Best Online Financial Modeling Courses

Wharton Online is our pick for the best online financial modeling course

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Financial modeling is an in-demand skill. Whether you’re looking to switch careers, angling for a promotion, or have started your own business, you can use financial modeling to forecast future business performance and compare how different factors will affect your revenue.

While you can take financial modeling courses at your local university, there are many online classes you can take that allow you to learn on your own schedule. To help you find the right course for you, we reviewed 13 top financial modeling online courses and evaluated them based on content, cost, and the reputation of the organization behind it. We narrowed down the list to the top four companies that stood out from the competition with their comprehensive courses.

Important

Investopedia offers its own financial modeling class as part of the Investopedia Academy, but to maintain objectivity, we opted to exclude it from this roundup. If you are interested in this course, please visit the Investopedia Academy.

Best Overall : Business and Financial Modeling from Wharton Online


Coursera

Coursera

Why We Chose It

We selected the Business and Financial Modeling Specialization program from Wharton Online because of the university’s outstanding reputation and the class’s cost, content, and self-paced format.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Low monthly fee

  • No prior experience required

  • Seven-day free trial

Cons
  • Certificate issued by Coursera, not The Wharton School

  • Courses start on set dates

  • Personalized instruction not available

Overview

If you’re looking for a financial modeling program from a school with strong name recognition, consider this course from The Wharton School offered on Coursera. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania has an outstanding reputation, recognized as the best business school in the country. 

More than 50,000 students have taken the Business and Financial Modeling Specialization program, which has a 4.5 rating from more than 6,800 reviews. The program is made up of five different courses:

  • Fundamentals of Quantitative Modeling
  • Introduction to Spreadsheets and Models
  • Modeling Risk and Realities
  • Decision-Making and Scenarios
  • Wharton Business and Financial Modeling Capstone

In the program, you will learn how to use your own data to build scenarios and predict future performance.

When you subscribe to Coursera, you can enroll in the Business and Financial Modeling Specialization program and get a seven-day free trial. During the trial, you can cancel without having to pay any fees. Once the trial expires, you can continue the courses for $79 per month. Most students will need six months to complete this program, so your total cost likely will be about $474.

The program doesn’t require you to have prior experience in accounting, but it is recommended that you know high school-level math through pre-calculus.

While the courses are self-paced, they begin on set dates, so you have to wait for the next enrollment period. But each course is offered at least once per month. All of the content is prerecorded, so there is no way to interact with instructors if you need personalized assistance.

While you can earn a certificate upon completing the program, the certificate is issued by Coursera, not The Wharton School, which may be less impressive to employers.

Despite its drawbacks, we chose this program as the best overall financial modeling class because of the reputation of the university behind it and the thoroughness of its materials. And, because the course charges a monthly fee rather than a fixed price, you can save money by completing the course faster.

Best for Start-Up Founders : Financial Modeling for Startups and Small Businesses from Udemy


Udemy

Udemy

Why We Chose It

For start-up founders and small business owners, the Financial Modeling for Startups and Small Businesses course from Udemy is the clear choice due to its low cost and tailored content.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Lifetime access to course materials

  • 30-day money-back guarantee

  • Low cost for small business founders

Cons
  • Fewer hours of video content than other courses

  • Must have prior knowledge of Excel

  • Udemy may lack the credibility of other schools or organizations

Overview

Financial modeling can be especially useful for startup founders and small business owners. You can use financial modeling to compare pricing models, calculate how much capital you need, and prepare to meet with investors.

The Financial Modeling for Startups and Small Businesses course on Udemy is offered by two startup founders, and the material is specifically designed for the needs of entrepreneurs. At just $129.99, the course has one of the lowest prices of all the courses we reviewed, and its content is made up of videos, downloadable resources, and articles. Once you enroll, you have lifetime access to all of the materials.

By taking the course, you’ll learn how to build financial models for your business, leverage financial modeling to make informed business decisions, and apply best practices for financial modeling.

The course has a 30-day money-back guarantee through Udemy. If you’re dissatisfied with the course, you can get your enrollment fee back.

The course requires you to have prior knowledge of Excel, particularly when creating formulas. The course has less video content than some other courses and is not as robust as costlier versions.

You can earn a certificate issued by Udemy. Course completion certificates from Udemy may carry less weight than if you earned a certificate from a university or nonprofit organization.

However, entrepreneurs will likely find the course useful, especially considering its cost and specific audience. Unlike other courses, which may be overly broad or focus on large corporations, this course is solely designed for startup founders and entrepreneurs by addressing their unique needs.

Best for Real Estate : Real Estate Financial Modeling from Wall Street Prep


Wall Street Prep

Wall Street Prep

Why We Chose It

Wall Street Prep’s Real Estate Financial Modeling course is the best program for those interested in real estate investments. Its curriculum is specifically designed for professionals who want to learn financial modeling to buy property, develop land, acquire office buildings, or develop multifamily buildings.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Course qualifies for CPE credit

  • Specifically designed for professionals and students pursuing careers in real estate private equity

  • Unlimited access to support center

Cons
  • Students may have to take prerequisite courses.

  • Must pass exam to qualify for a certificate

  • Private tutoring is an added cost.

Overview

Wall Street Prep was established in 2004 by investment bankers and offers both online and instructor-led courses. Its clients include investment banks, private equity firms, and business schools.

Its Real Estate Financial Modeling course is self-paced and includes more than 20 hours of video content delivered in nine parts as well as reusable real estate Excel modeling templates. Through the course, you’ll learn real estate and development theory and how to build a real estate development model.

