CFA vs CFQ – Which is Better?

CFA vs CFQ – In a fast-paced financial industry there has been an increasing demand for qualified and credentialed professionals with the right kind of capabilities for any specialized job in a competitive global arena. To meet this requirement, a number of financial certification programs and designations have been offered by prestigious institutions across the world. In the course of this article, we would discuss CFA one of the most repute financial credentials, and CFQ, the highest level designation awarded in the specialized field of corporate finance. The information provided should be of use in making an informed choice of credential based on individual needs, eligibilities and preferences.

The article will give you provide you with detailed comparison between CFA and CFQ –

  1. CFA vs CFQ Infographics
  2. What is CFA?
  3. What is CFQ?
  4. CFA vs CFQ Exam Requirements
  5. Why pursue CFA?
  6. Why pursue CFQ?

CFA vs CFQ Infographics

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Lets understand the difference between these two streams with the help of this CFA vs CFQ Infographics.

cfa vs cfq infographics

What is CFA?

  • CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) is the ‘gold standard’ of investment management and financial analysis in terms of global credentials.
  • This is a designation in a class of its own, awarded by CFA Institute, USA, one of the most reputed organizations dedicated to knowledge dissemination in the field of financial analysis and promotion of global professional and ethical standards in the field. CFA is pursued by finance professionals aiming to specialize in portfolio management, financial advisory and financial modeling among other areas of professional interest.
  • As one of the toughest financial credentials, it has one of the lowest passing rates, which clearly shows the kind of dedicated effort required to earn the credentials.
  • Do have a look at more details on CFA Exam guide

What is CFQ?

  • CFQ (Corporate Finance Qualification) is a specialist qualification awarded by ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) to recognize the skills and expertise of corporate financiers.
  • There are two routes available for acquiring this prized designation, namely study route and experience route. Essentially, CFQ is an experience-oriented qualification which requires a certain level of experience and expertise to be able to earn the designation, in which case one need not sit for any exam.
  • However, in absence of requisite amount of experience one can opt for study route as well. Those who opt for study route must have completed Diploma in Corporate Finance to be eligible to apply for CFQ.

CFA vs CFQ Exam Requirements

CFA exam:

To qualify for CFA, a candidate should have a Bachelor’s Degree (or they should be in final year of Bachelor’s Degree) or 4 years of professional work experience or 4 years of higher education and professional work experience taken together.

CFQ exam:

  • To qualify for CFQ through study route, 3 programmes are available depending on the level of experience of any candidate.
  • Entry-level candidates can opt for Certificate in Corporate Finance with no entry requirements to start their journey to CFQ.
  • Those who have completed Certificate in Corporate Finance or ICAEW Chartered Accountants can enroll for Diploma in Corporate Finance. To be eligible to apply for CFQ, candidates who have chosen study route must have completed the Diploma in Corporate Finance and currently working in a relevant position.
  • They should also be able to demonstrate 3 years of corporate finance experience with a minimum of three corporate finance transactions.
  • Alternatively, candidates applying for Corporate Finance Qualification (CFQ) directly via experience route should have a minimum of 5 years of professional experience in a corporate finance position or relevant role with at least 6 demonstrable transactions where they were in a lead advisory role.
  • They would also need to provide three peer references to validate their experience and expertise.

Why pursue CFA?  

  • It is a complex and advanced multi-tier financial certification program designed to help finance professionals acquire expertise in specialized knowledge areas including asset management, financial analysis, financial modeling, portfolio management and other research-oriented areas in finance.
  • Even non-finance professionals stand to gain substantially by completing one or more levels of CFA whereas experienced financial professionals would be able to further their career prospects a great deal by earning CFA Charter.
  • This not only enhances their value in the eyes of prospective employers but also expands their area of expertise in finance along with inspiring confidence in their professional capabilities.

Why Pursue CFQ?

  • Earning this specialist designation brings the highest level of validation for corporate financiers, thus effectively recognizing them as leading experts in the complex field of corporate finance with the desired level of experience and expertise.
  • This is primarily an experience-oriented designation, which is all the more reason for qualified and experienced corporate finance professionals to apply for CFQ, who become eligible to use CF designatory letters on earning the designation.
  • Naturally, this helps further their career prospects substantially and it would become that much easier to inspire trust in some of the leading global employers with this highly acclaimed designation to their credit.

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CFA and CFQ represent two highly acknowledged credentials in finance but by no means can they be considered to be in the same category. CFA is a designation distinguished by its scope in terms of the nature of professional capabilities it might help acquire. It is definitely not a specialized designation in itself but can help experienced professionals gain necessary expertise in several specialized areas of finance including equity research, financial analysis and portfolio management. On the other hand, CFQ as a designation is limited in its scope to corporate finance and more of an experience-oriented designation which does not require one to sit for any exams to earn the Corporate Finance Qualification. Those looking to specialize in corporate finance only, need apply for Corporate Finance Qualification. CFA offers a wider scope in terms of specialization but with little to no direct relevance in the field of corporate finance.

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