Career scope in accountancy with ACCA

The ACCA qualification offers you the exciting opportunity to become a member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants along with the prestige associated with becoming a well-respected and globally acknowledged accountant. The qualification offers expertise in all the key aspects of accountancy and business management along with an employment route and a wealth of opportunities in organizations of every type and size.

The ACCA focuses on the international accounting standards and auditing techniques that are accepted in most countries and regions around the globe and offer candidates the knowledge and skills that are essential in the evaluation of business solutions. The ACCA training for entry level accountants thereby becomes a critical deciding factor when approaching employment opportunities in the accounting industry.

Professional Services

ACCA members are in demand as auditors and accountants, many serve as consultants in specialized fields, advising multinationals on tax strategies, transactional support, corporate recovery, risk management, or forensic accounting, others are entrepreneurs who manage and own their own practices, providing accounting and bookkeeping services to small and medium enterprises and growing businesses.

Commerce, Industry, and Financial Services

Members of the ACCA are involved in serving senior C-level executive roles such as CFOs, financial controllers, and heads of the finance department across a host of sectors and industries. Over the last decade, the ACCA members have also forayed into a wider range of business management roles such as the CEOs or directors of resources as well as other head office functions. Many have also been actively using their rather transferable skills to springboard into entrepreneurial roles and have set up their own businesses.

Not-For-Profit Organizations

The skills and competencies that ACCA candidates acquire and exhibit make them highly sought after by other public bodies and charity organisations. These bodies are ideally keen to have ACCA members on-board so that they can offer their expertise on managing scarce resources effectively and can embed the best practices in financial reporting, systems and strategic decisions associated with procurement.


If you are interested in joining hands with an ACCA-approved tuition provider to help make your ACCA journey easier, then Kaplan Professional Middle East is here to offer you the expertise of having helped students successfully ace their ACCA exams for several years with the industry’s leading trainers. If you are looking for ACCA training in Dubai, join us as a student to kickstart your ACCA exam preparation.

All You Need to Know About the FRM Certification

Where there is a finance enterprise, there is financial risk. Therefore, financial risk management is an essential aspect of running a successful financial firm. It is a skill set that’s in high demand, but what exactly is the financial risk management certification? What does it entail? What kind of careers does it offer? This article tells you everything you need to know, including what it is, the techniques used, what is required, and careers in the field.

What is Financial Risk Management?

Financial risk management is a finance practice that uses financial instruments and data analysis to manage exposure to operational, credit, market, foreign exchange, shape, volatility, liquidity, inflation, business, legal, reputational, sector, and other types of risk. The purpose of this practice is to identify the sources of risk, measure them, and develop plans to address them.

Most major retail, commercial, and investment banks have financial risk management practices or departments. However, as you can imagine, it is not limited to banking. You can find financial risk management at nearly every major asset management firm, hedge fund, consulting firm, and regulator in the world.

In the world of finance, financial risk management is usually applied to four types of risk:

Market Risk

This is the possibility of incurring large losses from adverse changes in financial asset prices, such as stock prices or interest rates.

Credit Risk

This is the risk that borrowers will not repay their debt obligations in full when they are due.

Funding (or liquidity) Risk

This is the risk that a firm cannot obtain the funds necessary to meet its financial obligations, such as short-term loan commitments.

Operational Risk

This is the risk of monetary loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people, and systems or from external events.

What Are the Requirements for Financial Risk Management?

Here are the requirements for financial risk management, including education, skills, and qualities:

College and Graduate Degrees

A career in this risk field requires a bachelor’s degree, but a graduate degree is preferred, especially an MBA or a doctorate in finance or economics. A Ph.D. in statistics or physics is a viable alternative. Many of those in the field also earn the FRM® designation, a certification offered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP).

Financial Acumen

Strong financial knowledge is required. Also critical is actual experience working with numbers in a variety of situations, from contract for difference (CFD) trading to translating objective concepts into measurable items.

Analytical and Strategic Mind

Because of all the data involved, anyone who works in the field should be analytical by gathering information, interpreting it, spotting risks and opportunities, and identifying appropriate strategies for managing financial risk.

Technological Capabilities

Anyone in this field should be able to use software and other technological solutions, such as Risk (VaR) to Risk Scenario tools. In addition, it is important to keep up with the latest technological advancements in financial risk management.

Excellent Communication Skills

Those who work in financial risk management must be able to translate complex financial risks, products, and processes into a language the front office, management, and the board can understand. For this to work well, excellent interpersonal and general communication skills are a necessity.

