Financial models use data to forecast the future performance or the effect of a decision on a company’s financial performance. These models are usually built with spreadsheets, using software programs like Microsoft Excel, and the analysts who build financial models need to have a solid foundation in math and know advanced spreadsheet techniques.
Online financial modeling courses can help current and future financial analysts, entrepreneurs, and managers learn how to harness the power of data to make financial decisions.
We reviewed over a dozen online financial modeling courses to find the best ones. In our search for the best online financial modeling classes, we considered what concepts the class covers, how much it costs, how long it takes to complete, the provider’s reputation, and more.
Read on to learn more about the best online financial modeling classes.
Best Online Financial Modeling Courses in 2021
- Best Overall: Business and Financial Modeling Specialization from Coursera
- Best Budget Option: Introduction to Financial Modeling by Udemy
- Best for Beginners: Financial Modeling Foundations by LinkedIn Learning
- Best for Investment Banking: The Investment Banker by Financial Edge
- Best for Entrepreneurs: Financial Modeling for Startups & Small Businesses by Udemy
- Best for Corporate Finance: Certified Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst by the Corporate Finance Institute
Best Overall : Business and Financial Modeling Specialization from Coursera
Why We Chose It: The Business and Financial Modeling Specialization program from Coursera is offered by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, includes five classes that move you from basic to more advanced financial modeling concepts, and only costs the Coursera subscription fee of $79 a month.
Moves from basic to more advanced financial modeling concepts
Earn a shareable certificate of completion for each course
Must maintain a Coursera subscription
Takes about six months to complete
The Business and Financial Modeling Specialization program from Coursera is offered by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, which is well-known for its business programs.
With this online financial modeling course, you’ll learn how to create quantitative models, use spreadsheets to their full potential, understand how to measure and manage risk, and optimize the tools you use to make informed business and financial decisions. Upon course completion, you’ll be able to use data to explain what’s happening in a company, evaluate various scenarios, and make predictions about a firm’s performance.
At the cost of $79 a month, this course provides the most value of all the online financial modeling classes we reviewed. Plus, you get to take five robust financial modeling courses that will move you from basic to more advanced topics from a well-regarded university. At the end of each course, you’ll earn a certificate of completion.
Although no specific background is required to enroll in this program, you should have a good understanding of high school math including pre-calculus. When you enroll in the Business and Financial Modeling Specialization program from Coursera, you’ll be automatically enrolled in all five of the classes included in the specialization.
It’s up to you how many of the courses you complete, in what order you complete them, and how long you take to complete them. You can expect the entire program to take six months but it could be faster or longer, depending on your availability and how quickly you’d like to finish the program.
The course materials include videos and readings, practice quizzes, graded assignments with feedback from your peers, graded quizzes with feedback, and other graded assignments. If you have questions, you can interact with your peers and course instructors.
Coursera was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Mountain View, California. The company works with colleges and universities to provide world-class online learning resources at an affordable cost to learners globally. The company has served more than 77 million learners worldwide.
Best Budget Option : Introduction to Financial Modeling by Udemy
Why We Chose It: You can learn all the basics of financial modeling, including how to prepare a simple financial model using Excel, for free.
Class is free
Learn how to build a basic financial model using Excel
Offered from one of the global leaders for online education
No certificate of completion
No access to a course instructor
No additional resources are provided
If you’re looking to learn the basics of financial modeling and you’re on a budget, a great place to start is with the free Introduction to Financial Modeling class offered by Udemy. With this course, you’ll learn how to build a simple financial model in Microsoft Excel and you’ll gain insight into how the three primary financial statements are related. While there aren’t any prerequisites, you may find it beneficial to have a basic understanding of Microsoft Excel.
When you sign up for this class, you’ll get access to almost 1.5 hours of on-demand videos. There aren’t any other resources (e.g., worksheets or articles) provided with the course, and you won’t get to interact with the instructor. Also, you won’t be able to earn a certificate of completion. Despite the drawbacks, you’ll get to learn the basics of financial modeling for free.
