Which Course Would Best Suit Me?

In trying to decide on an appropriate course, the following discussion of the various issues and options available may assist.  Having read this, if you need any assistance whatsoever in selecting a course, please feel free to contact us.  We are happy to discuss your needs, your experience and your circumstances and then to guide you in selecting an appropriate course.

Subject Area of Interest

If your need is primarily to build skills in working with Excel; the layout of models; formula building; the design of valuation, analytical, forecasting or budgeting models; sensitivity analysis; report design; or data analysis, then the  Financial Analysis Certificate (FAC) would be the best choice. It focuses solely on the worksheet interface and does not include any programming or Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) content.

If your need is to automate workbooks, to make them either easier to use or more robust for running repetitive and routine tasks, then the  Financial Analysis VBA Certificate (FAVC) may be the appropriate choice.  It focuses almost solely on programming and VBA.  Some people look to that course as they see it as the “advanced” course, whereas it is a different area of knowledge altogether from the FAC. In fact, we see them both as advanced courses, in different knowledge areas.

Some students also come to the FAS assuming they know more about Excel than they do, and think their only path to improve and stretch their models is to add VBA code, whereas attendance at the FAC may demonstrate some more advanced techniques which will allow them to solve their problems without recourse to VBA code.


We do some charting in the FAC, and there are many participants whose needs are more than catered for at the level we go to. For those who have more ambitious needs in this area or who wish to vastly improve the data visualisation they achieve in their reporting, the  Advanced Financial Modelling Master Class is an extremely useful course to build skills in data visualisation and the construction of dashboards.

In-Class or Distance Learning?

There are two options for enrolling in the FAC. The best option is to attend an in-class offering, and these are available in most capital cities up to three times a year. For those unable to attend in class, the correspondence course version of the Financial Analysis Certificate, entitled the  Financial Analysis Certificate by Distance Learning (FACDL) is available through the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).  We used to offer a cut-down version of the VBA course called the Financial Analysis Certificate by Distance Learning Extension Program, but it has been withdrawn as it is too challenging for remote study in its present form.

However, we would strongly recommend that students give consideration to the in-class offerings as they offer better outcomes, contracted study times and better access to ongoing support. Both UTS and Clarkson ITT offer in-class students the option to re-attend any sessions in the FAC, FAVC or CMC at any time at little or no charge.  This can be of considerable benefit to some students, and is particularly useful when there are upgrades to the software.

Also, studying alone can be more challenging and the typical course durations of correspondence students are of the order of nine months. Unfortunately, the protracted study times and the challenging material means that many students fail to complete.  For those that do complete, they find the material extremely useful and profess themselves very pleased with the learning outcomes.

We however, would like every student to experience this result, and know the best guarantee of that is for them to attend in-class, where we are readily able to provide guidance, clarification and feedback and can assist them in completing their studies.