It is true but out there are hundreds of people prepared to pay serious money to undertake my course in financial analysis. This is no ordinary course - FANA as it is called is an option on the Manchester Business School MBA - and FANA has the reputation for being the toughest, one semester course in finance on the planet. But several graduates of the programme have gone on to do CFA and all report back: after FANA, CFA was a roll over. So round the world I go teaching financial analysis, using the Manchester Method, to willing students of the black arts of finance.
Why is FANA so popular, why is it that I find professionally qualified CPA's, ACA's, ACCA's ready and waiting? Truth is I don't know. I suspect it may be that they have heard that it is taught with real companies using my Living Case Method. What is true is that they realise that even a professional qualification is little help - OK, they may know the ins and outs of IFRS 29 but what about the basics? How do you work out the cost of capital for a company without relying on the numbers produced by the data warehouses? How do you sort out whether and to what degree the accountants have been cooking the books, how do you unravel the cost structure of a company and hence its exposure to operating risk? That's the easy bit but what about unpicking the financials as a preliminary to valuation and what about the additional value to equity generated by leverage? All of these questions and more get answered.
It has been said that the trouble with professional qualifications is that if something cannot be examined in 45 minutes then it cannot be taught. Certainly my many years of professional examining confirms me in that particular prejudice. But, nothing gives me greater pleasure than watching the professional accountant's self belief unravel because I know that is the first step in really becoming a master of the black arts of finance. I suppose that's why the ultimate qualification is called an MBA.