There are plenty of courses, including executive education programmes, to help you upskill in finance. Source: Roslan Rahman/AFP

The role of a manager is evolving. As staff grow into management and senior management roles, some form of fundamental financial concepts is needed to navigate risks faced by companies and in helping organisations achieve their short and long-term goals.

To boot, finance is at the core of business decision-making, making it essential knowledge for all professionals across various industries.

Despite that, not all managerial candidates have working knowledge in financial concepts for corporate financial management, paving the way for finance-related courses to help these professionals adapt and thrive in their roles.

Managers with sound financial knowledge generally make better decisions that are sustainable and benefit the organisation.

If you’re a manager who wants to equip him or herself with some financial know-how, take comfort in knowing that the resources to upskill are essentially endless. Here are some of your options:

Free online courses 

Finance and accounting are two different careers, but having some basic knowledge in accounting or finance could come in handy as you climb up the corporate ranks.

If you need a refresher in accounting,  you can take online courses on EdX such as Financial Accounting and Finance Essentials, or Accounting and Financial Management.


Micromasters are bite-sized qualifications designed for recent graduates and early to mid-stage professionals interested in developing a deeper understanding of a particular area.

These cost-effective, skill-based qualifications are designed to provide knowledge, skills, and abilities that enable professionals to develop their careers.

The MITx MicroMasters® Programme in Finance was launched through cooperation between MITx at MIT Open Learning. The programme includes a bundle of five finance online courses taught by MIT Sloan faculty members on e-learning platform, EdX.

The courses that make up the programme replicates on-campus graduate-level MIT coursework and cover topics such as modern finance, financial accounting, mathematical methods for quantitative finance, and derivative markets. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of global markets and learn to apply critical financial theories, models, and frameworks across all areas of finance.

Alternatively, EdX also hosts the UMGC’s MicroMasters program in Accounting and Financial Management by the University System of Maryland. This 32-week programme was designed for professionals who want to develop their careers and move toward an organisational leadership position.

The programme consists of four graduate-level courses that could help managers build the financial and accounting skillset needed to rise to an executive level of responsibility and earning power. Topics include financial decision making, financial accounting for corporations, financial management in organisations, and long-term financial management.

The qualification will ultimately help learners gain hands-on experience as they report and analyse financial transactions of corporations. 


A postgraduate certificate can be a great option for professionals looking to update their knowledge in certain areas without committing too much time or money. These courses are offered at many universities, and can pave the way for advanced study in a particular field – should you choose to do so later on. 

Depending on the programme, it can take anywhere between a few weeks, months or even a year to complete. Some are offered fully-online, while others are offered in-class or a hybrid of both. 

Some of the common requirements to enrol typically include an undergraduate degree, equivalent higher education qualification, or relevant work experience. 

UPF Barcelona School of Management offers a Postgraduate Course in International Finance. “Throughout the course, international financial reporting standards, aspects related to the financing of international operations, as well as the most common management control systems in multinational companies will be dealt with in detail,” notes its website.

The London School of Business and Finance offers something similar – a Postgraduate Certificate in Finance. This 20-week online programme consists of four compulsory courses: financial statements, corporate finance, financial risk management and mergers and acquisitions. 

An alternative that comes with zero requirements? You might want to try Babson’s Professional Certificate in Financial Decision-making for Leaders, which can be completed online.

Executive education

Finance-related executive education programmes tend to cover general and industry-specific topics such as accounting, the deciphering of financial statements, mergers and acquisitions, capital investment, venture capital, global economies, healthcare, strategy, and development.

MIT, for instance, offers Fundamentals of Finance for the Technical Executive programme, which was designed to provide senior technical managers with the financial concepts, strategies, and tools needed to deal more effectively with corporate financial management.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Advanced Finance Programme by Wharton is for executives who need to master the necessary financial skills to remain at the leading edge of their professions. Upon completion, enrollees are granted Wharton alumni status and access to resources that facilitate professional growth.