In the financial modeling professional world, Financial Modeling Institute (FMI) issued certifications are the most visible and, perhaps, most rigorous. 

I have been teaching Financial Modeling since 2016 and have been creating financial/investment models since 2012. I have undertaken many very helpful training -- classroom training, online training and remote (but not online) training. The one that has most impacted my competence was a six months spread training sponsored and organized by Bloomberg. It greatly broadened my mind and exposed me deeply to the amazing Bloomberg Terminal. It formed the bedrock for greatly translating my technical knowledge to real world use. Armed with the Bloomberg Terminal, I was able to do jobs for clients even outside the country. My proudest being a 2 year consulting for a Canadian investment firm on building an investment portfolio return driver model that pulls data directly from Bloomberg Terminal and computes likely investment returns based on current values and trend of macro economic factors. 

I have also used these knowledge to develop tools for our Nigerian investment ecosystem, to make available data I easily get for foreign economies. I built a Microsoft Office app that provides you current and historical values of macro economic metrics (GDP, PMI, Oil Production volume, Inflation, Unemployment etc), Oil commodity price and Nigerian stocks data for free. I also built freely accessible Power BI dashboards of stocks performance data. Then I built a paid subscription based tool for accessing all the equities financial models, valuation analysis and market data we warehouse.

In a nutshell, the truth is that I had been preparing for the exam long before I knew of the exam. All my consulting and training experience meant that I met the Excel knowledge requirement and the accounting knowledge requirement. But there is a third requirement that I needed to learn from scratch. So if you are reading this, just have in mind that I didn't start from ground zero in preparing for the exam. I already got two of the three main requirements to passing the exam. Just that, interestingly, the Excel and accounting knowledge requirements are a lot easy to acquire compared to the third requirement: model structure. In fact, if you have used Excel significantly at work and have some accounting certification or intense training, you too would have met those two requirements.

So to the modeling structure requirement. 

All my consulting career, I had always modeled at a more top-heavy level. Meaning, I let the clients provide all the assumptions. I don't build depreciation schedules for them nor break down their revenue to unit price and volume (except for startups) nor equity schedule nor tax schedule nor debt schedule. The company in-house finance teams do all those and plug in their final figures into my model. I do working capital schedules, scenarios and all the other key breakdown/assumptions but in a way that they can replace with theirs as they seldom share with me all the data I need to make the best assumptions for them. My focus has been more of how to seamlessly integrate the model with their existing financial reports and planning/budgeting templates, create management level dashboards and put some level of access control. And be disposable. They (not just the CFO, so mustn't be scary or mammoth looking) should be able to use and update the models without ever needing to reach me.

The model structure required for the exam is a much more intense/granular one. You'll have to flesh out as schedules all the key input drivers on the financial statements. Also, you'll need to know how to handle issues not commonly experienced by private Nigerian companies -- equity capital raising etc.

Unfortunately, I underestimated how much study and practice I would need to master this more granular model structure. I kept chasing money and projects till it was one week to the exam. And then, I spent three days just to reproduce the solution to one of the practice samples. Three days to do what I am expected to do in 4 hours, and while looking at the answer! I now had three days to go and it looked obvious I was going to fail the exam. What my ego (overconfidence, as we call it in Naija) has caused! I quickly shut out every other aspect of my life besides sleeping, eating and using the toilet/bathroom. It became an almost 24/7 practice. I gradually shifted from panic mode to a more relaxed mode when I was able to take on a prior exam question without looking at the answer and finished in about 6 hours. Then it became a game of improving my speed.

The resources I used were purely the ones given on the the AFM webpage under the self-study section. Then I supplemented with the practice files they email all registered exam candidates. Interestingly, they were adequate even though not bulky (page-wise) at all. I think the most important factor is the study strategy one adopts. Best to take a study strategy that is spread over weeks and then do a very intense practice on the week on the exam so one is in the optimal operating zone to meet the strict time limit.

And that's been my experience. Thankfully, I passed!

