How Long Does it Take to Learn Financial Modeling? The Best Guide


How Long Does it Take to Learn Financial Modeling?

‘But financial modeling looks tricky…it will take way longer for me to learn it.’

Is this thought holding you back too?

I often hear this narrative from students and professionals who are stuck questioning themselves especially when they want to uplevel their career journey in finance. 

And ruminating on these doubts can be quite discouraging, I understand. That is unless…I could help you shift the perception from a slightly different angle. 

Let me change the above statement for you, to a more hopeful question:

How Long Does it Take to Learn Financial Modeling?

Yes, it will take you months(30 days to 180 days to learn Financial Modeling, depending on your willingness and ability to learn.

Can you feel an invisible weight being lifted off your shoulder as soon as the word ‘months’, a slightly more finite quantity was put into the picture? 

It magically transforms the ‘fear of the unknown’ into the known.

Bravo! Being equipped with a positive growth mindset, enables you to ask the right questions, ultimately helping you be closer to the goal. 

My guide on the timeline needed to harness the financial modeling skills is here to do just that. That is, to help you feel more confident and at ease as you navigate through your uplevelling journey. 

Key Takeaways

Here’s a summary of what we will cover in this blog:  

  1. A rough yet realistic timeline based on skills assessment for learning financial modeling. 
  2. Truths about creating financial models you will have to accept (do not miss out on this one)
  3. Demand in the market for financial modeling as a skill
  4. Why are not all financial model courses meant for you?
  5. A catalyst that can make your financial model learning journey, way easier and way better. 

How Long Does it Take to Learn Financial Modeling?

How Long Does it Take to Learn Financial Modeling?

How Long Does it Take to Learn Financial Modeling?

Here it is, a detailed timeline for learning and creating financial models. 

A good follow-up question you should start with is—

‘What skills have I mastered and need to focus on?’

Skill assessment is the answer to your burning question. 

A thorough assessment of your pre-existing professional strengths and skills can give a better idea of where you stand and which phase to start from.

We have dissected them into a sample—three comprehensive levels to help you realize where you currently stand:

1. The early birds who create financial models

Individuals who are curious and want to seize the opportunity before their peers! 

1.1 You fit in this block if you are

An early business graduate, accountant, entry-level financial analyst, or entrepreneur who has a basic understanding of business. 

1.2 Skills you may have

Fair knowledge of financial statements- Cash Flow, maintaining balance sheet, etc. Strong analytical skills and an affinity for math.

1.3 Skills you may need

Treating Excel as your bible, effective communication skills, gaining practical knowledge through internships, a thorough understanding of the need, and background in financial modeling. In-depth learning on accounting, cash flow systems, business metrics, etc. 

1.4 Estimated Time

12 to 18 months

2. The uplevelers who create financial models

Uplevelling is in your playbook. You have an informed idea of the ‘financial models’, seen one, but are not aware of the work or steps that go into creating a proper one. 

2.1 You fit in this block if you are

A commercial banker, a small company finance manager, an economic analyst or a master’s student preparing for advanced roles like an investment banker position, chief financial officer, equity research manager, or more.

2.2 Skills you have

Basic knowledge of or having worked on basic financial model, strong analytical skills, fair knowledge of accounting, cash flow systems, Excel, and more. 

2.3 Skills you may need

Building or solving complex financial models, client relationship building skills, learning advanced Excel, newer software that helps utilize time more efficiently, communication skills to deliver presentations aptly, etc. 

2.4 Months estimated

3 to 6 months

3. The seasoned players who create financial models

Someone who has been in the industry for a long time, and is either switching industries or needs to catch up on the current prevailing and efficient technologies.

3.1 You fit in this block if you are:  

An experienced financial analyst, investment banker, portfolio manager, etc. who is looking to advance their learning in financial modeling specialization model making.

Perhaps a switch in the industry compels you to prepare better, and asses the differences. Financial modeling training Certification makes you confident and smart.

3.2 Skills You May Have: 

Experienced and advanced knowledge of Excel modeling skills, Great networking or communication skills, accounting, and other finance-related concepts.

3.3 Skills You May Need: 

Browsing through current prevailing software tools and learning an industry-specific financial model of a different business you are switching to. More like a consultation session to help cope with the change. 

