Whose model is it anyway?



Andrew Berkley


03 Mar 2015




Can a modelling standard eliminate the age-old problem of modeller continuity?

Have you ever inherited someone else’s model?  I have.

Some are simple, some are well built, many are neither, and a few are impenetrable and frozen in time (aka a Spreadsheet Matrix:  See our eBook: ‘10 Signs Spreadsheets are Killing your Finance Function’ for a definition).

So you’re the new CFO / FD / FC / FP&A / Analyst / Investment Manager and you need to upgrade the model.

Where’s the individual who built the last version?  Somewhere else probably, and busy.  So what do you do?

You have two safe options:

1) You (or a member of your team) embarks on a task of a complete review of the model to ensure that you fully understand its internal workings before you change anything. This will take you a very long time and may well result in you reverting to option 2 in the end anyway.

2) Toss the existing model aside and restart the entire build process. Often the case.

One slightly riskier option:

3) Hack the changes into the existing model and hard code where necessary. Fingers crossed.  Surely this is a rare occurrence?

If models were built using a common standard that all modellers and users / reviewers of models were comfortable with then would that improve things?

The answer is clearly yes.

The model handover is painless and easy, and the reviewer can more transparently review it.

So does the FAST Standard solve the problem of continuity? 

At F1F9 we have a team of over 50 FAST Standard trained modellers and they work collaboratively on model build projects with each other and with our clients.  Delivery can be transferred seamlessly from one modeller to another if required and our clients can work on the files as well.

Everyone is talking the same model build language.

Modeller continuity issues – what are they?

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Andrew Berkley
With a background in business education and financial advisory work, Andrew leads financial modelling training at F1F9. He has been with F1F9 since 2013.