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Basics of a business plan financials section.


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A good business plan is an entrepreneur’s best friend. It’s an indispensable document, and every section matters, from the executive summary to the market analysis to the appendix; however, no section matters as much as the financials section. You’re in business to make money, after all, and your business plan has to clearly, numerically reflect a lucrative business pursuit, preferably with visuals, especially if you want funding.

The financials section of your business plan tells you and your potential investors, loan providers or partners whether your business idea makes economic sense. Without an impressive financials section, you’re looking at an uphill battle when it comes to scoring capital; underwhelming financials may indicate a need to make some revisions to your approach.

Basic Financials

So, how to build an impressive financials section? As with all things in small business, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach; it varies by business and field. But there are some general guidelines that can give you a clear idea of where to start and what kind of data you’ll need to gather.

You need to include at least three documents in the financials section of your business plan:

1. Income statement: Are you profitable?

2. Cash flow statement: How much cash do you have on hand?

3. Balance sheet: What’s your net worth?

There’s other financial information you can — and often should — add to your business plan, like sales forecasts and personnel plans. But the income statement, cash flow projections and balance sheet are the ones you can’t leave out.

Here's a brief run-down of the three major data sets.

Income Statement

Also called a profit/loss statement, here’s where your reader can see if your business is profitable. If you’re not operating the business yet, this will be a projected income statement, based on a well-informed analysis of your business’s first year.

The income statement is broken down by month and shows revenue (sales), expenses (costs of operating) and the resulting profit or loss for one fiscal year. (Revenue - expenses = profit/loss.)

Cash Flow Statements

Here’s where your reader can see how much money you’re going to need in the first year of operations. If you’re not yet up and running, you’ll only have projections.

For cash flow projections, you’ll predict the cash money that will flow into and out of your business in a particular month. You’ll need a year’s worth of monthly projections. If you’re already operating, also include cash flow statements for past months showing actual numbers.

Cash flow statements have three basic components: cash revenues, cash disbursements and reconciliation of revenues to disbursements. For each month, you start with your previous month’s balance, add revenues and subtract disbursements. The final balance becomes the opening balance for the following month.

Balance Sheet

Here’s where your reader sees your business’s net worth. It breaks down into monthly balance sheets and a final net worth at the end of the fiscal year. There are three parts to a balance sheet:

• Accounts receivable

• Inventory, equipment

• Real estate

2. Liabilities

• Accounts payable

• Loan debts

3. Equity: Total assets minus total liabilities (Assets = liabilities + equity.)

It’s good to offer readers an analysis of the three basic financial statements — how they fit together and what they mean for the future of your business. It doesn’t have to be in depth; focus is good. Just interpret the data from each statement, putting it in context and indicating what the reader should take away from the financials section of your business plan.

Other Financial Documents

These are the basics of your financials, but you’ll need to fill out the section with other data based on the specifics of your business and your capital needs. Other financial information you might provide includes:

• Sales forecast: Estimates of future sales volumes

• Personnel plan: Who you plan to recruit/hire and how much it will cost

• Breakeven analysis: Projected point at which your sales will match your expenses

• Financial history: Summary of your business finances from the start of operations to the present time

Make It Easy

A lot of this can be made easier with business planning software, which can not only guide you through the process and make sure you don’t leave anything else but may also generate graphs, charts and other visuals to accompany the data in your financials section. Those types of visuals are highly recommended because some readers will skim. Anything you can do to convey information in a glance imparts a benefit.

Revisit Monthly

Once in operation, don’t forget to go back into your financials every month to update your projections with actual numbers and then adjust any future projections accordingly. Regular updates will tell you if you’re on track with your predictions and hitting your goals, as well as whether you need to make adjustments. Don’t forget this part — when you’re starting out, planning really is your best friend.

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How to Craft the Financial Section of Business Plan (Hint: It’s All About the Numbers)

Writing a small business plan takes time and effort … especially when you have to dive into the numbers for the financial section. But, working on the financial section of business plan could lead to a big payoff for your business.

Read on to learn what is the financial section of a business plan, why it matters, and how to write one for your company.  

What is the financial section of business plan?

Generally, the financial section is one of the last sections in a business plan. It describes a business’s historical financial state (if applicable) and future financial projections. Businesses include supporting documents such as budgets and financial statements, as well as funding requests in this section of the plan.  

The financial part of the business plan introduces numbers. It comes after the executive summary, company description , market analysis, organization structure, product information, and marketing and sales strategies.

Businesses that are trying to get financing from lenders or investors use the financial section to make their case. This section also acts as a financial roadmap so you can budget for your business’s future income and expenses. 

