Business Simulation in Excel

by Ross Maynard
access120 days access
cpd hours4 CPD hours

This course will enable you to:

  • Understand the basics of business simulation in Excel
  • Use Excel to create cost-efficient, effective business simulations
  • Understand what constitutes good data, and how to properly analyse it
  • Learn how to set up queuing simulations, and their importance
  • Gain an understanding of financial models and the value they provide

As accountants, we use Microsoft Excel all the time. But have you ever created a business simulation in Excel? Often, we assume more sophisticated and expensive software is required for business simulation, but Excel can often be the more cost-effective and efficient choice.

This course takes you through the basics of business simulation in Excel, and guides you through building some very illuminating simulations. It also looks at the importance of collecting good data for analysis and explores how to set up queuing simulations and financial models to aid decision making.

The basics

  • What is business simulation?
  • Business simulation with Excel
  • The principles of business simulation
  • Types of business simulation
  • Why simulate?
  • The dangers of simulations in Excel
  • Business uncertainty

Getting started

  • How to begin
  • Identifying stakeholders
  • Agreeing on the question
  • Agreeing on a model
  • Planning the data
  • Using data
  • Modelling demand

Better data, better results

  • Using real data
  • Selecting actual data
  • Normal distribution
  • Determining whether data is normally distributed
  • Examining the characteristics of a data sample
  • How to show if a set of data is normally distributed
  • Selecting data using a normal distribution
  • Exploring the use of a normal distribution in a simulation

Queuing and waiting

  • Simulating queues
  • Challenges in queuing
  • Generating random events from a Poisson distribution
  • Queuing in the call centre
  • Queuing and resource requirements
  • Using a Poisson distribution
  • Getting more sophisticated
  • Get with the process
  • Understanding the digibox

Financial modelling

  • Simulation in financial models
  • Modelling input costs
  • Cashflow simulation with highly variable input costs
  • Qualectro and input cost modelling
  • Modelling customer demand in a simulation
  • Using a Poisson distribution to model customer demand
  • Modelling cashflow using the Poisson distribution
  • Understanding Qualectro
  • Going up a gear

Ross Maynard is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. He has worked as a consultant and trainer for over 20 years, specialising in process improvement and lean for finance teams. He has presented at lean conferences in the UK, Australia, Italy and Denmark and has written many articles and blogs on process improvement. These can be found at

Ross is author of "Successful Business Growth in a Week" published by Hodder and Stoughton in 1998.

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Verifiable CPD
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  1. Was the learning activity relevant to your career?
  2. Can you explain how you will apply the learning in the workplace?

You select courses that meet these criteria, and as you complete each course you get a CPD certificate so you can provide ACCA with the evidence that you undertook the learning activity.