Financial Risk Management Careers

Financial risk management careers are most often found in financial institutions such as banks, financial services companies, brokerages, and asset management firms. However, there are opportunities in other types of business, as well, such as insurance, software, oil and gas, and publishing companies. The following job roles are the most common:

Risk Analyst or Risk Manager

These financial risk professionals use analytical skills and knowledge of international business and currency markets to examine investment portfolios and analyze the risk involved. They project potential losses and recommend ways to limit risk through diversification, currency exchanges, and other investment strategies.

Credit Risk Analyst

These analysts review and assess the financial history of individuals or companies to determine if they are a good candidate for a loan. They evaluate financial data, such as balance sheets and income statements, to determine the level of default risk and calculate financial ratios to help lenders make comparisons.

Market Risk Analyst

These financial risk management practitioners use knowledge of an industry or sector to research market trends and provide companies or investors with a comprehensive market assessment. The company or investor then uses this information to make decisions about investments and future ventures.

Operational Risk Manager

These risk managers investigate how an organization or business is run and identify potential sources of financial, legal, and reputational damage. The goal is to mitigate as much risk as possible and offset financial losses.

Why Consider a Future in Financial Risk Management?

The future is bright in financial risk management. It is a respected profession because financial risk management professionals are critical to the functioning of a business. As a result, the salaries for these positions are promising. According to PayScale , they can be at an average of about AED 244,000 annually. Its popularity as a career is also on the rise. Positions in the field are expected to increase at a rate of 7% over the next decade.


If you are interested in joining hands with a training provider to help make your FRM journey easier, then Kaplan Professional Middle East is here to offer you the expertise of the industry’s leading financial trainers. If you are looking for an FRM training course in Dubai join us as a student to kickstart your FRM exam preparation.

Avoid These Mistakes in CMA Exam Prep

Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a prestigious and competitive qualification that is highly revered by professionals in the accounting industry. However, with the respect associated with the qualification, there also comes certain anxiety among candidates preparing for it. This provides scope for mistakes to be made by the students, as commonly observed in the performance of CMA exam results, that can often cost them dearly having to pay the price of time, money, and effort.

Read on to find out how you can avoid these pertinent mistakes when pursuing the CMA course:


Keep track of time

The duration of each part of the CMA exam is 4 hours comprising of 100 multiple-choice questions for 3 hours and two essay questions to be completed in remaining 1 hour. It is advised to allocate 2 hours and 45 minutes and give 1 hour and 15 minutes to the latter. It is extremely important to have timely checks to ensure that you are on track to be able to complete the exam on time. You should ideally have answered all the MCQs before moving on to the essay section.

Test yourself

While studying for the vast syllabus is an important aspect of your preparation for the CMA exams, it is equally essential to test oneself with quizzes, mock exams, question banks, and practice tests to assess and gauge the level as well as the effectiveness of the exam preparation. A common mistake many students make is not knowing when and how to use the different types of CMA study materials. The test banks are very important as they will help you familiarize yourself with the overall test structure and also make sure that you cover every topic in the syllabus. The timed mock exams are another crucial resource that can improve your exam-taking speed and accuracy.

Choose consciously

When making a choice to pick the study material or the training provider for the exam preparation, it is important to keep in mind certain factors that can make or break your journey to success. You must ensure that your choice fits in your budget, the preferred learning style, previous reviews, and the pass rates of candidates associated with the trainers/training institute. It would also be beneficial to look out for a learning provider that makes use of technology offering conveniences such as WhatsApp support, digital recordings of sessions, and online practice tests.

Read carefully

In the essay section of the CMA exam, it is important to be certain about what you intend to convey before you start writing. The examiners are keen on observing the usage of your language with words such as explain, compare, contrast, differentiate, etc. Therefore, ensure that you have sufficiently understood the question before beginning to answer it.

Maintain clarity

One of the criteria to grade an essay in the CMA exam is clarity. By using writing tools such as bullet points, well-spaced paragraphs, and a simple sentence structure you can bring the required clarity to your academic writing. Towards the end of the exam, if time allows, you can review your answers to make sure that you haven’t repeated yourself in the essay or added needless fluff to your writing.

Avoid grammatical errors

Another grading criterion used by examiners to assess the essay section is the “use of
standard English” which means that candidates must be careful about spellings, grammatical mistakes, and punctuation errors.

