Financial Model Formatting - 3 Core Best Practices
Here are three core formatting best practices you can apply for financial models and data analyses in Excel and Google Sheets.
1. Color Coding Cells
- = formula, calculations and links to other cells
- = hard coded input cells and historical data
- = key input assumptions
- = link to other spreadsheets in the same file
Example - Big Tech Company Metrics
2. Financial Tables
- FY20XX = Use financial year end for your column headers, include the year end and metric in the table header
- Revenue = bold important headline metrics (Revenue, EBITDA, EBIT, NPAT)
- Cost of Revenue = indent sub metrics used to calculate headline metrics (e.g. COGS)
- Financial formatting = use brackets for negative values and avoid more than 1 dp
- Left to right = older to newer FY dates ordered left to right
Example - Alphabet Income Statement
3. Key Metrics
- FY20XX = Align your key metrics under the same columns as the financial table
- Revenue growth yoy = italic text for key metrics
- 23% = italic text including the unit metric (e.g. %, x)
- = grey out cells if computed metric not able to be calculated
Example - Alphabet Income Statement Key Metrics
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