You can learn a lot without spending a penny, if you know where to look.

With more of us working at home and working in a complex, uncertain and rapidly shifting environment, now is a great time to improve and broaden your skills.

The National Careers Service’s (NCS) Skills Toolkit pulls together a number of free courses to help people upskill. While some of these involve basic office skills or specialisms that aren’t that relevant to finance, but several could give you a solid foundation in the skills that will help you thrive in the Digital Finance Function.

Here are some of the best free courses in the toolkit:

Data analytics fundamentals

This course, provided by Amazon Web Services, takes you through the processes involved in data analytics solutions. You can learn how to identify the characteristics of data analytics solutions, define types of data and data storage types, and recognise ways to analyse data to produce information for reports. As you’d expect, it focuses on Amazon tools, but the core of the learning can be applied to any platform.

Time to completion: three-and-a-half hours

Introduction to machine learning

This Google course teaches you how to train a machine to perform simple tasks, from building a recommendation system to how to get a machine to learn. It even covers fairness in machine learning, so you can pick up any potential biases in your algorithms.

Time to completion: three-to-five hours

Become a Data Analyst

This course from LinkedIn and Microsoft digs into some of the same topics as the Amazon course, but will take you through data visualisation and how to use tools such as Power BI effectively. It also goes through the role of Excel in analytics. It also takes a little more time, but you get a deeper knowledge of the subject as a result.

Time to completion: 30 hours

Presenting You Work With Impact

Thriving in the Digital Finance Function involves more than technical skills. Accountants must be business savvy, excellent communicators; able to put complex financial information into straightforward, actionable terms. This course from FutureLearn explains how to organise your thoughts into a clear narrative and deliver it in an engaging way. It also goes into how to create slide decks, which will feed into how you present your data visualisations.

Time to completion: four hours

Leadership and followership

If you’re going to be an effective part of the Digital Finance Function – even if you’re not the CFO – you’re going to need some sort of leadership skills. You’re likely to be partnering with other departments in the organisation and influencing decision making. This Open University course takes you through your leadership style, what makes a good leader, followership, and how to develop as a leader.

Time to completion: 24 hours


If you’re looking to improve your reporting output and capability, join our next session! Click the link for more details.

Thursday 22 October, 2pm BST