Why it matters 

The financial section of the business plan is critical for moving beyond wordy aspirations and into hard data and the wonderful world of numbers. 

Through the financial section, you can:

describes how you can use the four ways to use the financial section of business plan

So, if you want to possibly double your chances of securing a business loan, consider putting in a little time and effort into your business plan’s financial section. 

Writing your financial section

To write the financial section, you first need to gather some information. Keep in mind that the information you gather depends on whether you have historical financial information or if you’re a brand-new startup. 

Your financial section should detail:

Financial projections

Financial statements, break-even point, funding requests, exit strategy, business expenses.

Whether you’ve been in business for one day or 10 years, you have expenses. These expenses might simply be startup costs for new businesses or fixed and variable costs for veteran businesses. 

Take a look at some common business expenses you may need to include in the financial section of business plan:

Write down each type of expense and amount you currently have as well as expenses you predict you’ll have. Use a consistent time period (e.g., monthly costs). 

Indicate which expenses are fixed (unchanging month-to-month) and which are variable (subject to changes). 

How much do you anticipate earning from sales each month? 

If you operate an existing business, you can look at previous monthly revenue to make an educated estimate. Take factors into consideration, like seasonality and economic ups and downs, when basing projections on previous cash flow.

Coming up with your financial projections may be a bit trickier if you are a startup. After all, you have nothing to go off of. Come up with a reasonable monthly goal based on things like your industry, competitors, and the market. Hint : Look at your market analysis section of the business plan for guidance. 

A financial statement details your business’s finances. The three main types of financial statements are income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets.

Income statements summarize your business’s income and expenses during a period of time (e.g., a month). This document shows whether your business had a net profit or loss during that time period. 

Cash flow statements break down your business’s incoming and outgoing money. This document details whether your company has enough cash on hand to cover expenses.

The balance sheet summarizes your business’s assets, liabilities, and equity. Balance sheets help with debt management and business growth decisions. 

If you run a startup, you can create “pro forma financial statements,” which are statements based on projections.

If you’ve been in business for a bit, you should have financial statements in your records. You can include these in your business plan. And, include forecasted financial statements. 

financial section in a business plan

You’re just in luck. Check out our FREE guide, Use Financial Statements to Assess the Health of Your Business , to learn more about the different types of financial statements for your business.

Potential investors want to know when your business will reach its break-even point. The break-even point is when your business’s sales equal its expenses. 

Estimate when your company will reach its break-even point and detail it in the financial section of business plan.

If you’re looking for financing, detail your funding request here. Include how much you are looking for, list ideal terms (e.g., 10-year loan or 15% equity), and how long your request will cover. 

Remember to discuss why you are requesting money and what you plan on using the money for (e.g., equipment). 

Back up your funding request by emphasizing your financial projections. 

Last but not least, your financial section should also discuss your business’s exit strategy. An exit strategy is a plan that outlines what you’ll do if you need to sell or close your business, retire, etc. 

Investors and lenders want to know how their investment or loan is protected if your business doesn’t make it. The exit strategy does just that. It explains how your business will make ends meet even if it doesn’t make it. 

When you’re working on the financial section of business plan, take advantage of your accounting records to make things easier on yourself. For organized books, try Patriot’s online accounting software . Get your free trial now!

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How to Write a Financial Plan for Your Small Business — 2022 Guide

financial section in a business plan

Building a financial plan can be the most intimidating part of writing your business plan . It’s also one of the most vital. Businesses that have a full financial plan in place more prepared to pitch to investors, receive funding, and achieve long-term success.

Thankfully, you don’t need an accounting degree to successfully put one together. All you need to know is the key elements and what goes into them. Read on for the six components that need to go into your financial plan and successfully launch your business.

What is a financial plan?

A financial plan is simply an overview of your current business financials and projections for growth. Think of any documents that represent your current monetary situation as a snapshot of the health of your business and the projections being your future expectations. 

Why is a financial plan important for your business?

As said before, the financial plan is a snapshot of the current state of your business. The projections, inform your short and long-term financial goals and gives you a starting point for developing a strategy. 

It helps you, as a business owner, set realistic expectations regarding the success of your business. You’re less likely to be surprised by your current financial state and more prepared to manage a crisis or incredible growth, simply because you know your financials inside and out. 

And aside from helping you better manage your business, a thorough financial plan also makes you more attractive to investors. It makes you less of a risk and shows that you have a firm plan and track record in place to grow your business. 

Components of a successful financial plan

All business plans, whether you’re just starting a business or building an expansion plan for an existing business, should include the following:

Even if you’re in the very beginning stages, these financial statements can still work for you.

less calculations with LivePlan

How to write a financial plan for your small business

The good news is that they don’t have to be difficult to create or hard to understand. With just a few educated guesses about how much you might sell and what your expenses will be, you’ll be well on your way to creating a complete financial plan.

