Personalising your Best Practice Financial Model

It goes without saying, in the world of best practice financial modelling; the crucial need for a high-level attention to detail. One aspect of this is the importance of delivering a value-added modelling solution, which in part should be highly personalised for the company in question. It should not just be industry-focused, but also based on the unique attributes of the company. There are many ways to further enhance the personalised value of a financial model to a company.

Definitively, personalised is the ability to make or produce something to conform to a person’s individual requirements. The following identifies some more obscure or less understood elements of Excel, which can further improve the personalised added value of a best practice financial model.

Conditional Formatting

In the case of a bilingual or multi-lingual financial model as was discussed previously, conditional formatting can enable variable formatted numbers based on the language specified in a drop-down box. This is a simple way to enhance the user-friendly value of the financial model, as it can improve the reporting of key performance indicators (KPIs) based on varying languages.

A company may want to report the number of loans, by agent in either French or English by formatting the cells. Conventional cell formatting won’t allow the flexibility to alternate between variables such as language. However, this is not a problem thanks to conditional formatting. In this example, if “French” is selected on the drop-down box on the cover sheet, then the highlighted cell switches to “2 Prêt(s)” instead of to “2 Loan(s)” – as was the case when “English” was specified previously.

Tick-boxes

The integration of tick-boxes can further permit the added-value of financial modelling flexibility, which a sophisticated financial model is often called to deliver at the eleventh hour by model stakeholders, such as corporate executives or investors. An example could be the need to tick or un-tick certain business units or subsidiary companies, in order to quickly reconcile the financial statements in the model, against not just the source financial numbers from an accounting system like Simply Accounting, but also against the furnished financial statements from the company’s external accountants.

The ability to tick off the irrelevant foreign entities in the financial model will permit the use of the model’s consolidated but high-level summarised snapshot of the financials; instead of trawling through the detailed financials (in the model) to identify the financials of the specific business unit.

Further, tick boxes can be used to great effect for scenario or sensitivity analysis. For example, financial model users can simply un-tick a specific business unit, asset or product, in order to understand the impact on credit metrics or earnings.

Radio buttons and drop-down boxes

As discussed in “The value-add of Dashboards in Strategic Planning”, there can be immense added value to model users with integrating the likes of drop-down boxes into a dashboard in a best practice financial model. These features can further personalise and deliver the added value of a user-friendly tool to executives, when analysing KPIs or other financial metrics of the overall company, business units or specific areas of business. The radio buttons for example can facilitate different output forms in the dashboard; monthly, quarterly, Year to Date or annually.

As the following demonstration proves, the addition of such radio buttons and drop-down boxes greatly improves the value of the graph. Instead of creating separate individual graphs, which might not be useful to the stakeholder; this dynamic graph can produce any one of at least eight different outputs.

Final Personalised Word

There are many ways to increase the personalised feel of a best practice financial model. The model must deliver a flexible, user friendly tool for executives to suit their respective needs; which is the true essence of the definition personalised. Integrating any of the above techniques; conditional formatting with a multi-lingual model, incorporating radio buttons and drop-down boxes into dashboards, and tick-boxes into the financial model will deliver personalised added value to financial model users.