3.4 Months Estimated

1 month

Golden Tips for You to Learn Financial Models

How Long Does it Take to Learn Financial Modeling? Tips

How Long Does it Take to Learn Financial Modeling? Tips

1. In practice, financial model learning is a never-ending process

The bitter truths you need to gulp in are, that the financial modeling landscape keeps evolving, and yes, learning it is challenging. 

The world keeps changing. New technologies are adopted, which means you have to sharpen your tools, e.g. getting familiar with new software. 

Hence, making it a never-ending learning process. 

The good news is, that you will probably not feel much swamped by the constant learning process as these changes happen in relatively adaptable and incremental ways.

2. Advice: Financial modeling is becoming less of a choice and more of a ‘must-have’. 

Here’s a little homework for you. 

It will take you 5 minutes, promise! 

Do a deep dive research on Linkedin under the job search section, with the keyword ‘financial modeling’.

Surprise, surprise. 

The number of search results you see- a plethora of companies I am sure, have this ‘skill’ marked in demand. Owing to this fact, many reputed institutions are now aggressively rolling out certificate programs and courses too. 

Phew! That’s a lot of action in the market. 

I mean why not?

Who wouldn’t want to wield a superpower- the ability to assess and map out the future? 

Plus, do not forget the big paychecks. 

Financial models help investors and business leaders alike to take informed steps. 

Helping them assess risks, mitigate them, expect profitability, and make investment decisions based on an easily digestible report. 

It’s something businesses realize they cannot do without and is certainly becoming an inseparable part of the finance world. 

Whether you are an early bird or a seasoned player, the statistics say you should seize the opportunity while it is still relatively new. 

And with a detailed breakdown of the timeline shared above, I believe you’ll have less excuse to delay the learning journey. The opportunities are endless. 

3. Keep in mind. Not all financial modeling courses, are meant for you. 

After browsing through the skill assessment blocks, it is easy to comprehend that different individuals require different training modules. You must ask yourself before enrolling to any course- How Long Does it Take to Learn Financial Modeling? and accordingly prepare for the same.

  • The Three Statement Model is a widely used financial modeling approach by various professionals and organizations, such as investment banking firms, risk analysts, equity analysts, management consultants, portfolio managers, advisory firms, corporates, and accounting firms.
  • It combines the income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet to offer a comprehensive view of a company’s financial performance and position, serving as a crucial tool for financial analysis and decision-making across different sectors.

This is why I personally think a one-size-fits-all ‘financial modeling courses’ doesn’t work for all. 

If you are ‘The early birds’- Why miss out on the ‘other’ crucial skills that have been omitted? ( Many courses are built from the Working Professionals POV )

If you are ‘The seasoned player’- Why waste time revisiting the basic concepts that you already practice in your day-to-day professional life? 

Plus, it’s easy to lose track of what to learn and what not to, as financial modeling as a course is relatively fresh in the market (even if it is an old concept). 

My Exclusive Insights for You- Financial Modeling Training

Now that you learnt how long will it take to learn Financial Modeling, it is time to take some real action. You must be wondering:

Which Financial Modeling Training Certification Courses should you choose, then? 

This is where I whiz in—to help you.

From my own professional experience, I believe practical experience and prior knowledge weighs more in learning the financial models. 

It is more about doing. Better, if the doing is on as many real-business projects as possible (even while you are practicing it).

  • So while you may harness the necessary inputs and a thorough understanding of the subject, only practicing on realistic live projects can help you gain efficiency in understanding complex systems. 
  • If it’s just theoretical monologues and mathematical equations (which are still very very important ), then my friend that’s not the real deal. 

I have met many such online ‘Financial Modeling Training Courses’ certificate programs that do no justice to the practical aspect that often includes exposure to complexities that often arise in real business. 

This is why, online Financial Modeling Mastery by BIWS (of which I have covered a detailed review, click here) caught my eye. 

It is divided into two courses:

  1. The Excel and The Financial Modeling Fundamentals and 
  2. The Advanced Financial Modeling Course

Both courses fits folks who are either our early bird learners and the upskillers or the seasoned players.

What I further love is its 100% transparency with what it’s going to teach you and the enriching practical guide of case studies on big-shot companies. 

Sounds good, right? Why not see it for yourself? 

Click here to read the course in detail.

In case you need more assistance, or a mentor to help you speed up your learning journey, feel free to leave a comment or email me.


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