommendation of particular investment portfolios, or the preparation of written reports on the strengths and weaknesses of a particular financial position. Financial analysis has a large impact on a business’s overall health, and, as such, financial analysts typically enjoy a salary that’s much higher than average.
Typically, financial analysts are divided into two categories: the buy-side analysts, which develop investment strategies for institutional investors; and sell-side analysts, which advise financial services sales agents who sell financial instruments such as stocks and bonds. Financial analysts in both categories may specialize in a particular trend, region, asset, or industry.
Financial analysts will have, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s degree in finance can be a competitive edge. While it’s not a requirement to practice, many employers request their financial analysts be certified, primarily through the CFA Institute.
Fortunately, the educational and experiential requirements for financial analysts can be completed almost entirely online. If you’re interested in leveling up your financial analysis skills, read on.
Purdue Global – BS Finance
The online bachelor of science in finance program at Purdue Global gives students the technical knowledge they need in foundational areas of finance. Students may choose to concentrate in one of four areas: general finance, investment management analysis, real estate, and wealth management.
Upon completion, graduates will be able to perform quantitative financial analyses, interpret financial statements, examine investment and financial risk, and analyze financial theory, legislation, and practices. The program consists of 181 credits.
Boston University – MS Financial Management
Boston University’s online master of science in financial management degree is designed for students seeking specialized education in global finance. Students may choose to concentrate in either international finance or investment analysis.
Upon completion of the program, students will have a mastery of quantitative approaches to the analysis of domestic and international financial industries, particularly in the areas of security valuations and risk management. The curriculum also embeds a significant portion of the CFA Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK) and offers excellent preparation for the CFA exams. The program consists of 40 credits, and can be completed in as little as 18 months.
Stanford Online – Graduate Certificate in Financial Analytics
The online graduate certificate in financial analytics from Stanford University is a rigorous program that provides students with a theoretical and practical framework for solving problems within the financial industry.
Taught by accomplished financial experts, the program offers students both a broad overview and a deep dive, covering probabilistic reasoning, stochastic models, and statistical and machine-learning data analysis. The program consists of four courses and takes between one and two years to complete.
It’s never been easier to level up in financial analysis. DIY skill-building modules cover a wide swathe of territory: from broad foundational programs to deep-dives into niche areas. These options are cheap, fast, and in some cases, attached to heavyweight institutions.
Coursera is an online learning platform co-founded by Stanford Professor Andrew Ng. As a depot of massively online open courses (MOOCs), it offers an enormous range of DIY skill-building options, with over 600 focused on financial analysis.
Students can choose from programs in financial markets, corporate finance, Python for financial analysis, and accounting analytics. Partner institutions include major universities such as the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and others.
Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX is an online learning platform with over 20 million students and educational partners. DIY skill-building options for financial analysis include classes in financial essentials, financial accounting, financial analysis for decision making, corporate finance, and risk management. Curriculums and course delivery are provided through partner institutions such as Columbia University, MIT, the University of Maryland, and Babson College.