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Online Business Financial Planning Form

Page Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Guidance Notes
  3. Assumptions Form

This is a complex page and may be slow to load



1. Introduction

The three main tables (A, B and C) in the Assumptions Form below comprise a single submission form and need a browser which is both forms- and tables-enabled. Up to 24 assumption values are needed for the first-year projections and a further 18 values cover the subsequent four years. Once assumptions and related data has been entered into the tables and double checked for errors, completeness etc., press the Submit Assumptions Now button.

Entry of assumptions is simple and takes only a few minutes. However, you will need more time to plan and think through the required data. According, we recommend that this page be bookmarked and then printed as an aid to compiling the assumptions off-line prior to entering them online in the form below.

If you need more detail, you can download a trial version of our financial planner - Exl-Plan (for Excel) - which incorporates much more extensive facilities for preparing projections (P&Ls, cashflows and balance sheets) for up to five years ahead.

This service is NOT suitable for school or college assignments.

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2. Guidance Notes

Recommendation: Bookmark this page and then print it to allow you complete the Assumptions Form off-line.

Consider the following matters before starting to enter any values:

  • Decide on the best start month & year for projections. If a start-up, use the month when serious trading is expected to begin. If an established business, the start date can relate to your current financial year, next month, next year or whatever.
  • Use a sensible currency denomination (e.g. thousands, millions). For most small businesses which are trading in US dollars, euro or pounds sterling, the thousands (000) denomination should be satisfactory. Millions or, even, billions (defined as thousands of millions) might be more appropriate for some currencies such as the Yen. Values can be entered to three decimal places. For example, 3.287 million would equate to 3,287,000, and 28.12 thousand is equivalent to 28,120.

Please observe the following when entering values:

  • If the value boxes within a table disappear, press PgDn & PgUp.
  • Always use the Tab key, or mouse, to move from box to box. Do not press the Enter key. If you press Enter, your PC may send us an incomplete form. If this happens, continue entering values and resend the completed form with a note in its comment field that we should disregard the earlier version.
  • To ignore a variable, leave its box blank. Do not enter the letter o (or O), a dash (-), "n/a" etc.
  • Use a dash (and not parenthesis) to indicate a minus/negative value.
  • Don't precede values with any blank spaces or characters (e.g. currency symbols) and don't add "%" or any other symbols after values. Don't enter any formulae that you might have used to calculate values e.g. instead of entering 70/200*100, you should simply enter the result (35) as a number.
  • Never enter multiple assumption values into a single box (e.g. 320, 350, 370).
  • Once you specify the currency denomination (000, Mln or Bn), use it throughout when entering monetary values. For example, if you specify 000 as the denomination & wish to enter 55,500, insert 55.5 (i.e. 55 point 5) in the appropriate box. Do not enter 55,500 or it will appear as 55,500,000 in the projections !!!
  • The comment "leave blank if not a company" means exactly what it says. If your business is a sole trader, partnership etc., then it is not a company !

Final words of advice:

  • If you supply an incorrect email address, we have absolutely no way of making contact and your projections will be undeliverable.
  • You must supply assumptions for the second & subsequent years, otherwise all the projections could be useless.

