United StatesFreelance Financial Modeling Consultant Since January 9, 2018
Ludwig has closed over $30 billion of transactions in the US and Europe at Deutsche Bank's investment banking division. He has worked closely with investment professionals at top firms like Blackstone and Starwood Capital on deals ranging from asset and business disposals to multi-billion dollar acquisitions. He joined Toptal to connect with other entrepreneurs and go-getters and share his knowledge around investing, financing, strategy, and M&A.
United StatesFreelance Financial Modeling Consultant Since January 17, 2017
A chartered financial analyst and Columbia/London Business School MBA, Charlie founded a consulting firm specializing in providing strategic and financial analysis. He also currently leads strategic initiatives at FreeWheel Media. Recently, Charlie's work has included conducting equity research and valuing non-traditional data sets. He joined Toptal to help clients leverage financial and strategic analysis to improve business results.
PeruFreelance Financial Modeling Consultant Since September 1, 2021
Duncan has a passion for startups. He has experience in business and revenue models, asset allocation, budgeting, forecasting, valuations, and pitch decks and fundraising on many projects during his time in Silicon Valley. His MBA from The Wharton School and mechanical engineering degree perfectly complement finance, technology and operational execution. For him, consulting is a rewarding challenge; he helps clients make good financial decisions and grow their companies successfully.
NetherlandsFreelance Financial Modeling Consultant Since July 28, 2021
Jason is an investment banker and corporate finance advisor who has advised cross-border transactions worth $1 billion+ during the past eight years. He has worked with startups and billion-dollar companies, and he excels at helping clients maximize deal value in both structured and unstructured environments. Jason enjoys freelancing because it gives him the opportunity to work on fascinating deals and collaborate with people who have diverse perspectives.
GeorgiaFreelance Financial Modeling Consultant Since March 11, 2020
Kate is a finance expert with 10+ years of experience in Fractional CFO, FP&A, financial modeling, budgeting, and financial reporting. Before establishing a private financial consulting firm, she was a corporate risk officer at the largest bank in Georgia and a senior analyst at an FTSE 250 investment holding company with a $400+ million turnover. She started her career as an auditor at Deloitte. Kate is passionate about supporting her clients' growth and is ready to serve their needs.
United KingdomFreelance Financial Modeling Consultant Since August 26, 2021
Nick is a CFA with a 28-year track record spanning 40+ countries in M&A, finance, strategy, and policy. He's supported executive decisions in 60 high-stake projects, including M&A transactions ($46 billion), radio-spectrum auctions and trades ($3.5 billion), public policy advocacy, government contract bids (worth $1 billion), go-to-market strategies, and raises for small caps and tech startups. Independent since 2001, Nick has enjoyed working in diverse markets, sectors, and cultures.
IndiaFreelance Financial Modeling Consultant Since June 4, 2018
Dhruv has worked on successful fundraises and consulting projects worth over $1 billion, with a focus on energy, tech, food, and life science projects across Asia, the US, and Africa. He is a partner at a consulting firm and has more than a decade of experience in fundraising, startup consulting, process improvement, M&A, and project finance. With an MBA in finance, Dhruv enjoys the exposure and sheer variety of assignments that come with freelancing.
NamibiaFreelance Financial Modeling Consultant Since August 6, 2021
A qualified CA, Hennie has been involved in transactions in various industries, including an equity transaction by Nedbank in PayToday, Namibia's first fintech startup. He has a strong background in operational finance, valuations, and various debt and equity transactions. He enjoys using his experience to advise clients on proposed transactions and sustainable future strategies while considering intrinsic nuances and opportunities involved in various company cultures and structures.
SingaporeFreelance Financial Modeling Consultant Since June 10, 2021
Johan began his career with PwC, advising on some of the most prominent private equity transactions in the UK and the Nordics. Following a decade as an M&A advisor, he took up a position with a billionaire investor, focusing on turnaround investments, including a US publicly-traded company where he was parachuted in as CFO. Johan held the position of CFO and COO for ConnectedLife, a medical technology company, successfully raising $2.5 million over Zoom during the COVID lockdown in Spring 2020.
United StatesFreelance Financial Modeling Consultant Since December 9, 2020
With rolled-up sleeves, Jared's led the finance functions for entities with assets in excess of $1 billion. He joined the Toptal network to leverage his experience as a front-line finance leader (corporate modeling, 13-week cash-flow forecasts, Power BI reporting, and day-to-day accounting) to help startups and mid-sized organizations flourish. Jared has learned from his experiences in large corporations at Praxair and in early to mid-stage PE-backed firms (Quantum Energy Partners) in Texas.
