Does Openbox adhere to the FAST standard?

We think that’s a great standard, and it’s the one we use in-house. It’s not the only one though and our intention is that Openbox should be able to produce models to any well-codified standard.

Does Openbox run fully in memory/ Are there memory limitations when building ‘large’ models?

We did an experiment once to test this out, to see how large a model Openbox could produce on my standard desktop. The largest we got to was nearly 500MB. It took nearly an hour to appear, but it did open (slowly!). Not suggesting that anyone does that for a real project, but it does show that Openbox can comfortably handle models in the 10-50MB range that we often find ourselves in.

How would Openbox fare for complicated projects/ industries and in terms of providing scenario analyses?

Well, we’ve spent the last few months trying to add as many of those as possible. We can do some fairly complex things, such as having multiple timelines in the model and detecting and fixing circular references. Input scenarios are added out of the box and adding things like Monte Carlo analysis (coming soon!) to switch between single point and distributions as inputs. In the end, even if Openbox can’t (yet) do something, you always have the option to produce most of the model in Openbox and implement the last 5% in Excel the regular way.

Components/ templates

Presumably, the initial models come with Openbox? How do you add a module for reuse or edit the modules that come with Openbox?

We’ve focused on Openbox for project finance in the first instance and we’re developing components for that sector. We see part of the value proposition of Openbox as the continual development and release of reusable components, and yes it is easy to edit the supplied components. We foresee a “marketplace” of components that other people can license to Openbox users.

Does Openbox have the ability to import from Excel?

Yes. You can either design part of a model in Openbox itself (just type the formulas you want), or you can read in some formulas from Excel and create a component from those. So if you already have a model that does some useful standard calculations for your industry, you can quickly read them in and store them in Openbox.

Can we customize the templates to specific situations/ transactions (LBO, Private placement, 3 statement modelling)?

Yes. Our approach here is one of openness and trusting modelers. Every project is different and often you need to just tweak that standard approach you always use. The flexibility of Excel is one of the best things about it and we want to continue that within Openbox.

What sectors have library pre-built templates?

Currently, we are developing templates for the Project Finance sector. We expect to expand this in due course. If you work in an industry where you feel that a template would help to improve your user experience, then please do get in contact with us and join the beta tester program. The next phase is launching in January 2021.

Any other questions

How do you apply conversions? For example, production may be in tonnage but the price of production for revenue is in lb, oz etc. Do you have a conversion box for inputs in Openbox or do you use the CONVERT formula in Excel?

Openbox will support the CONVERT function, so you can include that in your models. It also, as part of the checks it does on all models, makes sure that your units are consistent. So if, for example, you try to add something in US$ to something in EUR, without applying an exchange rate, it will warn you.

How important is creating a flexible dashboard in driving insights for a financial model?

Effective data visualization is very important. Slick, easy, powerful dashboards are on our development roadmap. Openbox can produce straightforward dashboards quickly and easily, and you can then customize those in Excel.