Commercial Essentials Certificate

Gain a vital grounding in a broad range of financial issues and build better client relations.

Agencies must be strong, both creatively and commercially to succeed. This qualification will introduce you to the fundamentals of agency and client business commercially, so you can incorporate that learning into your day to day work as early as possible.

Who is this qualification for?

Primarily for Senior Account Manager and Account Director level (or equivalent), the qualification is also suitable for any staff who want to raise their commercial nous and get a better understanding of the commercial factors influencing agencies and clients.

What are the benefits?

The IPA Commercial Essentials Certificate is designed to give candidates an introductory understanding of the following:

  • How agencies make money and the financial processes within an agency
  • The financial language in use in client and agency businesses today
  • What best practise financial management looks like for day to day activities such as media booking and production
  • The KPIs clients and agencies use to measure commercial success
  • The different fee models in use today
  • How to scope a project

These areas are divided into seven online modules, each of which provides the insights and tools you will need to get started on your commercial career in advertising.

Visit the full Commercial Essentials Certificate syllabus.

How is the qualification delivered and assessed?

  • There are approximately eight hours of online learning accessible through the IPA website on any device, or via the IPA Learning app.
  • By completing a diagnostic quiz before you start, you can tailor your learning and the level of detail of your study.
  • If you successfully complete all seven modules, two self-tests and pass the online exam, you will be awarded one MIPA star.

How do you book onto and access the qualification?

Once booked, you can access and start your online learning via the IPA website. To access, please head to your personal IPA portal via the profile icon and click on ‘Training’. Or, visit your personal Training page.

Non-members must complete this qualification by 31 December of their intake year.

Free learning for IPA Members

The Commercial Essentials Certificate is free for IPA members. There is no completion deadline for IPA members, unless one has been set for you by your employer.


  • Members: Free
  • Non-Members: £250+VAT

About the authors

Markwick Consulting

The IPA Commercial Certificate was devised by the IPA Commercial Leadership Group with the content written and provided by Janet Markwick, a former Agency CFO and Global Chief Commercial Officer, in partnership with Rhona Glazebrook, an experienced Global Account Lead and Managing Partner. 


We operate a 14-day cancellation policy. Please view the Policies for further details:

Please see the Special T&Cs for our Ukraine Programme.

For more information, please email