Did you bump into one of those things that lead you to ask yourself how to learn financial modeling?

Financial modeling can be fun and stimulating. Or it can be daunting. It’s all in how you look at it. Either way, whether you are going to need it whether you are an entrepreneur, founder, CEO, or just aspire to climb these roles. 

So, what options are there for learning financial modeling? Which is the best method for you?

Why You Need To Learn Financial Modeling

From ensuring your business idea actually has a future worth pursuing, to budgeting and managing finances to give it the fuel it needs to grow, to sustaining a business through leaner times and crises, and even successfully selling that business or taking it public, financial modeling is woven into every major step of the business.

To recruit important stakeholders, raise funds, get licenses, and maximize your exit, you need financial models. 

Even if you have a great team who can ace this on their own, you need to know how to read them, test various scenarios, double-check their work, and know-how to edit them so you aren’t taken advantage of, and don’t sell yourself short.

When it comes down to figuring out how to learn financial modeling, you’ll be happy to know that there are a variety of ways to learn financial modeling. There is one that will fit you and your needs just right.

Go To School

You could go to college and specialize in finance or business. If you’ve picked up a degree, but are changing courses, an MBA might help out. Plenty of notable schools offer business, finance, accounting, and entrepreneurship programs. Harvard, Stanford, and Yale are some of those in the US. 

It may be a long commitment that doesn’t come cheap, but you can build your network while you are there too.

Online Courses

Since COVID-19, even more, major universities are offering online education. You don’t have to move across the country, live in student housing, take out big student loans, or put your business ideas on hold for four years to learn the basics of this skill set either. 

Some of these include:

  • Wharton
  • Harvard
  • Cornell
  • UNC Charlotte

When you are thinking about how to learn financial modeling, keep in mind that these courses can run from a couple of days to six months. Some are available for under $2,000. It won’t give you a degree, but you can say you took a course at a famous school.

DIY Education

You could theoretically piece together your own DIY education in financial modeling.

There are a variety of resources you can patchwork together for this, including:

  • Youtube videos
  • Books
  • Practicing in Excel
  • Software tutorials
  • Inner Circle, where we support in everything related to fundraising from A to Z

These can range from free to less than $100. However, like trying to learn any other business, career, or skill, this do-it-yourself quilt-like approach can take longer. It can bring the risk of missing out many of the most important facts or even relying on out of date and simply incorrect information. Be careful who you are learning from, and how relevant and up to date that information is.

Just Do It

In any case, if you are wondering how to learn financial modeling, note that one of the best ways to learn anything, especially in entrepreneurship is to just start doing it.

This may not be a fantastic or viable idea to completely do solo when a lot is at stake. If you are using investor money to acquire other companies, or you have other owners of your company and you are thinking of selling, or are making major decisions, like contemplating a hard pivot, you may have a responsibility to get the best professional financial modeling help you can afford. After all, you may be liable for not being thorough in your due diligence. 

However, if you are just starting out, and don’t plan on scaling this venture to being a big multi-billion dollar corporation, then you might be able to just dig in.

Start working on the numbers you need to fill out your business plan and financial forecast. Invest in good research, so that you have accurate numbers. Recruit some feedback before going all-in on it.

Use Templates & Software

This process of learning and doing it yourself may be made a lot easier by using pre-existing templates and financial modeling software.

Find a tool that is purpose-built for your financial modeling needs and begin punching in the numbers and filling in the blanks. 

Fundraising is going to be a critical aspect when it comes to building your business. Financial modeling is going to be involved in it. To avoid starting from scratch templates are great. For a winning deck, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

Hire Pro To Help

You may need a professional to complete it for you for liability purposes. Or you may just realize that it is going to create the best result in the most efficient way. That doesn’t mean you have to completely abdicate learning financial modeling, or should. 

You can choose an outsourced expert, accounting firm or consultant, and have them walk you through what they do, how they do it, and why. 

You never have to take over this role, and probably shouldn’t. Though it will help you understand how to run different scenarios, how to evaluate opportunities, to speak knowledgeably, and keep others accountable.

Startup Accelerators & Incubators

As a startup business, there may be a few accelerators and incubators which will mentor you through the next stages of your business. That may include creating your first financial models. Plus, you can use the opportunity to focus, expand your network, and gain some early seed funding. 

Below is a video where I cover how startup accelerators work.

Summary

If you are leading a business, you need to learn some level of financial modeling. Fortunately, there is a menu of options to pick from. They range from the cheap and lengthy, to efficient and hands-on. Which is right for you?

Hopefully, this post provided some perspective on how to learn financial modeling.

 

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