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Best Online Finance Courses

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Whether you’re at the height of your career or just getting started, adding a finance-related skill to your resume can benefit you in many ways, including ways you might not be able to predict. Learning about finance can also be useful outside of your job. Even those who don’t work in finance-related fields should get a thorough understanding of the mechanics of finance.

Some of the skills offered by these courses are directly applicable to your everyday life. For instance, you can learn how to improve your budget, save on taxes and make good investments.

Quick Look: Best Online Finance Courses

What Do the Best Online Finance Courses Look Like?

Which course is the right one for you? Let’s take a look at the factors you should take into consideration.

Clearly Stated Admission Criteria

Finance courses span a variety of topics and levels. Before you enroll in a course, you should know exactly what your goals are. All high-quality online courses make the curriculum clear in advance.

In the case of finance, the courses are usually geared toward a specific demographic. For example, a course aimed at students will differ in significant ways from a course intended for experienced finance managers. There are also high-quality courses for people whose field is only somewhat related to finance or those who have no finance experience whatsoever.

Make sure you understand who the course is for. There should also be a list of requirements necessary for understanding the syllabus. In the case of beginner-level courses, this usually doesn’t go beyond high school-level math and Excel. In the case of intermediate or expert courses, you might need to have some formal or informal experience in finance-related topics.

However, there are advanced courses that are geared toward anyone and still impart useful knowledge. It’s generally better to stay away from courses where the target audience isn’t stated up front.

A Price That Fits the Curriculum

Some self-paced finance courses are available for free. Even when these options don’t offer a certification, the knowledge you gain is a valuable tool. It’s absolutely possible to become proficient in finance-related subjects using only free courses and high-quality finance books.

If you’re also willing to enroll in courses that have an entrance fee, it becomes extra important to avoid cash grabs and scams. Look at all the skills on offer and make sure they line up with your goals. Avoid anything that sounds too enticing and glosses over the specifics. As a general rule, advanced level courses are considerably more pricey than introductory ones.

It’s important to consider the amount of material offered. But sometimes it’s worth paying more for a shorter course, especially if it fits your needs and skill levels.

A Well-Respected and Experienced Lecturer

There’s one more thing you should check before you decide to enroll. Who prepared the course material? Many people get into finance via online courses, and some of the big names in the finance world are involved in teaching these skills.

For example, you can find courses helmed by award-winning university professors. Make sure that the lecturer is experienced in the field that you’re interested in. You can look for courses taught by finance writers, journalists or coaches. It’s usually a good idea to avoid lecturers with no published works whatsoever.

Our Top Picks

Our top online finance courses for beginners all the way to expert level courses.

Best Online Finance Courses for Beginners

Based on the criteria above, we made our picks for the best finance courses for beginners available on the web at a wide range of prices.

1. Finance for the Real World — Corporate Finance 101 by Udemy

Source: Udemy.com

If your aim is to improve your financial literacy, this course is a great place to start. In just two hours of video, this course covers some of the most important concepts of corporate finance. Starting with the time value of money, this class will help you understand the mechanics behind making financial decisions.

There are no prerequisites for attending it. It’s a good idea to print the handouts in advance, as the lecturer takes a hands-on approach to the subject. For instance, you’ll learn how to calculate net present value in Excel.

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2. Finance Foundations by LinkedIn Learning

Source: Lynda.com
  • Who’s it for? Beginners
  • Price: On sale

This series of videos will teach you the fundamentals of finance. It covers topics such as risk and return, capital budgeting, and how to read financial statements.

The basics of investing are covered as well. The class is taught by two professors from Brigham Young University. Real reports are used for the exercises. For example, you get to compare the IPOs of Microsoft and Facebook.

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3. Finance for Non-Financial Professionals by Coursera

Source: Coursera.org
  • Who’s it for? Beginners
  • Price: On sale

This course is part of the Career Success Specialization, and it’s possible to attend it without taking the other classes. If you’re a manager or other professional, this class can help you boost the growth of your organization.

Spanning around seven hours, the course covers some basic finance and accounting terms. The focus is on improving profitability and interpreting financial information. You can learn the most important things about costing, financial ratios and valuation.

