Constance Flora February 19, 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.
Is your job dealing with more and more paper work all the time? If you are an office clerk or reports assistant or even if you are a manager you will have to send reports on a monthly basis and more often they will have to do with comparing old and new files as well as updating them. To compare spreadsheet reports, you will have to understand the values being given and consolidate it with any changes made for a certain period of time. If you will be dealing with several files here to compare, you may find this a very daunting task. However, knowing that there is a tool you can use to make this task easier for you is a great relief.
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.
Our first step is to capture non‐quantitative data in the spreadsheet, so we reserve a worksheet for that. This is used for location and condition information such as address, zoning category, residential vs. commercial, neighborhood, occupancy in the building and surrounding area, school district, etc. This will all be useful for financing and insurance purposes, as well as keeping track of a number of properties if you have a large real estate portfolio or a property management company. You might want to put it into a standard database format in case you want to save and analyze the information later.
We want to look at costs, so we reserve a tab in the real estate spreadsheet for that. Here, you have a decision. You can either make a large list of standard rehabilitation and operating costs or a smaller list of costs specific to this property. The first option allows you to use the Excel spreadsheet for other properties which are probably not the same. The second option keeps things small and tidy and might work if this is a once‐off investment. Either way, you will want to include all of the costs in a timeline schedule by week or month. This would include the re‐roofing, paint, plumbing, electrics, landscaping, electricity if you are responsible for it, insurance, etc. The financing costs are likely to be the most complex because you need to estimate not only the interest rates of the loan or loans you get, but the principle amortization, mortgage insurance, etc. This can be complex from a calculations standpoint. How granular you get with costs is up to you.
Such software allows you to compare Excel documents as if you were editing it from the spreadsheet itself. Commenting can also be a possible feature that you can utilize with a comparison software. You can also convert data into reports after making changes or updates to the data entered on your spreadsheet. With this easier option in comparing files you can surely make the most out of your time and be more productive with your paper work. There are two information‐related walls that a young company hits while trying to grow. The first wall is what I call "spreadsheet suffocation." It is that stage of information sharing pain that causes people to start cussing. Where did you save the Johnson calculations? Who has the orders spreadsheet locked? Where did my new inventory list go? Did someone write over it? There was 2 days work in that spreadsheet!