Have a study plan

A crucial part of exam preparation is to have a study plan in place, and in the case of CMA exam prep, make sure to have study plans for both part one and part two of the exam. Considering the vast amount of conceptual understanding required to pass the CMA exam, it is important to have a comprehensive study plan that focuses on each element of the syllabus sufficiently. You can benefit from having your study plan serve as your roadmap in the CMA exam preparation journey.

Take regular breaks

Not taking regular breaks from the study routine leads to burnout among several
candidates. The pressure is considerably higher when pursuing professional qualifications such as CMA since aspirants are generally in their final leg of education or working professionals and this can cause additional stress from various other elements. It’s advisable that when pursuing the exam preparation, one takes care of their mental and physical health equally, allowing frequent breaks in between long hours of studying.

The CMA is a qualification that requires guts, grit, and significant hard work from aspirants. If you are looking to pursue CMA training in UAE, contact Kaplan to find out how we can help you.

The Real Value of the CFA Charter


The demand for CFA in UAE has seen an exponential rise over the past decade. Attaining a CFA Charter is considered a key indicator of solid financial knowledge and can often be observed as a crucial decision-making criterion by employers when hiring for various roles within the finance industry.

While CFA has always been much coveted and sought after in the arena of professional development, the demand for it has only increased in the last few years due to the alarmingly low pass rates. The low pass rates make the qualification a worthy and exclusive achievement in the finance industry especially among early to mid-career professionals.

However, it is also no secret that working towards earning this qualification is a challenging task. It requires an average of 900 hours of total study time from aspirants and intense dedication despite which most candidates are met with disappointment in their attempts with a pass rate as low as about 22%.

These statistics often lead aspirants to question the overall value of CFA, opting for the CFA classes and whether or not it is truly worth pursuing. Here is a compilation of the key-value additions that CFA offers to help you understand the true worth of the qualification and assist you in making your decision with better awareness.


Higher salary

A boost in salary is perhaps the most commonly known and often mistaken as the only perk to come with the CFA Charter.

According to the CFA Institute’s 2019 survey, CFA salaries are 40% more than their peers and roughly 25% more than MBA holders annually. Therefore, when compensation is the criteria for deciding among aspirants between CFA vs MBA, the former stands at a clear advantage.

Qualification Standardization

The CFA Charterholders enjoy a very high international career mobility. There is little relevance or emphasis paid on the fact where they have attained the charter since it’s a standard form of professional development recognized by employers and countries around the world.

Also, when seeking employment, CFA Charterholders have a higher chance of securing placements since employers across the world acknowledge the dedication and efforts that are involved in earning the charter.


The CFA also has proven to be a very good return on investment, especially when pitched against an MBA degree. While an average MBA may require you to shell out an average of $180,000 and two years of time to pursue the full-time degree, a CFA charter can be attained within a comparatively affordable range of $2500 to $8000.

It is also important to note that most professionals who choose to pursue the CFA qualification, continue their jobs full-time and therefore it does not pose a hindrance to their careers.

In addition, the CFA Institute also presents scholarship opportunities to aspiring candidates who need financial assistance that includes an enrollment fee waiver and a significant discount on registration costs.


With an impressively wide global network of more than 170,000 members, the CFA Institute offers exclusive opportunities to its Charterholders to connect and engage in member-only events. CFA networking is often seen to be highly effective among job-seekers in the industry.

Regional and local CFA societies regularly organize invitation-based meets to expand professional networks and educational seminars thereby enhancing the scope for continued professional development.

Career Progression

Those professionals who make it through the rather difficult journey of taking the exams and becoming certified Charterholders reap attractive rewards for their hard work. Based on the CFA employment statistics for the period ranging from 2015-2019, it was observed that the number of CFAs hired by the top 10 companies significantly increased year after year. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley depicted the most consistent growth by hiring over 13% more CFAs annually.

It is also commonly observed in the recent hiring trends that employers tend to have a higher regard for CFA applicants since they acknowledge the potential employee’s dedication, hard work, and commitment to personal growth, therefore, making them an attractive prospect to contribute to a firm’s success.


Ultimately, all these factors associated with the CFA qualification empower professionals to significantly boost their careers and open more opportunities for future success! The choice is yours to make, and if you are looking to enroll in CFA course in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or anywhere in the Middle East, contact Kaplan Professional to know how we can help you!

Failed the CFA exam? Plan your next steps

Each year, roughly 250,000 candidates appear for the CFA exams around the world in an attempt to claim what is widely considered the “gold standard” within the investment community, the CFA charter.