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Best Intermediate Online Finance Courses

Do you have some finance experience but eager to learn more? Check out these below intermediate courses to increase your personal finance skills.

1. Corporate Finance Essentials by Coursera

Source: Coursera.org
  • Who’s it for? Intermediate
  • Price: On sale

Corporate Finance Essentials is taught by a Financial Management professor from IESE Business School. This course takes around 15 hours to complete.

The class is open to everyone, and it covers basic financial terms and concepts. However, you can get the most out of it if you already have some experience in the world of finance.

Topics discussed include diversification, project evaluation, and corporate value creation. There are exercises as well, and you learn how to estimate the EVA of companies.

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2. The Complete Advanced Course Of Finance and Accounting by Udemy

Source: Udemy.com
  • Who’s it for? Intermediate
  • Price: On Sale

This class is geared toward you if you’re an entrepreneur who wants to get your company off the ground. There is a special emphasis on financial reporting for startups.

This course can give you some specific information about depreciation and amortization for an early-stage company as well as different forms of accounting and the accounting cycle. In addition to four hours of video, it comes with many downloadable resources.

Accountants and finance enthusiasts alike can benefit from enrolling, but it’s important to note that a basic understanding of accounting is a prerequisite.

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3. Finance Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs by Udemy

Source: Udemy.com
  • Who’s it for? Intermediate
  • Price: $199

Once again, entrepreneurs are the intended audience for the class. But this option is more comprehensive and doesn’t require any specific pre-knowledge apart from some computer skills.

The lecturer is Lili Balfour, an experienced finance journalist, author and guest lecturer at UC Berkeley. She places focus on gathering the funds necessary to get your company off the ground. Crowdfunding is covered at length but you can learn how to build a financial model that will keep your company running smoothly.

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Best Advanced Online Finance Courses

Are you a personal finance expert looking to hone in their skills? These advanced online finance courses are for you.

1. Behavioral Investing by Coursera

Source: Coursera.org
  • Who’s it for? Advanced
  • Price: On sale

Are you hoping to start investing? If you have a basic understanding of finance and you’ve read some stock market books, consider taking this class before you start putting money into stocks or real estate. Behavioral Investing covers biases and fallacies that lead to investing errors. 

This course analyzes phenomena such as confirmation bias, loss aversion, cognitive dissonance, regret aversion, sample size neglect and many more. Understanding why people make mistakes in their investment strategies is key to making sound financial decisions.

Even if you’re still hesitant about investing, the course can help you understand business and finance more comprehensively. The class is part of the five-course Financial Markets and Investment Strategy Specialization offered by the Indian School of Business. Note that there are no formal requirements. However, you can’t get a certificate unless you complete all five parts of the specialization.

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2. Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management — Core Finance by Udemy

Source: Udemy.com
  • Who’s it for? Advanced
  • Price: On Sale

If you’re comfortable with the language of finance but have yet to master financial analyses, this class could be right for you. While some knowledge of statistical analysis is helpful, the class is can be for you as long as you have basic computer skills. Enrolling in this course means you can gain a practical understanding of risk calculation.

You’ll use Google Sheets or Excel to calculate stock returns and optimize your portfolio. The examples used in this syllabus are all based on real-world data. But the most important aspect of the class is that everything is explained step by step so you never get lost in a sea of numbers.

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3. Accounting, Finance and Banking — A Comprehensive Study by Udemy

Source: Udemy.com
  • Who’s it for? Advanced
  • Price: On Sale

The final course on our list is an exceptionally thorough class that features 31.5 hours of video as well as several printouts. It’s equally useful to accountants and professionals with a background in finance.

But even if you don’t have experience in banking, accounting or finance, you can benefit from taking this course. Its central goal is to tie together several fields of study and provide you with clarity.

The topics covered include cash flow analysis, taxes and final accounts, international finance and capital budgeting investments. You also gain insight into how banks are classified. You can become better-informed about business finance.

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Final Thoughts

Some people start taking courses without any clear goals in mind. This approach can yield good results as long as you choose a class with a comprehensive and well-structured syllabus. Online finance courses are especially useful to people who know exactly what they want. You can use any of these classes as a springboard and become proficient in a finance-related field of your choice. For example, you can follow them up with investment courses or go in any other direction you want.

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