Financial modeling consultants provide financial analysis and insights to companies of all kinds, ranging from uncomplicated small businesses to large multinational organizations. This guide features interview questions and answers, as well as ways to help you identify the top candidates for your company.
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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.
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Pete Pellizzari, CEO
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
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
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
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
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
How to Hire Financial Modeling Consultants through Toptal
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What do I need to have in place before I hire a financial modeling expert?
This depends on the scope of your project. In general, you’ll need to give them access to relevant existing financial documents, such as QuickBooks or other accounting software export files, ideally in Excel or CSV format. Or, if your company is still just a business plan, be prepared to have meetings with the financial modeler to provide and explain your plan so you can take a collaborative approach to developing the assumptions. Many financial modeling experts who have worked as investment bankers can build a financial model from a business plan presentation—or even a pitch deck—if that’s all you have. Regardless of what materials you have available, you should have a sense of the scope of your project or the result you need.
What do I need to look for when choosing a financial modeling expert online?
When you choose to hire a financial modeling expert online, one consideration you should weigh is their communication skills. Because you won’t be able to meet them in person and you won’t have as much direct oversight as you might if they worked on-site, you’ll need to be sure they’re able to understand your specific use case and articulate their results to you remotely. You may also want to consider time zone and work schedule overlap to ensure that when you need to collaborate with the financial modeler, you can schedule meetings during mutually convenient hours.
Do I need to hire a financial modeling expert?
Ultimately, you must decide when your company needs an expert analysis. But most businesses will bring in experienced financial modelers at some point to help with strategic initiatives that no one at the business has expertise in modeling—typically raising debt or equity capital from banks or investors and analyzing KPIs. If you don’t hire a knowledgeable consultant, your business may instead need to employ a CFO with financial modeling experience.
How do I choose between two qualified financial modeling experts?
If two candidates have otherwise identical profiles in terms of their time in the field, expertise in your sector and use case, and ability to communicate their data-driven insights, you may want to look at their personality fit with your company and stakeholders. A quality financial modeling consultant possesses a rigorous analytical ability and modeling background but must also be able to run a modeling project for your company effectively. Success requires a great deal of collaboration and trust between management and the consultant, so it’s important that you develop a rapport.
Why is a financial model important?
A financial model provides you with information about how your company is doing and the direction it’s going. More specifically, a model can reveal your firm’s main business drivers and give you insight into where you should focus in order to manage or hedge risks and improve financial performance. A good financial model is a strong indicator to investors that the founders know what they’re doing and that they understand their business. The various assumptions and reasoning behind the financial model also provide a necessary tool for the company’s valuation.
Eric is a financial services professional with more than 14 years of experience as a sell-side, buy-side, and startup professional, advising on debt and equity deals from $10 million to more than $1 billion. While at Apollo Global Management, he deployed more than $2 billion into funds across various structures and sectors.
Business Owners Need Financial Modeling to Analyze Performance, Track KPIs, Raise Capital, and More
According to Gartner research, financial modeling skills are experiencing the highest growth in demand of all finance and accounting functions, based on 2022 third-quarter data from five countries, and this trend is expected to continue. The demand may reflect the current environment of perceived financial uncertainty; to counteract this instability, business leaders want to be as confident as possible about their next moves. This is where financial modeling comes in.
A financial model uses numerical data to demonstrate in detail how a company has operated in the past and how it works in the present, as well as to forecast how it will continue to work into the future. The major benefit of financial modeling is that it helps leaders review historical performance to understand how different strategies are likely to affect future performance; thus, their decisions are better informed and data-driven. Companies need reliable financial models to build economically viable businesses, raise capital, and provide solid insights and key performance indicators (KPIs).
Building and maintaining a quality financial model is not a job for accountants who lack substantial experience. Financial modeling of businesses can be extremely complicated, involving myriad moving parts and buy-in from multiple stakeholders. Many times, a financial model will require analysis and feedback from multiple business units, and it takes experience to navigate the nuances of each organization. Unless a business employs a specialized CFO, it would be unusual for a small or midsize company to have a full-time employee to conduct financial modeling at the necessary level of detail and sophistication. Instead, when undertaking a strategic business initiative, companies typically hire well-qualified financial modeling consultants to work directly with management teams, financial parties, and other stakeholders.
You can find good financial modeling experts from a variety of sources, including specialized financial services/consulting firms and online solo-practitioner consultancies. (Some software tools also provide financial modeling, but this functionality isn’t nearly as robust as what a consultant provides.) Wherever you choose to search, your ultimate goal is to find an expert you can trust to provide accurate, professional, and, above all, dependable advice to help you make strategic business moves and informed financial decisions.
