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Best Financial Modeling Books

A list of the best books to learn financial modeling in Excel

What are the best financial modeling books?

The best way to learn financial modeling is through practice. But how can you practice if you don’t know where to start? Many people start with video based training (which we offer extensively), while others still prefer good old-fashioned books.  For anyone who prefers to learn by reading and studying from books, this is the place for you.  We’ve compiled in this guide what we believe are the eight most important and helpful financial modeling books.

If reading is your preference, we still recommend supplementing these books with our video-based courses so you can watch an instructor build a financial model step-by-step in Excel.


Financial modeling books


1. Mastering Financial Modelling in Microsoft Excel – Alastair Day

This is a great book for anyone looking to master financial modelling in Excel.  Alistair does a great job of making complex issues simple and easy to understand and this financial modeling book comes highly recommended (as do all the books in this guide).

The main topics covered in the book include:

  • Spreadsheet design, methodologies and processes
  • Techniques for checking and improving existing models
  • How to avoid costly mistakes by testing each scenario
  • Which Excel formulas and functions to use and how to discover new variables


Check out our free financial modeling guide on modeling best practices!


2. Financial Modeling in Practice: A Concise Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Levels – Michael Rees

This one easily made our list of the best financial modeling books.  The book is very engaging, easy to read, and some of the most interesting and important topics covered in it include:

  • Excel functions and tools relevant to financial modeling
  • How to design, structure, and build models that are relevant, accurate, and easily understandable
  • Modeling and linking the 3 financial statements
  • Add-ins such as @RISK and PrecisionTree for risk modeling
  • VBA is used in a range of practical financial modeling situations


financial modeling video
Check out CFI’s financial modeling courses online.


3. Best Practices for Equity Research Analysis – James Valentine

This book is a classic and placed in the top 3 on our list.  Geared towards equity research, this book provides extremely practical and helpful advice for any who wants a career in that field.

  • Material on valuation, due diligence, and behavioral finance
  • The author’s own experiences surely added more depth to the material.
  • The importance of clear communication
  • How to relate with management of covered companies
  • Excel tips and tricks covered extensively in this book


4. Financial Analysis and Modeling using Excel and VBA – Chandan Sengupta

Number 4 on our list of top financial modeling books is by Chandan Sengupta, who dives into the world of VBA as it relates to Excel models.  If want to learn how to incorporate VBA into your models, this book is for you!  Key highlights include:

  • Book covers features of Excel that are essential for financial analysis and modeling, such as the Ribbon, PivotTables, data analysis, and statistical analysis
  • Teaches financial analysis and modeling, and illustrates advanced features of Excel and VBA, using a learn-by-doing approach
  • Writing formulas to answer what-if questions and iterative solutions to problems
  • Make the most of Excel and VBA methods


5. Financial Modeling – Simon Benninga

Another classic on the must-read financial modeling books list. This book is 100% focused on one thing: financial modeling.  If you want to round out your skills we highly recommend this book.  Key points include:

  • Using Excel software to solve finance problems
  • Examples used in the book draw on actual company data
  • Tips on obtaining current data from the internet.
  • Concepts of modern corporate finance, investments, and derivatives

Financial modeling example
Learn financial modeling with CFI’s online financial modeling courses.


6. A Practical Guide to Investment Banking and Private Equity – Paul Pignataro

This book has a unique angle to it, focused for those targeting careers in investment banking, or anyone who wants to work in private equity.   You won’t be disappointed if you take the time to read this book!  Some highlights include:

  • Overview of key fundamentals of investment banking, private equity, and the M&A process
  • Step-by-step method for analyzing companies
  • Financial statements and valuation methods used in mergers and acquisitions
  • Handbook for investment banking professionals and business students looking to get into the field
  • Goes through the model building and valuation process in complete detail


7. Financial Modeling for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs – Tom Y. Sawyer

  • Connects business thinking with a financial model in a simple and direct manner
  • Designed for the entrepreneurship community
  • Formulate and test a hypothesis of your business model
  • Straight manner to make plans of possible paths for a startup financial model
  • Here is also embedded a project management perspective that helps you to keep focused on the relevant activities


8. Building Financial Models, John Tjia

  • Projection models–what they are, how they are used, and how they vary between industries
  • Accounting and finance concepts that underpin working financial models
  • Detailed directions for using spreadsheet software to create dynamically powerful financial models
  • Produce and design a projection model that allows the user to change inputs quickly for sensitivity analysis


More financial modeling resources

We hope this has been a helpful guide to the best financial modeling books for learning how to build models on your own.  Additional resources you may find helpful include:

  • Free financial modeling guide
  • How to be a great financial analyst
  • Financial modeling skills
  • Types of financial models

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