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.
Whilst it’s great to come on a training course and get a really intensive experience, chances are you won’t remember all of it, especially if it’s a pure Excel course with little practical application. That’s why it’s a good idea to sign up for those newsletters and blog sites that will provide you with a steady stream of inspiration and “Oooh, I never thought of doing it like that” moments. If your inbox can cope with a few extra emails – it just might be worth wading through a few extra emails to get to the good stuff.
So to save you hours of surfing and signing up to questionable sites, here is a list of our favourite sites, and thanks to the members of the Linked In Financial Modelling in Excel group who contributed. Feel free to add any resources I have missed as I’m sure there are plenty!
By reading through Using Excel for Business Analysis: a Guide to Financial Modelling Fundamentals, or by going on an Excel or financial modelling and analysis training course, you will have been building up your skills and knowledge by working through specific tasks and exercises that use the tools and techniques learned. The files that you will have built, and the corresponding step by step instructions will serve as a good reference for you when you need to repeat a task.
Improving your Excel Skills
We know that there is a lot more to being a good financial modeller than having good Excel skills, but it’s pretty hard to become a top-notch modeller without knowing Excel pretty well. Type what you need to do into Google, and you’ll probably end up on one of these sites, but subscribing to their newsfeeds is not a bad idea if you want keep up with your continual daily learning.
- Chandoo.org aims to make you “awesome in Excel” and his blog is incredibly popular, due to the fantastic info he sends out all for free – almost on a daily basis! Signing up to his newsletter is one of the best moves you can make if you want to continually improve your Excel skills.
- My Online Training Hub has some free Webinars – Creating Dashboards in Excel and Dashboards with Power Query and Power Pivot.
- My Excel Online has a free Webinar – Power Query and Data Cleansing
- The J-Walk blog and Mr Excel contain articles on pretty much anything you ever needed to know on Excel tools and functions.
- Excel Easy has some good Excel tutorials for beginners including tutorials on Data Analysis and VBA.
- Don’t forget of course that you can always head straight to the Microsoft user discussion groups for straight technical issues.
Financial Modelling & Analysis
The sites listed below are dedicated to the use of Excel in a financial modelling context. Whilst they in many cases contain detailed step by step instructions on how to use certain formulas, they often deal with issues relating specifically to the use of Excel by modellers, rather than just general spreadsheet users.
- F1F9 Academy have a free video course “31 Days to Better Financial Modelling” which is worth taking a look. They also periodically release good quality e-books and webinars on the subject, and publish the crowd-sourced “Financial Modelling Handbook”
- Corality’s Smart Campus has some excellent tutorials on lots of Financial Modelling and Excel-related topics, especially the area of risk, model audit and project finance.
- Access Analytic has a good knowledge area with extensive research articles, and some very useful whitepapers.
- SumProduct has some good articles on commonly encountered issues for financial modellers
- Join the Financial Modelling in Excel group at Linkedin. Find out about key issues and what’s happening in the world of Financial Modelling. If you have a question post a discussion and you’ll have access to tens of thousands of professionals all interested in financial modelling. This forum is (carefully) moderated by Plum Solutions.
Best Practice Standards and Guidelines
There are several different financial modelling standards available. They each have a slightly different focus, but in general they all promote good modelling techniques which lead to well-structured, robust and error-free models.
- The FAST modelling standard is a continually evolving standard for financial modelling best practice. Financial Models should be Flexible, Accurate, Structured and Transparent. As well as information on the FAST standard, the site has some good resources.
- The SMART modelling methodology was developed by the Corality Group and focusses on Transparency, Flexibility and Presentation.
- Best Practice Spreadsheet Modelling Standards from the Spreadsheet Standards Review Board is also well-regarded.
Please visit the Plum Solutions Blog to check for updates to this list of Online Resources for Financial Modelling in Excel.
White Papers & Other Documents
Available for download online. You may need to register to access them.
“Financial Modelling Best Practice Guidelines” Whitepaper by Jeff Robson, Access Analytic Available at http://www.accessanalytic.com.au/kb
“Best Practice Modelling Standards, Spreadsheet Standards Review Board available at http://www.ssrb.org
These books are all available at www.bookdepository.com
- “Practical Financial Modelling – A Guide to Current Practice” – Jonathan Swan, CIMA Publishing 2008
- “Financial Modeling” Third edition – Simon Benninga, MIT Press 2008
- “Financial Modelling in Practice: a Concise Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Level” – Dr Michael Rees, Wiley Finance, 2008
- “Mastering Financial Modelling in Microsoft Excel: a Practitioners Guide to Applied Corporate Finance” – Alastair Day, Financial Times Series, 2007
- “Building Financial Models: the Complete Guide to Designing, Building and Applying Projection Models” Second Edition – John S. Tjia, McGraw-Hill Finance & Investing 2009
- “Next Generation Excel: Modeling in Excel for Analysts and MBAs” – Isaac Gottlieb, Wiley Finance, 2010