Top 6 Mistakes to Avoid in Financial Modeling

six mistakes to avoid in financial modeling

Financial models reflect the company they represent. For example, start-up financial models are easier to adjust to the changes in the economic environment. Meanwhile, large corporations along with their financial models are rigid, biased by historical data, and hard to perform changes. They are different, so they require different approaches when it comes to fixing mistakes. Here is a list of six mistakes to avoid in financial modeling.

You don’t have defined goals

Whether it’s for annual budgeting, four year or quarterly forecast, financial models are different. As a company, you need to define the time frame and the goal to get the appropriate information. What are you trying to achieve? For whom? What is the impact? These questions should follow you when you try to build a financial model.

People focus too much on point estimates

Financial analysts use point estimates to create Pro-forma financial statements. However, it does not include sensitivities and ranges, which can be more helpful. In fact, your goal is to give enough insights and information for better strategic decisions. You should be able to understand the whole business model first, then on precise estimates.

Not understanding the business is an issue

The team that performs financial modeling for the company should be able to understand the business as a whole. That includes the strategic model, industry, and monetization. For example, the finance person should consider the impact of incremental costs to calculate revenue growth. In this case, knowing the sources of production is a must.

The business neglects the key metrics

Any company makes its decisions based on key performance indicators. For example, an investor or potential partner will usually ask for specific metrics. That includes customer acquisition costs, resource utilization, or recurring revenue. A balance sheet or income statement is not a helpful response. Therefore, key metrics are the ones that focus on the core problem.

You make false precision

False precision occurs when finance professionals include data in a model beyond what you can know. For instance, some companies may have the same amount of focus on incremental expenses from year one and the revenue stream from year five. However, it is more important to provide general and administrative estimates in ten years.

The company follows the same model

Throughout the time the industry, economy, and organizational structure changes. A good financial model is the one that professionals can update in real-time. Therefore, the company should be able to adapt to financial situations.

Conclusion

An improper financial model can lead to many difficulties. For example, management can make poor decisions or be unable to create fundraising opportunities. To achieve success, companies should be prepared and have a solid strategic map. keySkillset showcased the top 6 mistakes to avoid in financial modeling to help businesses do their best.  

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