1. Profit and loss statement

This is a financial statement that goes by a few different names—profit and loss statement, income statement, pro forma income statement, P&L (short for “profit and loss”)— and is essentially an explanation of how your business made a profit (or incur a loss) over a certain period of time. 

It’s a table that lists all of your revenue streams and all of your expenses—typically over a three-month period—and lists at the very bottom the total amount of net profit or loss.

There are different formats for profit and loss statements, depending on the type of business you’re in and the structure of your business (nonprofit, LLC, C-Corp, etc.).

What to include in your profit and loss statement

These three components (revenue, COGS, and gross margin) are the backbone of your business model — i.e., how you make money.

You’ll also list your operating expenses, which are the expenses associated with running your business that isn’t directly associated with making a sale. They’re the fixed expenses that don’t fluctuate depending on the strength or weakness of your revenue in a given month—think rent, utilities, and insurance.

How to find operating income

To find your operating income with the P&L statement you’ll take the gross margin less your operating expenses:

Gross Margin – Operating Expenses = Operating Income

Depending on how you classify some of your expenses, your operating income will typically be equivalent to your “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization” (EBITDA). This is basically, how much money you made in profit before you take your accounting and tax obligations into consideration. It may also be called your “profit before interest and taxes,” gross profit, and “contribution to overhead”—many names, but they all refer to the same number.

How to find net income

Your so-called “bottom line”—officially, your net income, which is found at the very end (or, bottom line) of your profit and loss statement—is your EBITDA less the “ITDA.” Just subtract your expenses for interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization from your EBITDA, and you have your net income:

Operating Income – Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization Expenses = Net Income

For further reading on profit and loss statements (a.k.a., income statements), including an example of what a profit and loss statement actually looks like, check out “ How to Read and Analyze an Income Statement.” And if you want to start building your own, download our free Profit and Loss Statement Template .

2. Cash flow statement

Your cash flow statement is just as important as your profit and loss statement. Businesses run on cash —there are no two ways around it. A cash flow statement is an explanation of how much cash your business brought in, how much cash it paid out, and what its ending cash balance was, typically per-month.

Without a thorough understanding of how much cash you have, where your cash is coming from, where it’s going, and on what schedule, you’re going to have a hard time running a healthy business . And without the cash flow statement, which lays that information out neatly for lenders and investors, you’re not going to be able to raise funds. 

The cash flow statement helps you understand the difference between what your profit and loss statement reports as income—your profit—and what your actual cash position is.

It is possible to be extremely profitable and still not have enough cash to pay your expenses and keep your business afloat. It is also possible to be unprofitable but still have enough cash on hand to keep the doors open for several months and buy yourself time to turn things around —that’s why this financial statement is so important to understand.

Cash versus accrual accounting

There are two methods of accounting—the cash method and the accrual method.

The accrual method means that you account for your sales and expenses at the same time—if you got a big preorder for a new product, for example, you’d wait to account for all of your preorder sales revenue until you’d actually started manufacturing and delivering the product. Matching revenue with the related expenses is what’s referred to as “the matching principle,” and is the basis of accrual accounting.

The cash method means that you just account for your sales and expenses as they happen, without worrying about matching up the expenses that are related to a particular sale or vice versa.

If you use the cash method, your cash flow statement isn’t going to be very different from what you see in your profit and loss statement. That might seem like it makes things simpler, but I actually advise against it. 

I think that the accrual method of accounting gives you the best sense of how your business operates and that you should consider switching to it if you aren’t using it already.

Why you should use accrual accounting for cash flow

For the best sense of how your business operates, you should consider switching to accrual accounting if you aren’t using it already.

Here’s why: Let’s say you operate a summer camp business. You might receive payment from a camper in March, several months before camp actually starts in July—using the accrual method, you wouldn’t recognize the revenue until you’ve performed the service, so both the revenue and the expenses for the camp would be accounted for in the month of July.

With the cash method, you would have recognized the revenue back in March, but all of the expenses in July, which would have made it look like you were profitable in all of the months leading up to the camp, but unprofitable during the month that camp actually took place.

Cash accounting can get a little unwieldy when it comes time to evaluate how profitable an event or product was, and can make it harder to really understand the ins and outs of your business operations. For the best look at how your business works, accrual accounting is the way to go.

3. Balance sheet

Your balance sheet is a snapshot of your business’s financial position—at a particular moment in time, how are you doing? How much cash do you have in the bank, how much do your customers owe you, and how much do you owe your vendors?

