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Building a robust and flexible financial model


Building a robust and flexible financial model is a critical task for businesses. Whether you’re trying to secure funding for your startup, track your company finances, or plan for your company’s future, having a solid model is essential.

Financial Model Build: The Joy of Specialisation


You can pick any industry these days and the chances are that there’s a lot of disruption happening right now. New technology, changing viewpoints & processes, and evolving economic factors are all playing a part. “When you take a look at the Fortune 1000 over the last 40 years, starting from 1973 you see that […]

Financial Modellers are Changing the World


Whilst staring at a financial model, it is really easy to get lost in the numbers. It’s all rows and columns of excel, abstracted from the real world. It’s just another Infrastructure project……..Or is it? It is worth taking a step back once in a while to reflect on what the numbers on the screen […]

Financial Modelling – Survival of the fittest

financial modelling

In Financial Modelling it is often the business with the best model that survives the future I was chatting to a new client the other day and I was taken aback by his passion and energy relating to financial modelling. He said something that really summed up what I have been trying to say in […]

How to avoid repeating history: 3 of the highest profile Excel errors of all time

Excel error

Excel is a victim of its own success Excel is a tool widely used by analysts of all levels of experience. The combination of availability and flexibility, coupled with a widespread lack of training can mean Excel models are prone to errors. There are examples of Excel error contributing to losses in the Billions of […]

Is Excel the right tool for the job?

excel misuse

“if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. – Abraham Maslow Excel is great, but it is not the answer to every problem. Excel has its limitations and they should be considered before using it in a business-critical application. The decision to use Excel should be an active one, rather than […]

Are you relying on Excel based analysis to make business critical decisions?

Excel Error

In many businesses, Excel is used for critical reporting and decision making. As has been widely trailed, the flexibility and open structure of Excel models can leave them prone to error. When making decisions based upon an analysis of complex data it’s worth pausing for reflection before pushing the button on that multi-million dollar investment. […]

Spreadsheet risk. How worried should we be?

spreadsheet risk

The risk of error in the misuse of Excel spreadsheets has been widely reported, with recent high profile mistakes hitting the headlines. Many of us who rely on Excel to do our work are thinking, ‘there but for the grace of God go I…..’ So how worried should we be? The good news is that […]

The Multi-Billion Dollar Excel Error that didn’t happen today

Excel error

Excel is involved in every major transaction, every capital investment, every business sale, large or small and most financial forecasts. Decisions worth billions of dollars every single day are based on Excel models. Recent weeks have seen multiple headlines about Excel errors. Excel has been blamed for major losses, and in the case of UK […]

The Beginning of the end? U.K. PFI contract expiry

When I was setting out in PPP / PFI as a fresh young analyst, the idea that these 20+ year deals would one day reach contract expiry seemed an unimaginably far-off prospect. However, as I survey my many grey hairs in the mirror, that time is now upon us and there are interesting times ahead […]

Public Health England’s COVID-19 Excel Error

excel error

Here at Gridlines, we are always banging on about spreadsheet risk and the risk of errors in Excel. Usually, we keep it light: “The world’s largest legal weed business had its accounts go up in smoke after a spreadsheet error caused it to underreport its losses.” Or perhaps even….. “Bargain Booze’s spreadsheet hell sinks the […]

The Business Analysis Lifecycle

business analysis life-cycle

As modellers it’s easy to focus on the technical details within a model and to lose sight of the bigger picture. The business analysis lifecycle is a framework which is useful in putting into context what we are doing as modellers, and more importantly, why we are doing it. Kenny explains the framework in this […]

Why implementing a financial modelling standard is hard

At Gridlines, we care deeply about Standards in modelling. In this video, Kenny Whitelaw-Jones discusses some of the challenges that modelling teams must overcome to implement standards. He also discussed findings that were uncovered through a recent survey of financial modellers. Standards in Modelling Standards in modelling have been discussed at length for many years. […]

The Disconnect Between Modellers and Business Decisions

Disconnect between modellers and businesses

I was talking to someone a few weeks ago about a joint project team. This person referred to someone in the team as being “just the modeller”. That really irritated me. It annoys me when people view modelling as being easy, something for the juniors, something that anyone can do. In my experience this is […]

Understanding our Bias as Modellers

our bias as modellers

Our bias as modellers Our human biases can sometimes get in the way of effective analysis. Whenever you are changing something in your model, running a sensitivity or trying to answer an analytical question, it is always useful to create a hypothesis about what you think is going to happen. For instance, when the IRR […]

Why can I never get a good haircut?

Every few weeks the facial recognition on my iPhoneX (humble brag) stops working. This inability of my phone to recognise me baffled and offended me for a long time, but eventually I figured it out. It means I need a haircut! Now, I have issues with getting a haircut. I have been to many different […]

Fake News and Financial Models

We are living in a world of fake news. As traditional media outlets fragment, and literally anyone can put out content to a global audience, the traditional checks and balances of truth and impartiality no longer apply. This is already profoundly affecting society and shaking established democracies to their very foundations. As the educated elite, […]

Life is Poker, not Chess

I recently read ‘thinking in bets’ by Annie Duke. If you haven’t read it, you should, it is great. The book deals with decision making when you don’t have all the facts. As a financial modeller, it’s a subject close to my heart. In poker, you can be the world’s greatest player, make all the […]

The FAST and the Furious

Are you furious? Are you spending your days staring at spreadsheets trying to work out what the hell is going on? There was a time I would spend many hours unpicking detailed formulae, trying to work out why the numbers coming out of my model did not look right, usually under extreme pressure, usually at […]

Don’t build financial models that look like @$%*&

I had a meeting in Soho house the other day. It was a sunny Wednesday afternoon. It was packed with beautiful people, media and PR types, chilling by the pool. Seemingly their job are to see and be seen – a triumph of style over substance. I was there in my suit, a slightly overweight […]