Join me today, on Cowrywise Personal Finance Series via this Whatsapp group at 7:00pm Nigerian time as I'll be sharing on how to leverage new platforms for investment.

Below are the slides I will be sharing. And as usual, I'll give very practical illustrations and tips that are Nigerian centric. See you!

Power BI is an amazing tool. I have used it to create amazing auto-updating dashboards for different reporting needs. You can view a couple that I made publicly available: and

Today, however, I will be showing you how to use Power BI to scrape data from a website and create a report/dashboard from the scrapped data. I will illustrate with data on parallel market FX rates for Nigeria. Effectively, you will be creating a report like the one below:

From an empty Power BI desktop file, do Get Data and pick from Web (under Other).

Follow through with providing the URL of the website to pick data from and selecting the table of data to pull into Power BI.

Do a couple of transformation on the data (except you are very lucky that the pulled data is already in a form that suits your report).

Create the report you want and publish.

You may also want to configure a scheduled refresh to make Power BI keep pulling new data from the website everyday.

I recently came upon a nice trick that is enabling me to combine my love for blockbuster Hollywood movies and French. 

I found out that if I did one tiny change to my profile on Netflix I am able to get French subtitles option and even French audio in the movies I watch on Netflix.

And today, I am sharing with you that trick.

1. Log in to Netflix

2. Click on your profile image on the top right and click on Manage Profile

3. Select a profile to make the change to, if you want you can create a new profile specifically for this.

4. Change the language of the profile to French (or whichever language you are learning).

And voila!

Now you can watch movies in French or still in English but with French subtitles.

It works for other languages too. So if you are learning Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese or any other language, do try out this tip. 
Last year (2017), we built our first fully online product -- a gift card site. It allows you to buy US iTunes gift cards and get it instantly delivered to you in seconds via email. And it has been an amazing success, garnering sales of between N500,000 and N1,700,000 a month but the profit margin is razor thin.

It was to be a precursor to our main online product -- a stocks analysis app. It will be launching in about two weeks but you can get a behind the scene peek at and even share with me your feedback (at

Unfortunately, Paystack which handles our payment processing has been frustrating us on a grand scale. 

Whenever we get some significant sales, they lock our account and we won't be able to withdraw our sales fund. So it becomes a case of customer has paid and used the gift card but Paystack is not giving us the money, so we end up not being able to restock and every new sales keep going into a locked account.

At first, we would email and call, and someone would attend to us saying it's a random flagging by their fraud system that it would go off in some hours. Then it gets resolved in 2 to 3 days but the disruption it causes is painful. Customers are not able to buy cards because we didn't restock since Paystack has withheld our funds and are giving a subtle threat that they would initiate a charge back (return of money to the customer who has already used the gift card he bought) if the customers' banks do not confirm that the transactions were made from the rightful card owners. 

It sounded like a joke to me. Their fraud system thinks a transaction is fraudulent but lets it go through, the customer has been serviced and gotten value for the payment made, then Paystack, after 24 hours suddenly feels the transaction needs review and then puts a hold on our account saying it wants to manually review the transactions with the banks so they can confirm that the transactions were by the rightful card owners. They not only withhold just the suspected transactions but all current and future transactions till they complete their review.

This has been happening steadily every time we get a daily transaction amount of about N40,000 and above. The fraud system suddenly feels no one should be making sales that high in one day. So we have to do many back and forth emails, as they no longer pick phone calls. And it takes 2 to 3 days to get a reply to an email. 

This October only, they have withheld our N632,000 for over 5 days, saying they didn't get replies for the banks. They don't think that if every merchant or payment gateway calls the banks for every single POS and online transaction for verification the banks won't be overwhelmed.

And it's not yet end of October, they have again withheld our N195,000. And as usual, no replies to emails. Just radio silence while our business goes into limbo.

Now I am having second thoughts on using Paystack for our major online product which we plan to launch in a couple of days.

If you are looking to improve your use of Microsoft Excel for business modeling (not just limited to financial planning/modeling), then you should seriously consider participating in the annual ModelOff challenge.

