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.
Having written several books on the subject and hence committed a large part of my career to the use of Excel, I’ve had to seriously consider that perhaps I’m too stuck in my ways to consider any of these new tools. The title of my first Wiley Finance book which has been revised and published three times and sold thousands of copies was “Using Excel for Business Analysis,” so I guess you could say I’m pretty invested in the success of the software.
Power Query is a fantastic automation tool for extracting, collating and cleaning data to use in our excel models. But is it really the essential tool Microsoft would have us believe? Sometimes it’s quicker and easier, not to mention simpler for other to follow to use standard Excel formulas.
Earlier this year, I asked members of the Financial Modelling Group for their best tips for reducing financial model file size and got some fantastic tips. I’ve edited my original list of personal favourites to include some of the best tips and tricks and credited the authors below:
Hosted by Bayfield Training CEO Sonia Martin-Gutierrez, Principal Financial Modeller at Plum Solutions, Danielle Stein Fairhurst shows how to summarise the outputs of your financial model using standard Excel skills into a concise, dynamic and visually appealing one-page dashboard report which can effectively communicate the results of your model to be easily interpreted and understood by others at a glance. (more…)
When embarking upon the budget process for your organisation this year, practical Microsoft Excel tools and strong financial modelling skills will be critical for managing the budget process.
Historically, the budget process involves pulling out the financials and rolling them forward, but last year’s actuals can no longer be an automatic target. (more…)
We used to be able to simply look at last year’s actuals, apply growth trends and the seasonality to build budgets and forecast going forward but we just can’t do that anymore! It’s never been more important to have the skills to be able to build robust, flexible and dynamic budget models to accurately predict budgets and forecasts for future periods.
I am very much looking forward to my new LIVE and ONLINE sessions on one of my favourite topics – budgeting and forecasting! During the many years I’ve been working as a finance & analytical consultant, I’ve built, overseen, implemented and reported against scores of budgets and forecasts across a multitude of industries, but forecasting has never been as much of a challenge as it is at the moment.
A few months ago Kenny Whitelaw-Jones showed our virtual meetup group how it’s becoming easier to build complex models in record time using modular model build tool Openbox, a new structured financial modelling environment that sits on top of Excel.
Since then, 150 beta users have taken the software through three rounds of private beta. (more…)
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!
Happy Halloween! I have been meaning to write about phantom links for a while, and Halloween is a good time to talk about hunting down and exorcise this ghoulishly annoying phenomenon from your financial models.
A 3-way financial model, consists of a fully dynamic and flexible Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement.
For those who have tried, building one in PowerBI is not a trivial task. (more…)