When it comes to building a financial model, the FAST standard is used to minimise miscalculations and save companies from losing a lot of money.
However, some of us are still unsure as to what the standard is and how to incorporate it's principles. In this blog we've highlighted some of the key features of the FAST standard that need to be considered.

Workbook design

  • Separation of worksheets by type; Inputs, Workings, Outputs and Control
  • Maintain consistent column structure across all sheets
  • Maintain a consistent timeline throughout the model
  • Colour code Export Imports
  • Perform a calculation once (i.e. do not recalculate something that has already been calculated elsewhere in the model)
  • Avoid links between different Excel workbooks

Worksheet design

  • Calculation logic should flow left to right, top to bottom
  • Construct all calculations into separate calculation blocks
  • Calculation blocks should be built such that they can be replicated
  • Use corkscrew calculations blocks for balance accumulation

The line item

  • Treat the line items as the smallest indivisible object in a model
  • Formulas must be consistent across the timeline
  • You should write formulas shorter than your thumb
  • You should not write formulas with embedded constants
  • Provide a unique label for all line items
  • Use timing flags

Excel features used in modelling

  • You should not use the OFFSET or INDIRECT functions
  • You should not use Excel Names
To find out more on financial modelling, from the basics to the more complex, we have a suite of courses authored by Grant Thornton which will help you build the perfect financial model for your business or your client's business.