It is no surprise that the intense difficulty of the CFA exams leads to the majority of the candidates failing at least once. It is, without a doubt, a highly disappointing and disheartening place to be in. However, it is important to see the bigger picture and not lose perspective when attempting to gain a qualification as coveted as the CFA. On the brighter side, candidates gain experience and can appear for their next attempt with a higher level of confidence.

The recently held CFA exams in November 2021 have shown a consistent trend across all three levels, alarmingly low pass rates. While the Covid-19 pandemic may be considered as a contributing factor to this phenomenon, it is important to focus on what are the ideal next steps one must take to ensure that they achieve success in the next attempt.


Better prepared for next attempt

The average CFA candidate spends about four years before gaining the charter, which shows that most fail at least one exam on their journey. While it may lead one to believe that 300 hours of study have been wasted, it is important to remember that a significant part of the preparation for the next attempt has already been completed leading the thought of “wastage” to turn into “investment”.

Can you attempt again?

Candidates are allowed to appear for each level of the CMA exam a maximum of six times, a policy that was instituted in 2021. Also beginning with the 2021 exams, candidates can take an exam up to two times per calendar year but cannot take the exam in windows that are consecutive or less than 6 months apart.

Plan your next attempt

The first step to deciding when to retake the exam is to assess your previous exam preparation experience. How many hours did you spend preparing? Did you consistently stick to a structured study plan? Are there other study materials that could help you pass your next exam? Examine how you will approach exam prep differently going forward, reflect on your own personal/professional goals, and consider the various exam window options offered by CFA Institute to determine when to retake the CFA exam.

In general, we recommend retaking the exam as soon as possible, especially if you can do so in the same calendar year. Registering for the next possible exam is best for the following reasons:

  • Momentum is on your side. Even if you have been taking a break since your last exam, all of the effort you put into preparing for it is relatively fresh.
  • The longer you wait to retake the exam, the higher the likelihood that you will forget the material that you have already learned.

It is particularly important to retake the exam in the same calendar year, if at all possible, since CFA Institute changes the CFA curriculum on an annual basis. Retaking the exam before these annual updates will give you a higher probability of passing because you will be more familiar with the curriculum being tested.

Studying for the next attempt

Regardless of which exam you decide to sign up for, we have some recommendations for approaching the next exam attempt:

  • Carefully review your exam results and use them as a diagnostic tool to help guide your studies on the next attempt.
  • Organize your study plan to focus on weak areas first. Your study plan should be weighted heavily toward practicing the material using the SchweserPro QBank and end-of-chapter questions in the CFA curriculum.
  • After doing additional practice, if you are still performing poorly, revisit the CFA SchweserNotes and OnDemand class videos to relearn the concepts with which you are struggling.

Continue this process until one month prior to the exam and then focus on a well-structured final review process.

For final review, focus heavily on practicing what you have learned, but with the CFA Schweser Mock Exams rather than the SchweserPro QBank. After completing a mock exam, thoroughly review the answer explanations for the questions you answered incorrectly. Make certain you understand the logic behind the correct answer. Also, be sure to use the OnDemand Review videos to sharpen your exam strategy and ensure you retain information for the exam.

Finally, get help through our InstructorLink tool if you are still struggling with the material. We want you to succeed on the CFA exams and are always ready to help. If you are looking to enroll in CFA course in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or anywhere in the Middle East, contact Kaplan Professional to know how we can help you!

Journey to the ACCA Membership

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Qualification is a prominent symbol of expertise, due to its relevance to each and every area of accountancy and finance. It presents you with the choice of working in many different financial roles and at senior levels within an organization.

The ACCA membership is a highly sought-after accolade in the accounting industry. Employers respect the qualification and value the skills and contribution ACCA accountants make to their organization. As an ACCA-qualified accountant, you will be in demand for having the right skills.

To become a member of ACCA, one needs to successfully clear a set of exams that can be rigorous and challenging. Currently, there are about 230,000 qualified members of ACCA across the world, and around 530,000 enroute the path to membership. With such a high demand for the qualification, candidates often seem to get confused about the various routes of entry to the ACCA at different stages of their professional careers.

This article will help you in understanding the different stages in the journey to earning the ACCA membership.