Udemy was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California. The company is one of the leading marketplaces for online learning globally, with over 150,000 courses and 40 million learners.
Best for Beginners : Financial Modeling Foundations by LinkedIn Learning
Why We Chose It: The online Financial Modeling Foundations class offered by LinkedIn Learning teaches beginners how to build various financial models using Microsoft Excel and even comes with downloadable exercise files, at a cost as low as $19.99 a month.
Subscription costs of $19.99 to $29.99 a month
Only takes three hours to complete this class
Access to downloadable resources
Must sign up for a subscription to take the course
No one-on-one interaction with the course instructor
If you’re a beginner at financial modeling, the online Financial Modeling Foundations class by LinkedIn Learning is a great place to start. With this course, you’ll learn how to build financial models with Microsoft Excel that are useful for various careers (e.g., commercial banking, investment banking, corporate finance). Plus, you’ll earn a certification of completion.
To register for this class, you’ll need to sign up for a subscription with LinkedIn Learning, which ranges from $19.99 a month (if you pay annually) to $29.99 a month (if you pay monthly). If you’re new to LinkedIn Learning, you can get a free seven-day trial when you sign up for a subscription.
You can expect this class to take you about three hours to complete. When you sign up for the course, you’ll get access to on-demand videos that you can watch at your own pace. Plus, you’ll be given Microsoft Excel exercise files you can download and save to your personal library. The course also includes a Q&A area where you can post questions to content experts and your fellow learners. The ability to interact with others when taking an online class is a great feature.
LinkedIn is a professional networking company that was launched in 2003 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. Almost 740 million people use this social media platform in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. The LinkedIn Learning division was designed to help people upskill to continue advancing in their careers.
Best for Investment Banking : The Investment Banker by Financial Edge
Why We Chose It: You can learn the same financial modeling concepts as those taught to new analysts at some of the top investment banks.
Direct access to course instructors
Learn the same financial modeling concepts taught to new analysts at investment banks
Earn completion certificates and a micro-degree
Lifetime access to course materials
No course guarantee offered
For aspiring financial analysts with a business degree wanting to learn the financial modeling practices used in investment banking, Financial Edge offers a great online course titled “The Investment Banker.” The course covers materials similar to those taught to new hires at some of the largest investment banks. With this course, you’ll learn about accounting, financial modeling, business valuations, merger and acquisition (M&A) analysis, and leveraged buyout (LBO) analysis. This self-paced course takes about 43.5 hours to complete and costs $599.
If you sign up for this course, you’ll get access to over 1,100 hours of video content and more than 250 practice exercises delivered via four self-paced online courses. If you have questions, you’ll be able to reach out directly to your instructors for assistance. You’ll earn a skills certificate or a certificate of completion after you pass each online class. Upon program completion, you’ll earn a micro-degree certificate demonstrating your subject matter expertise in investment banking.
Financial Edge is a training company that provides in-person corporate training as well as online courses. The team includes trainers with real-world experience in the banking industry. Financial Edge created The Investment Banker online class based on training materials it delivered to real investment banks. Although a review of various sources suggests Financial Edge has a good reputation, this micro-degree certificate program isn’t an accredited degree program.
Best for Entrepreneurs : Financial Modeling for Startups & Small Businesses by Udemy
Why We Chose It: The Financial Modeling for Startups & Small Businesses course by Udemy teaches entrepreneurs how to build financial models that can be applied in real life to improve and monitor their businesses’ financial condition.
Lifetime access to downloadable resources and articles
Provides training on basic financial modeling skills
Non-discounted price of $124.99 is higher than other courses
Need basic knowledge of Excel and algebra
If you’re an entrepreneur and want to learn how to build financial models and forecasts for your business, the Financial Modeling for Startups & Small Businesses course offered by Udemy is a great option. This course comes with a one-time fee of $124.99 (sometimes discounted as low as $16.99) and includes 11.5 hours of on-demand video, 92 resources you can download, 13 articles, and lifetime access to the course materials. Plus, you’ll earn a completion certificate.