What to include in your balance sheet

It’s called a balance sheet because it’s an equation that needs to balance out:

Assets = Liabilities + Equity

The total of your liabilities plus your total equity always equals the total of your assets.

At the end of the accounting year, your total profit or loss adds to or subtracts from your retained earnings (a component of your equity). That makes your retained earnings your business’s cumulative profit and loss since the business’s inception.

However, if you are a sole proprietor or other pass-through tax entity, “retained earnings” doesn’t really apply to you—your retained earnings will always equal zero, as all profits and losses are passed through to the owners and not rolled over or retained like they are in a corporation.

If you’d like more help creating your balance sheet, check out our free downloadable Balance Sheet Template .

4. Sales forecast

The sales forecast is exactly what it sounds like: your projections, or forecast, of what you think you will sell in a given period. Your sales forecast is an incredibly important part of your business plan, especially when lenders or investors are involved, and should be an ongoing part of your business planning process.

Your sales forecast should be an ongoing part of your business planning process.

You should create a forecast that is consistent with the sales number you use in your profit and loss statement. In fact, in our business planning software, LivePlan , the sales forecast auto-fills the profit and loss statement.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of sales forecast—every business will have different needs. How you segment and organize your forecast depends on what kind of business you have and how thoroughly you want to track your sales.

Generally, you’ll want to break down your sales forecast into segments that are helpful to you for planning and marketing purposes.

If you own a restaurant, for example, you’ll want to separate your forecasts for dinner and lunch sales. But a gym owner may find it helpful to differentiate between the membership types. If you want to get really specific, you might even break your forecast down by product, with a separate line for every product you sell.

Along with each segment of forecasted sales, you’ll want to include that segment’s “cost of goods sold” (COGS). The difference between your forecasted revenue and your forecasted COGS is your forecasted gross margin.

5. Personnel plan

Think of the personnel plan as a justification of each team member’s necessity to the business. 

The overall importance of the personnel plan depends largely on the type of business you have. If you are a sole proprietor with no employees, this might not be that important and could be summarized in a sentence of two. But if you are a larger business with high labor costs, you should spend the time necessary to figure out how your personnel affects your business.

If you opt to create a full personnel plan, it should include a description of each member of your management team, and what they bring to the table in terms of training, expertise, and product or market knowledge. Think of this as a justification of each team member’s necessity to the business, and a justification of their salary (and/or equity share, if applicable). This would fall in the company overview section of your business plan.

You can also choose to use this section to list entire departments if that is a better fit for your business and the intentions you have for your business plan . There’s no rule that says you have to list only individual members of the management team.

This is also where you would list team members or departments that you’ve budgeted for but haven’t hired yet. Describe who your ideal candidate(s) is/re, and justify your budgeted salary range(s).

6. Business ratios and break-even analysis

Business ratios explained.

If you have your profit and loss statement, your cash flow statement, and your balance sheet, you have all the numbers you need to calculate the standard business ratios . These ratios aren’t necessary to include in a business plan—especially for an internal plan—but knowing some key ratios is always a good idea.

Common profitability ratios include:

Common liquidity ratios include:

Of these, the most common ratios used by business owners and requested by bankers are probably gross margin, return on investment (ROI), and debt-to-equity.

Break-even analysis explained

Your break-even analysis is a calculation of how much you will need to sell in order to “break-even” i.e. cover all of your expenses.

In determining your break-even point, you’ll need to figure out the contribution margin of what you’re selling. In the case of a restaurant, the contribution margin will be the price of the meal less any associated costs. For example, the customer pays $50 for the meal. The food costs are $10 and the wages paid to prepare and serve the meal are $15. Your contribution margin is $25 ($50 – $10 – $15 = $25).

Using this model you can determine how high your sales revenue needs to be in order for you to break even. If your monthly fixed costs are $5,000 and you average a 50 percent contribution margin (like in our example with the restaurant), you’ll need to have sales of $10,000 in order to break even.

Make financial planning a recurring part of your business

Your financial plan might feel overwhelming when you get started, but the truth is that this section of your business plan is absolutely essential to understand. 

Even if you end up outsourcing your bookkeeping and regular financial analysis to an accounting firm, you—the business owner—should be able to read and understand these documents and make decisions based on what you learn from them. Using a business dashboard tool like LivePlan can help simplify this process, so you’re not wading through spreadsheets to input and alter every single detail.

If you create and present financial statements that all work together to tell the story of your business, and if you can answer questions about where your numbers are coming from, your chances of securing funding from investors or lenders are much higher.

Additional small business financial resources

Ready to develop your own financial plan? Check out the following resources for more insights into creating an effective financial plan for your small business.

