Hire the Top 3% of Freelance Financial Forecasting Experts

Toptal is a marketplace for top financial forecasting consultants. Top companies and start-ups hire financial forecasting consultants from Toptal for their mission critical projects.

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Clients Rate Toptal Financial Forecasting Experts4.7 / 5.0on average across 5 reviews as of Jul 12, 2020

Hire Freelance Financial Forecasting Experts

Carlos Eyzaguirre

Freelance Financial Forecasting Expert

United StatesToptal Member Since October 9, 2019

An MIT grad and Wharton MBA student, Carlos has investment banking (Barclays) and private equity experience, executing transactions for companies like Microsoft, T-Mobile, and SiriusXM. He has worked on $5 billion in M&A/debt/equity deals, built financial models, evaluated private equity investments and monitored portfolio companies’ performances.

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Gary Calnan

Freelance Financial Forecasting Expert

United StatesToptal Member Since March 4, 2019

Gary is a serial entrepreneur with CEO and CFO experience. Before co-founding an aerospace startup in 2017, Gary was the director of finance at a $120 million revenue SaaS company, where he was responsible for the financial management of multiple departments and supported three mergers. Gary leverages his unique blend of finance and entrepreneurial experience across early and growth-stage businesses to add value to Toptal clients.

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Marvin Eng

Freelance Financial Forecasting Expert

United StatesToptal Member Since May 6, 2019

Marvin is an accomplished life science, finance, and consulting executive with 20+ years of experience who has successfully participated in transactions totaling $15+ billion. He has extensive strategy consulting and program management experience in helping companies execute against key initiatives. Marvin enjoys advising clients from startup through Fortune 500 and helping them to achieve superior results and sustainable value creation.

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Paulius Uziela, CFA

Freelance Financial Forecasting Expert

LithuaniaToptal Member Since April 13, 2019

Paulius has successfully closed eight seed/early-stage investments in AI, technology, SaaS, and telecommunications sectors. He also has experience working on debt transactions and biggest regional M&A deals in the Baltics while being employed at a leading consulting firm (Deloitte) and DNB bank. Paulius is CFA charterholder who enjoys freelancing to help clients on valuation, financial modeling, and fundraising projects.

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George Mathew

Freelance Financial Forecasting Expert

United StatesToptal Member Since July 14, 2019

George has worked on M&A, IPO, and fixed income transactions with a cumulative deal value of $20+ billion at renowned Wall Street banks including Salomon Brothers and Morgan Stanley. A Fulbright scholar, George is active in the fintech startup sector and was on the management committee of Houston’s largest independent bank. At Toptal, he enjoys refining business models and optimizing financing structures to maximize flexibility and profitability.

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Jerry Bellman

Freelance Financial Forecasting Expert

United StatesToptal Member Since February 2, 2019

Jerry's completed over $10 billion in M&A transactions from early-stage companies to multinationals in Europe and the US, notably the exit of the healthcare innovator CareLinx to Generali. His experience also covers equity analyst, hedge funds, public accounting practice, and CFO roles and helping companies to develop KPIs, dashboards and financial strategy. Jerry joined Toptal to bring his analytic and modeling skills to a variety of companies.

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Olivia Passoni

Freelance Financial Forecasting Expert

AustriaToptal Member Since August 16, 2017

Olivia has over a decade of experience in advisory, specializing in valuation, financial and business planning, M&A, and capital raising. Olivia has advised companies of any size, including over 30 startup entrepreneurs during the fundraising process. She is a Certified Valuation Analyst and is specialized in early-stage valuations.

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Peter Jacobson

Freelance Financial Forecasting Expert

United StatesToptal Member Since July 24, 2017

A Harvard grad with an MBA from Stanford, Peter has served as CFO of three successful companies, led several acquisitions, obtained growth capital, led recapitalization efforts, and led a successful exit for the shareholders. He's also raised $500 million+ for clients as a VP at KeyBanc Capital Markets, a commercial and investment bank. Peter enjoys freelancing to help clients with capital raising, M&A, FP&A, and various CFO-related functions.

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Keith Fernandez

Freelance Financial Forecasting Expert

United StatesToptal Member Since January 26, 2017

A Harvard graduate with an MBA at Wharton, Keith has executed numerous debt, equity, and M&A transactions and investments for global Fortune 500 corporations while working at leading Wall Street investment banks (Merrill Lynch) and private equity firms (KKR). He's an award-winning entrepreneur who enjoys consulting as a way to help advise clients on complex capital raising, M&A, corporate finance, and venture capital projects and transactions.

