Introduction to Financial Modelling Standards, and FAST

Learn how to take your models from good to great

What you’ll learn

• Why we need financial modelling standards
• What standards are available to you
• The key principles of the FAST Standard
• The importance of flags and factors
• The importance of model reviews

36 total mins

Requirements

• Some existing Excel and financial modelling experience

Description

This is a free mini-course covering financial modelling standards, The FAST Standard in particular, flags & factors and model review tools.

It’s very much intended to be a short introduction to the topic. You will see some of the characteristics of a generally accepted “good” model versus a bad one.  You’ll also take away some practical tips to help you build clearer, simpler and well-structured financial models and formulas straight away.

Financial Modelling Standards

I’ll introduce you to some of most prominent standards out there, so that you can look through them and decide which one works best for you.  The ICAEW, in particular, has two fantastic assets for you to look through, with their 20 Principles of Good Spreadsheet Practice being a great place for students who are unfamiliar with modelling standards to start with.

We’ll then deep-dive into the FAST Standard, and their Calculation Block principle in particular. The calculation block approach helps ensure your formulas are crystal clear; no skimming around your model to understand any links. Everything you need to build into your formulas (your ingredients) can be found in the rows above your calculation.

Flags & Factors

Mastering the art of creating and using flags and factors in your models is one of best ways to increase the simplicity of your calculations.  Split the logic behind flags and factors out, and then pull them into any calculations where they’re needed.  The use of these is a great way to avoid horrible nested formulas.

Model Review Tools

I’ll introduce you to the idea of using a review tool, and show you one of the most common outputs from these tools – the visual map.

Final note

The most important takeaway from this course is that you must build financial models to a set of rules.  Which set of rules you choose is (broadly) less important, and very much up to you or your organisation.

I hope you enjoy the course, and do connect with me on LinkedIn or take a look at what we offer at Full Stack Modeller if you’d like to take your training to the next level.

Who this course is for:

• Intermediate Excel users and financial modellers
• Finance professionals seeking to improve their modelling work

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