AvatarTrevor Betenson

Trevor Betenson

Trevor is the CFO of Palo Alto Software, where he is responsible for leading the company’s accounting and finance efforts.

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Free Financial Templates for a Business Plan

Smartsheet Contributor Andy Marker

July 29, 2020

In this article, we’ve rounded up expert-tested financial templates for your business plan, all of which are free to download in Excel, Google Sheets, and PDF formats.

Included on this page, you’ll find the essential financial statement templates, including income statement templates , cash flow statement templates , and balance sheet templates . Plus, we cover the key elements of the financial section of a business plan .

Financial Plan Templates

Download and prepare these financial plan templates to include in your business plan. Use historical data and future projections to produce an overview of the financial health of your organization to support your business plan and gain buy-in from stakeholders

Business Financial Plan Template

Business Financial Plan Template

Use this financial plan template to organize and prepare the financial section of your business plan. This customizable template has room to provide a financial overview, any important assumptions, key financial indicators and ratios, a break-even analysis, and pro forma financial statements to share key financial data with potential investors.

Download Financial Plan Template

Word | PDF | Smartsheet

Financial Plan Projections Template for Startups

Startup Financial Projections Template

This financial plan projections template comes as a set of pro forma templates designed to help startups. The template set includes a 12-month profit and loss statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow statement for you to detail the current and projected financial position of a business.

‌ Download Startup Financial Projections Template

Excel | Smartsheet

Income Statement Templates for Business Plan

Also called profit and loss statements , these income statement templates will empower you to make critical business decisions by providing insight into your company, as well as illustrating the projected profitability associated with business activities. The numbers prepared in your income statement directly influence the cash flow and balance sheet forecasts.

Pro Forma Income Statement/Profit and Loss Sample

financial section in a business plan

Use this pro forma income statement template to project income and expenses over a three-year time period. Pro forma income statements consider historical or market analysis data to calculate the estimated sales, cost of sales, profits, and more.

‌ Download Pro Forma Income Statement Sample - Excel

Small Business Profit and Loss Statement

Small Business Profit and Loss Template

Small businesses can use this simple profit and loss statement template to project income and expenses for a specific time period. Enter expected income, cost of goods sold, and business expenses, and the built-in formulas will automatically calculate the net income.

‌ Download Small Business Profit and Loss Template - Excel

3-Year Income Statement Template

3 Year Income Statement Template

Use this income statement template to calculate and assess the profit and loss generated by your business over three years. This template provides room to enter revenue and expenses associated with operating your business and allows you to track performance over time.

Download 3-Year Income Statement Template

For additional resources, including how to use profit and loss statements, visit “ Download Free Profit and Loss Templates .”

Cash Flow Statement Templates for Business Plan

Use these free cash flow statement templates to convey how efficiently your company manages the inflow and outflow of money. Use a cash flow statement to analyze the availability of liquid assets and your company’s ability to grow and sustain itself long term.

Simple Cash Flow Template

financial section in a business plan

Use this basic cash flow template to compare your business cash flows against different time periods. Enter the beginning balance of cash on hand, and then detail itemized cash receipts, payments, costs of goods sold, and expenses. Once you enter those values, the built-in formulas will calculate total cash payments, net cash change, and the month ending cash position.

Download Simple Cash Flow Template

12-Month Cash Flow Forecast Template

financial section in a business plan

Use this cash flow forecast template, also called a pro forma cash flow template, to track and compare expected and actual cash flow outcomes on a monthly and yearly basis. Enter the cash on hand at the beginning of each month, and then add the cash receipts (from customers, issuance of stock, and other operations). Finally, add the cash paid out (purchases made, wage expenses, and other cash outflow). Once you enter those values, the built-in formulas will calculate your cash position for each month with.

‌ Download 12-Month Cash Flow Forecast

3-Year Cash Flow Statement Template Set

3 Year Cash Flow Statement Template

Use this cash flow statement template set to analyze the amount of cash your company has compared to its expenses and liabilities. This template set contains a tab to create a monthly cash flow statement, a yearly cash flow statement, and a three-year cash flow statement to track cash flow for the operating, investing, and financing activities of your business.

Download 3-Year Cash Flow Statement Template

For additional information on managing your cash flow, including how to create a cash flow forecast, visit “ Free Cash Flow Statement Templates .”

Balance Sheet Templates for a Business Plan

Use these free balance sheet templates to convey the financial position of your business during a specific time period to potential investors and stakeholders.

Small Business Pro Forma Balance Sheet

financial section in a business plan

Small businesses can use this pro forma balance sheet template to project account balances for assets, liabilities, and equity for a designated period. Established businesses can use this template (and its built-in formulas) to calculate key financial ratios, including working capital.

