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What is "superior" financial modeling?

 
#1 What is "superior" financial modeling?
23/01/2016 19:04

Dan! Dan! Dan!

I'm writing a job description for my team (manager, corporate strategy - FMCG). I have taken the last version that was posted a couple of years ago as a starting point, and as expected, we were looking for a world-leading polymath: excellent interpersonal, superior financial modeling, top class problem solving, thought leader, 150+ years experience, 200+ languages, mba, etc...

I am trying to do something apparently revolutionary and actually describe the role and person we realistically think will be happy to do it for the money on offer.

The first issue I am encountering is cutting through the nebulous term financial modeling (FM). Every job wants "superior" FM skills these days, but FM presumably takes in a broad continuum of knowledge.

Is there a general understanding out there around what is meant by superior FM in a strategy context? Are we talking massive LBO models, with scrnarios, capital efficiency, taxation, dilution , and other implications? I just want someone who understands the principles of financial statements, can come up with good ways to forecast performance (this, to me, is the real value add - we'll presumably have AI doing the rest soon) build a clean DCF in excel, and know when to google/ask for help. What do you call that?

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#2 RE: What is "superior" financial modeling?
24/01/2016 16:18

Mr Cool to Dan! Dan! Dan! (#1)

Why not simply follow your own advice; tidy up what you just written into a few bullet points and put that in the JD and job ad.

Then spend more time in the interview getting candidates to prove they can do these simple things and no time on trying to find out if their interpretation of nebulous labels is the same as yours.

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#3 RE: What is "superior" financial modeling?
25/01/2016 03:43

Dan! Dan! Dan! to Mr Cool (#2)

That's the plan. But I guess the question this raises for me a more general one. Is the concept of "financial modelling skills" just as uninformative (open to relativism, subjectivity, etc.) as something like "strong interpersonal skills", or "proficiency" in PowerPoint? Or is there a general understanding among most people in the strategy area of what is meant when someone says they have good FM skills? It's unknown to me if there is, and yet the term is almost never specified any further.

The kind of modelling people do in the various areas banking, for example, is probably more predictable and standardised. Depending on the projects consultants get involved on, their FM experience can vary widely, but in my experience all of them will say they have good financial modelling skills.

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#4 RE: What is "superior" financial modeling?
25/01/2016 12:43

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Dan! Dan! Dan! (#3)

I agree with ice-Cool Mr Cool, or "Zero-K" as I like to think of him (zero Kelvin being "absolute zero" or -273.15 degrees Celsius, which is just how cool I think he is).

Words like "superior" are subjective so I'd be inclined to describe what you want - just like you've done in your post! If you feel that your description is too vague and leaves things open to interpretation, then add more detail and pin it down a bit!

Now - what I need is "superior social skills". Hee hee.

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#5 RE: What is "superior" financial modeling?
25/01/2016 15:22

marsday to Dan! Dan! Dan! (#1)

'Superior' FM skills doesn't necessarily take in a broad continuum of knowledge, but it does allow the hiring manager to control and reduce the broad continuum of f**kwittedness.

If said hiring manager translates the role in question into a realistic JD, with no extraneous adjectives, what happens is that you wind up with some intolerable candidate who meets the just above average metric perfectly in every way...and who one simply cannot work with. 'Lack of cultural fit' just leads to an inquisition or worse someone playing cards like discrimination. Tricky. But reject them because their above average FM modelling skills weren't quite in the 'superior' bracket...sleep easy.

Actually, sleep easy anyway because it's also laziness in defining what the job actually needs.So just ask for FM skills including a proven ability to come up with good ways to forecast performance, and everything else is gravy.

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#6 RE: What is "superior" financial modeling?
25/01/2016 18:19

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to marsday (#5)

Very cunning!!

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#7 RE: What is "superior" financial modeling?
02/02/2016 05:19

Camster to Mr Cool (#2)

Why not simply follow your own advice; tidy up what you just written into a few bullet points and put that in the JD and job ad.

Then spend more time in the interview getting candidates to prove they can do these simple things and no time on trying to find out if their interpretation of nebulous labels is the same as yours.

LOL! +1

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#8 RE: What is "superior" financial modeling?
02/02/2016 10:45

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Camster (#7)

I'm gonna put in the next JD I write, "Must have superior social skills" hehehehehe

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#9 RE: What is "superior" financial modeling?
02/02/2016 10:58

Camster to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#8)

The way I see it...

There is a benchmark of skills that constitute FM skills.

Then, there might be a step up. Let's call it advanced.

At the top, there is superior.

I am pretty sure that no such benchmarking exists.

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#10 RE: What is "superior" financial modeling?
03/02/2016 21:19

Mr Cool to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#8)

I'm gonna put in the next JD I write, "Must have superior social skills" hehehehehe

I'm going to put " must have superior mah-Jong skills". Given the $hit contractors my client bank seems determined to hire, I might as well...

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#11 RE: What is "superior" financial modeling?
04/02/2016 02:41

Camster to Mr Cool (#10)

I have 'superior' mahjong skills!

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