If you are interested in our financial modeling training class, then here is the link to the registration details:
On a super light note, I started the year looking like this:

And I am ending the year looking like this:

You would notice that I now look handsomer -- special thanks to expert advice in my life. Secondly, I would be getting more of those expert advice going forward. 

You would notice that I have stopped posting daily like I used to. It's majorly an experiment and then a precautionary measure. I have some very important goals in my life and I feel that to be able to meet them I need to cut down on as much activities in my life as possible. So I decided to see if my progress would be better if I cut down on daily posting -- since it takes a considerable chunk of my time daily. Then, I started thinking of the benefits of not having to talk about everything happening in my life. There will always be some miscommunication -- people reading wrong meanings to what I write. Not that I have issues with people misinterpreting me; the issue is that people might start acting in non-beneficial ways to me since they I bare out my life to them. 

But like I said, it's mostly an experiment. I hope to get back to daily writing someday. Just that I might be less unfiltered in my posts.

This year I learned to be less sure about things. I am now better at embracing the reality that I am not as relatively better than the average person as I used to think, especially in areas of business and investment. I wouldn't say I am humbler but that I have expanded my horizon, and now see clearly that there are very many many things I need to know.

So you can say I am more open minded. I now change my mind as open as it needs to change based on facts I have. I no longer first have a position or feeling to back, and then dig up facts to back it up or fight those in the other camp.

In very simple practical words: this year I got married to the most amazing woman in the whole world, I no longer work solo but as a growing team, I became a certified AFM (advanced financial modeler), I lost money in the stocks market and feel very good about it, I am more open minded and I did a lot of things people never expected I would do.

Praying 2019 would be greater!
I have been working hard on our stocks analysis platform -- -- and some of the recent additions I made are some level of technical analysis incorporation.

Personally, I took a big hit in the stock market this year. I kept buying throughout the year even as stocks were going down. I did not pay too much attention to general buy/sell trends in the market. Actually, I have a disdain for technical analysis, partly because it's a big deal in forex (currency) markets and I have always been losing money in forex (currency) markets. All the fuss about support, resistance, candle patterns and so on looked too abstract and impractical to me. 

The amazing guys at were able to make me start seeing where the practicality of technical analysis lies for a fundamentals addict like me. Got to say a big thanks to Adetunji Adeshina

The truth is that I am still a fundamentals guy and I don't regret buying throughout the year in stocks. I am as proud of the losses I have made this year as the bumper gains I made last year. The main difference now is that I pay attention to trends -- technical analysis -- and I will be less willing to catch falling knives. I invest month: I usually first take out my savings/investment from my monthly income and live on the remainder. Throughout this year all those monthly investments went to stocks (and ETFs). Going forward, I will spread the money more strategically across all my asset classes; when the stock market is trending massively downwards I will pause monthly inflow into it (except if some amazing deals pop up) and channel more into another asset class that is not evidently trending downwards (also not necessarily evidently trending upwards).

In tracking the stocks market trends, I have designed via Power BI a price and volume action tracker -- showing changes in volume activity and the very important 50 days & 200 days moving averages. You too can access this (for free) in the Power BI section of 

On the side bar, you can select any company you want to analyse. And at the upper end, there is a timeline to specify the timeframe to analyse for. The upper chart shows the price plotted to the left axis and the volume plotted to the right axis. That way you can see when the market was most active for that stock and what direction it pushed the price. The lower chart shows the current price vs 50 days MA (moving average) and 200 days MA. With these basic technical data -- price, volume and moving average -- you can pull out useful technical analysis.

You can also analyse the entire NSE All Share Index.

Don't worry about the blood stains on the lower chart. I am still trying to figure out the reason for that. 

All these, I created by using Python scripts running on an Azure (cloud) server to store daily trade data on an Azure (cloud) database, then connect Power BI directly to that database with daily auto-refresh set. So without any manual intervention on my part, every day, stocks data is being pulled directly into the charts in Power BI.

If you go through some of my Power BI tutorial videos on and you will see how I created the core of this particular Power BI report.

Power BI is, indeed, an amazing data analysis tool for better decision making.