Download Pro Forma Balance Sheet Template

Monthly and Quarterly Balance Sheet Template

financial section in a business plan

Use this balance sheet template to evaluate your company’s financial health on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. You can also use this template to project your financial position for a specified time in the future. Once you complete the balance sheet, you can compare and analyze your assets, liabilities, and equity on a quarter-over-quarter or year-over-year basis.

Download Monthly/Quarterly Balance Sheet Template - Excel

Yearly Balance Sheet Template

financial section in a business plan

Use this balance sheet template to compare your company’s short and long-term assets, liabilities, and equity year-over-year. This template also provides calculations for common financial ratios with built-in formulas, so you can use it to evaluate account balances annually.

Download Yearly Balance Sheet Template - Excel

For more downloadable resources for a wide range of organizations, visit “ Free Balance Sheet Templates .”

Sales Forecast Templates for Business Plan

Sales projections are a fundamental part of a business plan, and should support all other components of your plan, including your market analysis, product offerings, and marketing plan . Use these sales forecast templates to estimate future sales, and ensure the numbers align with the sales numbers provided in your income statement.

Basic Sales Forecast Sample Template

Basic Sales Forecast Template

Use this basic forecast template to project the sales of a specific product. Gather historical and industry sales data to generate monthly and yearly estimates of the number of units sold and the price per unit. Then, the pre-built formulas will calculate percentages automatically. You’ll also find details about which months provide the highest sales percentage, and the percentage change in sales month-over-month. 

Download Basic Sales Forecast Sample Template

12-Month Sales Forecast Template for Multiple Products

financial section in a business plan

Use this sales forecast template to project the future sales of a business across multiple products or services over the course of a year. Enter your estimated monthly sales, and the built-in formulas will calculate annual totals. There is also space to record and track year-over-year sales, so you can pinpoint sales trends.

Download 12-Month Sales Forecasting Template for Multiple Products

3-Year Sales Forecast Template for Multiple Products

3 Year Sales Forecast Template

Use this sales forecast template to estimate the monthly and yearly sales for multiple products over a three-year period. Enter the monthly units sold, unit costs, and unit price. Once you enter those values, built-in formulas will automatically calculate revenue, margin per unit, and gross profit. This template also provides bar charts and line graphs to visually display sales and gross profit year over year.

Download 3-Year Sales Forecast Template - Excel

For a wider selection of resources to project your sales, visit “ Free Sales Forecasting Templates .”

Break-Even Analysis Template for Business Plan

A break-even analysis will help you ascertain the point at which a business, product, or service will become profitable. This analysis uses a calculation to pinpoint the number of service or unit sales you need to make to cover costs and make a profit.

Break-Even Analysis Template

Break Even Analysis

Use this break-even analysis template to calculate the number of sales needed to become profitable. Enter the product's selling price at the top of the template, and then add the fixed and variable costs. Once you enter those values, the built-in formulas will calculate the total variable cost, the contribution margin, and break-even units and sales values.

Download Break-Even Analysis Template

For additional resources, visit, “ Free Financial Planning Templates .”

Business Budget Templates for Business Plan

These business budget templates will help you track costs (e.g., fixed and variable) and expenses (e.g., one-time and recurring) associated with starting and running a business. Having a detailed budget enables you to make sound strategic decisions, and should align with the expense values listed on your income statement.

Startup Budget Template

financial section in a business plan

Use this startup budget template to track estimated and actual costs and expenses for various business categories, including administrative, marketing, labor, and other office costs. There is also room to provide funding estimates from investors, banks, and other sources to get a detailed view of the resources you need to start and operate your business.

Download Startup Budget Template

Small Business Budget Template

financial section in a business plan

This business budget template is ideal for small businesses that want to record estimated revenue and expenditures on a monthly and yearly basis. This customizable template comes with a tab to list income, expenses, and a cash flow recording to track cash transactions and balances.

Download Small Business Budget Template

Professional Business Budget Template

financial section in a business plan

Established organizations will appreciate this customizable business budget template, which  contains a separate tab to track projected business expenses, actual business expenses, variances, and an expense analysis. Once you enter projected and actual expenses, the built-in formulas will automatically calculate expense variances and populate the included visual charts. 

‌ Download Professional Business Budget Template

For additional resources to plan and track your business costs and expenses, visit “ Free Business Budget Templates for Any Company .”

Other Financial Templates for Business Plan

In this section, you’ll find additional financial templates that you may want to include as part of your larger business plan.