Below are my reasons, even if you are not into finance or feel you need not bother yourself about financial modelling:

  1. I have been given a free access coupon to share with you which will knock off the registration fee for you. You'll need to email me with assurance of using it to get it.
  2. You can access skill building past questions that cover important areas of Excel and data analysis outside of financial modeling at 
  3. I have even gone ahead to download the past questions from as far back as 2012 and put in Google Drive (you can email me to gain access to the google drive folder)
  4. Modeling skills are valuable for every professional who deals with data or some level of resource planning. So if you are an HR manager, an operations manager, project manager, materials planning manager, office admin, marketing manager, sales manager, strategy analyst, IT manager, customer experience/support manager etc, you will greatly benefit from being able to flexibly plan how you achieve set goals within the constraints you face and making the most of the limited resources you have. And that is what modeling does -- whether financial modeling, plant modeling, operations planning/modeling, human resource planning/modeling, L&D planning, maintenance schedule modeling, asset management modeling, marketing ROI modeling, production/expense modeling etc.


Step 1: Always Be Doing Something
We all have up days and down days, but there are two broad categories of people. One category let the progress in their lives be determined by this while the other category don't let this damage their productivity. 

In the end, the moods will fade and our emotions will have newer things to focus on, it is only what we do that stands. And if you always do very little when you are not in a good mood, you are the one who would ultimately be short-changed. 

I am always doing something. 

It is not just a productive work ethic, rather, some of the best things I have created were borne out of unpleasant experiences. And when I look back, I am always happy I didn't let an unhappy day keep me from doing my best.

Step 2: Don't Fight Your Emotions
No matter how educated and logical you are, you will always feel the emotions of envy, anger, fear and sadness even when you are logically fighting it. It's just the way we are.

However, nothing can be as energy draining and unproductive as constantly fighting one's emotions. 

Personally, I use a two pronged approach to keeping unpleasant emotional interference minimal. I avoid situations, people and places that stir up in me unpleasant emotions. And when I am overcome by any emotion, I simply let time do its magic on it; I don't blow it up nor try to fight it. 

The result is that I end up doing mostly the very things I would be proud of, rather than having to spend extra efforts trying to undo what was done in an emotionally tense moment.

Step 3: Read Wide; Read A Lot!
Having a wide memory collection of experiences of other people and their struggles can be the difference between being suicidal and being optimistic. Reading constantly gives you a lot more productive ways to handle events in your life. You tend to see a wider range of possibilities and can focus more easily on the outcome you desire. 

I go as far as reading books written centuries ago. Most of the stress we experience in life is due to our narrow view of life in general. We are not very good at grasping in a meaningful way that we are just a spot in both the time dimension and the space dimension. And that the frustration we are experiencing because of a very minor issue is purely a negative over-reaction.

Last week, I got a rejection email from Y Combinator about my application to Startup School (their free online startup mentoring program which is different from the widely popular Y Combinator Accelerator). A few hours after, I got another email stating that the previous email was an error due to a malfunction in the selection/announcement program, that I should have gotten a congratulatory email instead. 

And so began our journey into the amazing world of Y Combinator distance coaching. We are assigned a mentor who takes care of a group of 15 to 25 startups, with weekly live meetings and progress review. And there are weekly recorded teachings from veterans in the YC community. They even provide opportunities for one to come participate in the live teaching sessions instead of waiting for the recorded ones, just that you need to be in California, USA for that.

I have admonished my team members to make the most of this uncommon opportunity. We would be exposed to teachings from some of the best folks in the startup community -- people who have walked the walk and built billion dollar startups. 

In addition to the amazing learning and personalized help they are providing, they are also offering 100 startups $10,000 at the end of the 10 weeks mentorship program. For free. As a grant. No strings attached. And we already get access to loads of free and deeply subsidized tools from Amazon, Google and many other startup services/tools providers. They estimate that these benefits run into over $100,000 in value.

We are not the only Nigerian startup admitted. I have seen a couple in just my group. And they all are doing very cool stuff. Was really impressed by one based in Abuja: 

At the end of the program, we become part of a global founders community and get opportunities to collaborate with other startups around the world. Also, we get a higher chance of being taken into the prestigious Y Combinator Accelerator should we decide to apply. The mentor assigned us will coach us on what to watch out for and how best to present our product/idea to get a higher chance of successful application.

Personally, I want to learn all I can about improving our services and business. I have spent too much time improving the technical side of our business, it's high time we worked on the business side of our business properly too.

RelianceHMO, in my short interaction with them, is really living up to their name.

Like I mentioned in my last Friday post, we're setting up a health insurance plan for every staff of the company. I have been trying to get a quote from Hygeia HMO for about a week now. I have also tried reaching a couple of other well known HMOs. Some pick calls and promise to get back, others don't even pick calls. In the end I threw myself at chance and googled "HMO in Nigeria".

