Many people want to get into the busy world of finance, but let’s be honest, there’s a lot to learn and far too many financial terms you’ve never heard of until now.
Fret not, because there are some fantastic finance courses out there that can develop your understanding of finance, help you define those important terms, understand the basics, and get you ready for anything from a new side hustle to a promotion to a whole new career path.
Below we’ve listed the best finance courses available today.
The Top 5 Best Finance Courses
- Finance For Non-Financial Professionals, by Coursera — The Best for Learning The Basics of Finance
- Finance Essentials, by edX — The Best for Understanding Budgets
- The Complete Financial Analyst Course 2021, by Udemy — The Best for Learning About Financial Analysis
- Corporate Finance, by LinkedIn Learning — The Most Comprehensive Overview of Finance
- Financial Markets by Yale, by Coursera — The Best for Understanding Financial Markets
Those are the top finance courses available today. Let’s dive in below.
#1 – Coursera — The Best for Learning the Basics of Finance
- Only seven hours to take the full course
- Full overview of financial basics
- Over 100,000 enrolled students
- Financial support available
As with most things, it’s best to start with the basics, and with finance, that couldn’t be truer. The course “Finance for Non-Financial Professionals” on Coursera is a great starting point for those that want to dip their toes in but not necessarily go further than that.
The introductory but informative seven-hour course covers everything from financial ratios to valuation methods and basic economic principles. The core outcome of the course is to help learners understand how financial decisions can significantly influence your personal and professional life—the place that most financial professionals begin.
Building up the confidence and understanding on how to make more informed financial decisions, as well as learning about critical accounting and finance terms, are some of the areas the course excels in—for those that want to empower themselves on the fundamentals of accounting, you won’t find much better. Topics covered include planning, forecasting, and budgeting.
Taught by David Standen, an instructor at the University of California, it’s a top-rated course with over 100,000 enrolled students. You can register on the course for the agreeable price of free, although not all course elements are, in fact, free outright. Once you have enrolled and progressed into it, there is a fee to pay, although prices are not publicly listed.
Extra financial support is also available for those that need it.
#2 – edX — The Best for Understanding Budgets
- Free or paid routes available
- Led by Robert Kosowski
- Learn how to budget projects
- Six-week course
Understanding budgets in finance is key; after all, things typically fall apart without planning and allocating resources accordingly. edX’s course on “Finance Essentials” includes a specific focus on budgets and how to use them best.
It’s a finance course that takes around six weeks to complete, two to four hours per week, and you can complete it whenever you want. You’ll be learning about how to budget a project or big purchase with capital budgeting and will finish the course knowing what risky assets are so you can impress everyone around you.
Other focus areas include implementing the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) and understanding how you obtain a yield curve. Taught by Robert Kosowski, the Associate Professor of Finance at Imperial College Business School, the course comes with the prerequisite of completing maths at a high school level.
There are two key ways to enroll: the first is to go the initial route where the entire course is free but with elements missing and limited access before you’re locked out. The second route is to pay the one-off fee of $79, which gives you extra support, graded assignments and exams, and a shareable certificate upon completion. Best of all, with this route, access to the course is unlimited, and you can go back at any time.
#3 – Udemy — The Best for Learning About Financial Analysis
- Learn interest rates, growth ratios, performance analysis
- 491 downloadable resources
- Recognized by Netflix and Apple
- 30-day money-back guarantee
The “Complete Financial Analyst Course 2021” helps you work comfortably with Microsoft Excel and learn all about interest rates and why they’re an essential part of finance overall.
Located on Udemy’s platform and created by 365 Careers, this financial course is a great package because it covers various areas and leaves you feeling more confident, ready to progress to the advanced levels of finance. Understanding the difference between variable and fixed interest rates is a core focus of the course—a wise one, too, as interest rates are one of the most significant aspects of the modern economic system.
Interest rates aside for a second, the course has plenty to offer besides. You’ll get taught how to work with large amounts of data without trouble, create expert company presentations in PowerPoint, build a company’s balance sheet, and even focus on complex topics like calculating liquidity, solvency, and growth ratios to analyze a company’s overall performance.
Top companies recognize the course, including Netflix, Apple, and Eventbrite, so it’s a great choice for allowing your teams to develop their skills, giving them something they can use down the line as well.
The course takes about 17.5 hours to complete, features 491 downloadable resources and a 30-day money-back guarantee. There isn’t an option to try the course for free, but the one-time fee of $84.99 gives you lifetime access to the plethora of resources and is excellent value for money.
#4 – LinkedIn Learning — The Most Comprehensive Overview of Finance
LinkedIn Learning is a smart option for learning some of the most foundational skills of the financial world. The corporate finance training courses cover everything from bookkeeping to financial modeling.
