SPECIALISTS IN FINANCIAL MODELLING
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Special Edition: Financial Modelling for COVID-19 Uncertainty

Written by Danielle Stein Fairhurst and Lance Rubin
This article first appeared as part of the Financial Modelling Knowledge Hub

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.

Happy Leap Year with Date Functions in Excel

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.

Becoming a Certified Financial Modeller

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.

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Sensitivities, Scenarios, What-if Analysis – What’s the Difference?

Scenario analysis, sensitivity analysis and what-if analysis are very similar concepts and are really only slight variations of the same thing. All are very important components of financial modelling – in fact, being able to run sensitivities, scenarios and what-if analysis is often the whole reason the model was built in the first place.

Excel Summit South Recap | Dashboard Webinars

I’m just back in the office after attending Excel Summit South here in Sydney last week and I’m still processing it all. For the past few years, some of the Excel MVPs from around the world do a tour Down Under and tell us all about the cutting edge features of our favourite software:) MVP stands for Most Valuable Professional awarded by Microsoft to just a handful of professionals in recognition for their contributions to the Excel community. It’s just a fantastic experience to have two full days surrounded by these experts of the industry. I had a great time catching up with old friends, and making new ones.

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Should Finance People learn Power BI?

Should people working in finance, such as financial modellers bother to learn Power BI? Whilst not a modelling tool, Power BI is incredibly useful for preparing, crunching and presenting data and there’s no doubt that Microsoft is truly committed to its place in the market with the speed and frequency of updates and feature improvements.

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Budget vs. Actual analysis in Power BI – Webinar Recording

Watch the recording of this live webinar as we learn how to create a multi-dimensional model for your budget vs. actual performance data and how to create interactive reporting on it. Compare retail performance of Appraisal Owls (fictional company) over last 12 months and analyse results in Power BI. Chandoo (aka Purna Duggirala) is the founder of chandoo.org, an award-winning Excel and visualisation site which has over 50,000 members and 1.6 million visitors each month.

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Financial Modelling & Excel Resource Links – Updated

I wrote a blog article a while ago with links to some good Excel and Financial Modelling online resources.  Due to its popularity at the time, and the fast moving pace of the online world, I thought it was time to update it!  www.plumsolutions.com.au/free-stuff is a good place to start, but there are a lot of other online resources available as well.

The Best Podcasts of 2018 for Finance Professionals

by Danielle Stein Fairhurst

Last week I was interviewed by Matthew Bernath for his new show, “The Financial Modelling Podcast”.  We had a great chat about modelling trends, how to learn from other financial modellers and the meetup groups that I run in various locations.  Matthew is based in Johannesburg and I was pleased to host him as a guest speaker at our meetup group earlier this year on his visit to Sydney.

What’s new in Excel 2019/Excel 365, and what’s the difference?

Each time an updated version of Excel is launched, new features are introduced and subtle changes in the look and feel take place. The biggest change was way back when the big jump from Excel 2003 to 2007 occurred. The introduction of the Ribbon and change of file types caused all sort of difficulties for heavy-duty Excel users, financial modellers included. In the versions since then, the changes have been somewhat less traumatic for users and in recent years Microsoft has been moving towards a subscription-based model, making the changes incrementally rather than all at once.