Top-tier financial planning is as much about organization as it is about savvy decision-making, and your company’s financial future depends on the clarity teams bring to the planning process. With that in mind, we’ve developed the financial projections template to give you an easy, well-organized way to build more financial transparency. Download the template and follow the simple steps in each spreadsheet to consolidate all your financial plans.
How to use this template:
- Download the Excel template.
- Use your current financial data to centralize your company’s financial performance and estimate future changes over the next 3 years.
The template has spreadsheets for sales forecasts, payroll, and expenses. It also contains a tab to build a simple set of financial statements using your current financial data.
How do companies use financial projections?
Financial projections are an essential growth-planning tool for small businesses and established companies. Finance teams use these models to build financial forecasts of how the business might perform in the near future and make data-driven decisions. Financial projections allow companies to make educated guesses about future sales and expenses, informing expected profitability and capital levels for expansion.
By understanding the inflow and outflow of a company’s money, a leadership team can make data-informed choices about investments or other strategies to help achieve long-term objectives.
Financial projection spreadsheets also give executives insight into potential risks associated with certain decisions, allowing them to assess tradeoffs between short-term gains and long-term stability. Using these models, businesses build realistic plans to grow net income and support prolonged success.
How do financial projections aid goal planning?
Every company needs established goals. Building definitive, measurable objectives with timelines ensures that every contributor to the business knows what they’re striving for and how to achieve it.
Short-term goals include launching a new product or reaching certain sales milestones in a given period. Long-term goals typically focus on larger-scale initiatives, such as increasing market share or expanding customer base.
Once these goals are established, companies can track their progress actively using revenue projection and other data points to measure success. This allows them to modify strategies as necessary to stay on track with the overall business plan. Executives can also adjust timelines and expectations for each goal to ensure that the company takes appropriate action without sacrificing quality or efficiency.
Financial projections inform the planning team of the feasibility of goals and what changes are needed to achieve them. A full set of financial estimates details key areas like sales planning and enablement, hiring, benefits, budget allotments, and investments. These estimates may need revisiting or adjusting based on new information or updated performance data.
Financial Projections Template
Download the financial projections template to clarify financial patterns, track spending throughout the year, and make better-informed decisions about the future.
What are the benefits of creating financial projections?
Creating financial projections helps a business see its current performance and formulate plans for future growth.
Improved budgeting: Financial projections give executives a clearer picture of their company’s finances and current financial position. This visibility assists Finance and the executive team in creating budgets and project allotments. Financial projections help the business envision what future roadmaps and investments will look like.
Increased accuracy: Up-to-date financial estimates help Finance accurately track the progress and outcomes of its current objectives. In cases where actual results deviate from expectations, the team can update their assumptions and market data to refine the approach and expectations further.
More flexibility: Projections give teams a basis for workshopping scenarios and building contingency plans. Projections often involve what-if analyses to explore the effect of different variables on expected outcomes. Scenario planning allows executives to modify strategies and stay on track with the overall business plan.
Reduced risk: Financial projections inform the planning team on the feasibility of goals and the changes necessary to achieve them, reducing the risk associated with making decisions based on incomplete data sets. With projections, teams can identify potential risks and develop mitigation strategies. For earlier-stage businesses, these financial projections greatly inform roadmap decisions to balance the need for growth with the available financial runway.
Enhanced coordination: By having a comprehensive view of financial trends, executives can better coordinate with other departments in the organization. This aids in decision-making by giving all stakeholders an understanding of how their work may affect overall performance and objectives.
Components of financial projections
Financial projections estimate various elements of the business that help to define the financial condition and expectations for the company, including:
- Cash flow statements analysis
- Cost of goods sold (COGS) pricing
- Income statements
- Sales projections
- Expense calculations
- Payroll and benefits estimates
- Balance sheet calculations
- Investment returns
All of these aspects factor into the overall success of the company budget and its objectives. Understanding how the business will grow over time — and what investments must be made to ensure growth — is critical to success.
How to create financial projections
A financial projection should be comprehensive enough to capture a company’s current performance and estimate its future potential.
When building a new or updated financial projection, use the following basic steps:
Collect the data: Gather all relevant historical finance data about the business, including sales performance, spending, expected growth, accounts receivable and payables, current liabilities, depreciation data, and current market conditions. Compile information about current assets (cash, investments, and equipment) and debts (loans, leases, and liabilities).
Outline the current financial situation: Compile spreadsheets containing the various elements of the business that could impact projections, such as expenses, sales figures, capital investments, and salaries.
Build a plan: Outline immediate and long-term goals for the company. Use financial data to project how the costs associated with these goals impact the business's financial situation. Consider alternative scenarios by outlining what-if plans to prepare for unexpected opportunities or challenges that could affect cash flow projections.
Calculate future financial changes: Calculate projected revenues and expenses over the timeline. Be sure to account for expected increases in costs and operating expenses, as well as unexpected changes in the economy, season, or industry.
Refine the plan with actuals: As the year or project progresses, analyze results to determine if the business must make any adjustments to meet objectives or timelines.
How to assess and adjust projections
Tracking progress throughout your projection period helps keep projects and budgets on course.
At regular intervals (such as monthly or quarterly), compare projections to actuals and determine if the plan requires adjustments. These adjustments could include updating operating costs, financial objectives, budget allocations, or timelines.
Consider gathering input from cross-functional teams to ensure that all aspects of the project are accurately reflected in the projections. Analyze the financial data to identify any issues skewing expected results, such as incorrect assumptions or changes to outside financial variables (such as costs, pricing, or hiring). Regular reviews also help identify areas where spending or development should be increased or decreased.
Develop contingency plans for potential scenarios to further increase flexibility and agility in your projections. This helps the team prepare for unexpected changes that could interfere with progress and goals.
How Order.co helps companies achieve their financial future
Order.co gives companies tools and resources to optimize their procurement spending while saving time and money. The platform creates a one-stop solution for placing orders, building supply chain resiliency, and gaining access to the wealth of data in your procurement practice.
To get started with plotting a stronger financial future using the data already contained within your financial statements, download the financial projections template today.
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