Modelling Real World Complexities

by Grant Thornton
access120 days access
cpd hours4 CPD hours

This course will enable you to:

  • Recognise what "real world complexities" are and why businesses are concerned about them
  • Understand how financial models can deal with unpredictable inputs
  • Learn how economic factors affect financial models and reflect the real world
  • Test your financial model efficiently to include a variety of assumptions
  • Identify the best way to report your financial model to different audiences

Financial models are powerful tools but not without their limitations. Ignoring the complexities and uncertainties of the real world can lead to unrealistic results. This course explains how to decide which complexities to include in your financial models and how to include them.

You'll be looking at what effect variable inputs, economic factors and scenario based inputs can have on models. The course also takes a look at the vital importance of the way in which data is presented, and how this can be a strength rather than a weakness.

Introduction Levels of Complexity

  • What are real world complexities?
  • Why are businesses concerned about these real world complexities?
  • What challenges do real world complexities present?
  • Can I test a model to determine the effects of real world complexities?
  • Which complexities are particularly difficult to include in a business financial model?

Variable Inputs

  • What are variable inputs in relation to modelling real world complexities?
  • How can the model deal with unpredictable or "actual" inputs?
  • Should I include non-financial calculations to drive the costs and/or revenues?
  • Which ingredients are required to calculate the sales revenue?
  • How are the calculation blocks for the sales revenues constructed?

Economic Factors

  • What economic factors is a financial model likely to include?
  • Which ingredients are required to calculate the escalation factor?
  • How is the calculation block for the inflation factor constructed?
  • What should I consider when modelling cash flows which are denominated in different currencies?
  • How do I set up the model to deal with different currencies?
  • What do I need to know about interest rates?


  • Why might you want to test different scenarios in a model?
  • What if my assumptions turn out to be inaccurate?
  • How can I efficiently use my model to test a variety of assumptions?
  • What calculations need to be included?
  • How can I gain experience of using the model in this way?

Reporting Requirements

  • What do I need to know about reporting?
  • Does FAST apply the same rules to presentational sheets?
  • How can I incorporate the non-financial data in the output presentation?
  • What is a "dashboard" in the context of financial modelling?

Grant Thornton is one of the world's leading organisations of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms. They specialise in developing, building and reviewing financial models for clients.

Grant Thornton UK LLP specialise in developing, building and reviewing financial models for clients. Over 38,500 Grant Thornton people, across 120 countries, are focused on making a difference to clients, colleagues and the communities in which they live and work. For more information please visit their website.

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Verifiable CPD
Your course counts as verifiable CPD, if you can answer "yes" to these questions:

  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.

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