If you’re starting to learn a new skill, you can find dozens of tips and resources online; financial modeling is no different. Financial modeling is the act of numerically representing some or all of a company’s operations. These models have applications for comparing companies to competitors and providing estimates on their valuation. If you’ve always wanted to learn financial modeling, plenty of resources are available at your fingertips. From free tutorials to live classes, your options are outlined here so you can decide how to learn in a way that works best for you.
What is Financial Modeling?
Financial modeling is the process of evaluating a company’s past performance to predict the likelihood of various financial outcomes. Those who create financial models rely on financial forecasts to do so. The assumptions in a forecast are played out using the organization’s financial statements to predict how various statements may look in the future. Since these models are based on financial statements, they are typically generated monthly, quarterly, or yearly. It’s common for financial models to be constructed using manual data entry in an Excel spreadsheet.
Financial modeling is a valuable tool for estimating how a business or a specific project will perform based on relevant factors, as well as risk assumptions and growth, then evaluating their impact. This process helps to present a concise understanding of the variables used to make financial forecasts. Those who create financial models either build them from scratch or work with existing models, making changes based on newer data that’s become available since its creation. Because financial situations are complex and can change quickly and rapidly, financial modeling helps to create a detailed understanding of the different components.
Read more about what financial modeling is and why you should learn it.
What Can You Do with Financial Modeling?
Without well-executed financial modeling, any business operation would be analogous to a ship floating aimlessly in the sea with no navigation system. Although one could use gut instinct to steer the ship in the correct direction, there would be no guarantee that this course would be accurate. The more sound a financial model is, the less unnecessary risk a business will likely encounter. And the less likely it will be to drift aimlessly.
Financial modeling has numerous applications across industries. Strong financial models are the backbone of many businesses and are a critical component to help them continue to grow and mitigate risk. Financial models provide a way to perform a detailed analysis of all possible financial outcomes of a business decision. These models seek to avoid loss as well as increase profits.
Financial modeling is a powerful tool for a range of financial analysis tasks. It can help an organization budget for the future and analyze the company’s performance against goals and targets. It also can be used for business valuation. Financial models allow individuals to compare one company’s performance against its competitors. It is often used to analyze financial statements, ratios, and capital structure, as well as to estimate financial metrics for new projects. Not only are these models imperative for solving problems, but they are used to make decisions about future outcomes. Some of the many decisions financial models can help with are estimating a company’s projected growth, organizing its budget, choosing investments, deciding between acquisition or merger, and deciding which projects should be prioritized.
Live Online Financial Modeling Training
Live online financial modeling training is an excellent option for those who value real-time feedback but want the flexibility of studying remotely. This learning option provides students access to a live instructor, which means they can ask questions as they arise and receive guidance on their coursework. Live online study provides many of the same perks as in-person studies, such as small class sizes, industry-relevant instruction, and training with tools and software such as Microsoft Excel, which is essential for pursuing a career in financial modeling.
One important consideration with live online study is that it still requires you to meet for regularly scheduled classes. This may be difficult for those working full-time or balancing studies with family commitments. It may also require taking off work to attend financial modeling courses.
If live online financial modeling classes sound like a good option to you, there are a variety of excellent courses currently listed by top providers. Noble Desktop’s Financial Modeling Bootcamp spans 18 hours and provides participants with training in both finance and accounting. Participants in this hands-on course work with Excel to create a comprehensive discount cash flow (DCF) model. All participants receive training from an expert instructor and have the option of retaking the course for up to one year for free. Noble also offers Advanced Excel & Financial Modeling Intensive. This four-day program provides hands-on instruction on topics such as corporate finance, financial modeling, and financial accounting.
If you’re new to financial modeling, you may consider enrolling in NYC Career Centers Financial Analyst Training Program. This rigorous, five-day bootcamp prepares participants to become Financial Analysts. All students receive training in Excel fundamentals, such as working with charts, formulas, and formatting. Then, learners progress to more advanced Excel topics like LOOKUP functions and PivotTables. The third part of this course covers financial modeling concepts and corporate finance and accounting. For those seeking more advanced financial modeling training, NYIM offers a Financial Modeling Bootcamp. This 21-hour course teaches students about corporate finance, using advanced Excel for financial modeling, sensitivity analysis, and assumptions. All students receive a training manual and have the option of a free course retake.
On-Demand Financial Modeling Classes
In addition to in-person and live online courses, another popular learning format for financial modeling is on-demand coursework. Top educational providers offer a variety of tutorials, videos, and instructional material for those interested in creating financial models. One of the main perks of self-paced financial modeling training is that it is generally a more affordable learning option than in-person and live online study. Some coursework is available as part of a subscription plan, and some are even offered for free. This allows students to get a feel for whether financial modeling is something they wish to study further before committing to a bootcamp or certificate program.
Because on-demand financial modeling materials are pre-recorded, students can watch them from any location at any time. This flexible study format helps those who need to balance coursework with other commitments, such as full-time employment or family engagements. Video lessons can be paused and rewound as often as needed, providing time for note-taking. However, one crucial consideration for self-paced financial modeling courses is that this field is generally considered difficult to learn, even for those with a background in finance. While asynchronous training materials are a great starting point to provide an overview of financial modeling and its various applications, learners don’t have access to an instructor, making it challenging to find answers to questions. Therefore, if you really want to dive into this field and learn more advanced skills like how to create discounted cash flow (DCF) models in Excel, you may need more structured training, such as live online coursework.
