Imagine you’re an F1 driver, eagerly awaiting the race this weekend. But when you show up at the circuit bright and early they hand you a shovel. “The gravel pile is here, the tar is over there. Your teammates will be running the excavator – with luck you’ll finish the track by the end of the quarter and we can start our trials.”
“That stinks!” you say, and heft your shovel for the first scoop of gravel. “What are you doing?” you hear from over your shoulder. “Are you just going to build the track any old way? We have construction rules here! But, good news, we have best practice classes to help you understand how to set the radius of the turns, the allowed grade angles, the smoothness requirements and all of that.”
“Oh, you’re right, without those best practices, we drivers would be careening off the track and piling into each other in no time. Errors could be very costly and painful!” Sadly, by the time you’ve finished the classes, the quarter is over and you’re supposed to be training for the next race – such is the life of a professional racer.
If you are in strategic finance, sales operations, supply chain management or other planning intensive activities and using spreadsheets… this silly story might sound familiar. The same tool that everyone uses to plan their potluck dinner, the soccer team lineup, their grocery list, etc. etc. just isn’t optimized for the kind of business planning you need to do. Although there can be similarities, financial modeling software is not the same thing as a pile of spreadsheets.
Spreadsheets provide the ultimate in agility, but this strength is also a weakness in that building a financial or operational model in a spreadsheet isn’t just about the math and business logic, you also have to build the road (i.e. structure) using “best practices”. The quotation marks aren’t there because those practices aren’t good, in fact, if you are using a spreadsheet, they are crucial in order to avoid errors and to put up guard rails around your models!
Spreadsheet “Best Practices” Explained
If you’d like to learn about spreadsheet modeling best practices we’ve got you covered. In our webcast, we’re going to walk through and explain a list of commonly recommended approaches to spreadsheet modeling, tell you why they are important and then tell you how to completely ignore them and enjoy more agile, powerful and robust models as a result.
After the webcast, you’ll have the knowledge to get out on whichever kind of track you drive and … close the books quickly, make that M&A decision confidently, rearrange your supply chain or propose that complex hardware/software/services deal and win it!