This hiring guide offers insights into how to hire the best financial modeling consultant for your particular needs.
What attributes distinguish quality Financial Modeling Consultants from others?
When you’re looking for a quality financial modeling consultant, experience should be your primary criterion. Ideally, your candidate will have at least five years of experience working in general financial modeling, as well as specialized sector background relevant to your use case. In terms of the former, you’ll want a practitioner who has experience in modeling business endeavors; with that knowledge they can make informed decisions on the best methods and data sources to use in constructing an insightful, quality product for business owners.
As for the latter, it’s important to look for qualities in a financial modeling consultant that demonstrate their know-how in whatever business sector and use case is relevant to your situation—including the ability to create a robust model capturing all the financial data elements you’re looking for. If you’re planning on sharing your model with potential investors, experience working with investment banks and institutional investing is helpful. The best financial modeling consultants are not only skilled and knowledgeable, but also creative and adaptive since every financial model has its own unique circumstances, stakeholders, and process nuances.
Generally, there’s a specific impetus or initiative that drives the need for a robust financial model. Common reasons to hire a financial modeling expert for your business include mergers and acquisitions, raising capital, financial planning and analysis, strategic business initiatives, and other important business concerns.
If your business is involved in—or even contemplating—any of these endeavors, it’s crucial to hire a qualified financial modeling consultant to support a successful financial modeling process. For example, raising capital from banks or equity investors could trigger the need for financial modeling, as would a business buying a new class of real estate, which requires its own unique set of financial modeling methodologies. A well-qualified financial modeling consultant can also tell you about industry standard best practices and common performance metrics for your business as a way to get started.
Many businesses will hire a financial modeling expert to explore or develop what their business KPIs look like currently, as well as additional opportunities for performance improvement. Often, going through the process of developing the scope of a financial model use case will generate new questions and insights that will add additional value to the businesses under consideration.
How can you identify the ideal Financial Modeling Consultant for your business?
In addition to general experience with financial modeling and expertise with your use case, a top financial modeling consultant must possess a variety of hard and soft skills in order to effectively build a sophisticated financial model for their clients. These include:
Understanding of modeling types – All financial modelers should be familiar with three-statement financial models, and most qualified modelers will be experts in discounted cash flows, merger consolidation models, and leveraged buyout models, among other capital market models.
Data analysis – All financial modeling consultants ought to be comfortable with macro and micro data analysis. Most should be familiar with databases and data management as well.
Accounting – Financial modeling consultants should be able to build financial models to analyze and evaluate the accounting implications of various use cases across different accounting methods (GAAP, IFRS, and others).
Forecasting – Expert financial modelers will be able to perform in-depth financial forecasts of a company’s financial statements, including scenario analysis. Most financial modelers will also have a background in corporate finance.
Expertise with modeling software – Microsoft Excel is commonly used for modeling, but consultants may also have familiarity with other business-specific modeling software.
Strong communication skills – Consultants work directly and extensively with management to clearly articulate complicated concepts and explain the reasoning behind their findings. They need to be adept at listening to, understanding, and incorporating client feedback.
Research skills – Consultants must conduct company- and industry-specific research as part of building the financial modeling architecture.
Presentation skills – Part of effective modeling is demonstrating insights in as clear and compelling a way as possible.
Creative critical thinking and quantitative skills – These qualities ensure that the financial modeler can use data to develop a persuasive argument and back it up.
Project management skills – Creating an insightful financial model is frequently a large project that requires a well-managed process with multiple stakeholders who may have different motivations and incentives.
Complementary skills that may be relevant to your business use case may include:
Auditing – Many financial modelers will have experience with financial auditing, forensic accounting, and/or quality of earnings analysis. Skills like these can help them dig deeper into nuanced understandings of company performance.
Sensitivity analysis – High-quality financial modeling consultants will be able to sensitize a variety of inputs and model drivers to identify strengths and weaknesses tailored to specific business use cases. Examples could include return on investment in advertising, growth rates, and COGS/margin scenario analysis.
Advanced Excel skills – Financial modeling consultants should be competent with advanced Excel skills such as VBA macros, database linking, and queries, including SQL, data tables, arrays, functions, and formatting options. These are applicable in a variety of use cases to create client-friendly products.
Design skills – In addition to advanced formatting options in Excel, to ensure the model is easy to understand, a superior financial modeling consultant should have a background with a variety of modeling use cases and be able to use their design skills to create an attractive and intuitive product for your business.
