What Is a Cash Flow Forecast Template?
A cash flow forecasting template allows you to determine your company’s net amount of cash to continue operating your business. The template provides a way to examine day-by-day, month-by-month, quarter-by-quarter, or year-over-year projected cash receipts and cash payments as compared to your operating expenses and other outflows.
Use the preset criteria in a template to take the guesswork out of cash flow forecast requirements. You can then use the forecast to provide your company (or third parties) with a clear picture of your projected business costs. While cash flow forecasting allows you to look at projected cash flow, you can also track the actual cash flow for any chosen time period (i.e., daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly).
To learn more about cash flow forecasting and to view examples, visit "How to Create a Cash Flow Forecast, with Templates and Examples."
Simple Cash Flow Forecast Template
Use this basic template to gain monthly insight into your company’s cash flow and ensure you have sufficient funds to continue operating. Fill in your information for beginning balance (cash on hand), cash receipts and disbursements (R&D), operating expenses, and additional expenses. The template will auto-tally the monthly net cash change and month ending cash position columns. Use this information to forecast how long your cash will last, and whether you need to obtain additional financing.
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Small Business Cash Flow Projection Template
Use this cash flow projection template, designed for small businesses, to determine whether or not your business has adequate cash to meet its obligations. The monthly columns provide a big picture of how long funds should last, and the tallies for cash receipts, cash paid out, and other operating figures allow you to identify any potential shortfalls of your cash balances. This small business cash flow template also works with projected figures for a small business plan.
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12-Month Cash Flow Forecast Template
Track your company’s overall cash flow with this easily fillable 12-month cash flow forecast template. This template includes unique expected and actual cash-on-hand details for the beginning of each month, which you can use to ensure that you can pay all employees and suppliers. Enter cash receipts and cash paid out figures to determine your end-of-month cash position. The monthly details of this forecast template allow you to track — at a glance — any threats to your company’s cash flow.
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Cash Flow Forecast Template
This simple cash flow forecast template provides a scannable view of your company’s projected cash flow. Sections include beginning and ending cash balances, cash sources, cash uses, and cash changes during the month. These details provide an accurate picture of your company’s projected month-by-month financial liquidity. Ultimately, this template will help you identify potential issues that you must address in order for your business to remain on sound fiscal footing.
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Daily Cash Flow Forecast Template
Use this daily cash flow forecast template to get a pulse on your business’ short-term liquidity. Daily cash flow forecasts are particularly helpful in determining that everything is accounted for and for avoiding any shortfalls. The template calculates cash payments against operating expenses to provide a daily net cash change and month-ending cash positions. This template has everything you need to get a day-by-day perspective of your business’s financial performance and outlook.
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Quarterly Cash Flow Projections Template
Keep quarterly tabs on your cash flow with this customizable template. Use the quarter-by-quarter tabs to quickly detect any problems with a variety of factors, such as late customer payments and their potential impact on your business. This quarterly cash flow projections template is perfect for determining how any given variable might affect future financial planning.
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Three-Year Cash Flow Forecast Template
Get the big picture of your company’s long-term cash flow with this three-year cash flow forecast template. The spreadsheet provides separate tabs for a current cash flow statement, as well as 12-month cash flow and three-year cash flow projections. Enter year-by-year operations, investing activities, and financing details to see your year-over-year net increases or decreases. You can save this template as an individual file with customized entries, or share it with other business units or departments that need to provide cash flow details.
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Discounted Cash Flow Forecast Template
Designed around the concept of discounted cash flow (DCF) valuation based on future cash flows, this template allows you to perform an analysis to determine your business’ true value. You’ll find year-by-year rows, their respective incomes (cash inflow), expenses (fixed and variable), cash outflow, net cash, and DCF details (present value and cumulative present value), and actual present value, all of which culminates in net present value. This DCF forecast template is also ideal for determining the value of a potential investment.