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3. Assumptions Form

1. Assumptions for First Year

A. Basic Information
Variables Assumptions Units Guidance
Start year Enter start year as 4 digits (e.g. as 2008). Do not enter 08 etc.
Start month Enter start month's number (1 for January, 2 for February etc.). Do not enter Jan, Feb etc.
Currency symbol Enter one or two characters (e.g. $, £, ¥, DM).
Currency denomination Enter 000 (for thousands), Mln (for millions) or Bn (for billions) and then enter all monetary values below based on this denomination.
Example: If you specify 000 (for thousands) as the denomination and wish to enter 53,500 as a monetary value below, simply enter 53.5. However, if you specify 000 as the currency denomination and subsequently enter 53,500, it will appear incorrectly in the projections as 53,500,000 !!
Warning: Do not switch denominations when entering monetary values below - you MUST use the same denomination throughout when entering values.
This this the most common error encountered when processing assumptions.
B. Sales, Costs & Inventory/Stocks
Average monthly sales Monetary value based on your denomination (e.g. 000s) If a start-up, allow for a possible slow build up in sales for early months of the first year of trading. Exclude all value added and sales taxes, discounts, possible bad debts, commissions etc.
Example: If you forecast sales of 600,000 for the year and specify 000 as the currency denomination, insert 50 (based on this calculation: 600 / 12 = 50).
Finished inventory (stocks) as % sales % of sales Express your finished goods inventory as % average monthly sales. This item relates only to a manufacturing business. Leave blank if a distribution or service business.
Example: If you are projecting monthly sales of 50 and plan to hold finished inventory of 100 (equivalent to two months sales), enter 200 (based on this calculation: 100 / 50 * 100 = 200%). Do not enter any % sign when entering percentage values throughout this form.
Cost of materials/goods as % sales % of sales This refers to materials for processing if manufacturing or to goods for resale if a distribution business. Leave blank if a labor-only service business.
Enter the cost as a percentage of your projected sales. Example: If you project monthly sales of 50 and expect that the average monthly cost of materials/goods will be 35, enter 70 (based on this calculation: 35 / 50 * 100 = 70%).
Materials/goods inventory (stocks) Monetary value based on your denomination (e.g. 000s)

This refers to manufacturing or distribution business. Leave blank if a labor-only service business.
Set the planned inventory level by reference to your projected sales. Example: If you project monthly sales of 50, you might wish to hold inventory equivalent to two weeks sales (enter 25), six weeks sales (enter 150) etc.
Don't forget to always use your specified denomination e.g. 000 when entering monetary values in this and all subsequent rows requiring monetary values.
Example: If you want to enter a value of 30,000 and you have specified 000 (for thousands) as your currency denomination, insert 30. Failure to stick to this simple rule is a very common cause of errors in projections.

Average monthly direct costs Monetary value based on your denomination (e.g. 000s) This value may be zero for a distribution-type business.
Confine these costs to items which are directly related to projected sales. For example, include production labor, delivery costs, power usage and all other costs which vary totally or partially with your projected level of sales. Do not include rent, management costs etc. here as these seldom vary with sales.
Average monthly overhead expenses Monetary value based on your denomination (e.g. 000s) Include all other expenses here including selling, R&D, administration, rent etc. but exclude depreciation & interest charges which are covered separately. Be sure to use your specified denomination e.g. 000 when entering monetary values in this and all subsequent rows requiring monetary values.
At this stage, use a calculator to check the projected net income derived from your values entered above for projected sales, material cost %, direct costs and overheads. Use this formula:
  Net income = sales - (sales * material cost %) - direct costs - overheads.
C. Fixed Assets & Investment
Opening total cost of fixed assets Monetary value based on your denomination (e.g. 000s)

Use original costs & not written-down (depreciated) values.
Fixed assets cover the land, buildings, machinery, vehicles, equipment etc. which have to be acquired (with cash or loans) for use within the business. These items are treated as fixed assets rather than as day-to-day expenses.
Example: If your business uses a truck and PC which were both bought about two years ago for 60, you would enter this original cost (60) here.
Be sure to use your specified denomination e.g. 000 when entering a monetary value.

