If you export a character, your character's skills, stats, and proficiencies are retained as well as gold. If you ever make a new character with the same name, you can import that character. So on day one, you can have a really good character from the getgo.
You could also export your character and edit those stats and gold, and then import it back if you wish to cheat.
Those of us who face mere oblivion have less to fear.
Also, unlike the original M&B, character files are not exported directly to the game's folder in Program Files. Instead, there should be a separate folder in your Documents titled Mount & Blade Warband Characters. Just thought I'd mention this since it took me a while to find. I used it mostly for seeing how much athletics really affects speed, how much weapon speed is affected by proficiencies, etc.