Faunia Alycia November 2, 2020 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.
Thanks to budgeting tools such as a monthly budget spreadsheet, planning and monitoring your income and expenses can be done in a breeze. A budget spreadsheet allows you to update your entries easily without affecting the accuracy of figures in your budget.
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.
One of the first things to consider is what kind of data you have to work with in your cash flow template Excel spreadsheet. Ideally, you‘re looking for accurate monthly data including income statement items like revenue and operating expenses and balance sheet items like equipment purchases and cash from financing activities. If you have a longer time frame you can go with quarterly periods, but annual tends to be too long. After all, how can you predict what is going to happen beyond 5 years with any accuracy unless you‘re valuing an annuity?
Also, how long is your investment horizon? Is it really that important to you to project out to 30 years or is 3‐5 years sufficient along with a terminal value that represents the expected NPV beyond 5 years? Usually this latter approach works best and looks the most credible to potential investors. There are numerous ways to calculate terminal value including multiples, current market values projected forward, and round guesstimates. Obviously these decisions are affected by your personal preference and the type of investment for which you‘re calculating present value.
Second, remember that whatever can be measured can be managed. Develop a system wherein just a few look at some numbers can tell you the health of your operations. But this also depends on the soundness of the system. If someone can just fill in numbers they can induce you to think in ways that may not be desirable given the fact that you have to manage the operations.