The financial model is an integral component of any project evaluation based on mineral resources, ore reserves and (at least internally) exploration targets. Given the unity of purpose for preparing financial models for project evaluation purposes, the diversity of both format and content of the finalised models is surprising. Many models are prepared by staff or consultants who are comfortable with a particular format that may be used for other purposes, such as budget preparation or financial reporting. It is natural in these situations that the practitioner will take these models and adapt them to the purpose. The end result may or may not succeed in providing a clear, accurate and sufficiently detailed view of the project’s economic viability.
When preparing a model, the practitioner should be cognisant of the interpretation and review, or audit, process. The auditor may be a consultant or employee of a bank, potential equity provider or of the project sponsor itself. Depending upon the scale of the project and the level of participation of the entity that the auditor represents, the financial model will be interrogated more or less rigorously. In any event, the end user will require the model to permit easy change of inputs and will wish to confirm that such change is appropriately and thoroughly transmitted throughout.
Accordingly, there are some ‘dos and don’ts’ that can be readily applied in the creation of the financial model that will greatly assist the end user, not just in the change of inputs, but also in reviewing the model’s integrity. The less time and effort required by an auditor in this regard is reflected directly in the cost of the review process.
Gemell, S G, 2016. Financial modelling with the auditor in mind, in Proceedings Project Evaluation 2016, pp 172–180 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).