Acquiring a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation can propel your career in finance to new heights, but the expenses involved can be substantial. Apart from the CFA exam fee, the cost of the study materials and prep courses can accumulate rapidly. However, there are ways to convince your employer to sponsor your CFA exam. To begin, it is crucial to comprehend the value of the designation.
The CFA charter is a highly regarded finance credential that can provide access to new opportunities and higher salaries. It showcases your commitment to professional development and a comprehensive understanding of the industry. Emphasizing the advantages of the CFA to your employer, such as improved productivity and a stronger financial performance, will reinforce your argument. Doing so increases the chances of your employer recognizing the value of investing in your CFA journey.
Materializing Your Case: Prerequisites Before You Pitch
Securing your company’s investment in your exam can be challenging. To increase your chances of success, consider the PEN method: Preparation, Exploration, and Negotiation. By adhering to this strategy, you’ll be equipped to make a compelling case to your company and secure their support.
First, if your company does not already have an incentive for employees to become a CFA Charterholder, you’ll have to show them that funding your CFA Charter journey is worthwhile. To effectively make this case, it is crucial to demonstrate a persuasive argument highlighting the benefits the company will receive receive through the employment of a CFA Charterholder, surpassing its costs.
So to start, prepare yourself for the pitch by developing compelling responses to each of these questions:
- How is the CFA Charter relevant to your role?
- What does the company gain from you earning the CFA Charter?
- What will it cost?
To make a stronger case, it is always wise to apply for CFA exam scholarships wherever you can find them. The CFA Institute offers scholarships based on financial needs and specific demographics. Cast a wide net and apply for every scholarship for which you qualify. This can help by cutting costs, but it can also be another weapon in your arsenal when you pitch to your employer. Exploring every option indicates to your employer that you are actively researching all opportunities to become a CFA Charterholder.
Your employer may want a guaranteed way to ensure they are not wasting money on a failed attempt. One option is to sign a contract to work for a certain number of years after earning your Charter to ensure they receive their investment’s full benefit. If you leave before the agreed-upon time, you agree to repay a predetermined amount of the costs. A second option might be a “no pass, no pay” agreement, which might put their minds at ease. They can reimburse you after passing each exam or completing all three levels.
Presenting Your Case: Tips to Consider
When making your case to your company, it’s essential to show how the CFA charter will benefit the company. For example, if you’re working in investment management, having a CFA charter will give you a deeper understanding of the industry and allow you to make better investment decisions. Additionally, a CFA charter can help you understand financial statements, improving your ability to analyze companies and make better investment decisions.
Here are some tips to help you make a strong case:
Understand the Benefits of the CFA Exam
Before you approach your company, it's essential to understand the benefits of the CFA exam and how it can benefit both you and the company. The CFA exam tests your knowledge of investment management, financial analysis, and ethics, and the designation demonstrates your commitment to professional development and expertise in the field.
Research Your Company's Policies
Some companies have policies in place that cover the cost of professional development exams, such as the CFA exam. Research these policies and understand the guidelines and requirements for reimbursement. This information can be used to make a stronger case for why the company should pay for your exam.
Show How the CFA Exam Aligns with the Company’s Goals
The CFA exam is a significant investment, so it's essential to show how it aligns with the company's goals and objectives. For example, if the company wants to expand its investment management capabilities, the CFA exam can help employees develop the skills needed to achieve this goal.
Highlight the Potential Return on Investment
The CFA exam can lead to career advancement and increased earning potential, which can benefit both you and the company. Highlighting the potential return on investment can help make a strong case for why the company should invest in your professional development.
Be Prepared to Pay for Some of the Cost
While making a strong case for why the company should pay for the CFA exam, it's also essential to be prepared to pay for some of the cost yourself. This shows you're committed to professional development and willing to invest in yourself.
Show How the CFA Charter Can Help the Company
The CFA exam is not just about personal development but also about how it can help the company. By passing the CFA exam, you'll be able to provide better financial analysis, investment management, and advice to clients, which can help the company grow its business.
Convincing your company to pay for the CFA exam can be long and arduous, so it's essential to be persistent. Remember that the CFA exam is a valuable investment for both you and the company, and continue to make your case until a decision is made.
While all these steps can establish a strong case for you to get funded for your CFA exam by your employer, a candidate has one more option to consider; It’s helpful to find an advocate within your company. Someone willing to speak on your behalf and support your funding request can be beneficial. This could be a manager, mentor, or even a colleague familiar with the CFA’s value.
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