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11 Steps to a Financial Model Perfection: From Consistency to Macros



1) Consistency:

  • Check that the balance sheet's total assets equal the total liabilities and equity.

  • Verify that the cash flow statement's ending cash balance matches the balance sheet's cash balance.

  • Check that the income statement's net income matches the change in the equity section of the balance sheet.

2) Accuracy:

  • Use the latest financial statements and market data to ensure that the model's inputs are accurate and up-to-date.

  • Check the source of data and calculations to ensure that they are accurate.

  • Verify the accuracy of the model's outputs by comparing them with actual results.

3) Sensitivity analysis:

  • Perform sensitivity analysis to determine how changes in key assumptions, such as revenue growth or expense levels, impact the model's output.

  • Evaluate how the model's output changes when key inputs are varied.

  • Determine the range of outcomes under different scenarios.

4) Error checking:

  • Check all formulas to ensure that they are correct and accurately reflect the model's assumptions.

  • Review all inputs to ensure that they are accurate and correctly entered.

  • Verify that the model produces results that are consistent with expectations.

5) Reasonableness:

  • Compare assumptions and inputs with industry benchmarks, historical data, and market trends.

  • Evaluate the model's output against industry averages to determine if it is reasonable.

  • Consider any deviations from historical trends and investigate the reasonableness of the assumptions used.

6) Completeness:

  • Ensure that the model includes all the necessary financial statements, including the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement.

  • Verify that all assumptions and inputs are included in the model.

  • Ensure that the model covers all aspects of the business's financial performance and position.

7) Model simplicity:

  • Use clear and concise formulas and labels to avoid confusion.

  • Avoid using complex formulas or methods unless necessary.

  • Ensure that the model is easy to navigate and use.

8) Documentation:

  • Document all assumptions, inputs, and calculations used in the model.

  • Include clear and concise explanations of formulas and calculations.

  • Ensure that the documentation is organized and easy to follow.

9) Model validation:

  • Verify that the model produces outputs consistent with expectations and actual results.

  • Compare the model's output to external benchmarks and data sources.

  • Perform sensitivity analysis to evaluate the model's performance under different scenarios.

10) Future-proofing:

  • Consider the impact of potential changes in the business environment and adjust assumptions accordingly.

  • Evaluate the model's output under different scenarios and update the assumptions as needed.

  • Continuously review and update the model to reflect changes in the business environment.

11) Scenario-driven features using macros:

  • Use macros to create scenario-driven features that allow users to adjust assumptions and inputs quickly and easily.

  • For example, create a macro that allows users to adjust revenue growth rates or expense levels based on different scenarios, such as best-case, worst-case, or base-case scenarios.

  • Macros can help to automate repetitive tasks and streamline the model's usage, making it more efficient and user-friendly.

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