Becoming an ACCA Affiliate

High School Students

If you are a high school student looking to kickstart your preparation to enter the corporate world in a few years, then ACCA would be an excellent choice. As a school student, you can begin your ACCA journey early and build a career towards being a certified chartered accountant by the age of 20. ACCA has flexible requirements on the minimum age of the candidates, so you can start as early as you feel you are prepared to take on the challenge!

University Students

University students are the most common age group of candidates currently pursuing the ACCA qualification. A significant benefit of pursuing the ACCA in this stage is that selected universities for selected degrees across the world offer exemptions of up to 9 ACCA exams, leaving only 4 exams to be completed. This is often a critical decision-making factor for students when choosing the university and the degree after high school as it helps in helps expedite their accounting journey.

In the UAE, universities such as the Middlesex University, University of Wollongong Dubai, and Heriot-Watt University among others offer degrees that qualify for the ACCA exemptions.

Alternatively, if you are already an ACCA student, then you have the opportunity to simultaneously earn a BSc degree in Applied Accounting from the prestigious, Oxford Brookes University in the UK and an MSc in Professional Accountancy from the University of London – one of the top universities in London. Both the degrees can be studied online without having to move to the UK and are an excellent route to take when studying for ACCA.

Experienced Professionals

If you are an experienced working professional and hold a relevant, fully accredited degree from a recognized university, you can get your educational credentials evaluated by ACCA at the time of your registration. Based on the relevance of your previous education, you may be granted exemptions to complete the ACCA qualification by attempting the remaining few exams.

Professional Ethics Module

The ACCA Professional Ethics Module is an online ethics module that must be completed before, at the same time, or soon after you become eligible, having completed the previous 9 exams or received exemptions for them.

You also need to complete this online module to achieve the BSc degree awarded by Oxford Brookes University.

Work Experience Requirement

To be able to qualify for the ACCA membership, you need to have acquired 36 months or 3 years of relevant work experience that can be completed before, at the same time, or after you clear the exams.

An important thing to note here is that these 3 years of work experience can be a non-full-time role, an internship, voluntary work, or even a self-employed role spread over a span of several years. To summarize, the ACCA requires a cumulative work experience of 3 years completed regardless of the continuity.


If you are interested in joining hands with an ACCA-approved tuition provider to help make your ACCA journey easier, then Kaplan Professional Middle East is here to offer you the expertise of having helped students to successfully ace their ACCA exams for several years with the industry’s leading trainers. If you are looking for ACCA courses in Dubai join us as a student to kickstart your ACCA exam preparation.

Top 7 differences between CMA vs CPA


For many candidates seeking to grow in the field of accounting, a common question arises when choosing between two certifications: CMA vs CPA? Considering the importance of the decision and the impact it can have on someone’s career, it is only fair that candidates invest considerable time and energy before they come to a conclusion.

The CMA stands for Certified Management Accountant and is a certification pursued by individuals keen on learning budgeting and management accounting while the CPA is short for Certified Public Accountant that offers skills and knowledge in the field of auditing, management accounting, accounts handling, taxation, etc. Both certifications function as value additions in accounting however they have a difference in their approach. As explained above, a CMA handles the cost and financial analysis whereas a CPA overlooks tax and auditing.

To begin with, it is important to understand the difference between the two certifications and the perks that each of them offers. This article will provide you with insights on the key differences in seven important areas to help you make an informed choice.


Awarding Body and Member Network

The CMA certification is awarded by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) that has a widespread network of over 140,000 members across more than 150 countries worldwide.

The CPA on the other hand is awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and has a member network of about 400,000 members in 100 countries globally.

Both the awarding bodies are highly renowned and respected in the field of accounting and membership in either one of them is highly coveted by most accounting professionals.

Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The CMA is a 2-part exam that emphasizes building analytical skills like critical decision making and data reporting. The key subjects that constitute the CMA certification are performance management, decision analysis, financial statement analysis, professional ethics, cost management, budgeting, and forecasting among several others. Between the two parts, the subjects are divided into areas as below:

  • Part 1: Financial Planning, Performance and Analytics
  • Part 2: Strategic Financial Management

The CPA is a 4-part exam that is focused on developing knowledge in subjects such as corporate governance, federal taxation, economic concepts, professional ethics and general business principles, etc. The key areas that the 4 parts of the exam cover are:

  • Business Environment and Concepts
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Audit and Attestation
  • Regulation

Duration for Completion

To complete the CMA certification in Dubai, UAE, or anywhere in the world, a candidate gets a total duration of 3 years or 36 months to clear both parts of the exam from the day of the registration. However, for CPA, candidates are given 18 months from the time that they clear their first part, to successfully complete all remaining parts of the exam.