I went through the search results from top to bottom, even retried contacting Hygeia HMO. At the bottom of the list was RelianceHMO. The website looked very lovely and thoughtfully put together. But I was still trying to call Redcare HMO, then I noticed a chatbox pop up on RelianceHMO site. Then what I thought was an automated chat message appeared. I responded. And a human replied. Guided me through the entire process. Called us when I said we have questions to ask. It was so smooth and quick, I couldn't believe it until it was completely done. What took me several back and forth days with AXA Mansard last year for just an individual plan. I was thinking corporate plan would involve weeks and lots of paper work. 

The online management dashboard they gave us was superb and there is a phone app to help us remember all that is covered in the plan, also generates our e-ID card for the hospitals and allow us to directly chat with doctors. 

So far I am wowed. 

What is left is to now make use of the actual hospital visits and benefits. I am guessing it would be same as what I experienced with AXA Mansard as the hospitals don't seem to bother much about which HMO you are using except for documentation and reconciliation. But then again, I might be wrong. It would be nice, though, to be pleasantly surprised. At this stage, things must go terribly wrong for me to change my pleasant impression of RelianceHMO.

Go try them out: And maybe help me collect the PR fee they definitely owe me.

I have seen over N1,000,000 of my stocks investment money wiped off this year. And we are just 8 months into the year.

How did this happen? What did I do wrong? Am I able to sleep well at night? Shouldn't I move my money to Treasury Bills or other capital guaranteed investment scheme? 

I will tell you how it happened but first let's get it over with the other questions.

I didn't do anything wrong. I sleep very well at night and even on some afternoons. No, I am not moving my money to Treasury Bills.

Back to how it all happened. 

My stocks investment are split into 15 Nigerian Companies (Dangote Cement, Dangote Sugar, Ecobank, First Bank, GSK, Mansard Insurance, Nigerian Breweries, Nestle, NewGold ETF, Okomu Oil, PZ, Total, UBA, Unilever and Zenith Bank) and 2 USA dollar denominated ETFs (DB Commodity Tracking PowerShares and iShares Gold Trust).

Most of the losses came from my Nigerian stocks. And this is due to the capital flight from our stocks by the foreign investors in order to gain from the increased risk free return (US bonds) in USA and in trend with the general new distaste for emerging (and frontier) markets. Some say the election/political risk is also contributing to it.

My US holdings are also not fairing well. I have seen significant losses in my Gold ETF holding and as for the reason, the experts are divided and bewildered. It runs against conventional investment wisdom that Gold will go down in a time of increased global markets trouble and economic wars (courtesy Donald Trump). Also, my Commodity ETF holding has slightly dipped (the rise in Oil has been what is preventing a deep slid in that one).

Why then am I not worried?

It is because that is the nature of stocks investment. It goes up and down. Volatile. In fact, I have been buying steadily up till early this month when it dawned on me to start saving towards my wedding. If not for that near term need, I would just keep buying stocks without bothering about the decline.

What then is the source of my confidence?

It is God. Pastor Poju Oyemade explained in today's sermon that we must always see God's hand in all we have and do. And if I will try to explain how God did it, it would be that He made me to have a well thought out investment strategy. I bought into companies and securities that I was sure were selling at a discount (below their true value). I don't care about how much further below their true value they go because I know they will rise back to what is sensible. Also, I don't care about the election effect (as I believe it will be short-lived) and I am not worried by the fleeing foreign investors (we all know they always come back). 

Register for the upcoming hands-on Nigerian industry relevant Financial Modelling.

Just 10 slots available!

Our lead trainer has built financial models, investment portfolio risk models, stocks analysis models, automated financial reporting templates, loan schedules, FX tracker, market indices tracker and many other financial projects for corporate clients within and outside Nigeria. He is not going to share book knowledge with you but real world expertise and templates you can readily use. He is also one of the few Africans that have been vetted and accepted as a Financial Modelling and Valuation expert on TopTal whose client base span fortune 500 companies and other big companies across Europe, Americas, Australia and Asia. You can view his TopTal profile here

He is the sole developer of the only Nigerian financial markets analysis tool on Microsoft office store, developer of Nigerian stocks analysis dashboard and the brain behind the Nigeria Market Data platform.

