Introduction

Why You Should Read This Book

If you're planning a career in corporate or investment finance or already working in one of those areas, you're probably proficient with financial calculators and spreadsheets. Those technologies have proven their value, and it's likely they will remain essential tools for many years. (I still use a 30-year-old Hewlett Packard 12C calculator regularly and it works perfectly, albeit a bit slower than newer models.)

But the nature of data and analytics are changing, and those changes are influencing financial analysis and management. Traditional financial data still drive decisions, but those data are being supplemented by increasing volumes of nontraditional information and new computational tools. Consider these headlines from recent years, which are just a small sample of the articles on these themes:

  • “Stop Using Excel, Finance Chiefs Tell Staffs” (Wall Street Journal, 1/22/1017)
  • “The Quants Run Wall Street Now” (Wall Street Journal, article series in May 2017)
  • “At New Digital Lenders, Math Rules” (New York Times, 1/19/2016)
  • “Leveraging Data to Own the Engaged Customer” (Utility Analytics, 11/4/2015)
  • “The Morning Ledger: The Rising Profile of Financial Planning and Analysis” (Wall Street Journal, 12/22/2015)
  • “How Computers Trawl a Sea of Data for Stock Picks” (Wall Street Journal, 4/1/2015)
  • “As Big Data and AI Take Hold, What Will It Take to Be an Effective Executive?” (Wall Street Journal, 1/23/2015)

I believe this paradigm shift ...

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