As far as eligibility is concerned, both CMA and CPA require a candidate to have a bachelor’s degree or related professional certification. Besides, CMA requires two years of management accounting or financial management experience, while CPA requires two years of public accounting experience.

After being certified, a CMA needs to complete 30 hours of Continuing Education every year to maintain their respective certifications. A CPA, however, needs to complete 40 hours of Continuing Education every year.

Career Scope and Skills Obtained

CMA-certified professionals develop expertise in interpreting data and analyzing it to drive financial improvements within a business. With a higher inclination towards strategic thinking, CMAs are involved in building forward-looking strategies for organizations. In terms of careers chosen, they are observed to have generally shown an interest in working for big corporations with job profiles such as consultants, cost accountants, financial risk managers, etc.

CMA salaries, over the span of their career, are at an average of about AED 250,000 annually according to the IMA’s 2021 UAE Salary Survey.

Certified CPA professionals develop the ability for crunching numbers on a day-to-day basis for various accounting activities with the primary focus on taxation and auditing. They are observed to choose careers such as a financial advisor or accountant with job profiles ranging from public accountants to internal auditors, management accountants, etc.

Salaries of CPAs, over the course of their careers, are reported to be around AED 200,000 annually according to the Robert Walters Salary Survey 2020 for the Middle East and Africa.

Exam Fees and Passing Rates

On average, the CMA certification can cost approximately AED 3,700 which includes all entrance and exam fees whereas the CPA certification costs around AED 5,500 including the application, exam, and licensing fees. However, it is important to also note that both these fees mentioned do not cover the cost of additional review courses that most candidates prefer to take for studying under guidance.

The low passing rates for both are a testimonial of how challenging the exams can be and show that the certifications demand a considerable amount of effort and dedication from candidates. While the CMA has an average pass rate of 45% in the Middle East for both parts [Source: IMA 2020], the CPA has an average pass rate of 50% globally [Source: AICPA 2020].

Exam Availability

The IMA generally conducts the CMA exams every year in three testing windows, that are:

  • January 01 – February 28
  • May 01 – June 30
  • September 01 – October 31

The AICPA has switched the CPA exams to a Continuous Testing Model from 1st July 2020, which allows candidates to appear for the CPA exams anytime throughout the year.


The comparison between the CMA and CPA certifications shows that while both are equally good and respected in the field of accounting, they lead aspirants to different and varied career paths when observed closely. In conclusion, if you’re a candidate seeking growth in management and decision making, then it would be advisable for you to choose the CMA certification, and if you’re keen on developing skills in auditing, taxation, and regulation, then you should opt for the CPA.

Ultimately, the choice is yours to make, and if you are looking to enroll in CMA training in UAE, contact Kaplan Professional to know how we can help you!

6 Tips for Choosing the Best Prep Course Provider

Professional qualifications offer candidates greater insight into key finance and accounting topics. The curriculum incorporates the industry’s best practices and trends which ensures that candidates have the expertise required to climb up the ladder. Being an extensive program, candidates often need to spend months preparing and practicing the curriculum. An experienced training provider helps candidates focus on the right learning outcomes and prepare for success.

Here are 6 key features you must look for when choosing the right guide for your learning journey.


Tip 1: The Program Curriculum is a core element of their training programs

The questions asked during the exam, center around the program curriculum and the Learning Outcome Statements (LOS) developed by the governing program bodies. The program body surveys the needs of the industry and job requirements across the globe to ensure that the curriculum is relevant, current, and valid.

By choosing a training provider that focuses on the curriculum day in and day out, you ensure that you have chosen someone who has first-hand insight into the changes of the curriculum and knows the best study strategies.

Tip 2: Training Faculty’s Qualifications & Experience

Skilled prep providers employ multiple trainers to teach different topics which ensures that you are learning from a trainer who is well aware of the specific topic and can monitor the highs and lows of the particular subject on a personal level.  Knowledgeable trainers will focus on ensuring you master the curriculum, do not neglect the learning outcome statement (LOS) and are more likely to predict key areas that may appear in the exam based on their experience.

An added advantage would be to learn from a trainer who achieved the qualification himself and has over years of experience training and working in the related industry.

Tip 3: Flexible training solutions

To successfully prepare and achieve a professional qualification, candidates are expected to prepare for at least 3-5 months. Therefore, it’s important to choose a training program that best suits your lifestyle and needs.

