How did you get involved with financial modelling and analysis?
I travelled a lot when I was younger (as most Aussies do) and found myself in London during the booming 90s. Arriving with a finance degree and not much experience, I worked my way up in investment banking and found that Excel modeling was a critical skill to have as an analyst in that environment (although we didn’t really call it “financial modeling” back then). On my return to Australia I continued on my finance career whilst completing an MBA and eventually founded Plum Solutions to specialize in using Excel for the purpose of modeling and analysis.
Can you tell us a bit about your book, “Using Excel for Business Analysis”, and why you wrote it?
I wrote the first edition of “Using Excel for Business Analysis” to act as a companion for my workshops and online training course. It is aimed at finance staff who are mid-level Excel users and I wanted to showcase for them what plain, vanilla Excel can do, without the need for add-ins or expensive third-party software. The second edition was revised for Excel 2013 and released last year.
You’ll be presenting two sessions at the conference, what are the top two things attendees will learn in each of your sessions?
Present Meaningful and Appealing Business and Financial Analytics
- How to “sell” your idea, budget or project to senior management by presenting the necessary detailed financial data to support your argument. Display key financial concepts in a way that can be easily comprehended and digested by time-poor executives.
- Instill confidence in the data being presented by using best-practice design and layout in reports and presentations.
Performing Scenarios, Sensitivities and What-if Analysis in Excel
- The importance of highlighting and identifying input assumptions in any kind of data modeling, particularly when displaying the output of the model.
- How we can perform scenario analysis on any kind of model that contains inputs and outputs using the simple methods already built into standard Excel.
Danielle on a recent trip
to the Australian Outback.
What are three interesting facts attendees may not know about you?
- I live in Sydney, Australia with my architect husband and two children. With my finance background, I’ve always been a very analytical person but since we’ve been married, being exposed to the creativity of architecture and design has helped me to see the importance of presentation and visualization in every discipline, including finance, and I’ll touch on this during one of my sessions.
- I think Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the world but I do love to travel! I am often invited to run seminars and workshops around Australia, Asia, and the Middle East, and I’m very much looking forward to visiting California.
- My Dad was an opal miner when I was growing up and we lived in the mining town of Coober Pedy in Central Australia. Because it’s a desert environment, the locals mostly live in underground homes called “dugouts” to escape the heat and dust. As a child, I thought it was perfectly normal to live in a cave under the ground!