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How to use financial models for strategic planning?

Baskar Sundaram
Baskar Sundaram

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Uncertainty is a part of making business plans. But this should not stop you from creating strategic plans. This is where financial modeling comes in. Financial models do not make the future more predictable but it does help you choose between various options and prepare your business to navigate twists and turns as you implement your strategic plan.

What Is Financial Modeling?

Financial modeling is the act of building a conceptual framework that depicts where a business’ financial situation will be at some period in the future. It is based on real world information gathered from financial statements and market research.

When done correctly, a financial model considers all areas of a business’ financial performance and generates a three statement models, namely, income, balance, and cash flow . It uses clear, logical, and defensible assumptions in order to account for changes in business activity.

Who Should You Use To Prepare A Financial Model?

A financial model is a tool for your business that will be used to aid strategic planning. The person creating your financial model needs to have a strong understanding of accounting fundamentals and financial statement analysis, and ideally has knowledge of your industry.

What Happens After Creating A Financial Model?

While financial modeling can help a buyer feel more comfortable with your growth projections, it is only the first step in this process. You will want to use your financial model to determine the current and projected value of your company to see if it meets your goals. Next, you should detect areas for improvement or investment in your business, and develop a strategic plan for making this all happen.

Make sure to keep records of everything that goes into this process because buyers want to know how close you came to achieving past projections, what actions you took when you deviated or exceeded projections, which members of the leadership team were essential to this process, and how they can take your business to the next level.

Financial model can be used to develop and enhance strategic planning initiatives. It addresses five components: determining if your business’ value is where you want it to be, revising projected vs. actual results, finding opportunities for improved performance, developing action plans to achieve results, and setting the current organizational structure to reflect your business goals.

Why Should You Regularly Update Financial Models?

It is a foregone conclusion that your financial model will differ from what actually happens as time passes and conditions change. And that is why it’s critical to update your financial models and overall strategic plan on a regular basis. Any deviations from the model must be taken into consideration and actions must be taken to correct the issue.

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