Financial Modelling in Excel

This course is designed for business professionals who need to explore the practical usage of advanced excel functions in a financial model. By creating your own user-friendly financial model, you will learn to translate business concepts into a structured format to identify weaknesses and predict future performance.

This course is part of the Financial Modelling Series:

Book CoverEach participant on this course receives a hard copy of the book Using Excel for Business and Financial Modelling.   Reusing your copy or want to do multiple courses?  We have bulk booking discounts, or get the full suite of all three Financial Modelling courses at the discounted price of $1,800 incl GST.


The course material includes extensive use of Excel and participants will gain the maximum benefit from this course if they are already competent spreadsheet users. It is designed for users who do use Excel on a regular basis, and are comfortable with using its basic tools and functions.

At minimum, it is assumed that participants will know how to:

  • Navigate confidently in Excel
  • Use absolute cell references (e.g. =$A$1)
  • Create and use simple formulas
  • Link between workbooks

Software Used

Public courses are run in a computer laboratory with workstations provided. Participants may bring their own laptops if they prefer.   The course is demonstrated using Microsoft Excel 2016, but participants can use Excel 2007, 2010 or 2013 if they prefer.  Course materials contain instructions for different versions, and Excel 2011 for Mac users are also catered for. Those who would like to use a Mac are most welcome to bring their own laptops.


Learning Objectives

During the course, participants will create their own financial model to take away and use for future reference. You will learn how to design and create a user-friendly model which can then be used by anyone with limited knowledge of Excel.

You will learn how to:

  1. Build a financial model from scratch, or modify and improve an inherited model
  2. Select the most appropriate formula to achieve the desired outcome
  3. Identify common errors in modelling & mitigate errors by building in error checks
  4. Prevent incorrect use of your model by protecting worksheets
  5. Validate data entry by setting data entry parameters
  6. Develop manual scenario selection
  7. Mitigate liability by providing assumptions
  8. Gain an in-depth understanding of how to build a business case
  9. Communicate the results of your model clearly and concisely

This course builds on students’ existing knowledge of Excel tools and functions and incorporates these into a financial model.

Course Content

About Financial Modelling

  • What is Financial Modelling?
    Definition of a financial model.  Can all spreadsheets be called financial models?
  • Model Design
    Designing and planning the layout of your model.   Considering factors such as the purpose and audience of the model.
  • Skills needed for Financial Modelling
    The technical, design, business and industry knowledge required for financial modelling
  • Best Practice in Financial Modelling
    Overview of the six points of financial modelling best practice

Excel Tools

  • Excel Versions
    Upgrading to Excel 365 and technical differences between versions. Considerations when building a model for users of different versions.
  • Conditional Formatting
    Creating an automatic variance alert.  Using icon sets, colour scales and data bars to add visual interest to model outputs.
  • Hiding and Grouping
    Keep your model tidy and easy to follow by hide unnecessary information or unused parts of the model whilst still following best practice guidelines
  • Dos and Don’ts for Linking Between Files
    Ways to improve model integrity and reduce errors between linked files

Financial Modelling Techniques

  • What Makes a Good Financial Model?
    Attributes of a good model such as user-friendly and structural features
  • Strategies for Reducing Errors
    Techniques to employ during the model building process to reduce the potential for formula or logic error
  • Building Error Checks
    Creating in-built, self-balancing error checks and error alerts
  • Bullet-Proofing your Model
    Using worksheet protection to prevent entry, and restricting data entries using data validations.  Prevent misuse of your model by restricting incorrect inputs.
  • What-if Analysis with Goal Seek
    Back-solve from a desired formula output to determine a model input using the goal seek Excel tool
  • Overview of Scenario Analysis Methods
    Technical methods of creating scenario and sensitivity analysis in Excel

Essential Formulas

  • Cell Referencing & Named Ranges
    Applying absolute and relative cell referencing and understanding its importance in Financial Modelling.  Using named ranges for assumptions reference.
  • Logical Nested Functions
    Using IF, OR and AND functions, and nesting these together to create simple but intelligent formulas for use within financial models
  • Aggregation Functions
    Applying the COUNTIF and SUMIF functions to reports and data summaries
  • Using a VLOOKUP or XLOOKUP Function
    Correctly building this much-loved and often over-used Excel function
  • Tiering Tables
    Practical application of one of the more complex and widely used calculations in financial modelling, such as tax calculations and volume break discounting
  • Using the FORECAST / TREND Function
    Hypothetically forecasting future data based on historical trends using simple regression analysis in Excel
  • Formula Selection
    Which formula or tool is most appropriate in which modelling situation?

Building a Business Case

Case Study: Build an individual business case using a range of financial functions and tools utilising best practice financial modelling techniques

  • Calculating Staff costs
    Modelling with consistent, nested formulas to calculate costs for employees with variable start and end dates, including compounding inflation
  • Forecasting customer numbers
    Calculating customer acquisition numbers from the potential pool of customers with documented assumptions. Mitigate liability by including appropriate caveats and key assumptions.
  • Modelling market penetration in a business case
    Using assumed takeup rates to model market penetration
  • Forecasting Product Profitability
    Assess business case feasibility cashflow forecast
  • Project Evaluation
    Evaluate project feasibility with IRR (Internal Rate of Return), NPV (Net Present Value) and the payback period

Analysing & Presenting your Model

Practical: Create a best, base and worst case scenario on your model. Select from the drop-down box and watch the results change

  • Scenarios and Sensitivity Analysis
    Manual sensitivity analysis, creating drop-down switches for scenario selection. Adjusting inputs variables to impact outcomes.
  • Model Documentation
    Summarising key assumptions, documentation and source referencing, Writing operation instructions
  • Presentation of Model Output
    Summarising results and display of findings. Communicate the results of your model clearly and concisely whilst getting the key message across to the audience. Summarising model data into a presentation


[ESPRESSO_EVENTS category_slug=financial-modelling-in-excel]

Comments from past students

“Very well-structured course with great explanations that link back to the business. Practical!”

“Good practical information on business modelling and forecasting. Very applicable for day to day use in business”

“Danielle’s knowledge was excellent”

“Content was comprehensive – I will recommend to others”

“Intuitive and interesting”

“Explanations were clear and thorough”

“It was a very practical course and I now feel confident with Excel and Financial Modelling”