AMA Survey: Finance Professionals Seek Leadership Skills and Online Training

November 30, 2015

Finance professionals AFP

During the Association for Financial Professionals Conference in Denver in October 2015, American Management Association (AMA) conducted a survey of 275 financial services professionals to gauge their learning and development needs and preferences. The survey included four questions exploring the types of learning and development skills finance professionals sought, their preferred method of learning, the biggest obstacle preventing them from growing on the job, and their certification status. The survey results are in, and the responses are illuminating. They show that financial professionals seek more leadership skills; prefer online training; feel they need more time; and have a certification or are working towards one.

For the first question, we asked finance professionals to pick the top three areas where they need to strengthen their skills. According to their responses, the three skills financial professionals are seeking to improve the most are leadership skills, presentation skills, and analytical skills, as seen in the chart below:



In the second question, we asked finance professionals to select their preferred learning method. As the results show, finance professionals prefer live online/virtual, followed by classroom training, and a combination of the two.


Question 2: What delivery method do you most prefer for learning & development?



Given that finance is a highly-regulated and fast-paced industry, preference to online training is not surprising. Online training is accessible at will, allows a self-paced environment, and addresses the need to learn efficiently per regulatory requirements.  The results also align with the research conducted for Bersin by Deloitte showing that the modern learner prefers mobile, live online, or virtual training.

Next, in Question 3, we asked about obstacles to growing on the job.  Lack of time seems to be the biggest hurdle. Again, this is not surprising and aligns with the pressures the modern learner is facing in being rushed and inundated with information on a continuous daily basis. The next highest response for this question was quite positive, as financial professionals said they didn’t face any obstacles at this time.  The third biggest obstacle was lack of mentoring/coaching and lack of career path.

Question 3: Which is your biggest obstacle to growing on the job?


The last question we asked pertained to certifications and plans to acquire them by financial professionals. As shown, 39% of professionals we surveyed held CTP certification, and about 12% were working towards one. In addition, 2.9% of respondents held the recently established Financial Planning & Analysis Certification offered by the Association for Financial Professionals, while 3.3 % are working towards earning one. Interestingly, 33.5% of the respondents said that they neither require nor need a certification.

Question 4: Which of the following describes your certification status?


So, very much in line with the demands of the times and the finance industry, in particular, our survey results show that finance professionals are focused on improving their leadership skills, prefer online training, wish they had more time, and already have or are working towards a certification.


The American Management Association is a global talent development solutions provider in courses including leadership, presentation skills, analytical skills, time management, FP&A Certification, and many more. For details, please see

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About The Author

American Management Association is a world leader in professional development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. AMA’s approach to improving performance combines experiential learning—“learning through doing”—with opportunities for ongoing professional growth at every step of one’s career journey. AMA supports the goals of individuals and organizations through a complete range of products and services, including seminars, Webcasts and podcasts, conferences, corporate and government solutions, business books and research.

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