Financial Modeling Tools

Softwares, programming languages, and specialized platforms designed to help finance professionals build and analyze financial models

Author: Ethan Sweeney
Ethan Sweeney
Ethan Sweeney
My name is Ethan Sweeney, I am a senior at Connecticut College pursuing a BA in economics with a minor in finance. I have experience at Wall Street Oasis, Aflac, and founded an online publication at my college. I am passionate about economics, research, analysis, and writing.
Reviewed By: Josh Pupkin
Josh Pupkin
Josh Pupkin
Private Equity | Investment Banking

Josh has extensive experience private equity, business development, and investment banking. Josh started his career working as an investment banking analyst for Barclays before transitioning to a private equity role Neuberger Berman. Currently, Josh is an Associate in the Strategic Finance Group of Accordion Partners, a management consulting firm which advises on, executes, and implements value creation initiatives and 100 day plans for Private Equity-backed companies and their financial sponsors.

Josh graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and is currently an MBA candidate at Duke University Fuqua School of Business with a concentration in Corporate Strategy.

Last Updated:November 23, 2023

What are the Financial Modeling Tools?

Financial modeling is an integral part of the investment process. These tools help financial professionals analyze and evaluate businesses, aiding in decision-making.

Finance professionals rely heavily on their robust knowledge of businesses and accounting. However, they tend to use only a few tools to get the job done. These include Excel, different programming languages, and various other applications that assist them in analyzing and processing data to value companies.

It may be surprising to learn that finance professionals use few tools when working with financial modeling, especially considering the amount and complexity of data they are required to analyze.

However, the truth is - knowledge about financial principles and understanding how to interpret a business’s numbers are more important than having a plethora of tools at your disposal. 

That being said, it is essential to understand the available tools thoroughly, as the few that are used are used very extensively.

Below we outline the tools that are used and what they are used for.

Key Takeaways

  • Financial modeling heavily relies on Excel's flexibility, allowing professionals to efficiently build and modify models.

  • Programming languages like SQL and Python are increasingly valuable in finance for data analysis and complex modeling tasks.

  • Excel's low cost, universal accessibility, and widespread use make it a go-to tool for financial modeling, ensuring collaboration and accessibility.

  • Emerging financial modeling software like Quantrix and Maplesoft cater to specific needs, providing faster and more tailored solutions.

  • Numerous free and paid online resources, including templates, shortcuts, and tips, facilitate continuous learning and skill enhancement for finance professionals.


Even though there are four types of tools listed in this article, the vast majority of modeling is done on Excel.

Excel is a powerful tool, especially in the world of finance. It allows you to build a model from scratch or use templates from earlier, which saves time. This means that finance professionals can apply whatever format, structure, organization, or customization they prefer for their model.

The best part is that they can then use the same settings, which is especially helpful when most transactions fall into certain buckets that require the same structure. The flexibility that Excel provides, along with its simplicity, is what makes it the most used tool among financial modelers.

Building a model from scratch also has other advantages. Many prefer building a model from scratch rather than using pre-programmed tools because the latter tend to be very rigid and unsuitable except across a very narrow use case.

Filling out all the company information in Excel can be a tedious process. However, it forces professionals to scrutinize the numbers and better understand the business (less autopilot work).

Accounting primarily involves the organization of information, something that Excel excels at.

Excel also gives users the benefit of many pre-programmed shortcuts and formulas. These formulas and shortcuts that Excel offers are invaluable in finance. They are invaluable for financial modeling, making modeling much faster in many cases. In addition, if implemented correctly, they will require less effort to produce the required results.

Its price and universal usage are other reasons it is so commonly used. Excel is not prohibitively expensive and is accessible to most people. This makes it an ideal tool for many businesses and individuals. Its universal usage also cements its standing in the finance industry as everyone knows (or should know) how to use it.

Changing to a different program would likely be prohibitively expensive for companies. In addition, they would likely need to train employees to use it, which is unlikely to happen in the fast world of finance.

