When you decide your financial models are not as good as they should be, should you immediately send your team on an advanced Excel training course? Whilst this is certainly helpful, there’s a great deal more to financial modelling than being good at Excel!

When considering the skills that make up a good financial modeller, we need to differentiate between conceptual modelling, which is to have an understanding of the transaction, business, or product being modelled, and spreadsheet engineering, which is the representation of that conceptual model in a spreadsheet. Spreadsheet skills are reasonably easy to find, but a modeller who can understand the concept of the purpose of the model and translate it into a clear, concise, and well-structured model is much rarer.

People who need to build a financial model sometimes think they need to become either an Excel super-user or an accounting pro who knows every in and out of accounting rules. I’d argue you need a blend of both, as well as a number of other skills, including some business common sense!

Skills Needed for Financial Modelling is a section in the Financial Modelling in Excel (Intermediate) Online course which has been recently updated for Excel 2016. Download the course notes which accompany this section.