Models are created using four components - Analysis Variables, Dimensions, Time Series and Workbooks - as shown in the
diagram below. These components can be reused many times in a model. This increases productivity while keeping large models
simple and easy to edit.
Analysis Variables capture the main concepts in your model such as profit, revenue and expense. A variable
can be as simple as a single cell (like a growth rate) or a complex table with times series and dimensions, such as revenue
for five years for five products.
Variables have readable names, and formulas tell you what they mean in English. For example, the Profit variable
can be defined by the formula Profit = Revenue - Expense. This formula can apply to every cell regardless of the
number of time periods or the complexity of the dimensions.
Variables can be laid out on one or more worksheets. Unlike traditional spreadsheets, sheet layout is separate
Dimensions are lists of items that segment analysis variables to add greater detail. For example, we can
segment Revenue by a dimension called Products that has items Product A and Product B,
as shown above. In the income statement, the dimension Products also segments COGS.
A dimension can be re-used to segment multiple analysis variables.
Time Series have a "time range", and a "time grain" such as months or quarters.
ModelSheet knows about time grains and is able to automatically generate summaries (for example, include quarterly sums
in a monthly model). Without changing the model, you can choose to make output worksheets in a different time grains.
In the example above, all analysis variables have a time span - Jan 2009 to Mar 2009, and a monthly time grain.
Worksheets are similar to the Excel worksheets, except they are displayed on the web. You specify the
layout design and ModelSheet generates the detailed layout that automatically adapts to changes. For example, if you add
a product to the Products dimension, or change the time series, all the sheet layouts in the workbook adjust automatically.
You can also add titles and apply formatting options to text and numbers.
Multiple worksheets are grouped together in a workbook that can be exported as a fully functional Excel workbook.
Roll-Ups: Most spreadsheets have “roll-ups”– for example, sum revenue over products to get revenue for
the product line, or compound growth rates for four quarters to get a growth rate for the year. In the example above,
Revenue and Cost of Goods (COGS) are rolled up over products to get totals for the product line.
ModelSheet automates roll-ups of analysis variables over time and dimensions. You specify the “Accounting Type” of an analysis
variable – for example revenue, asset, growth rate – and ModelSheet automates the appropriate roll-up operations. You can
also specify a custom formula for certain roll-ups.