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Using Excel for Business Analysis, + Website: A Guide to Financial Modelling Fundamentals (Wiley Finance)

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This book was written from my course materials compiled over many years of training in analytical courses in Australia and globally—most frequently courses such as Financial Modelling in Excel, Data Analysis & Reporting in Excel, and Budgeting & Forecasting in Excel, both as face-to-face workshops and online courses. The common theme is the use of Microsoft Excel, and I’ve refined the content to suit the hundreds of participants and their questions over the years. This content has been honed and refined by the many participants on these courses, who are my intended readers. This book is aimed at you, the many people who seek financial analysis training (either by attending a seminar or self-paced by reading this book) because you are seeking to improve your skills to perform better in your current role, or get a new and better job.

When I started financial modelling in the early nineties, it was not called financial modelling—it was just “Using Excel for Business Analysis,” and this is what I’ve called this book. It was only just after the new millennium that the term financial modelling gained popularity in its own right and became a required skill often listed on analytical job descriptions. This book spends quite a bit of time in Chapter 1 defining the meaning of a financial model as it’s often thought to be something that is far more complicated than it actually is. Many analysts I’ve met are building financial models already without realising it, but they do themselves a disservice by not calling their models, “models”!

However, those who are already building financial models are not necessarily following good modelling practice as they do so. Chapter 3 is dedicated to the principles of best modelling practice, which will save you a lot of time, effort, and anguish in the long run. Many of the principles of best practice are for the purpose of reducing the possibility of error in your model, and there is a whole section on strategies for reducing error in Chapter 4.

The majority of Excel users are self-taught, and therefore many users will often know highly advanced Excel tools, yet fail to understand how to use them in the context of building a financial model. This book is very detailed, so feel free to skip sections you already know. Because of the comprehensive nature of the book, much of the detailed but less commonly used content, such as instructions for the older Excel 2003 users, has been moved to the companion website at www.wiley.com/go/ steinfairhurst. References to the content on the website, and many cross-references to other sections of the book, can be found throughout the manuscript.
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