Why every client and model us unique

Deals Modelling: Why every client – and model – is unique

Ian Bennett
Deals Modelling Leader, Deals

Everyone thinks of numbers and spreadsheets when I tell them I lead PwC’s global financial modelling team but, in our team, we’re all about stories – because storytelling is fundamental to solving our clients’ problems. Our team’s ‘toolkit’ of skills relies upon world-class financial modelling, embedded in a relationship that really rethinks the client experience. How do we do this? By producing models our clients love to interact with. 

Imagine receiving a model with a dashboard that doesn’t just have the numbers you need, but which you can change and adjust – that you can own – and that solves a problem for your business or conveys something you haven’t been able to articulate previously. That’s what we do for our clients. We provide moments of illumination and clarity founded in trust and reliability.

Our models help people tell their stories so they can get a deal over the line or secure funding or convince their boss of the merits of a business case. These are often milestone moments in people’s working lives and so are deeply personal. (I should also mention that, as well as building those models, we provide comfort around them by way of a model review or model audit.)

So, what’s been keeping us busy over the past twelve months, and what’s on the horizon for the coming year?

FY22 highlight: Teaching clients to fish

Our training business has been a standout highlight in the last year, and it’s one of only a few of its kind at PwC. Financial modelling skills are in very high demand, as is our Professional Model Build course, which is a program that caters to just about everybody, whether you’re building business cases in ASX-listed companies or running fund models in a real estate start-up. The beauty of our training is that we’re not teaching people how to model any one particular thing; we’re teaching them how to model full stop. You know the adage about teaching people to fish? That’s at the core of our training.

Data modelling and automation service set to boom

However, it’s our data modelling services that will be our big growth area in the next 12 months. 

Our clients are now being expected to repeatedly handle large quantities of data, which has driven an increase in demand for our data tools. These tactical solutions allow them to incorporate powerful analysis, produce dashboards and meet rapidly increasing demands for reporting (interactive, agile, responsive, timely, deeper) in an efficient and automated manner.

It’s been interesting to see how this activity has been linked to the market’s ESG focus, such as modern slavery.

What I love most about data modelling, however, is the way it allows us to get to the heart of what a client wants. Taking a technology-agnostic approach without the traditional constraints of the Excel grid opens our client’s minds to new possibilities.

Variety is the spice of modelling life

In our team, variety is the name of the game. With 50 team members, we’re one of the largest modelling teams in the Asia-Pacific (if not the world) and so, when it comes to our clients and the industries they represent, we have more variety than any other team I’ve ever come across. 

And I have to say, it’s that variety – the sheer breadth of this job – that I relish. We work with everyone including major corporates, private equity, private clients, family businesses, not-for-profits, and charities; and across industries as diverse as real estate, energy, project finance, renewables, infrastructure, financial services and more. For instance, we’ve put a lot of energy into the health sector during the pandemic, and now it’s the energy transformation market that’s blowing hot. 

We also get to work with clients at every stage of their journey. Just as we work with entrepreneurs and start-ups, established businesses call us when the wind’s at their back to support business cases, new investments, and acquisitions, but as headwinds arrive they need to be able to provide confidence in their cash flows and shore up support from the stakeholders.

Making it in modelling

It’s true that Deals Modelling is incredibly technical and anyone looking for a career in this area needs to love Excel and be adept at the technologies we use, and take great joy and pride in creating elegant modelling solutions, or helping clients build their best model.

What sets people apart in this profession, however, is our ability to take those skills and use them to compliment a natural affinity for client interaction and a genuine desire to understand their needs, hopes and fears. Our team is known among our PwC colleagues for the empathy and care we show our clients, and in my 22 years of financial modelling experience, every single client has something that sets them apart. No two projects (and therefore models) are the same. The same can be said for our people. There’s no one-size-fits-all mould for our team. For instance, our team is committed to making parental flexibility a priority so we’re a proven great choice for working parents. 

Our natural agility means we’re all about tactical fit-for-purpose approaches to modelling, ensuring we don’t ask our clients to compromise their ambitions and their story in order to align with a template. I can’t wait to contribute further to those stories this financial year.

More information 

Find out more about our Deals Modelling services, our unique training offering or about a career in deals.

 Shaping the future of deals

In a series of eight articles, our Deals leaders reflect on the year that has been and the market outlook ahead, speaking to the value they bring to a deal and what makes their team tick.

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Ian Bennet
Leader, Deals Modelling

Being a financial modeller is something I’m super proud of. I’m passionate about the profession! At PwC, what sets us apart is our commercial and technical toolkit. That’s how we deliver those ‘wow’ moments for clients.