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Michael Olafusi

Freelance Financial Forecasting Expert

NigeriaToptal Member Since January 4, 2017

Michael is an independent financial consultant with particular expertise in VBA, dashboards and modeling. He has worked with three of the largest telecommunications companies in Africa and built a dynamic portfolio model for a Canadian investment firm. He is a certified Advanced Financial Modeler (AFM) and one of the 125 official Microsoft Excel MVPs in the world.

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Aleksey N. Krylov, CFA

Freelance Financial Forecasting Expert

United StatesToptal Member Since October 24, 2016

Aleksey served in CFO roles of public and VC-backed private companies. As investor, he contributed to 25+ private equity deals that have deployed $500 million. He has advised 50+ clients on raising $1.6 billion in equity in the healthcare, consumer, media, software, energy, and industrial sectors. He enjoys working with officers of early stage and mature small-cap firms. He freelances because it exposes him to a wide range of companies.

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A Hiring Guide

Guide to Hiring a Great Financial Forecasting Expert

Financial forecasting experts provide the industry knowledge and deep analytical skills needed to forecast sales volume and supply chain metrics with confidence. This guide provides a breakdown of the key skills and attributes you'll want in a financial forecasting expert.

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Testimonials

Martin so far is a complete Rockstar. His first bit of work produced a tool for us to model and forecast our financials and is far and away worth every penny we paid and more. Just thought I’d share that with you.

Pete Pellizzari, CEO

Budder, Inc.

Erik has been an extremely valuable member of our team who has tremendous breath of experience with start ups in our lifecycle phase. What makes his contribution unique and highly effective is not only his excellent financial modeling skills and knowledge, but also the emotional intelligence with which he manages each relationship at Vault, understands our team dynamics, and helps us tackle start up challenges effectively. It is rare to find a part-time consultant who makes you feel like he/she is genuinely invested in the success of your company.

Romy Parzick, COO

Student Loan Benefits, Inc. dba Vault

Toptal has been an incredible key partner for Sidekick. As an early-stage start-up, we’ve leveraged both design and financial talent. The experience has been incredible, with those professionals bringing creativity, expertise, and advice to ensure Sidekick succeeds. My Toptal financial expert helped steer Sidekick’s business model, which resulted in an initial ROI of 650x! My experience with Toptal has given me great confidence in the future.

Doug MacKay, Founder / CEO

SideKick

Chris was great to work with and was always available on my schedule. His communication skills and personality were a 10/10. His outputs on the project were top notch and allowed us to develop more efficient forecasting and initiative prioritization frameworks. I would definitely use Chris again.

Chris Pozek, CEO

Veterans Rideshare

What really sets Toptal apart is the caliber of finance talent available in their network. I had a very specific and pressing need, and Toptal quickly matched me with the perfect person for the job. The expert produced a thoughtful and robust financial analysis that has ultimately allowed us to forecast and prioritize initiatives much more efficiently.

Chris Pozek, CEO

Veterans Rideshare

Scott had a lot of finance experience which he used to ask the right questions and help us do things more quickly than we would have done without him. The commission model is crucial to us being able to scale, he integrated seamlessly with our finance team and efficiently got us the outputs we needed.

Naushad Parpia, Founder and CEO

GSD

I was very impressed with the quality of finance talent in Toptal’s network. Our expert's experience was immediately evident through his insightful questions and the speed at which we could move. Toptal stayed on top of the process from making the match through to the successful completion of the project. I've already recommended Toptal Finance to my network.

Naushad Parpia, Founder and CEO

GSD

How to Hire Financial Forecasting Experts through Toptal

1

Talk to One of Our Industry Experts

A Toptal director of finance will work you to understand your goals, technical needs, and team dynamics.
2

Work With Hand-Selected Talent

Within days, we'll introduce you to the right Financial Forecasting expert for your project. Average time to match is under 24 hours.
3

The Right Fit, Guaranteed

Work with your new Financial Forecasting expert for a trial period (pay only if satisfied), ensuring they're the right fit before starting the engagement.

FAQs

  • How are Toptal Financial Forecasting experts different?

    At Toptal, we thoroughly screen our Financial Forecasting experts to ensure we only match you with talent of the highest caliber. Of the more than 100,000 people who apply to join the Toptal network each year, fewer than 3% make the cut. You'll work with finance experts (never generalized recruiters or HR reps) to understand your goals, technical needs, and team dynamics. The end result: expert vetted talent from our network, custom matched to fit your business needs. Start now.

  • Can I hire Financial Forecasting experts in less than 48 hours through Toptal?