Free Intro Courses & Tutorials
Not ready to dive into an entire course? If you’re looking for an overview of financial modeling, the good news is you can get started learning for free online. Noble Desktop offers a range of short YouTube clips to help learners start working with financial modeling. These videos are each only several minutes long and offer insights into topics like Foreign Exchange,
Interest Rates and the Fed, and Understanding Terminal Value. Noble also provides over 100 free financial modeling tutorials on its Training Resources & Articles page. Learners can browse topics like stock options, the stock exchange, and a liquid market, among others.
In addition to the free resources provided by Noble, other top educators also offer free content devoted to financial modeling. Udemy’s Introduction to Financial Modeling is a free course that teaches participants how to build a simple integrated financial statement model. Coursera also has several free financial modeling classes and tutorials available. One option is their Business and Financial Modeling Specialization, a beginner-friendly course that takes approximately six months to complete. Those enrolled receive instruction on how to create quantitative models, how to use spreadsheets to map and predict data, and how to measure and manage risk.
Read more about free financial modeling videos and online tutorials.
Comparing Online Methods with In-Person Learning
Learning financial modeling is easier than ever, thanks to the abundance of online and in-person educational resources currently available. If you’re still trying to decide which learning format is best for you, the following sections will provide a brief overview of each type of study.
If you are an extroverted learner who thrives in traditional classrooms, in-person financial modeling classes are an excellent option. Courses are in a computer lab with the most up-to-date software and tools installed. Lessons are taught by an instructor with experience in finance, who is available to answer questions and provide support along the way. In-person study is an excellent opportunity to connect with other learners who are on the same learning path, which can facilitate networking. Although in-person financial modeling courses are often the most expensive training format, the cost is well worth it for the additional support that’s often available, such as assistance with portfolios and mentoring.
For students who may not wish to commute across town to attend class, live online financial modeling classes are a good alternative. Just like classroom study, students have access to an expert instructor in real-time who can provide guidance and help with complex modeling questions. Instead of battling rush-hour traffic and searching for parking every time class meets, you can study from the comfort of your home or office space. This engaging learning format is also ideal for those who may not live near a major city but don’t want to study financial modeling independently. One important consideration for this training format is that students still must attend recurring class meetings. This may require taking off work or making other scheduling adjustments.
The most flexible financial modeling learning format offered is self-paced study. Course materials like videos and tutorials are pre-recorded, meaning you can access them whenever is convenient. Asynchronous content can be paused and rewound as often as necessary and watched repeatedly to facilitate retention and allow for note-taking. Often, self-paced study is the most affordable option; some tutorials and videos are even available for free. However, knowing which content is the most up-to-date can be difficult. In addition, because on-demand training doesn’t provide an instructor, learning complex modeling concepts can be challenging in this format. For that reason, asynchronous financial modeling coursework is a good place to start for beginner-level instruction. Still, live instruction may be better if you want to master more advanced Excel tools and concepts.
Tips to Succeed when Learning Financial Modeling Online
Financial modeling is a difficult skill to master, no matter which learning format you select. While online learning offers additional flexibility than in-person study, creating financial models in the online environment can present additional challenges for some learners. The following are some tips to help you succeed with your online study:
- Whether you study from your home or office, it’s important to set aside a quiet space. Ideally, you will have a comfortable chair, a desk, and a reliable internet connection.
- Like in-person study, live online coursework is an engaging and interactive way to learn financial modeling. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of the live format for asking questions, reaching out to peers, and receiving any support you need along your path toward learning financial modeling.
- If you’re taking a live online financial modeling class, you will have access to an instructor to answer questions, just like in-person study. However, if you are working on your own through videos and tutorials in the self-paced learning environment, finding answers to questions can be more challenging. That’s why it’s important to have support from someone with a background in creating financial models.
- Since financial modeling relies on a solid understanding of Microsoft Excel and basic accounting practices, it’s best to begin with fundamental concepts before learning more advanced Excel functions.
- Most learners retain information better when they’re working with real-world examples. If possible, try to use actual numbers when creating a financial model.
Learn Financial Modeling with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop
Noble Desktop offers several excellent learning options for those interested in studying financial modeling. Noble’s Financial Modeling Bootcamp covers the basics of accounting, finance, and corporate valuation. Those enrolled in this hands-on class work with Excel to create a discounted cash flow model. Students who don’t have a background in accounting or finance will be sent a short guide on terminology before class starts. All participants should have intermediate Excel proficiency as a prerequisite.
Noble’s Financial Analyst Training Program provides learners with instruction on pertinent corporate and financial concepts and how to create a full valuation model. This intensive program teaches core Excel skills, like how to work with PivotTables and shortcuts, as well as advanced Excel techniques, including cash flow projection tools and Goal Seek. All students will create an integrated, three-statement financial model based on current financial data.
Noble also offers financial modeling training courses in-person and live online. Those interested in learning more about how to use Excel for modeling can attend the Excel Bootcamp. In addition, FinTech courses such as Python for Data Science Bootcamp, Algorithmic Trading With Python, and FinTech Bootcamp are also available. Noble’s FinTech Bootcamp provides hands-on training from expert instructors in creating machine learning models, using programming languages like SQL and Python to analyze financial data, and working with various types of data, such as integers, strings, and floats. One-on-one mentoring and the option of a free course retake is included for all participants.
- Learning to create financial models is easier than ever before, thanks to the excellent in-person and live online resources offered. Whereas in-person coursework takes place in the traditional classroom setting, live online and on-demand options afford the additional flexibility of allowing students to work from the comfort of home.
- If you elect to study in the online environment, it’s important to have a quiet study space, a good internet connection, and a structured schedule to help you progress through lessons at a good pace.
- Noble Desktop’s courses are a great option if you want to learn how to create financial models.