Accumulated opening depreciation Monetary value based on your denomination (e.g. 000s) Enter accumulated depreciation up to the start date of projections.
The fixed assets acquired for the business are subject to wear and tear etc. and will need to be replaced at some time in the future. This reduction in value is called depreciation. You need to enter the total amount by which fixed assets have depreciated from their date of acquisition right up to the month/year you are starting the projections.
Example: If the useful lives of your truck and PC are both five years, the accumulated depreciation since their acquisition (two years ago at a cost of 60) would be 24 (60 * 2 / 5 = 24).
Be sure to use your specified denomination e.g. 000 when entering a monetary value.
Average depreciation rate % per year This is the annual rate by which fixed assets are depreciated for each year of the projections. Use an approximate weighted-average rate to allow for the fact that different types of fixed assets have varying useful lives, for example, buildings last longer than PCs.
Example: If the useful lives of the truck and PC are both five years, you would expect to depreciate their original cost by one-fifth for each year (i.e. at a rate of 20%). Accordingly you would enter 20 (without the % sign) as the rate.
Planned capital expenditure (investment) Monetary value based on your denomination (e.g. 000s) This item relates to any fixed assets (land, buildings, machinery, vehicles, equipment etc.) which you plan to acquire during the first year (with cash or loans) for use within the business.
Be sure to use your specified denomination e.g. 000 when entering a monetary value.
If boxes within a table disappear, press PgDn & PgUp
D. Financing
Interest rate for cash balances % per year Use approximate weighted-average rate.
Typically, this would be the normal cash deposit rate at your local bank.
Interest rate for all loans/debt/notes % per year Use approximate weighted-average rate.
This is the interest rate which the bank charges on any loans.
Opening cash balance (deficit) Monetary value based on your denomination (e.g. 000s) Enter a cash balance as a positive value. Enter an overdraft (short-term loans) as a minus value.
This value should refer to the opening balance for the month/year you are starting the projections.
Be sure to use your specified denomination e.g. 000 when entering monetary values in this row and below.
Opening long-term loans/debt/notes Monetary value based on your denomination (e.g. 000s) Total all outstanding long-term loans/debt/notes and enter as a positive value.
The total should refer to the opening balance for the month/year you are starting the projections.
Net change in long-term loans/debt/notes during first year Monetary value based on your denomination (e.g. 000s) Enter net increase during coming year as positive value. Use minus value for net reduction. Take account of the need to finance any start-up losses, working capital or capital investment.
Example: If you plan to borrow 100 during the year, enter 100. If you plan to repay 100 of existing loans, enter -100 (i.e. minus 100).
E. Working Capital
Click here to access a "white paper" about working capital issues, formulae etc.
Opening trade & other receivables (debtors) Monetary value based on your denomination (e.g. 000s)

As at start date of projections. Exclude any likely bad debts. Include any other expected cash receipts not included elsewhere.
Put simply, how much do customers owe the business at the month/year when you are starting the projections?
Be sure to use your specified denomination e.g. 000 when entering monetary values in this row and below.

Opening trade & other payables (creditors) Monetary value based on your denomination (e.g. 000s) As at start date of projections. Include any other expected cash payments not included elsewhere.
Put simply, how much does the business owe to suppliers at the month/year when you are starting the projections?
Average credit given on sales Days annual sales your (credit/sales*days in year) Use estimate which takes any cash sales into account.
Example: If you expect that, on average, your customers will take 60 days (two months) to pay, enter 60. Leave blank if all your customers always pay cash.
Example: If your business has projected annual sales of 600 and you expect receivables (from customers) to have an average value of 150 throughout the year, then the days annual sales are 91 (based on 150 / 600 * 365 = 91).
Average credit taken for all materials/goods & all supplies Days annual sales (credit/usage*days in year) Estimate should take account of suppliers which give no credit.
Example: If you expect that, on average, to pay your suppliers after 30 days (one month), enter 30. Leave blank if you get no credit from suppliers.
Example: If your business has projected annual sales of 600 and you expect payables (to suppliers) to have an average value of 100 throughout the year, then the days annual sales are 61 (based on 100 / 600 * 365 = 61).
F. Miscellaneous
Expected corporate tax rate % As % of pre-tax profits Use likely effective rate rather than the standard rate. Leave blank if not a company/corporation.
Dividends planned for year Monetary value based on your denomination (e.g. 000s) Enter value of dividends if operating as a company/corporation. Enter planned drawings (salaries, bonuses etc.) if operating as a sole trader, partnership etc. and if these have not been included in overheads.
Be sure to use your specified denomination e.g. 000 when entering monetary values in this row and below.
Number of shares issued Number in thousands Enter the number issued (to nearest thousand) as at start date of projections. Leave blank if not a company/corporation.
If your company/corporation has issued fewer than a thousand shares, enter the number as a decimal value, e.g. 0.2 for 200 shares.
Proceeds of share/stock issues during year Monetary value based on your denomination (e.g. 000s) Specify cash proceeds net of all fund-raising costs. Leave blank if not a company/corporation.
Number of shares issued during year Number in thousands This number will be automatically added to the opening number of shares. Leave blank if not a company/corporation.
If boxes within a table disappear, press PgDn & PgUp