To succeed in this course, you should have access to Microsoft Excel (version 2011 or newer), working knowledge of spreadsheet functionality, formulas, and cell references, and basic knowledge of algebra. You don’t need any other formal education or training to take this financial modeling course.
In the Financial Modeling for Startups & Small Businesses course offered by Udemy, some of the things you’ll learn how to do include:
- Creating financial models for your small business
- Developing models to estimate user growth, expenses, revenue, and more
- Building models for business in various types of industries (e.g., tech, businesses with physical locations)
- Forecasting the cash needs for your business
- Determining how much capital or funding you need to start a business
After you’ve enrolled in a class with Udemy, you can send your instructor a direct message with any questions. Also, you can search for the answer to your question in the course’s Q&A section or ask the question yourself if it hasn't already been answered. The ability to ask questions is a benefit that isn’t offered by all online courses.
Udemy is one of the leading marketplaces for online learning globally, with over 150,000 courses on its platform and 40 million learners. Also, Udemy has received recognition as one of the top companies focused on helping to make the world a better place.
Best for Corporate Finance : Certified Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst by the Corporate Finance Institute
Why We Chose It: The Certified Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst program offered by the Corporate Finance Institute (CFI) is a great way for professionals who want to become financial analysts to fill skill gaps so they can enter into this exciting career.
Earn a Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA) Certification
Lifetime access to the CFI’s entire library of financial modeling course materials
CFI has a great reputation
Program is expensive, ranging from $497 to $847
Must purchase the most costly pricing tier for access to live assistance
Will take at least six months to complete
If you want to become a financial analyst but didn’t learn about financial modeling in your degree program, the Certified Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA) program offered by the Corporate Finance Institute (CFI) is a great way to fill this skill gap. The skills you’ll learn from this program include financial modeling and business valuations, advanced spreadsheet skills using Microsoft Excel, and accounting and financial analysis.
You can complete this self-paced course entirely online for a one-time payment of $497. Upon course completion, you’ll receive the FMVA Certification you can share on your resume and with your network.
Once you’ve enrolled in the program, you’ll get lifetime access to the entire CFI library of courses, which includes:
- Six optional preparation courses to help you review the financial modeling basics
- Eleven required core financial modeling and valuation courses
- Nine elective finance courses (you must take a minimum of three)
If you want additional resources and support, the cost of this course increases to $847. With this option, you’ll get access to a PitchBook data user account for six months, additional case studies, personalized feedback on your financial models from qualified financial analysts once a week, a comprehensive review of your resume, and cover letters once a month, and more.
It’s expected that this course will take about six months to complete, although this will vary by person-to-person since it’s self-paced. Everyone who enrolls in the course will get access to recorded video lectures, application exercises, quizzes, and assessments.
You must earn a grade of at least 80% on each course assessment and pass a final exam to earn the FMVA Certification. Once this is done, you’ll get the blockchain-verified FMVA Certification sent to the email address the CFI has on file for you.
The Corporate Finance Institute is one of the leading providers globally in online financial modeling and business valuation courses. The company was founded in 2016 based on more than 20 years of analyst training the team had delivered to large financial institutions. CFI’s headquarters is located in Vancouver, Canada.
Financial models are important to businesses because they allow managers to harness the power of their data to make decisions about the firm’s financial performance. The quality of the decisions made from the models is only as good as the financial models themselves. So, it’s important for financial analysts to thoroughly understand how financial models work before developing the models independently.