How to Write a Financial Modeling Consultant Job Description for Your Project
First, clearly describe your use case and business sector, including what stage(s) you’re at in any strategic initiative(s). Include germane details about why you’re hiring a financial modeling consultant at this time. This will help candidates with relevant experience self-select, as well as give them a clearer sense of the nature of the project.
Next, list the stakeholders and documents you think the financial modeling specialist may need to consult. You don’t have to have everything on hand and ready to go, but start thinking about the steps needed to acquire the documents and at what point in the data collection process you’ll want the financial modeling expert to step in. Including information about the scope, intensity, and length of the work you need done will help both you and potential candidates understand what realistic project deadlines and budgets might look like. One thing to keep in mind: Building a financial model is a job in and of itself, but as a living document, the model will probably need to be maintained in order to remain useful going forward.
Finally, be clear about your expectations in terms of qualifications and experience, bearing in mind the aforementioned guidance about special cases that require advanced expertise. Be specific about what you need.
What are the most important Financial Modeling Consultant interview questions?
By the interview stage, you will have an understanding of each candidate’s education and prior positions; now you can dig into their experience and how it applies to your particular use case. Questions to help you evaluate the candidate include the following:
Ask how recently their latest model was implemented. Expect the candidate to detail how they approached the case; assess how appropriate and customized their approach seems. The more recent and robust their experience with your kind of use case, the better.
How would you approach financial modeling for my specific use case?
Financial modeling is one of the most important tools for companies to analyze data and financial performance. Inquire about how the candidate would approach modeling your specific business needs, going into detail about expected deliverables and their relevant expertise with them. If you’re using the financial model to raise debt or equity capital from banks or investors, the candidate should know what model form and structure would be investor-friendly for your business. As for deliverables, Microsoft Excel will be the primary software tool for financial modeling, and results will be provided in Excel (or Google Sheets), so it’s important to specify if your needs are different.
Can you describe your approach to managing data and deriving model drivers and assumptions?
It’s key to understand how the candidate would utilize existing data from the relevant business, especially if it’s in a niche market. They should be able to talk about how they would leverage your data and provide additional analytical value to your company by implementing financial model drivers/inputs, assumptions, and/or sensitivity analysis. While you may not be familiar with all of the available financial modeling techniques, the candidate should be able to explain what approaches they would use and why.
Will this financial model require additional information or data beyond what’s provided? How would you manage the schedule and project?
The answer to these questions will help you assess how well the candidate understands your use case, as well as give you a sense of whether your time and budget estimates are on target.
What steps do you follow in your workflow? Can you provide examples of how you have successfully created value for your clients?
While no two financial models are the same, a typical process workflow includes the following steps:
Step 1: Define objectives and stakeholders.
Discuss with company executives the specific reason for hiring a financial modeling consultant—for instance, to raise capital or analyze business economics and KPIs.
Decide upon methods and data sources based on your financial modeling objectives and stakeholders.
Step 2: Gather data.
Compile information about the business, including a business operations overview and any other business-specific information relevant to the use case.
Aggregate existing business financials and develop a financial model and/or financial projections.
Adjust financials and collaborate with management to define sensitivities and scenarios that incorporate risk. For instance, financial statements prepared for tax purposes and audited financials must be properly interpreted and reclassified as appropriate for business valuation use cases.
Step 3: Implement model drivers, assumptions, and sensitivities to make the model more insightful and robust, as needed.
Ensure that the design, inputs, outputs, and summaries are user-friendly and ready for all stakeholders.
Step 4: Conduct additional research and analysis, as needed.
Perform in-depth analysis of company data, as well as industry-specific best practices or standard performance metrics to compare to the model, as relevant.
Step 5: Present findings and iterate/collaborate with management, as needed.
Provide a comprehensive presentation of the specific business financial model outputs; run additional modules, as relevant.
Step 6: Finalize the financial model.
Ensure that the deliverables have satisfied management needs and decide if the model needs to be maintained and updated periodically.
Make a plan for any future work or model maintenance.
Why do companies hire Financial Modeling Consultants?
A financial modeling consultant is a financial professional with experience in designing and building robust and insightful financial models to achieve or support specific business initiatives. There are many reasons your company may need a thorough, accurate, data-based financial model. These include raising debt or equity capital from banks or investors, tracking capital budgeting projects and profitability, analyzing KPIs, or simply gaining a better understanding of your business plan and sensitivities.
For any of these situations, hiring a qualified financial modeling consultant will help you achieve a deeper understanding of your financials and financial performance, as well as reduce the likelihood of problems resulting from an incorrect or unsophisticated financial model. Hiring the best consultant for your needs will, in turn, make the financial modeling process go as smoothly as possible and ensure that you get accurate, useful results.