2. Assumptions for Subsequent Years

Assumptions for first four variables below are essential. The others are optional depending on circumstances.
Variables 2nd Year Annual Averages for 3rd - 5th Years Guidance
% annual change in sales (essential) Enter % changes over previous year. Take account of any volume or price changes. The change for the third-fifth years should be entered as an annual average. Be realistic in projecting sales growth.
Cost of materials/goods as % sales (essential) Enter costs as % sales (Do not enter a % annual change). The value for the third-fifth years should be entered as an annual average. Check back to your initial monthly cost % for guidance. There shouldn't be a marked deviation from this value unless you plan to introduce new products etc.
% annual change - direct costs (essential) Enter % changes over previous year. Take account of any changes in sales volumes, cost inflation, productivity changes etc. The value for the third-fifth years should be entered as an annual average. If these percentages diverge significantly from the sales growth percentages entered immediately above, your projected profit margins may become very unrealistic in the later years.
% annual change - overhead expenses (essential)
Planned capital expenditure (investment) (optional) Enter monetary values. The total value for the third, four and fifth years should be entered as an annual average for these three years. When forecasting investment, take account of sales growth, need to replace/upgrade existing fixed assets etc. Be sure to use your specified denomination e.g. 000 when entering monetary values in this row and below.
Net change in long-term loans/ debt/notes (optional) Enter monetary values. Use minus values for net reductions. The value for the third-fifth years should be entered as an annual average. Take account of the need to finance changes in working capital or capital investment.
Example: If you plan to borrow 100 in the second year, enter 100. If you plan to repay 100 of existing loans, enter -100 (i.e. minus 100).
Corporate tax rates % (optional) Enter as % of pre-tax profits. Use likely effective rates rather than standard rate. The value for the third-fifth years should be entered as an annual average. Leave blank if not a company/corporation.
Dividends (optional) Enter monetary values. Enter planned drawings (salaries, bonuses etc.) if a sole trader, partnership etc. The value for the third-fifth years should be entered as an annual average.
Proceeds of share issues (optional) Second year only. Enter monetary value. Leave blank if not a company/corporation.
Number of shares issued (optional) Second year only. Enter number in thousands. Leave blank if not a company/corporation.
If boxes within a table disappear, press PgDn & PgUp

3. General Information

Status of business (indicate start-up if trading for less than a year). Click one button. Start-up Established up to 5 years Established 5+ years
Projected full-time employment in one year's time (head count).
Primary location of business. Click one button. USA Canada Australia UK Ireland Other
Primary sector of business. Click one button. Manufacturing Distribution Services Public sector Other
Main products, services etc.
Form of business. Click one button. Company/Corporation Sole trader or partnership Not-for-profit Other
Identity of Business - enter a real or fictitious name, code number etc.
Email address of submitter (in format like xxxx@xxx.xxx). Essential - check that address is correct otherwise you will not receive any projections << Double Check!
Full name of submitter.
Comments about this service.

How might you use the results?
Easy to use?
Anything unclear - be specific?
If boxes within a table disappear, press PgDn & PgUp

Tip: Print a copy of this completed form for reference purposes immediately before submission.

Submission signifies acceptance of our Terms & Conditions.
Check all information before submission. We will not process incomplete data.
Make double sure that your email address is correct.

Press button ONCE and await acknowledgment

Important: If your email system uses aggressive anti-spam filtering, you may never receive our email containing your projections. You should temporarily add emails from "@planware.org" to your white or friends list. Do this immediately after you submit your assumption. Note that our Privacy & Security Statement applies to all users.

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