Fae Aminata March 27, 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.
The need for new and/or different systems to support a company‘s growth is not avoidable. Just plan to address them before the pain at each juncture is so great that your people start leaving for a company that has better, more efficient systems in place. When you do start this planning phase, be sure to use experts that are not tied to a particular solution. You know the old saying... When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. In the past, the easiest way to share a small database was to create a spreadsheet and email it to your collaborators. This time‐tested method has withstood more sophisticated competition for several reasons.
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.
The small business has different accounting needs which are better described as bookkeeping than accounting. For non limited companies that do not need to produce a balance sheet then a simple income and expenditure account can be produced much simpler using single entry bookkeeping principles. Less financial control is often required from small business accounting software as the bookkeeper is often the owner manager who already has an intimate knowledge of each transaction. Books are still required for tax purposes and a solid requirement of preparing a set of financial books for tax purposes is that each entry is supported by third party evidence.
The second wall that hinders a small company‘s growth is similar but another rung up the ladder. The system that supported five people is starting to break down under the strain of 30 people. A new type of thinking must be applied to streamline the company‘s operations and automate them ‐ again. This time, the system will be larger, will take longer to design (or purchase), and cause more of a disruption in company operations when it is implemented. What happens internally when a system no longer meets the needs of the busy employees? They start creating workarounds to get their job done... and often their solutions involve spreadsheets. And so, the spreadsheet culture is reborn and the cycle begins again.
Finally, when applying discount factors, where do you intend to get your discount numbers? For a company with existing debt and equity capital you can calculate WACC and use that. For a startup company you need to figure out a risk‐adjusted cost of capital that makes sense. Usually this is not just a risk‐free rate which only the largest companies in the world have access to. It‘s probably something higher.