Online financial modeling classes can help give current and future analysts the skills they need to succeed and grow in their careers. We chose the Business and Financial Modeling Specialization program from Coursera offered by Wharton as the best online financial modeling class. This five-course program is good for people of all skill levels and progressively builds financial modeling skills from beginning to more advanced topics at the cost of only $79 a month.
|Best Online Financial Modeling Courses|
|Class||Why We Picked It||Notable Features||Cost|
|Business and Financial Modeling Specialization from Coursera||Best Overall||Includes five courses that move you from financial modeling basics to more advanced topics||$79 per month|
|Introduction to Financial Modeling by Udemy||Best Budget Option||Teaches students how to build a simple financial model in Excel and describe the three basic financial reports||Free|
|Financial Modeling Foundations by LinkedIn Learning||Best for Beginners||Beginners can learn how to build financial models in Excel that are useful for banking and finance careers||As low as $19.99 per month|
|The Investment Banker by Financial Edge||Best for Investment Banking||Teaches financial modeling concepts similar to those taught to new analysts at large investment banks||$599|
|Financial Modeling for Startups & Small Businesses by Udemy||Best for Entrepreneurs||Teaches small business and startup owners how to prepare financial models||$124.99|
|Certified Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst by the Corporate Finance Institute||Best for Corporate Finance||You’ll receive an FMVA Certification upon completion||$497 to $847|
What Is an Online Financial Modeling Class?
An online financial modeling class is a course that will teach you how to use data to build financial models that can be used to make business decisions. These models allow you to analyze the profitability, risk, and growth of a business to forecast the future performance, determine the value of a business, and understand the impact of decisions on its financial performance.
Ultimately, the goal of financial models is to harness the power of data to help people make better decisions. Online financial modeling classes will teach you how to do just this.
Who Should Take an Online Financial Modeling Class?
Individuals interested in learning about financial modeling to upskill their knowledge for career advancement or simply for personal enjoyment should consider taking an online financial modeling class. If career advancement is your goal, fee-based online financial modeling classes give you a certification of completion at the end of the course which you can share to demonstrate your knowledge of the topic.
If you’re just taking the online financial modeling class for fun or personal enrichment, you can even find online financial modeling classes that are completely free. With free classes, you won’t be able to earn a certificate of completion, which likely doesn’t matter if you just want to learn.
Can I Learn Financial Modeling Without Taking a Class?
If you’re a self-starter and want to learn financial modeling on your own, you may be able to read books and find other resources to teach yourself how to do it (e.g., watch online videos or read articles). However, this can take a while to do, and you won’t be able to prove how you gained this expertise (e.g., via a certificate of completion).
Online financial modeling classes not only make it quicker and easier to learn the concepts, but you’ll also often earn a certificate of completion that can be shared with others.
People hired by investment banks as analysts might receive on-the-job training on how to do financial modeling. However, the investment banking industry is competitive, so you need to demonstrate that you have better skills and experience than your peers. If the courses included in your business degree program didn’t include financial modeling, you might be able to fill the gap by taking online financial modeling courses.
How Long Does an Online Financial Modeling Class Take to Complete?
You can complete an online financial modeling class in as few as two hours or up to six months. The amount of time it will take to complete the class will depend on the skills you want to learn.
If you just want to get some foundational knowledge about financial modeling, you can sign up for an online class that only takes a couple of hours to complete. If you want to earn a certificate or a micro-degree, it could take you six months to complete the financial modeling course.
What Are Some Financial Modeling Skills?
Some of the most important financial modeling skills include:
- Knowing accounting basics, including how the three primary financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows) relate to each other
- Understanding finance, specifically how to manage money and get businesses the funds (capital) they need to succeed
- Developing advanced spreadsheeting skills to analyze data. This includes inputting data into a spreadsheeting like Excel, building formulas, understanding cell references, and more
- Distilling complex business problems into financial models that are easy to understand, interpret, and use for decision-making purposes
- Using data to build financial models that allow people to forecast the future financial performance of a business while also allowing for elements of the unknown and risk
We reviewed over a dozen online financial modeling courses to find the best ones. In our evaluation of the best online financial modeling classes, we considered the concepts covered in each course, how much it costs, who could benefit from the training, how long each course takes to complete, and the provider’s reputation.
All of our picks are affordable programs with comprehensive curriculums delivered by reputable providers and can help you gain the financial modeling skills you need to advance your career.