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How To Convince Your Company To Pay for the CFA® Exam

a cpa aspirant convincing his management to pay for the cfa exam

Becoming a CFA Charterholder is costly; a candidate can spend up to $8,000 for exam registration, study materials, and other CFA-related items. So, how do you pay for the costs associated with the CFA journey? Ultimately, you have two options:

1. Pay for the CFA Exam yourself.

2. Convince your company to pay for it (assuming you are working).

Convincing your company to pay for your exam might be a daunting task. Here are some suggestions on how to go about it:

1. Prepare

First, if your company does not already have an incentive for employees to become a CFA Charterholder, you’ll have to show them that it is worthwhile to fund your CFA journey. To do this, you’ll need to present a compelling rationale showing how the company gains more than it spends by employing a Charterholder.

Your CFA Charter will be immensely valuable to any company you work for, and, in the long run, their investment will very likely pay for itself several times over. It will afford your company the services of an expert and enhance your company’s reputation as a trusted financial advisor. Plus, the valuable skills you learn in the process will make you more effective and productive in your current position, which directly benefits your employer.

So to start, prepare yourself for the pitch by developing compelling responses to each of these questions:

  • How is the Charter relevant to your role?
  • What does the company gain from you earning the Charter?
  • What will it cost?

2. Explore Every Option

To make a stronger case, it is always wise to apply for scholarships wherever you can find them. The CFA Institute offers several scholarship opportunities based on financial needs and for specific demographics. Cast a wide net and apply for every scholarship for which you qualify.

This can obviously help by cutting down the costs involved, 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.

3. The Pitch

It is imperative that you do not approach your employer without proper preparation. You must remember that this is an investment for your company. You are not looking for charity; you are giving them an opportunity. However, do not expect them to take your word for it. Do your research and be prepared to prove the value of them assisting you in your CFA endeavors.

When it comes to making your pitch, remember that you have something valuable to offer them, so be strategic and confident. Highlight the benefits that matter most to your company or speak most strongly to your company’s core values. Explain exactly how it will make you a better and more capable employee – and in turn, how you will become more valuable to your firm.

Be positive, but do not make promises that you can’t keep. You want your company to invest in you, but you also want them to see their expected return. It will only cause you trouble in the long run if you make outlandish guarantees that you will not be able to fulfill later on.

Always remember that you’re trying to sell your company on the benefits of investing in you. And that may require some negotiation on your part.

4. Negotiate

If your company seems hesitant, here are a few ways to help reassure them that their investment will be worthwhile:

  • Offer to sign a contract to work for a certain number of years after earning your Charter to ensure that they receive the full benefit of their investment. If you leave before the agreed-upon time, you agree to repay a predetermined amount of the costs.
  • Offer them a conditional agreement: if you do not pass, they do not have to pay. Your employer may want a guaranteed way to make sure that they are not wasting money on a failed attempt. If that is the case, the “no pass, no pay” agreement might put their minds at ease. They can reimburse you after you pass each exam level or after you have completed all three levels.

If, after all, it does not work out, remember that you still have options. UWorld offers scholarships and discounts for its industry-leading CFA Exam prep course. You can also revisit other scholarship options or try again in the next round. And don’t forget: you can always broaden your horizons and look for other employers who value the Charter and are willing to support your efforts to earn it.

Whatever path you choose, just remember that this is an investment that will pay dividends for your entire life. It is worth the work, time, and money.

We wish you the best of luck with your negotiations!


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