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Euromoney Learning Solutions

Strategic Analysis: Planning, Forecasting & Budget Modelling

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Become more than a “number cruncher” and add value to your organisation through your strategic / commercial recommendations. These will come through insights to senior management on how to increase revenue, reduce costs or best manage risk in well-presented, forward-looking forecasts and analyses.

Insight + Hindsight = Foresight

How often have you looked back with the benefit of hindsight and wished you knew then what you know now? How do you compare what actually happened with what you thought would happen?

Hands-on modelling:

This practical course provides you with the analysis that can be built into forecasting and budgeting. Using simple statistical tools and techniques, attendees will learn a pragmatic approach to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their forecasting.

Multiple examples and break-out sessions

This course will show participants how to improve forecasting techniques, using real-world examples, to turn historical data into future management information.

Key benefits:

Aimed at all finance professionals involved in the budgeting and forecasting process, this course shows you how to reduce the risks in your decision-making and recommendations by using budgets, qualitative and quantitative analysis, by utilising our kit bag of tips, tools and techniques. This course will:

  • Provide a practical understanding of data forecasting and budgeting
  • Quantify the risks and rewards of estimating future assumptions
  • Explore different forecasting and trending methods
  • Teach you several ways to analyse and present key outputs


Day 1 Often the role of the Finance Department is limited to pulling together the numbers. This overlooks the skills that Finance people can add to strategic planning.

  • What is “strategy”?
  • Why actions speak louder than words for successful businesses
  • How a strategy is developed and how / why it continues to evolve
  • Quantitative versus qualitative consideration
  • General idea: communication, strategy and execution
  • Developing and executing a strategy

Development and analysis

  • Reviewing existing competencies
  • Mission and Vision Statements
  • SWOT analysis
  • Porter’s Five Forces
  • PESTEL analysis

Laying the foundations for a successful business

  • Strategies
  • Objectives
  • Goals

Business planning

  • Implementing a strategic plan
  • Developing the nuts and bolts
  • Key elements of a business plan

Monitoring mechanisms to evaluate business performanc

  • Organisational structure
  • Key outputs
  • SMART measurements
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Balanced Scorecard
  • Strategic, Tactical, Operational and Planning (STOP) budgets   Day 2


Budgets are often criticised by end users for constraining them. The budgeting modules look at how to make the budget and the budgeting process useful for the business.


  • Key concepts of “best practice” quantitative budgeting
  • Understanding the factors that govern the model structure
  • Setting up the foundations of a budget model
  • Why templates don’t work


  • Importance of budgeting
  • The budget cycle
  • Reasons for budgeting (linking back to the theory)
  • Types of budgets and budgeting methodologies
    • Zero Based Budgeting
    • Incremental
    • Top Down
    • Bottom Up
    • Top Down and Bottom Up
  • Budget risk
  • Factors to consider in developing a budget
  • Practical issues
  • Introduction to Developing a budgeting model
  • Budget management
  • In today’s challenging business environment, cost management and reduction are key to business success.

Managing costs

  • Understanding the drivers of cost
  • Variable versus fixed cost issues
  • Cost Volume Profit (CVP) and breakeven analysis
  • Activity Based Management and Activity Based Costing principles
  • Inventory management
  • Debtor factoring
  • Value chain analysis


  • Cash discount / price incentive schemes
  • Inventory management, e.g. Just In Time
  • Optimising assets’ economic lives
  • Lease vs. buy
  • Reducing controllable costs (budget cuts)
  • Refinancing / amending capital structure


  • Accounts Payable teams
  • Credit collection agencies vs. debt factoring
  • Supplier negotiations
  • Vertical integration / partnerships

Variance analysis

  • Flexible budget variances
  • Operational versus planning issues
  • Key variances
    • Sales price
    • Sales volumes
    • Sales mix
    • Materials
    • Labour
    • Overheads
  • Modelling variance analysis

Day 3 Control, risk and quantification

Organisational structure and control

  • Organisational structure
    • Divisional structure
    • Product
    • Geographic
    • Customer
  • Hierarchy versus matrix structures
  • Centralisation and decentralisation
  • Control
    • Financial control
    • Control systems
    • Responsibility centres
    • Behavioural issues

Risk management

  • Risk versus uncertainty
  • Types of risk
    • Business risk
    • Operational risk
    • Financial risk
  • Tools of the trade
  • Working capital management


  • How scoping and outputs determine the order of construction
  • Benefits of a quantitative model
  • Keeping the level of granularity consistent in the budget model
  • Model bias – how to get stakeholder ownership
  • Methods of building model assumptions
  • Building a working analysis from history
  • Being able to update with actual data as it becomes available

Forecasting in context

  • Common methods of financial forecasting
  • Alternative to point estimate modelling
    • Scenarios
    • Sensitivities
    • Simulations

Day 4 Analysis

Key outputs of a budget model

  • Income Statement versus Cash Flow
  • Confirming key outputs
  • Deriving key inputs
  • Developing Key Performance Indicators

Considering financing requirements

  • Returns on capital
  • Returns of capital
  • Key concepts of financing:
    • Risk
    • Return
    • Ranking
  • Analysis of results
  • Accounting ratios

Data analysis

  • Using trend analysis
  • Using PivotTables
  • Using 1-D and 2-D data tables
  • How Goal Seek, Scenario Manager and Solver may help
  • Revisiting scenario, sensitivity and simulations analysis
  • Strategic Options Analysis
  • Real Options Analysis
  • Introduction to Six Sigma
  • Linear optimisation

Reporting and charting

  • Introducing the Dashboard Summary
  • Chart examples
  • How to plot trends and determine relationships
  • Say it with charts: using the right chart at the right time

Who should attend

This course suits business decision-makers, managers, financial analysts, financial and management accountants, planning and budgeting staff, statutory and regulatory reporting staff, auditors, internal controllers, regulators, and other professionals who have vested interests in forecasting trends at the strategic, tactical, operational and planning levels.


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