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Professional finance/accounting courses

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  • Professional finance/accounting courses

    hi.. i'm considering taking one of the following courses, just for self improvement. am currently working in the finance and accounting field.

    CFA; certified financial analyst
    CPA: certified financial accountant
    CFP: certified financial planner
    AFP: associate financial planner

    i don't know much about them though, and the descriptions on the internet don't really help. any accountancy cotters who have taken the above certifications, please comment ie: how much you learn, whether it's useful etc.

    any sites would be helpful too. Thanks!

    Edited for language
    Last edited by dolphin; 30-01-2004, 11:03 AM.

  • #2
    My SO is doing his final year for CFA. It's a toughie IMO. The tons of books to read, notes and exercises to prepare. It helps if you are keen to be a financial analyst, investment analyst, equity management and the likes. To be a full fledged CFA,

    1.Sequentially pass the Level I, Level II, and Level III examinations;
    2. Have at least three years of acceptable professional experience working in the investment decision-making process; and
    3. Join AIMR as a member.
    ( You would need a certified CFA to sign for you)

    It covers things like economics, equity, investments, ethics, statistics, accounting etc
    More details, you can refer to the following website

    SO says it's the 'bible' for CFA. You get to plan, buy your books and other information. He's been encouraging me to do it as well.
    However, I have been reluctant.....*eheh* Mostly because I have no background, I'm a Arts graduate. =P I'm most likely to fail at the very first round, something which i don't want to give my SO a chance to laugh at for he went through all 2 levels at first attempt.

    It really helps if you have a Bachelor in Finance/Accounting or related. I have gone with him to the exam venue and you'll be surprised at the number of people who take the exam and not make the first round. Oh, there is also a limit on the number of times you can take for each year of the CFA program.

    The Level I examination is composed of multiple-choice questions and is offered in June and December. Levels II and III consist of essays and item sets and are offered only in June.

    erm......hope i have helped...


    • #3
      Here's my 2 cents on the courses. I hope I have re-collected the facts correctly:

      CFA; certified financial analyst
      This is probably more useful if you intend to go into investment banking, financial analysis, etc.
      You can self-study or go for guided tutorials.
      There's 3 levels to pass to get your certification + relevant working experience. You can only take one level/year, and the exams are held on the first Sunday of Jun if IIRC, except for level 1 exams, which are held both in Jun & Dec.
      (I took Level 1 & passed, but have not registered Level 2 since then as I'm not sure if I want to continue. And yes, you do need to study hard if you want to pass.)
      BTW, I think you need to complete this within 7 years, otherwise you'll need to re-register i.e. pay registration fee again.
      Pre-requiste: Bachelor's Degree.

      CPA: certified financial accountant
      Are you refering to Certified Public Accountant? If you're looking at Singapore's recognition for 'accountants', that's probably it.
      If you already have a degree in accountancy recognised by ICPAS, you'll just need to attend a one-week course and pass a test at the end of the course + relevant working experience. Otherwise, you'll need to register for courses that ICPAS will recognise so that you can do the 'conversion' course.

      CFP: certified financial planner
      AFP: associate financial planner

      Ok, for the above 2, I believe these are mostly pursued by insurance planners. The courses are more focused towards financial planning. As Singapore still do not really have fee-based financial planners now, that's partly why a lot of insurance agents take up the course too. To enhance their skills/credibility and give customers a sense of assurance that they are able to help them do the neccesary financial planning.

      Finally, I'll suggest that you step back and think of what you want to get out of pursuing an additional certifications. Whether if it is for pure interest, potential job opportunity, and if you want a more interactive course or purely self-study based course.

      I kind of regretted plonking down my $$$ for the CFA course when I'm so half-heartedly trying to complete it. I've missed 2 registration deadlines already. :roll:


      • #4
        thanx gals! your feedback has been really useful in helping me to differentiate what each course is about.

        i'll need to think abt it a bit more.. i'm not sure if i wanna stay in the finance/accounting line, am actually thinking of taking it up more for my own interest/knowledge and self improvement. so if practical experience is needed i have to rethink it since i may switch fields.

        i'll prob take the CPA though - might as well since i meet the criteria

        alya: not to be a wet blanket or anything but i think being an arts grad the exams will be very tough for you.. but good luck anyway!

        ann: do try to continue.. it's really a waste otherwise isn't it? but yep, i know its tough.. are u an accountant/banker? if so i think it will be useful, if u intend to continue in the field. good luck!


        • #5
          Ann has given a very good overview of the professional certification courses. Yes, cherrycoke, go clear the CPA first. It's quite easy so that should be a morale booster

          For those interested in pursuing a career in internal audit, there is also the CIA - Certified Internal Auditor which is a CPA equivalent.

          There's also CISA - Certified Information Systems Auditor. As the name suggest, it's quite self-explanatory.

          There're lots of professional courses to do. Give a thought to what really interest you and which area of specialization you would like to do.


          • #6
            I believe the insurance exams are the SOA for USA schools and companies, and the UK equivalent board for students from NTU or UK.