Another reason is that since most companies already use Excel, it would make it very hard to collaborate across companies, especially clients, which makes everything about the process much harder.

Its universal usage and low cost to access mean many free and paid resources are available online for learning Excel. This comes in the form of templates, Excel shortcuts, tips, and more.

Free WSO Financial Modeling Templates

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Building Dashboards

Dashboards provide a visual representation of complex financial data, offering numerous benefits for analysts and decision-makers. Examples of dashboard software include

  • Microsoft Power BI
  • Tableau
  • Google Data Studio.

These platforms allow users to create interactive dashboards that consolidate financial information, key performance indicators (KPIs) to present the data's story in a visually appealing way.

Dashboards allow the user to build customizable charts, graphs, and tables allowing stakeholders to interpret critical financial insights at a glance which can aid in streamlining the decision-making process. 

Financial Modeling Research Tools 

Financial modeling research tools allow analysts to curate data and conduct in-depth analysis needed to make informed financial decisions. The benefits of financial modeling research tools are widespread and can include:

  1. Data gathering
  2. Financial forecasting
  3. Scenario analysis

Bloomberg terminal is one widely used financial modeling research tool. It offers real-time financial data, news and analytics. Other tools available on the market include FactSet and CapitalIQ. These tools help professionals explore historical trends, assess market conditions and project future scenarios. 

It should be noted that while these tools are crucial to an analyst seeking up to date financial data, they come at a steep cost. Many analysts prefer to conduct financial modeling and forecasting using Excel due to its easily accessible and low cost nature. 

Programming Languages

While Excel may be the king of financial modeling tools, programming languages are frequently used, and it is a skill that employers look for in finance, especially in roles that require deep quantitative analysis.

The most commonly used languages for financial modeling include SQL and Python.

SQL is a language that is particularly suited for storing and retrieving data using organized databases. In addition, it is used for data retrieval and some data analysis. It is beneficial when working with large amounts of raw data as Excel is significantly slower with large amounts of data.

Python is a prevalent programming language both in and outside of finance. This is because it is one of the easiest languages to learn and is built for a comprehensive range of functions. It is also a very concise language, making it a very efficient language with little code needed to complete desired functions.

WSO Real World Example:

Python is used for a wide range of tasks in finance, specifically in analyzing large datasets and in risk analysis. It can create probability distributions and run Monte Carlo simulations for sensitivity analysis. It can also be used to build discounted cash flow (DCF) and other models in the hands of a skilled programmer.

Other Financial Modeling Software

Besides Excel and programming languages, many tools have been developed for financial modeling. Unfortunately, these softwares are chipping away at the market share of Excel and of other coding platforms, although they are still fairly rare. Below we outline two popular financial modeling software companies.


Quantrix Modeler is Quantrix’s popular financial modeling software that offers several useful tools for financial modelers. It is used by thousands of companies, boasts 95% fewer formulas compared to Excel, and has zero reported spreadsheet errors.

This is a spreadsheet product similar to Excel, and building off of it means to allow people to apply their Excel skills to a program that is easier to use.

This product attempts to give users the same flexibility and broad usage that Excel currently offers, but with fewer formulas and a better user interface. Its key advantage, compared to Excel, is that it is built for financial modelers and hence is faster and better at financial modeling.


Maplesoft is a company that provides programs for financial modeling, statistical modeling, and time series analysis. They also offer tools for option pricing, which includes Brownian motion graphing for the Black-Scholes method and lattice methods.

They also have tools for creating and running Monte Carlo simulations. Finally, they also provide tools for graphing yield curves under several different assumptions.

In addition, it has tools for pricing bonds with a variety of coupon rate types. Overall, they provide tools that can be used for many different purposes, some of which can be used to make financial modeling considerably easier.

Reviewed and Edited by Justin Prager-Shulga | LinkedIn

Free Resources

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