    Depending on availability and how fast you can progress, you could start working with a Financial Forecasting expert within 48 hours of signing up. Start now.

  • What is the no-risk trial period for Toptal Financial Forecasting experts?

    We make sure that each engagement between you and your Financial Forecasting expert begins with a trial period of up to two weeks. This means that you have time to confirm the engagement will be successful. If you're completely satisfied with the results, we'll bill you for the time and continue the engagement for as long as you'd like. If you're not completely satisfied, you won't be billed. From there, we can either part ways, or we can provide you with another expert who may be a better fit and with whom we will begin a second, no-risk trial. Start now.

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How to Hire a Great Financial Forecasting Expert

To even begin understanding how market demand will affect the sale of your business’ goods and services is a daunting task. From seasonality to abrupt changes in demand levels, from strikes to macro events, a manager or business owner trying to anticipate future sales can quickly find their head spinning. On top of this, sales projections are an important factor when financial planning for cash flow management, inventory control, and the overall direction of your business.

While forecasting can be a time- and labor-intensive process, a skilled financial forecasting expert can add tremendous value to your business by ensuring the forecast is as accurate as possible while taking the associated work off of your plate. Even in cases where forecasting is conducted in-house, it pays to have an unbiased third-party expert come in and spot-check key inputs and assumptions to make sure your financial projections account for the unexpected.

Finding the right financial forecasting expert with the right track record for your business, whether it be a corporation or small business, comes with its own set of challenges. In this hiring guide, we will address how to identify the right candidate for the role and create the best environment for a successful engagement.

Why Hire a Financial Forecasting Expert?

Below are some of the most common reasons for retaining a financial forecasting expert alongside case studies to provide insight into how they can help your business plan for the future with confidence.

Outsource a Time- and Resource-intensive Process

While you may have the component parts needed to build a full sales forecast (e.g., an internal finance team, historical financial data, macroeconomic forecasts, and market research reports), it can be incredibly time- and resource-intensive to conduct a rigorous financial forecast, putting a strain on yourself and your company’s internal finance team. Furthermore, outsourcing provides a degree of impartiality in the analysis—a freelancer is incentivized only to do as good a job as possible, not to provide management with a rosy picture of future sales.

Case study: The VP of Finance of Able Aeronautics, a company that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes and satellites, needs an experienced financial forecaster to direct a team of junior financial analysts in building out a sales forecast. Prior to kicking off the engagement, what information does the forecasting expert need to ensure a successful engagement?

In this case, the financial forecasting expert would begin by asking some high-level questions to fully understand the scope of the engagement and deliver the best forecast possible. Some questions they might ask include:

  • What’s the context and objective of the forecast?
  • What’s the relevance and availability of historical data?
  • What’s the desirable degree of accuracy?
  • What time period should the forecast cover?
  • What time frame is available for conducting the analysis?
  • What are the political/legal issues related to the forecast? Be aware of current laws or expected changes in laws that affect forecasts.
  • What are the major revenues and expenditure categories, as seen by management?

While the forecasting expert can (and will) answer many of these questions on their own over the course of their analysis, you want to start them off in as informed a position as possible. With these bases covered, they will begin to think about how business cycles, demographic trends, and anomalies in the existing financial data could affect their analysis before moving into the selection of the forecasting method.

The forecast itself will involve a blend of qualitative and quantitative research skillfully woven together by the financial forecaster to arrive at the clearest projection possible. Both types of research vary considerably—different types of models within quantitative methods, and different scopes of sources within qualitative—and will depend on the specifics of the forecast in question.

When forecasting, there’s a trade-off between the cost and accuracy of the forecast; an expert forecaster will optimize the forecast for the task at hand.

When forecasting, there’s a trade-off between the cost and accuracy of the forecast; an expert forecaster should take into account the context of the forecast prior to deciding on a methodology.

Avoid the Trap of Overly Optimistic Projections

For the inexperienced or in-house forecaster, it is all too easy to be overly optimistic when forecasting financials. It’s essential to hire a seasoned professional to make sure you can meet your financial obligations even when things don’t go as planned.

Case Study: Bubbling Beverages, a consumer beverage company, just finished preparing their sales forecast for the year. After looking at the projected expenses, the CEO is worried that the projections are not grounded in reality and decides to hire an external consultant to sanity check their model. How would the financial forecaster challenge the assumptions driving the forecast?

As an initial sanity check, the finance professional may begin with a top-down approach and look at gross margin, operating profit margin, and total headcount per client, comparing Bubbling Beverage’s ratios to the averages in the industry.