            Both of them are accepted world wide though.


            • #7
              Originally posted by cherrycoke
              ann: do try to continue.. it's really a waste otherwise isn't it? but yep, i know its tough.. are u an accountant/banker? if so i think it will be useful, if u intend to continue in the field. good luck!
              Cherrycoke, glad that I was able to help. I'm just wondering about whether to continue with CFA as I'm questioning whether it'll be useful to me now. I'm currently doing financial analysis for a non-financial company, hence the CFA recognition would probably not be of any help. Also, I don't think I have the intention to move to the financial/banking industry. Then again, I don't really see myself anywhere in the future.
              If you're pursuing a certification that is relevant to your current position, do check with your company to see if they'll sponsor you. Save $.

              Oh yes, anyone who wants to go for CFA certification, do note that if you sign up later, i.e. closer to the exam date, you'll need to pay a higher enrolment (or exam?) fee.


              • #8
                thanx all

                actually i'm just doing it for my own knowledge, purely for self interest (dun worry i won't be half hearted though haha)

                AFP sounds good so far- i feel it gives quite good content on many financial aspects. CFA is a little too technical i feel. only con is that AFP must register with the FPAS and pay fees. for me, that's kinda off cos i dun intend to make a career out of it.

                am currently doing Tax work so no CIA for me (sheesh i really dun like audit, real tough job).. are you doing it though keiko?if so good luck!

                thanx a lot all, really, now i have a better idea of what eeach course is like


                • #9
                  Originally posted by cherrycoke

                  am currently doing Tax work so no CIA for me (sheesh i really dun like audit, real tough job).. are you doing it though keiko?if so good luck!
                  I was one of the first few to complete CIA when it was introduced in SG some years back. Although this is no longer relevant for me now since i've left the audit profession, I've learnt a great deal from this.


                  • #10

                    Anybody took up ACCA before or is taking it now?

                    I've got a few queries.......not sure if its appropriate to post here...


                    • #11
                      Maybe u can post up your queries first to see if we can help?


                      • #12
                        haha ok sure

                        I graduated from a comp engineering longer interested in my field of studies...neither do i look forward to working in that field...was thinking of a career facing a "crisis" here....took up the wrong course and ended up in the wrong path....nevertheless! I still learnt something ...

                        Therefore I was looking around for alternatives and very much settle down for the idea of taking up accountancy.....and with my humble programming skills...the combi of both should works quite well as accountancy also deals with certain i right to say this?

               are my queries:

                        1) Saw from website that each year only 50% of the candidates can graduate with an ACCA it really that tough?

                        2) Need to know about rough estimation of course fees. I know i can always go down to the school to ask but im still not quite sure which are the most recommended schools...from what i gather, there should be one in Aljunied and another in Cuppage.

                        3) What are the career prospectives in this line? Pros and Cons? Any accountants out there reading this? haha maybe you can give me some feedback

                        4) And there are many routes to become an accountant...Do you think i should go straight at ACCA or by doing CAT 1st? Or should i take up a part time degree course? or ?

                        5) What is after ACCA? Meaning any higher level of studies? Is ACCA comparable to a DEGREE in accountancy? or is it LESS than/ equivalent a DIPLOMA in accountancy?

                        TIA.....hopefully someone out there can answer me some of these questions i have posted........need reassurance as well haha
                        Last edited by cUp; 01-11-2004, 07:29 PM.


                        • #13
                          I don't have all the answers to your questions and my information and knowledge may not necessary be true/ accurate. Anyway here goes ....

                          1. Yes, the passing rate is thereabout, depending on individual subjects. Failure rate is generally higher than passing rate.

                          2. Fees are based on per subject. There are a) course fees, 2) revision course and c) exam fees. Exam fees (around 50 pounds)are payable direct to ACCA UK. Course fees are in the range of $350 and $550, revision course from $150-350.

                          Alternatively, you can opt for self-study and just sign up with ACCA for exams.

                          Generally, i hear more of students attending at FTC and FTMS.

                          Check out their webby for more info


                          4. IIRC, CAT is equivalent to a diploma. Upon completion, there will be exemptions for entry to ACCA. IMHO, the main consideration btw ACCA and part-time university degree is a) the cost and b) some diploma holders just don't feel secure without a degree. ACCA is NOT a degree.

                          5. ACCA is definitely comparable to a degree. you may wish to find out more from ACCA


                          • #14
                            Thanks chiyochan...i need to finance my own may i just know the lump sum for the whole ACCA course including all the exams fees and all? heheh (supposingly I managed to get through all the papers in just one try *CROSS FINGERS*) need a rough guide..thanks
                            Last edited by cUp; 01-11-2004, 09:08 PM.


                            • #15
                              There are 14 papers in all.

                              Assume an average of course fee $450 per subject and exam fees of 50 pounds (current rate is around S$3 to 1 pound), the cost per subject is around $600. Going by this calculation, it should be around $8400 for the whole course.

                              Add an average of $250 per subject if u r keen in signing up for the revision course.

                              On average, the total fee payable for most students are $2-3k per annum.