Structured commenting and feedback for financial model review

Financial models must receive independent review. When reviewing somebody else's model, we need to leave comments and feedback as we go.

This section looks at some structures in the Productivity pack to make this easier.

Reviewing and commenting on a model can also be thought of in workflow terms. What makes a good workflow?

  • Comments must be easy to leave.
  • They must be connected to specific areas of the model.
  • It must be easy to gather all the comments into one list that the recipient can review - they should not be hunting through the model looking for the comments.
  • It must be easy to clear the comments and any associated formatting once they have resolved the issue.

Leaving review comments

For this section, imagine I'm reviewing the tax calculations in the model to ensure compliance with recent changes in the tax code.

I've noticed that the tax loss carryforward calculation does not include any expiration, whereas I know that tax losses can now only be carried forward for a maximum of 5 years.

I want to leave a comment on the tax losses arising calculation:


This shortcut brings up a new dialogue.

The principle here is that we should be able to leave comments and move on quickly. Therefore this dialogue is designed to allow you to type your comment:

Then hit enter.

The macro adds:

  • Cell shading to highlight that there is a comment here.
  • Square brackets - similar to the idea with placeholders
  • Cell comment. The text typed is added as a cell comment. SS

When the issue is with a specific call rather than the whole calculation.

There may be times when I want my comment to relate to a particular cell:

In this case, activate the comment dialogue while you have this cell selected. The reporting tool will add a link to this specific cell, as we'll see shortly.

The macro will format the row in the same way as before.

Create review report

Repeat the Ctrl+alt+q keystroke to bring up the dialogue.

This time Ctrl+1 creates a report with all your comments.

The report is created in a new sheet called FB list (for feedback list).

The report contains the comment, links to the row label, and the specific range where the issue was raised.

The report provides links so that the recipient can use their keyboard navigation shortcuts to hop straight to the location of the issue, wherever it is in the model.

Removing a comment

Once the modeller has worked through the comment, she will want to remove them from the list.

This can be done either from the report or from the location of the comment.

While selected on a comment, activate the commenting dialogue using Ctrl+alt+q. You can do this from within the report or from where the comment is located in the model.

This time hit Ctrl+2 to remove the item.

The macro will remove the formatting and cell comment from the model.

Note - the item is not removed from the list. This is deliberate. The person receiving the model may want to receive a subsequent version to review the changes. We, therefore, wish to keep the list with the links to where the issues were, but those issues should now all be resolved.

The reviewer can delete the list when the final review confirms that the changes have been completed.


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