Across the world, from the US to the UK, the finance industry is expanding, giving more opportunities to people looking to forge a path in this field. Here, we show you the best free online courses to improve your skills, no matter your ability.
Among the professionals that continue to be in great demand are those in the financial sector.
Acute shortage is being felt in most of Europe, Singapore, Canada, the U.S., Middle East and the UK.
Yes, even the UK, which is in spite of a large number of finance companies and investment bankers moving a large part of their operations to Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Amsterdam because of Brexit. Only time will tell if London will remain the second largest financial centre in the world.
Top performers in finance take home compensations that far exceed what is being paid in most other professions and even those who might be considered ‘average’ make a pretty good living. Let’s have a look at some of the more important areas of finance.
Capital markets - This is a varied area with the involvement of sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, companies, brokers, research agencies, retirement trusts, banks and many more including technology providers.
Financial advising including those involved in personal finance planning. The people in this area offer advice to individuals and companies on how to manage funds. There is any number of financial products out there and the average individual is always in need of expert guidance. Even though financial derivatives were invented in the 70s, they caught on widely in the late 90s, making investments that much more complicated.
Risk management. The world of finance is hampered by all kinds of imaginable risks. Thepeople who take up risk management as a profession are adept at identifying risks that are lurking around every corner and can help reduce exposure.
Legal aspects of finance and compliance. Globalization has brought about a large number of associated complexities and legalities often unique to each nation and require a thorough examination before any investments are made including mergers and acquisitions, which happen all the time.
The GDP of the world combined in 2010 was less than $15 trillion. In the current year it is expected to cross $22 trillion. This should give us some perspective on how the financial sector keeps growing and the demand for professionals keeps increasing.
With all this in mind, let’s look at some of the more interesting free online courses on offer.
Understanding Financial Statements
This is the first and most important thing in accounting. It is crucial to all to be able to comprehend financial statements and balance sheets. The course is brought to you by the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. The course helps you grasp the basics of financial and income statements. Once completed you will understand the purpose of business statements and the different factors of an income statement. The course also covers the various components of financial statements and allows you to interpret those statements that you will come across in real life situations.
This is a beginner level course and will require that you put in about 12 hours of work. While the medium of teaching is English the course is subtitled in French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Trading Strategies in Emerging Markets
The course is being offered by the Indian School of Business, which is a privately run institution. The course teaches you the tools necessary for formulating and evaluating strategies preparing individual investors and money managers to apply these tools in everyday life.
The course takes about six months to complete and shall require that you put in about three hours each week. The medium of instruction is English and the course is subtitled in French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Principles of Sustainable Finance
It takes approximately 16 hours to complete.
Risk and Return
The length of the course is four weeks, requiring an effort of 3-4 hours a week.
Foundations of Modern Finance
The course, devised by MIT, is fairly rigorous, covering important areas including valuation of fixed income securities and common stocks, risk analysis, the Arbitrage Pricing Theory, the Efficient Market Hypothesis, corporate finance as well as capital budgeting, valuation of derivative securities, Portfolio Theory, Capital Asset Pricing and corporate financial decisions.
This is part one of a two-part course and requires a fairly intensive effort of 10-14 hours per week over 12 weeks.
Part Two of the course requires a similar effort over a 12-week period as well.
This is another very useful course offered by MIT. The course takes you through many of the important aspects of accounting and is useful for general managers, financial analysts, financial advisors, researchers, asset managers, risk managers and for all those who have an interest in accounting.
The effort required is 10 to 14 hours each week over 12 weeks.
There are several other courses in finance, some of them highly specialized, that you can find here.
Photos: Shutterstock / Edited by: Martina Advaney
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