Live classroom sessions offer candidates the opportunity to interact and solve queries with their fellow peers as well as trainers during the lecture. They also include in-class practice tests and mock exams that replicate the ambiance of an exam hall. This serves an important purpose as these exams are strictly monitored and mock exams help candidates abide by the guidelines set by the governing body.

On the other hand, Live Online programs offer scheduled live online sessions by the trainer every week.  It includes a participant panel that allows candidates to raise questions and interact with the trainer via audio or text. The testing method for these sessions is generally online mock exams and full-length practice exams that are known to mimic real-world testing conditions.

Tip 4: Confirm the claims made by the Prep Provider

Program governing bodies like the CFA or IMA Institute do not release previous exam questions, therefore any provider stating that they use actual questions from previous exams is a red alarm. Furthermore, if the provider is stating a particular pass rate for their material, confirm how this has been calculated and its validity.

Tip 5: Reliability of Prep Provider’s Study Material

The most efficient way to pass the exam is to practice as many questions as possible. The significant issue that students face is that even though the content has been understood well when attempting mock exams, they are often confused or lost. Therefore, the more questions you practice, the more comfortable you will be. Some important study materials to go through before the exams are end-of-section questions, mock exams, and question bank tests. These questions will equip you with tricks, tips, and methods for quicker problem-solving.

Certain providers may encourage studying for the exam without using the curriculum which isn’t recommended as although the prep material highlights the core elements for the exam, they should never be seen as a substitute for the main curriculum.

Tip 6: Study with an Approved Prep Provider

The approved prep provider program highlights training institutes that fulfill the guidelines required to offer candidates a holistic and effective learning journey. Some of the guidelines are training expertise of more than one year, developing course material in-house by experts, etc. One key highlight of these providers is that they constantly update their content according to the exam changes to maintain their prep provider status. These providers also offer candidates additional support outside the classroom which shows that they are willing to help the students thoroughly understand and excel.

Although take note that, choosing a certain provider among the many approved is solely your choice as the institute doesn’t verify the claims made by these prep providers.

Therefore, remember that the goal when choosing a prep provider isn’t choosing the most cost-effective one but rather a training guide that will help you achieve your qualification.

Everything you need to know about the Level III CFA exam

By this point, you’re a CFA exam veteran. After passing the Level I and Level II exams, your confidence is strong. That confidence is an asset, but don’t take your foot off the gas just yet. Passing Level III is going to take some work. As we often receive a variety of questions from candidates preparing for the Level III CFA exam, here’s a compiled list of those questions and answers for your reference and understanding.

  • How is Level III different from Level I & II of the CFA exam?

The most significant difference is that it’s no longer just multiple-choice questions. For Level I, if you learn, and can recall, the appropriate factoids, you’re going to pass the exam. Level II is typically said to be the most difficult as the multiple-choice questions are math-based, and the solutions are deterministic.

Level III CFA exam questions are more like case studies. There’s math involved, but it often can’t be reduced to a single equation. Level III essentially tests your ability to effectively do what employers will expect of you as a CFA charterholder.


  • What is the exam schedule for Level III of the CFA exam?

The exam will no longer be offered in June but instead will be offered twice a year. From 2021 onwards, it will be offered in May & November. There will also be an additional exam window being offered only in 2021 during the month of August.

The exam windows of up to 10 days instead of one uniform date with the total testing time is reduced from six hours to approximately 4.5 hours. If you would like to reschedule your exam date, a USD 25 fee will be applicable.

In addition to the time reduction, candidates will be free to walk out of the exam session as soon as they finish, even if the exam is still in session.


  • What can be expected in terms of the exam format for the Level III of the CFA® Program?

From 2021 onwards, the exam will be offered in a computer-based testing format. The exam will have item sets comprised of vignettes with accompanying multiple-choice items and constructed response (essay) questions. It will be approximately 4.5 hours, split into two sessions with an optional break in-between.

The first session of the exam is comprised of 8 to 11 constructed response (essay) questions. For example, you may be asked a multiple-choice question to select the portfolio (A, B, or C) that meets a particular objective, followed by an essay question to justify that response. The second session is comprised of 44 multiple-choice items, each worth 3 points.

Both essay and multiple-choice items must be answered based on the information in the vignette. Hence, the items are not free-standing (as in the CFA Level I exam). You will need to refer back to the vignette before answering each item.


  • What are the topics and weights for the Level III exam?