He has also published an Amazon bestseller on Microsoft Excel: Microsoft Excel and Business Data Analysis for The Busy Professional and another bestseller on Power BI Power BI for the Busy Professional book. He is the type of all-rounder you would want to be trained by. 

This training is aimed at making you proficient in building Financial Models and carrying out Valuation for existing businesses, startups and capital projects. You will learn to create financial models from scratch using Microsoft Excel and build one during the training on a real Nigerian company. You will also learn how to apply them in real world situations so as to help friends with their business valuations, help your company with financial planning and advise clients on equity funding. The training is strictly targeting people with accounting background and basic knowledge of corporate finance.

You will get lunch, a branded DVD with training materials and templates, training notepad with pen, hardcopy comprehensive training reference materials, a training certificate from us (a registered Microsoft Partner), access to our online community and after training support.

Our different trainings have had participants from Guinness Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries, Schlumberger, Chevron, Periscope, Brains and Hammers, GfK, Palladium Group, First Bank, Citi Bank, Dalberg, PMI, EatNGO, NLNG, GSK, Promasidor, SaveTheChildren, Mobil, FMDQ, NSE, Biofem Pharmaceuticals, Total, Vodacom, Nestle, Nigerian Breweries, Delta Afrik, LATC Marine, Broll, Habanera (JTI), SABMiller, IBM, Airtel, Diamond Bank, ECOWAS, Ministry of Finance, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Nokia Siemens Networks and DDB.

Reach Michael on 0700ANALYTICS, 0808-938-2423, 0806-312-5227 and or Hannah on 0802-118-0874 and or Emmanuel on 0908-482-5064 and to register.

Date: Monday 17th September 2018 to Wednesday 19th September 2018.
Venue: Kristina Jade Learning Center, 70b Olorunlogbon street, Off Alade Lawal street, Anthony Village, Lagos.

For Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo and Benin: Kindly contact us on +1-941-312-2149 or email for details of training date. Thanks!

The training outline is:

1) Introduction to Financial Modelling and Valuation
a. Referesher on the fundamental accounting principles
b. Building a Trial Balance
c. Building the Income Statement from the Trial Balance
d. Building the Balance Sheet Statement from the Trial Balance
e. Building the Cash Flow Statement from the Trial Balance
f. Introduction to Financial Ratios

2) Different Types of Financial Models
a. Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) Model
b. Comparative Company Analysis (comps) Model
c. Sum-of-the-parts Model
d. Leveraged Buy Out (LBO) Model
e. Merger and Acquisition (M&A) Model
f. Book value Model
g. Dividend Discount Model

3) Building a Discounted Cash Flow Model from Scratch
a. Template Building from Scratch
i. Creating the Required Sheets and Having an Index Sheet
ii. General Model Structure Design
iii. Working Across Multiple Sheets at Once
iv. Linking Sheets
v. Absolute and Relative References
vi. Template Building Tricks
b. Required Excel Tools and Formulas
i. What-If-Analysis Tools: Goal Seek, Scenario Manager and Data Table
ii. Charts
iii. PivotTable and PowerPivot
iv. Power Excel Formulas

4) DCF Modelling Stages
a. DCF Modelling Stage One: Projection Ratios and Scenarios (Optimistic, Base and Pessimistic)
i. Income Statement Drivers Projections
ii. Balance Sheet Drivers Projections
b. DCF Modelling Stage Two: Financial Statements Forecasts
i. Income Statement Forecast
ii. Balance Sheet Forecast
iii. Cashflow Statement Forecast
c. DCF Modelling Stage Three: Valuation
i. Enterprise Value = Discounted Cashflow of Explicit Forecast Period + Discounted Terminal Value
ii. Calculation of WACC, CAPM and Cost of Debt
iii. Practical Reality of the Nigerian Economic Space
iv. Extracting The Equity Value from The Enterprise Value
v. Senitivity Analysis: WACC vs Perpetuity growth
d. Practical Use of The Results
i. Company Valaution: Sell-side, Buy-side and Advisory
ii. Business Unit or Subsidiary Valuation
iii. Capital Project Valuation

5) Financial Ratios
a. Liquidity Ratios
b. Asset Management Ratios
c. Leverage Ratios
d. Profitability Ratios
e. Valuation Ratios
f. Financial Project Planning Excel formulas

Reach Michael on 0700ANALYTICS, 0808-938-2423, 0806-312-5227 and or Hannah on 0802-118-0874 and or Emmanuel on 0908-482-5064 and to register.