We’re not talking about a single course here then, but rather a series of mini-courses that are similar and completely worth doing one after another for a complete understanding of finance. The “Corporate Finance Foundations” course is the perfect starting point. It offers a well-paced course led by experts Jim Stice, the Professor of Accounting at BYU, and Kay Stice, the Professor of Accounting at the BYU Marriott School of Management.
Topics covered within this first mini-course alone include the benefits of diversification, how short and long-term financing can impact cash flow, and the capital asset pricing model known as CAPM. It’s broken down into five chapters and, on completion, is certified by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).
We particularly like how you can easily access these courses via your tablet or phone and have them recognized on a platform as well-known as LinkedIn—you log in to your existing LinkedIn account to get started.
All of the courses are accessible for a month for free on LinkedIn Learning, but you’ll have to buy any future access after that. They come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and offline access after downloading them as well. The prices for each course vary, but they all represent excellent value for money.
#5 – Coursera — The Best for Understanding Financial Markets
- Understand financial markets
- Seven-week online course
- Shareable certificates
- Offered by Yale University
“Financial Markets by Yale” is a finance course taught by Professor Robert Shiller, the Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University, and is available on Coursera. There are few better courses out there for understanding financial markets and how they work.
The course teaches its learners a detailed overview of the ideas, methods, and institutions that allow enterprises to grow and develop over time. There’s a specific focus on leadership skills and how they influence financial success—the theory elements are helpful, and it doesn’t back away from applying the ideas in real-life contexts.
The course is a broad one, though, and doesn’t just cover financial markets. Those that enroll will be looking at real estate, regulation, monetary policy, and endowment management, among other areas, with free-flowing discussions available and technical questions reviewed by Robert Shiller himself. There are also handy definitions of key concepts, lectures, and quizzes as part of the package.
The course takes seven weeks, four to six hours per week, to complete, with flexible deadlines, a shareable certificate, and it’s 100% online. It’s worth mentioning that 11% of graduates received a substantial career benefit from completing it. The course is effectively free on Coursera; however, you’ll need to pay a small fee for the certificate upon its completion—current prices are not available. Financial aid is possible for learners who can’t afford the fee.
How To Find the Best Finance Courses
Finance courses are popular, and the interest isn’t slowing down as people consider their different routes. Due to the demand, you’ll find a growing number of courses, each with varying areas of focus, schedules, and skill requirements. Where do you even begin with such a wide range of options today?
Before we take a look at the above considerations, it’s worth mentioning that most finance courses will follow the same setup. For example, they offer a certificate on completion of the course, they almost always get taught by leading experts in the field, and require you to complete online modules step by step.
From there, we can break down the courses further into the following factors to help make your choice easier.
Area of Focus
The area of focus in a finance course is crucial because you want to be doing a course based on the topics you, or your employees, need for development.
For example, there are finance courses on our list that will cover specific financial areas. In contrast, others tend to take a broader approach and cover a wide range of topics but may not necessarily specialize in any single one.
It’s important for all potential learners and their employers, if appropriate, to think about the areas they want the course to cover. After all, the world of finance isn’t a small subject, so targeted learning or learning in stages often works best. Think carefully about what you want a course to focus on, whether it’s interest rates, business valuation, or accounting.
Length of Course
How long the finance course you take is will vary significantly. There are courses available online that run a matter of weeks, while others can take as long as a year of training.
The length of time you need to commit to a course is a serious consideration because you want to engage while managing your life in the background successfully.
The majority of courses on our list are smaller courses aimed at covering the basics. From there, it’s a good idea to think about potential longer courses once you’ve got a taste of a course already. Ultimately, think hard on what you, or your employee, can commit to and fit in with daily commitments.
Skills and Qualifications
Some finance courses will only accept new students based on their existing qualifications and skills, so this is something to look out for to ensure you are eligible for a course.
There are financial courses requiring basic high school maths skills and those looking for degree-level qualifications. Further, some skills, for example, how to use Excel, are required in advance of the course, or at least recommended, to get the best out of it.
In other words: it’s best to look carefully at what each different course requires upfront before you dive in, and this can save you from disappointment and potential difficulties you may find once it’s started. These skill requirements aren’t always clearly listed, so if in doubt, contact the course creator for more information when needed.
Finance courses can teach you a lot about markets and can breed success for the future—they are more than worth doing in the vast majority of cases. On our list, the courses we’ve listed typically focus on the essentials.
Finance for Non-Financial Professionals on Coursera is a solid bet for a good understanding of accounting, while edX’s course on budgets and valuations is more than worth your time.
For interest rates, Udemy’s Complete Financial Analyst Course 2021 will teach you the most critical elements while improving your Excel skills too. LinkedIn Learning meanwhile offers a series of foundational corporate finance courses that cover everything from cash flow to short-term and long-term financing.
Understanding the financial market is key for those getting into finance, and Financial Markets by Yale on Coursera is an excellent choice for that and much more.
Be sure to think about the areas of focus, the skill/qualification requirements, and the lengths of courses before taking the plunge.