Startup Funding Requirements Template

Startup Funding Requirements Template

This simple startup funding requirements template is useful for startups and small businesses that require funding to get business off the ground. The numbers generated in this template should align with those in your financial projections, and should detail the allocation of acquired capital to various startup expenses.

Download Startup Funding Requirements Template - Excel

Personnel Plan Template

Personnel Plan Template

Use this customizable personnel plan template to map out the current and future staff needed to get — and keep — the business running. This information belongs in the personnel section of a business plan, and details the job title, amount of pay, and hiring timeline for each position. This template calculates the monthly and yearly expenses associated with each role using built-in formulas. Additionally, you can add an organizational chart to provide a visual overview of the company’s structure. 

Download Personnel Plan Template - Excel

Elements of the Financial Section of a Business Plan

Whether your organization is a startup, a small business, or an enterprise, the financial plan is the cornerstone of any business plan. The financial section should demonstrate the feasibility and profitability of your idea and should support all other aspects of the business plan. 

Below, you’ll find a quick overview of the components of a solid financial plan.

Need help putting together the rest of your business plan? Check out our free simple business plan templates to get started. You can learn how to write a successful simple business plan  here . 

Visit this  free non-profit business plan template roundup  or download a  fill-in-the-blank business plan template  to make things easy. If you are looking for a business plan template by file type, visit our pages dedicated specifically to  Microsoft Excel ,  Microsoft Word , and  Adobe PDF  business plan templates. Read our articles offering  startup business plan templates  or  free 30-60-90-day business plan templates  to find more tailored options.

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How to Write the Financial Section of a Business Plan

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When you are starting a small business or a startup, you will need to make financial projections for your business.

Financial plan in business plan helps understand the chances of your business becoming a financial success. Investors want to see a financial plan to know how much money they’ll invest and what the expected return over investment is for them.

We have briefly discussed the process of writing a financial plan in business plan. One thing that can make or break your financial plan in business plan is your honesty about numbers.

Try not to be over-optimistic. See the growth pattern of similar businesses and project closely to them. Don’t overestimate the effects of your competitive advantage.

financial plan in business plan

What is Financial Plan in Business Plan?

A financial plan in business plan is an overview of your business financial projections.

Business plan financial projections include financial reports including Profit & Loss, cash flow statement, and balance sheet.

A financial plan will also discuss sales forecast, employees’ salaries and other expenses forecast, business breakeven analysis, and important business rations that help measure growth.

How to Write A Business Plan Financial Section

A business plan financial section is about making simple forecasts and creating a few financial reports. You don’t need to know accounting, nor is it necessary for creating financial projections.

We have outlined and simplified the process of creating a financial plan for business plan. Simply follow the process and take help from our examples and templates to write an excellent financial plan section of a business plan.

how to write a financial analysis for a business plan

Review your Business Goals and Strategic Plan

You have set business goals in your business plan. A strategic plan is how you will navigate to financial success. 

Everything in a business plan that contributes toward your business goals. Before writing financial projections, consider these goals and milestones:

Create Financial Projections

 Financial projections in a business plan will include the following:

Cash Flow Statement 

Sales Forecast 

We will explore each in detail in the following section. By the end of the article, you will fully understand how to create financial plan in business plan. 

Profit and Loss Statement

A profit and loss statement is the first financial report you will create when writing financial plan in business plan.

A profit and loss statement reports your business income or loss over a certain period of time.

Profit and loss statement is also known by other names including its short form i.e., P & L statement, income statement, and pro forma income statement.

A profit and loss statement includes total revenues, expenses, and costs. A P&L statement is made for different time intervals like quarterly, bi-annual and annual. It shows net income after the cost of goods sold, expenses, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

Before creating a P&L statement for your business, you may need to look for the right format for your business structure. For example, you will need a different format for a profit and loss statement for a sole proprietorship and a different one for an LLC.

Check income statement examples to understand and create one yourself. 

Profit and Loss Statement Template

Download our free profit and loss statement templates &  examples, and make a professional income statement for financial plan in business plan. 

Parts of a Profit and Loss Statement 

Every profit and loss statement includes the following elements:

Depending on the business type, a P&L statement may include insurance, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Make sure to include a forecast for all heads in financial plan in business plan.

Calculate Operating Income 

Start your profit and loss statement by calculating operating income; use this formula. 

Gross Margin – Operating Expenses = Operating Income

Typically, operating income is equal to EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). 

Operating income is also called the gross profit and it does not deduce taxes or other accounting adjustments from the income.

Calculate Net Income 

Use this formula to calculate net income. 

Operating Income – (Interest + Taxes + Depreciation + Amortization Expenses) = Net Income

A cash flow statement is typically prepared every month. You can create monthly and quarterly cash flow statement in financial plan in business plan.