On a year-to-year basis, the Level III CFA exam topic weights are subject to change, at the discretion of the CFA Institute. For the exam in 2021, topics are weighted as :

  • Ethical and Professional Standards: 10 – 15%
  • Fixed Income: 15 – 20%
  • Derivatives: 5 – 10%
  • Alternative Investments: 5 – 10%
  • Portfolio Management: 35 – 40%
  • Equity Valuation: 10 – 15%
  • Economics: 5 – 10%


  • What’s the amount of time required to study for Level III?

Candidates stated that they spent an average of 344 hours preparing for the exam when asked in the 2019 CFA Candidate Survey by the CFA Institute. The time spreads over a 6 month period with 12.5 hours per week. Although, candidates don’t always start studying early and tend to compress their study time into a shorter window. The intensity of your study schedule depends greatly on how early you begin preparing.


  • How much does the Level III CFA® exam cost?

Registration plays a huge role in determining the cost of the exam. There are three registration windows called – early, standard, and late. The fees are $700 for early and $1,000 for standard. Registering early will not only help you save $300 which you could invest in a CFA Program exam prep course but will also help you start preparing sooner.

Career opportunities for CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst) charterholders

he CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation is a globally recognized mark of distinction in the finance industry. Being an extensive program, it requires candidates to invest a significant amount of time, money, and effort, which can leave them with the thought of whether it’s truly valuable. Upon reviewing numerous blogs and forums, we found that supporters of the CFA charter outnumbered those against it by around 80% with many claiming that it has helped them climb the corporate ladder and helped enhance their existing skillset.

According to the 2020 Middle East Salary Guide by Robert Half, the compensation scale annually for financial analysts range between AED156K and AED217K while senior-internal auditors can earn between AED 287K to AED 295K.

Based on a survey conducted by the CFA Institute about the job roles held by CFA charterholders in 2019, we have summarised the top careers that pursuing or certified CFA candidates can attain.

Research Analyst

Over 13% of CFA charterholders hold the coveted position of being a research analyst. Research analysts play a key role in the world of business and finance as they use qualitative data to analyze past financial history and make recommendations for the future. The information that they gather is crucial for organizations as it helps prioritize and develop investment decisions.

Corporate Financial Analyst

A hybrid of a research analyst is a corporate financial analyst. The financial analyst, unlike the research analyst, goes beyond data input to frame conclusions. During venture choices, they offer research and guidance on budgets and income statements along with other financial data. They account for over 9% of CFA charterholders and are one of the commonly opted-for job roles soon after the qualification has been achieved.


Approximately 7% of all CFA (chartered financial analysts) charterholders work as consultants. They offer an external and personalized view of the organization’s practices, changes and deal with crucial monetary decisions related to savings, investment, or insurance. Their skillset includes business valuation, financial investigations, and identifying methods to increase shareholder profitability.

Portfolio Manager

Over 5% of chartered financial analysts are employed as portfolio managers. Portfolio managers facilitate the purchase and sale of assets constantly. Effective asset sale requires interaction with clients, analysts, and researchers to remain up to date with the market trends. An extraordinary portfolio leader can see past the surface and settle on educated choices for their customers because of insightful expertise.

Risk Managers

Risk is an inevitable aspect of every flourishing business. To grow and earn greater profits, a certain amount of acceptable risk is continuously undertaken to achieve and excel in organizational goals. 5% of charterholders have the job role of a financial risk manager, a role that identifies potential monetary risks that the organization could face in the near future and helps highlight risks that can be converted into prospective opportunities.

Chief-Level Executive

Top-level executives are the most imperative and influential individuals in an organization and branch into CEO, COO & CFO. Being the apex of the organization, the significant choices that they finalize, drive the accomplishment of strategic, tactical, and operational goals contingent upon the organization’s structure and market.

Relationship Manager

Networking is crucial for effective business management. A relationship manager offers both a financial and humanistic aspect which is imperative during mergers, acquisitions, or other business relations. The relationship manager also prevents or rather limits the extent of unpredictability by constantly assessing the current financial status and elements that impact it. 5% of CFA (chartered financial analysts) work as Relationship Managers.

Financial Advisor

Advisors are usually known for being the go-to professionals that assist customers with speculations, assess laws, and take insurance decisions. They help individuals formulate short and long-term objectives, and additionally a budgeting framework that helps them accomplish their financial goals. Some of the advisors also make investments for their clients and provide levy assistance.

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