Next, an unsparing financial forecaster should challenge all assumptions informing the forecast. For example, if the Bubbling Beverages CFO expected their soft drink division to grow 5% next year, yet it’s been in steady decline for a decade, new laws are going to tax soft drinks higher, and a survey the forecaster conducted shows that the company’s largest customers plan to spend 10% less on soft drinks next year, then this assumption should be called out. The expert forecaster should similarly challenge the assumptions for all major contributors to cost and revenue.

Prepare for the Best and the Worst

While it’s tempting to put together an optimistic forecast where revenue goes up and to the right quarter after quarter, it’s essential to have a conservative forecast prepared to make sure you’ll be able to cover all of your obligations in the case where anything goes wrong. It’s also useful to think about an optimistic case, which will enable you to avoid sitting on a pile of cash in the case where everything does go perfectly as planned.

Case Study: After the forecaster has pressure tested the model, the CFO of Bubbling Beverages extends the engagement with their financial forecasting expert to build out additional cases. How might the financial forecaster adjust the model assumptions in the base case to build a conservative and aggressive sales forecast?

In preparing a conservative case, the financial forecasting expert might make the following adjustments:

  • Lower the price point to reflect a decrease in demand during an economic downturn
  • Introduce new products more slowly
  • Drop one marketing channel to reduce headcount expenditure
  • Make a significant reduction in sales staff

When preparing the aggressive case, the financial forecasting expert might adjust the assumptions and drivers in the following ways:

  • Maintain a low price point for the base product, but a higher price for the premium product
  • Introduce new products more quickly
  • Expand to three or four marketing channels
  • Make a significant increase in sales staff

Skills to Look Out For

Hard Skills to Look Out For

Financial forecasters often rely on historical data and data analysis to map trends and determine how they will influence the business, making a solid grounding in financial modeling and statistical analysis a must for any financial forecaster.

Soft Skills Are a Must

A truly skilled financial forecasting expert will have a big-picture mentality and connect the dots from the sales forecast to other areas of your business. For example, the accurate estimation of sales can offer insights towards cash movements, allowing you to plan for future shortfalls and, hopefully, windfalls. Additionally, a thorough sales forecast will accomodate assumptions such as changes in customer habits and macro increases or decreases in demand. In effect, this forecast will allow for efficient inventory planning, thus driving working capital efficiency higher. This could then spill over toward better planning of raw material inputs and labor hiring.

In addition to their ability to think big, an expert financial forecaster must also be an excellent communicator. A core part of the forecaster’s job is the preparation and presentation of reports, charts, and tables that detail how market factors should inform marketing and production strategy decisions. They need to have the communication skills and forecasting expertise to highlight the information that should have the biggest impact on your decision-making while also managing to minimize the noise.

Ensuring a Successful Engagement

Once you have found the ideal candidate, make sure to spend the time to adequately onboard the expert to increase the chances of a positive experience and a successful engagement.

Here are a few suggestions about how to make this transition go smoothly:

1. Collaborate with Your Forecaster

Prior to sending the forecaster off on assignment, it pays to make sure you’re synced up on a number of defining questions for the forecast:

  1. What is the purpose of the forecast? How is it to be used?
  2. What are the relationships between the different parts of the company for which the forecast is being made? Is there a flowchart showing the relationship between distribution, sales, production, and any other relevant parts of the organization?
  3. What major initiatives does the company have planned that may influence the forecast? Are there any impending events on the horizon? New products, new competitive strategies, and impending regulation are some examples of things you may want to call out.

2. Ensure the Forecasting Expert Has the Resources They Need

To conduct a proper financial forecast, the expert will need access to historical sales data as well as access to salespeople and relevant executives. Board meeting minutes can be especially useful in helping inform your forecaster. You should provide the freelancer with access to these resources at the start of their engagement (send over the files, make the necessary introductions) so they can hit the ground running.

3. Jointly Determine Milestones and Ask for a Project Plan

If it isn’t provided at the start of the engagement, be sure to ask your financial forecasting expert for a roadmap that includes dates for key deliverables. This will help ensure that you and your freelancer are aligned on expectations and the engagement goes smoothly.

Conclusion

Accurate financial forecasting will always run up against the uncertainty of the future. You may turn on the news tomorrow to find the markets in complete turmoil or to discover that Amazon has made a major acquisition in your industry. While there’s no amount of planning that can fully account for that type of event, a savvy manager knows that there is still plenty that rigorous forecasting does get right. And adding financial forecasting to your existing financial statements and financial reporting (income statements, balance sheets, etc.) will only make your more prepared for whatever comes your way. The evaluation of a business’ current and future financial situation through forecasting is a necessary step for all managers.

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