health check

We are sponsors of  the 2015 publication of the ICAEW’s Twenty Principles of Good Spreadsheet Practice (“the Principles”). At the launch event the benefits of using the Principles in practice was highlighted. For our part we have begun to use the framework offered by the Principles as a template against which we can advise our clients (our “Health Check”) and we have prepared a  brief case study which demonstrates the power of the Principles in practice. Continue reading

size matters

According to Wikipedia: “Risk identification and allocation is a key component of project finance.” When it comes to financial models, some of that risk is allocated to model auditors. Taken in isolation, is the size of liability cap offered or size of firm more important when considering which model audit firm is best placed to take this risk on? Continue reading

renewable energy in africa

Our team are heavily involved in the renewable energy market in Africa and on the back of this experience, David Donnelly, who heads our renewable energy team has contributed a thought piece to Clean Energy Pipeline’s most recent expert guide.  We are big fans of these guides and this is recommended reading for anyone interested in the rapidly growing opportunities in clean energy projects in Africa. Continue reading

it is indeed good to share – let’s do it!

We read with great interest Danny Leitch’s posting on the F1F9 blog. He observes that we have all “been looking at around 1,000 versions of pretty much the same model” and that there must be more benefit to sharing. We agree but, believe sharing has already been the driver of improvement of spreadsheet practice and that the adoption of shared standards is the key to a step-change in practice in the future. Continue reading

the 20 principles – part 3

Spreadsheets standards: the German way!

After the World Cup final, expect a plethora of articles about how we should all do things the German way. In the last of this series of three posts on the launch of the ICAEW’s 20 principles for good spreadsheet practice, we discuss how best to implement the principles in your organisation and work in a tenuous world cup link… Continue reading

the 20 principles – part 2

An opportunity for better procurement

Much of our work as model auditors is to provide assurance on financial models which are being used by private sector clients to bid for public sector contracts. Frequently, there is a requirement under such contracts for the bidder to obtain independent certification that their model(s) are compliant with “best practice”.  This is problematic as there is no industry definition of what “best practice” actually means. We believe the ICAEW’s recently published 20 principles of good spreadsheet practice provide a way forward which can help improve the standards of models used for procurement purposes. Continue reading

the 20 principles – part 1

A touchstone for the development of better spreadsheet practice

The Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales has recently launched a major piece of thought leadership; its 20 principles for good spreadsheet practice. Rather than just being another interesting document we believe these principles can  be an important milestone in improving spreadsheet good practice across industry. Why? Continue reading

$80m lessons from “botched” road project

How right can you expect your model/modeller to be?

A recent article summarising a dispute in relation to an apparent $80 million spreadsheet related error in a bid for a Chilean toll road, raises interesting questions as to the standards we should expect both in terms of financial model accuracy and the competence of those tasked with creating them. Continue reading

piketty and principles

I read with interest the ongoing debate between Chris Giles, Financial Times columnist, and Professor Thomas Piketty “Data problems with Capital in the 21st Century”. Giles claims to have “found data problems and errors” which undermine Piketty’s “conclusion that wealth inequality is rising in the US and in Europe”. Piketty has since responded robustly.

I can’t comment on any economic arguments but I did have a quick look at the underlying spreadsheets that are the source of the some of the controversy (they are fairly basic) and I thought it would be useful to see whether good spreadsheet practice would have helped the professor. Continue reading

procuring a model audit

We receive many requests for proposals (RfPs) to provide model audits and they do vary enormously in the amount of detail included. We thought it would be helpful to give our view of what it is helpful for us to know to give you the most informed quote – and also some things to think about to ensure you obtain the right information from us or our competitors, these are summarised below. We’ve also put together an editable template RfP which is available on request. Continue reading