Personally, I’ve never been particularly interested in entering any of the financial modelling championship competitions – I suppose I never felt the need to prove anything and it all seemed rather high-stress and hyper-competitive, with the questions being released at all hours of the night. When the new Financial Modeling World Cup launched last month with a small entry fee and a two-hour commitment, I entered more out of curiosity than anything and found it actually quite stimulating and challenging. Being my first attempt and not taking it seriously (admittedly taking a phone call and then making myself tea and toast during the allotted time probably wasn’t wise). I completely bombed, and was rather relieved to see the names are not shown publicly for those who do poorly. Despite my pitiful results, I did find the challenge quite addictive and I took it far more seriously in the second round. I actually made it onto to the leader board at #34, although I am not sure if this rank takes into account my first attempt. I do hope so, as it means I’ll have a better chance at improving!
The Balance Sheet can be one of the trickiest financial statements to model, as several line items are the result of decisions you make for the other financial statements. Most importantly, getting your balance sheet to balance (and stay balanced!) can be quite a challenge.
Here are a few tips to help you master the balance sheet:
If you’re planning to pursue a career in financial modelling, there is no shortage of free resources to help you improve your financial modelling skills.
There are also hundreds of financial modelling training courses to choose from; most will give you a certificate of attendance, and an opportunity to claim Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points from your professional body.
Some will even give you a Certificate of Completion (note the capital C!)
Excel is the backbone to any custom built financial model, and one of the core attributes of a financial modeller is to have good technical Excel skills. When struggling with their financial models, some managers’ first reaction is to send their staff on an advanced Excel course to improve their modelling skills. However, with training budgets under constant scrutiny you really need to make sure that you get the best value out of your training options.
We are very excited to announce that the very popular “Dashboard Reporting in Modern Excel” is now available online as a live, webinar-style workshop! This interactive dashboards course will be run LIVE over three days from 10th – 12th November 2020, so you can join us wherever you are in the world. Download the brochure.
With the huge amount of data available to us every day, a well-built and designed dashboard report is one of the best ways to interpret and communicate large quantities of information. Using new Modern Excel tools, learn how to synthesise information into a logical framework, summarise it into a meaningful format, and then display the summary into easy-to-read tables and graphs using Excel or Power BI.
Who doesn’t love a shortcut? With all the hours we Excel users spend on the computer, a huge amount of time can be saved every day by learning the keyboard shortcut commands. Did you know that for every mouse click on your computer, it takes several times longer than the equivalent keyboard shortcut? (If you don’t believe me, try creating a new document with the mouse versus the shortcut Control-N!)
It’s never been more important to have a well built, flexible and robust financial model to use to predict outcomes and it’s at times like these a financial model really proves its worth. With a global pandemic unfolding and the situation changing daily, having a model that can you can quickly and easily update as the situation requires, is going to make it so much easier to make the quick decisions that are going to be necessary in the coming weeks or months.
As 2020 is a leap year, this month we have an extra day in the calendar. Those who are on a fixed monthly salary are complaining that they are not getting paid for working the extra day, but I do hope you are enjoying your day anyway, as this is something that only happens once every four years!
If you work in financial modelling or analysis you’ll know that the uneven number of days in each month causes quite a headache for financial calculations and reporting, especially with calculating interest payments, salaries or anything time-based. Excel does handle date-based calculations very well with handy functions such as =TODAY() or =NOW() which will always give you the current date, or date and time.
If you’re planning to take the FMI Financial Modelling Certification exams coming up on 2nd May, you should start practicing now! It’s one of the most hands-on exams you’re ever likely to see; for Level 1 you need to build a full set of financial statements within the four hour time-frame and it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. A lot of people fail (about 60% of them actually) and mostly because they simply run out of time. The best way to prepare for this gruelling exam is practice, practice and more practice! Timed practice session will help build stamina and give you the best possible chance of gaining this rigorous qualification.(more…)
I’ve been consulting, writing, training and speaking about the use of Excel for analysis, building financial models, budgets and dashboards for many years now and I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been contacted by software providers who’d like “my opinion” on their new software or add-in to Excel which is so much better than plain or, as I like to call it, “vanilla” Excel. Seriously, I get messages about this All. The. Time. So I thought I’d sit down and explain my views on why I stick to Excel.