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Business Plan Help | 30 October, 2023

Cash Flow Forecast Example

In the world of finance and business, the ability to predict and manage your cash flow effectively can make or break your company’s success. This is where cash flow forecasting comes into play. 


In this blog, we’ll explore what a cash flow forecast is, how to create one using a model or statement, and why it’s a crucial tool for steering your company towards financial stability and growth.


What is Cash Flow Forecast?

A cash flow forecast is a financial planning tool that estimates the future cash inflows and outflows of a business over a specific period, typically a month, quarter, or year. It allows companies to predict how much money will be available to cover expenses and investments, providing a roadmap to make informed financial decisions.


Projected cash flow statement and cash flow forecast are closely related but not exactly the same. Both terms deal with cash positioning and forecasting, but they are used in slightly different contexts.

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What is Projected Cash Flow?

The term “projected cash flow” doesn’t have a standardized format or specific method associated with it. It could be a single number representing the expected cash surplus or deficit, or it could be a more comprehensive cash flow forecast, depending on the context.


Cash Flow Forecast Model

To create a simple cash flow forecast, many businesses use a model that includes categories like operating cash flow, investing cash flow, and financing cash flow. These models rely on historical financial data and reasonable assumptions to project future cash movements. By organizing and analyzing these categories, businesses can understand the dynamics of their cash flow better.


Cash Flow Forecast Statement

A cash flow statement forecast is a summary that presents the projected cash inflows and outflows. It typically includes details of income, expenses, capital expenditures, and financing activities. This statement provides a clear picture of how your company’s cash position is expected to change over the forecasted period.


How to Do a Cash Flow Forecast

Creating a cash flow forecast involves several steps:

Gather Data: Start by collecting financial statements, past cash flow data, and any other relevant financial information. This step is fundamental in the cash flow forecasting method for assessing and predicting financial movements.

Categorize Cash Flows: Distinguish between cash inflows and outflows. Common categories include sales revenue, operating expenses, loan repayments, and capital investments.

Create a Forecast Model: Utilize a spreadsheet or accounting software to build a cash flow forecast model. Input historical data and make reasonable assumptions about future cash flows.

Analyze and Adjust: Regularly review and adjust your forecast to reflect changes in your business environment. This adaptability is crucial in ensuring the accuracy of your forecast.

Monitor Actual vs. Forecast: Compare your actual cash flow with the forecast to identify any discrepancies. This analysis helps in understanding your forecasting accuracy and refining your predictions.

Cash Receipts Forecast

If you are wondering, “What specific information would you need to begin a cash receipts forecast?,” it’s important to understand that this forecast centers around money. You anticipate receiving it in the future. 


To get started with this forecast, you’ll need key details like:

Sales Projections: Detailed sales forecasts broken down by product or service, customer segments, and payment methods.

Accounts Receivable Aging: Information on outstanding customer invoices and when you expect them to be paid.

Historical Receipts Data: Past cash receipts data to identify patterns and trends.

Credit Policy: Details on your credit terms, including payment periods and any discounts offered for early payment.

Market Research: Insights into your market and industry to anticipate changes in customer behavior.


In general, the structure of most cash forecasts is illustrated below. The image presents a 5-year cash flow projections sample:

If you are ready to begin cash flow forecasting, this straightforward cash flow projection template is a great starting point. 


Benefits Cash Flow Forecast

Preparing a cash flow forecast helps a company to avoid potential future financial pitfalls. By accurately predicting your cash movements, you can:

Manage Cash Shortages: Anticipate periods of low cash and take preventive measures, such as securing additional financing or adjusting expenses, all of which can be facilitated using a small business cashflow template.

Seize Investment Opportunities: Identify periods of surplus cash that can be used for strategic investments in the business.

Reduce Financial Stress: Knowing that you have a plan in place can reduce the stress that comes with financial uncertainty.

Make Informed Decisions: Base your financial decisions on data and foresight rather than reacting to immediate cash flow problems.


In summary, cashflow forecasting is an invaluable tool for any business. It empowers you to navigate the financial waters with confidence, make informed decisions, and avoid potential financial disasters. 


Whether you use a cash flow forecast model or create a cash flow forecast statement, the key is to stay proactive, monitor, and adapt. With this strategic approach, you can steer your company towards a financially secure and prosperous future.


Contact us today, and discover how our cash flow forecasting specialists can help your business.


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