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    Please can anyone help!

    I am submitting a business plan which requires 3 years financial forecasts and I have some knowledge of accounts but I am not as advanced. I also cannot afford an accountant.

    Does anyone have a good template (I have found some on google that are very complicated)?

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    You will need some form of Cash Flow Forecast (CFF). They are all essentially the same depending on the business type and legal status.

    Also a Budgeted Income Statement and perhaps Balance Sheet / Statement of Financial Position.

    A CFF just focuses on cash itself and the timing of it in and out of the business.

    Monthly columns can be labelled. List all INFLOWS to the left and then a total row. Then OUTFLOWS and again a total.

    Then OPENING BALANCE row, NET CASH FLOW row and finally CLOSING BALANCE.

    Closing balance is Opening balance + Net cash flow (NCF) (be careful it NCF is a negative for any month) that gives Closing for each month.

    Always think of the target audience for the financial data as if it is for a bank they usually tend to be specific as to what they are wanting. Obviously don't produce something that you don't find useful yourself or realistic.
    Feel free to contact me directly if you need a kick start or more info.

    e: [email protected]

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    You don't say what type of business this is for, if preparing an integrated profit and loss, cashflow, and balance sheet if you have to deal with creditors and debtors, and you possibly need to adjust for vat, and fixed asset additions/disposals and depreciation you really need professional help (unless you are hot on preparing excel models and have a sound knowledge of double entry bookeeping and accounts.) Retail based business plans are slightly easier to write.

    Key step 1 is understand the business and relationship between purchases and creditor terms, stock levels required, sales and margins on sales and debtor days/months expected. The great thing about writing such a model is that when you have got it working you can play around and all three statements , being linked, stay in balance.

    I tend to write such models with each main statement on a different tab and with a number of working papers for data input. Given some models can get quite large, and you can forget how you have linked the cells, it is good practice to mark data input cells in the working papers with one colour and calculated cells a different colour, this avoids making annoying mistakes overwriting your formulae. Protecting cells can also be effective for same.

    I try to avoid any data input directly into the three main statements, I get these to populate via links from the working papers.

    Whilst the numbers within the plan are important for a lender, just as important is the assumptions/market research you used to estimate in the future, accordingly supply your market research and clearly state why you believe particular numbers used, which are after all forward looking statements, have some basis in reality.

    E.g. if say a pub, you will be assuming a GP%/markup, state why that you have used is appropriate (pricing in other nearby pubs, a detailed analysis, on a separate sheet, of selling prices and cost prices with an estimated sales mix analysis.

    There are other docs useful in a business plan, a book will advise, but two that to me are vital are:

    1. Short executive summary of what you want, how long for, what security offered etc-really on one page, the first after the cover and index.

    2. Your experience /background/knowledge- a bank lends not just to the plan but to you-you need to inspire them that you know what you are doing.

    Trust this assists a little.
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    I should have said, if you do feel you need an accountant and have no idea of where to go locally, posting on to accountingweb , www.accountingweb.co.uk/anyanswers may get you a local response, however the contributors are mainly in practice and will want paid. However if your business does get going you may well have need of accountancy services re books/records, VAT, PAYE/NI if you have employees, annual accounts, annual tax returns for the business and for yourself. You may also need assistance notifying HMRC/forming a Limited Company etc, albeit both are pretty simple You may also want/require some input into the type of entity that best suits your business/circumstances- e.g. Sole Trader/ Partnership/ Limited Liabilty Partnership/ Limited Company.
 
 
 
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