By taking the course, you can earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits, a requirement for Certified Professional Accountants (CPAs).

Wall Street Prep’s course is $499 and includes unlimited access to its online support center, where you can ask questions, download additional resources, and get updates. If you need additional help, tutoring is available online, but there is an added cost for each tutoring session.

You can earn a certificate after completing the course, but you must pass an exam first. You have 24 months after enrollment to take the test.

Before taking the course, be aware that this is a fairly advanced program. You already should know accounting principles and be proficient in Excel. If you don’t have that experience yet, you’re encouraged to take Wall Street Prep’s crash courses for an added fee before enrolling in the Real Estate Financial Modeling course.

Because the course is so robust and tailored to real estate professionals, it stands out from other courses that teach students more general financial modeling principles. Those pursuing careers in real estate will find its in-depth modules most effective in helping them compare and contrast investment decisions.

Best for Investments : The Investment Banker from Financial Edge


Financial Edge

Financial Edge

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Why I Chose It

For modeling investments, our pick for the best online course is The Investment Banker from Financial Edge. Its comprehensive modules and micro-degree program is recognized by top investment banks, helping you build your career.

Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Powerful course app available

  • Course certification recognized by major investment banks

  • Instructor interaction

  • Lifetime access to course materials

Cons
  • Must pass four exams to qualify for the program’s “micro-degree”

  • No guarantees on course purchases

Overview

Financial Edge is a training company used by top investment banks to train their incoming financial analysts. It was founded in 2016 by finance pro Alastair Matchett, who has a background in mergers and acquisitions and private equity at J.P. Morgan and spent nearly 20 years as an instructor before starting Financial Edge.

The Investment Banker course bundle (four sub-courses broken into specific modules), which costs $499, covers basic accounting principles, financial modeling, valuation, mergers and acquisitions, and leveraged buyouts. The course includes 25 video modules with more than 43 hours of content. You can do hundreds of Excel exercises along with the video tutorials, helping you build your skills.

Unlike other online courses, you can get answers to your questions from the course instructor, and you can engage with other financial professionals taking the course.

With the Financial Edge app, Go by FE—available through the Apple Store or Google Play—you can download content to work on course materials offline. You also can complete tasks on the app and have your changes reflected on all devices.

To qualify for a micro-degree—a credential recognized by some major banks—you must pass four different exams.

Lifetime access to course materials gives you plenty of time to complete the program, but Financial Edge doesn’t offer a guarantee on its courses. Refunds are available only on a case-by-case basis, and when course materials haven’t yet been downloaded or viewed.

Financial Edge’s The Investment Banker course bundle offers exceptional value for its cost, with hundreds of videos and downloadable resources. It’s also one of the few options that allow you to interact with the instructor and other students, and it has a powerful app you can use to access content on the go.

Final Verdict

Financial modeling is a useful skill for any industry, but there are certain aspects of it that vary widely by industry. When you're looking for financial modeling courses, make sure you know whether you want a more general course or an industry-specific one. For example, Wall Street Prep is great for those interested in real estate, but that won't apply to everyone.

For financial modeling courses, we recommend Business and Financial Modeling from Wharton Online. It's a cost-effective class that allows you to go at your own pace and get top-notch content from some of the brightest minds on the subject.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Financial Modeling?

Financial modeling is creating a summary of a company’s expenses and earnings, typically using Excel spreadsheets. Companies use financial modeling to forecast how future events or endeavors will affect business and identify financial risks or opportunities and determine the value of the business. It’s also used by financial analysts to predict how future decisions may impact stock prices.

How Do Online Financial Modeling Courses Work?

While some online courses have a live instructor component, most online financial modeling courses are self-paced, so you can view the materials on your own schedule rather than meeting at certain class times. The courses usually involve a mix of videos, Excel model templates, and downloadable resources. Most courses have prerequisites, such as general accounting knowledge and basic Excel proficiency.

Can I Learn Financial Modeling on My Own?

It is possible to learn financial modeling without a formal course structure, but it may take more work and time than enrolling in a class. To become skilled at financial modeling, you typically need to develop advanced excel proficiency skills, have accounting and business knowledge, and know how to create simple models. Learning financial modeling on your own requires more legwork.

What Do Financial Modeling Courses Cost?

Financial modeling courses range from $100 to $1,000 or more. The price of a course depends on several factors, such as the comprehensiveness, the organization or school’s reputation, the number of resources available, and whether the course gives students lifetime access to class materials and tutorials. Lifetime access usually means a higher price tag.

When Are Financial Modeling Courses Worth Taking?

If you’re considering taking a financial modeling course and deciding if it’s worth the cost, think about your goals. Financial modeling skills are in demand, and with a median pay of a financial analyst being $83,660—well above the median wage for other occupations—it may very well be worth the investment. It's also beneficial for small business owners to know how to predict how different factors will affect their revenue, so a course could pay off.

Methodology

To select the best online financial modeling courses, we researched 13 top courses offered by individuals, schools, and companies. To narrow down the list, we evaluated each course based on its cost, prerequisites, course content, length of the program, and available support. Programs only available on set dates that were scheduled less frequently than every month were eliminated, as most people who are looking into online courses need flexibility in their schedule.

Online Financial Modeling Courses
Article Sources
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  1. U.S. News & World Report. "University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)."

  2. The Wharton School. "Why Study Business and Financial Modeling?"