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Nonprofit Cash Flow Projection Template
Use this template to determine whether your nonprofit will have enough cash to meet its financial obligations. There are sections for cash receipts, contributions and support, government contracts, other revenue sources, and receivables from previous years. This template is completely customizable, and provides insight into monthly and yearly carryover, so you can keep tabs on your rolling cash balance.
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Personal Cash Flow Forecast Template
Manage your financial outlook with this personal cash flow forecast template. Compare your personal income to your expenses, with the additional factor of savings. The automatic pie chart provides insight into whether you’re spending above your means. Enter your income, savings, and expense data to get a comprehensive picture of your short and long-term cash flow.
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Creating a Cash Flow Forecast
In order to set yourself up for success, you must be realistic when forecasting cash flows. You can build your projections on a foundation of key assumptions about the monthly flow of cash to and from your business. For instance, knowing when your business will receive payments and when payments are due to outside vendors allows you to make more accurate assumptions about your final funds during an operating cycle. Estimated cash flows will always vary somewhat from actual performance, which is why it’s important to compare actual numbers to your projections on a monthly basis and update your cash flow forecast as necessary. It’s also wise to limit your forecast to a 12-month period for greater accuracy (and to save time). On a monthly basis, you can add another month to create a rolling, long-term projection.
A cash flow forecast may include the following sections:
- Operating Cash: The cash on hand that you have to work with at the start of a given period. For a monthly projection, this is the cash balance available at the start of a month.
- Revenue: Depending on the type of business, revenue may include estimated sales figures, tax refunds or grants, loan payments received, or incoming fees. The revenue section covers the total sources of cash for each month.
- Expenses: Cash outflows may include your salary and other payroll costs, business loan payments, rent, asset purchases, and other expenditures.
- Net Cash Flow: This refers to the closing cash balance, which reveals whether you have excess funds or a deficit.
Keep in mind that while many costs are recurring, you also need to consider one-time costs. Additionally, you should plan for seasonal changes that could impact business performance, as well as any upcoming promotional events that may boost sales. Depending on the size and complexity of your business, you may want to delegate the responsibility of creating a cash flow forecast to an accountant. However, small businesses can save time and money with a simple cash flow projections template.
The Benefits of Cash Flow Forecasting
Regardless of the reporting period, or granularity, you choose for your cash flow forecast, you should take into account important cash flow forecast-specific factors, such as seasonal trends, to gain a clear picture of your company’s finances. Accurate cash flow forecasting can enable you to do the following:
- Anticipate any cash-balance shortfalls.
- Verify that you have enough cash on hand to pay suppliers and employees.
- Call attention to customers not paying on time, and eliminate cash flow discrepancies.
- Act proactively, in the event that cash flow issues will adversely affect budgets.
- Notify stakeholders, such as banks, who might require such forecasting for loans.
Tips for Improving Cash Flow Forecasting
Whether you are a large or small business and want a day-by-day or three-year picture of your company’s projected cash flow,keep the following tips in mind:
- Pick the Right Cash Flow Forecasting Template: There are templates available for a variety of forecasting needs, including those for organization size and one that provides short or long-term insights. Select a template that’s suitable to your particular cash flow forecasting needs.
- Use a Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) Template: If you are looking to estimate the current value of your company, based on the time value of money (the benefit of receiving cash infusions sooner than later), you’ll want to do a DCF.
- Enter Variables Accurately: Inflows and outflows can change on a literal dime. Ensure that you tally all beginning balances (cash on hand), cash receipts and disbursements (R&D), and operating expenses correctly. These numbers provide the big-picture net cash change and your ultimate cash position.
- Choose the Right Forecasting Horizon: The margin of error when using a three-year cash flow forecasting template is greater than performing a daily cash flow forecast. When choosing a template, keep in mind the time-period for the forecast.
- Consider Seasonal Fluctuations: If your cash flow fluctuates by season (tax, interest, larger annual payments, etc.), incorporate those details into your cash flow forecast. This will ensure that one quarter’s inflow doesn’t positively or negatively affect another in your forecast.
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