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Course: Spreadsheet Skills for Planning, Forecasting & Budgeting

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The Course

Planning, Forecasting & Budgeting are 3 of the most important functions in business. Performed properly they can lead to exceptional success. Yet many people do not use the tools available to them to their best advantage. In this course we will leverage the power of Excel® to demonstrate how to improve your forecasting, planning and budgeting. By developing better spreadsheets & models, planning is more accurate, forecasting is more precise & budgeting is more attainable. And the time to develop these is dramatically reduced.

Forecasts, plans and budgets may be improved through extensive what-if analysis to find key factors for management to monitor. Furthermore, these tools can be easily transferred into business plans which provide the guide to the overall performance of the firm.


Techniques you will master include:

  • goal seek
  • scenario manager
  • sensitivity analysis
  • solver
  • decision models

The course's usefulness is enhanced by the fact that it is designed to apply to both Excel® ’03 & ‘07 - to enable you to use it more effectively.

The course demonstrates every technique discussed using Excel® templates that will be provided all delegates so bring your laptop to optimize the experience.


The Goals

On completion of this course delegates will be able to:

  • Fully understand the various Excel® tools available to perform planning, forecasting & budgeting
  • Perform sophisticated “what-if” scenarios to improve decision making
  • Know what Excel® techniques to use in a given situation
  • Properly use some of the most advanced spreadsheet techniques
  • Know when to take a chance & when not to
  • Learn to use & expand a range of Excel® models (provided)


The Process

The training comprises teaching sessions covering each topic area with the theory blended with practical application. Additionally, real world examples & case studies will be used so that the Delegates will be able to apply these techniques immediately. Delegates will use the provided Excel® templates to apply their new knowledge case studies to reinforce the concepts.


The Benefits

The organization will benefit by:

  • Having Experts in-house to develop advanced decision support models
  • Increased productivity of personnel involved in planning, forecasting & budgeting
  • Improved performance of plans developed into budgets
  • Better ways to plan & measure results of forecasts
  • Realizing better options when facing forecasting choices
  • Better integration between functional areas leading to better decisions


The Results

The delegate will benefit by:

  • Developing an improved understanding of how well prepared Excel® models benefit the corporate in today’s challenging world.
  • Really understanding the risks & rewards of various planning decisions
  • Being able to calculate the impact of alternative inputs on critical outputs
  • Understanding to cost/benefit of every decision
  • Enhancing their knowledge with the use of the models in the case studies
  • Significantly increasing their Excel® analysis skills


The Programme Content


Day One

Introduction to Spreadsheets using Excel®

  • Worksheet fundamentals
  • Using the F4 key for Relative & Absolute cell references
  • Expose ALL formulas in a worksheet using the built in function for faster review
  • Naming cells & ranges for quicker, more accurate work
  • Freeze panes, columns & rows for easier viewing while scrolling
  • Protecting cells & ranges to stabilize models
  • Function wizard benefits
  • Linking cells from various worksheets to reduce errors
  • Secret key board shortcuts
  • Case study: create, build & protect a reusable template


Day Two

Proper Planning

  • Introduction to planning
  • What-if analysis
    • scenario analysis techniques
    • sensitivity analysis using spinners & scroll bars
  • Economic Order Quantity (EOQ)
  • Build out Data tables to see an entire range of options
  • 1-way Data tables
  • 2-way Data tables
  • Maximizing vs. optimizing techniques
  • Utilizing The Goal Seek command to calculate a reverse equation
  • Using Solver to calculate optimal product mix, distribution problems & capital budgeting
  • Case study & template for using Solver to plan the Optimal product mix


Day Three

Fantastic Forecasting

  • What is forecasting?
  • Qualitative techniques & their uses
  • Quantitative techniques & their uses
    • Smoothing techniques
    • Regression analysis
    • Time series analysis
  • Forecasting growth rates for verification
  • Internal (IGR)
  • Sustainable (SGR)
  • MIN and MAX functions
  • MEDIAN, MODE & AVERAGE functions
  • GEOMEAN to calculate Average Growth Rate (AGR)
  • Case study & template: Use the GEOMEAN function to calculate your AGR


Day Four

Beyond Budgeting

  • What is a budget?
  • How to build a simple budget
  • Build a Flexible Budget Model
  • Build out a complete budget
    • Operating budget elements
    • Financial budget elements
    • Linking them
  • What is the Variance Analysis report & why is it important to improve your budget
  • Calculating variance analysis to see what must be changed
  • Case study & template: Build a complete budget


Day Five

Putting it together – building the comprehensive model

  • Build your planning model
  • Build your forecasting model
  • Build your budgeting model
  • Link these together
  • Leverage optimization through capital structure (Case study Example)
  • Bond buybacks (Case study Example)


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