What Exactly Is Financial Modeling? Taking a Closer Look

Cosmit Paniat
3 min readMay 2, 2023

Financial modeling forecasts future results by combining accounting, finance, and business indicators. It is an indispensable tool for corporate executives and professionals who must make financial judgments.

For example, financial modeling could determine whether to raise funds or acquire another company. It also assists you in planning and allocating funds for your company’s capital expenditure needs.

Financial modeling is a tool for predicting financial outcomes based on a company’s past performance and assumptions about future income, expenses, and other variables. Many professionals in the financial services industry, including management consultants and investment bankers, use models.

A typical financial model spreadsheet for each quarter or year includes a balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. It also includes revenue growth, gross margin, and tax assumptions.

Some financial models are more complicated than others, incorporating characteristics like depreciation and tax carryforwards. They must also be adaptable enough to accommodate changes in future business plans and other circumstances that may impact the company’s financial health.

Iterative financial modeling is a procedure. Analysts must work on separate areas until they can finally connect everything. This is a time-consuming process, but maintaining quality throughout is critical.

A three-statement model is a financial analysis method that assists companies in understanding their current financial situation and planning for future growth. It can also assist businesses in tracking their progress and comparing their performance to that of competitors.

Creating a three-statement model necessitates entering historical data, defining parameters, and forecasting. To accomplish this, you must collect data about a company’s sales, expenses, cash flow, and balance sheet.

You will then need to enter these items into an Excel spreadsheet. This can be done manually or by importing data from the company’s 10K or press release into your spreadsheet using a plugin like Capital IQ.

The last step is to finish the three-statement model by computing net income and cash balances and connecting them to the balance sheet and cash flow statements. Depending on the intricacy of your model, this may take some time.

Cash flow modeling is an important financial planning tool to help you make better decisions, plan for shortfalls, and effectively employ surplus cash. It also serves as a foundation for establishing your company’s investment requirements and ensuring timely payment of bills and debts.

You’ll need historical data on your revenue and expenses from previous periods to develop a cash flow model. This data can be obtained through various sources, such as bank loans, investments, grants, royalties, franchise fees, and tax refunds.

After you’ve gathered your financial data, you can begin developing your cash flow model. Many models include a section that computes discounted cash flow, which converts future cash flows from all sources to present value.

Discounted cash flow is one of the most essential measures used by lenders and buyers to evaluate a firm. It enables you to understand how powerful your company is, where it is weak, and how much it is worth.

A balance sheet is a crucial document for businesses because it shows what they possess and owe at any time. They can also assist corporate executives, important stakeholders, and employees in identifying and changing strategies.

A basic balance sheet lists assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity in that sequence. Current assets comprise cash, accounts receivable, and marketable securities, classified as current or noncurrent.

Financial and legal responsibilities to pay money to another person are referred to as liabilities. They may include supplier payments or debts a parent company owes to a subsidiary.

Fundamental analysts use the balance sheet to assess a company’s liquidity, solvency, and general financial health. These ratios are calculated and interpreted using formulas.

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Cosmit Paniat

Cosmin Panait is a New York-based investment fund manager who has backed both private and public enterprises.