Kari Ela February 12, 2021 Spreadsheet
Part of the fundamental financial analysis of any company, investment security, or business project entails the computation of cash flows. This is typically done in a cash flow template Excel spreadsheet which is pre‐built for the purpose. The reason for this is that this type of template is not a simple calculator you build on the fly with little effort. It requires a lot of thinking, organizing the spreadsheets and formulas, and some planning about how to model cash in and cash out for each potential investment. In other words, there is no cookie cutter approach because each potential investment has different profit and loss drivers.
Monthly budget spreadsheets vary in layout, features, and information. However, there are several elements that are commonly used in these spreadsheets. This category is a list of different income sources such as salary, commissions, bonuses, and business revenue, among others. Variable expenses. These are your expenses that change a little each month. Examples of variable expenses are clothing, food, recreation, entertainment, utilities (water and power bills), and groceries. The amounts you put into the variable expenses column of your monthly budget spreadsheet are approximations of the actual amounts every month.
Next, add the dollar amount of your goals and the time in month or years. The long term goals will probably be in years and the short term goals in months. Set up a formula to divide the total goal amount by the goal length in months. This is the amount you need to save each month to achieve your goals. Set up a budget to help you save more money if you feel you can‘t make your goal savings each month. For extra help, open up another sheet and record your progress. Every week or every month write about how you are reaching your goals and if you are able to save the minimum each month. Try to save a little more each month and cut down on your time table, or if you can reach your monthly goal, adjust it. With this plan, you can include goals to save for big items such as a car or house, or to pay down debt.
Doing spreadsheets on a computer may seem a little complicated at first. But a small investment of time and effort will soon pay dividend, because once you have the hang of them, spreadsheets can perform complex financial calculations. For example you can set up a spreadsheet to work out the true cost of running your car, including such invisible outlay as depreciation and wear and tear. All you have to do is explain the task to the program once and it will do all the hard arithmetic for you, month after month, year after year.
The first consideration is how clear and accurate the Excel formulas are. The keys here are easy accessibility and logical flow of the formulas. That means they should be either directly coded in the spreadsheet cells or written in an accessible VBA module, open to the user to view and change. Both of these approaches provide the ability to audit and test the formulas without requiring complex actions on the end user‘s part.
Most investment real estate financial modeling is done in spreadsheets. These can be built for the purpose or, better yet, purchased from a reputable software vendor or consulting firm that specializes in real estate. When building or buying a good real estate investment spreadsheet, there are several critical components you should consider.