A cash flow statement informs about the cash your business brought income, the cash it paid out, and how much is still available with the bank.

A cash flow statement gives an understanding of your income sources and expenses. When you forecast your financial reports, a cash flow statement will show your expected income sources and expenses.

A cash flow statement will help potential lenders and investors understand how you plan to make money. It provides reliable data about cash in and cash out. Keep it realistic and in line with the industry number for the most part. An exception may be an innovation or a breakthrough you bring to the market.

Your profit and cash flow are not the same. It is possible to have a cashless, profitable business or a business in loss with plenty of cash. A good cash flow helps you keep your business open and turn things around.

A cash flow statement also reflects your behavior with money. It shows if you spend on spur of the moment or think strategically. When creating a cash flow statement in a business plan, you will need to understand two basic concepts of accounting; cash accounting and accrual accounting.

Professional Business Templates for Small Businesses

Check our extensive library of business templates for small businesses and make use of the templates and examples in writing your business plan .

Difference between Cash and Accrual Accounting 

The difference between cash and accrual accounting is Accrual accounting records revenues/income and expenses when they occur while cash accounting records income/revenue and expenses when the money actually changes hands. 

You will need to decide if you will use cash accounting or accrual accounting. However, the final choice will depend on your business type and product. 

For example, you are selling tickets to a show or you are taking preorders for your new product. Under cash accounting, you will record all income now and expenses when you have actually shipped the product or organized the show. 

However, with accrual accounting, you will record both income and expenses when you have shipped the product or held the show. 

Here, cash accounting will show the months with cash abundance as profitable and the months of spending, like shipping of the products of event organization, as a loss. It is hard to see a pattern and get actionable insight with cash accounting. 

It is a good time to decide about the accounting method you will use when you are writing a financial plan in business plan. 

Check with your accounting consultant and discuss accrual and cash accounting to select the one most suitable for your business.

Balance Sheet 

A balance sheet is a summary of the financial position of your business. 

A balance sheet includes assets, liabilities, and equity. A balance sheet is based on this formula and it is always equal on both sides of the equation. 

Assets = Liabilities + Equity

Here, Assets include your inventory, cash at hand and bank, property, vehicles, accounts receivables, etc. Liabilities are debts, loans and account payables. Equity includes shares proceeds, retained earnings, and owner’s money. 

Download Balance Sheet Template from WiseBusinessPlan and make a balance sheet easy. 

A sales forecast is your projection about the sales you will make in a certain time. Investors and lenders will be interested in seeing your sales forecast. They will estimate your chances of meeting the forecast and projections. 

Keep your sales forecast consistent with the financial reports like the cash flow statement and profit & loss statement.

How To Make A Sales Forecast For A Business Plan?

First, decide the period for the sales forecast, like one month or a quarter. Then, do the following steps to make a sales forecast for that period. 

Hire Professional Business Plan Writer

You work on business, let us handle business plan writing for you.  Hire our professional business plan writing service and get an investor-ready business plan. 

Personnel Plan 

A personnel plan shows the costs and value of the employees you will hire. 

Very small businesses, startups, or solopreneurs may not need a personnel plan but any business with employees, or plans to hire employees, will need this. 

Forecast the cost of each employee and the value they will provide. You don’t need to discuss everything about employees, just do a short cost-benefit analysis for each position or employee.

Breakeven Analysis and Business Ratios

Breakeven analysis tells you the number of sales you need to bring in to cover all of your business expenses. 

Use this formula to calculate the breakeven point for your business. 

Break-Even Point (units) = Fixed Costs /  (Sales price per unit – Variable costs per unit) 

Business ratios are like signals for your business. You can quickly spot a growth or fall with a ratio. Some business ratios also help you see business health. 

You are not required to include business ratio forecasts however, it is good to know about them when writing a business plan. 

Here are some of the most used business ratios.

Use Financial Plan as a Tool for Business Management

One mistake that most people make is thinking that building a business plan is a one time thing. 

Your business plan and your financial projections can help you measure your business growth. You can use these numbers as a yard stick to see if you are meeting your projections or not. 

Here is how you can your business plan as a management tool for your business. 

Schedule monthly and quarterly business review meetings. Compare your actual data for that period with your forecast data and see how you are moving towards your business goals. Adjust your forecast or projections with the help of actual data to keep your growth trajectory in the right direction.

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I thought of the same thing before reading this blog that a business plan is a one-time thing but now I know that a business plan and financial projections can really help you measure business growth. Let me just change my stance from now onward.

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financial section in a business plan

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Learn how to create a business plan

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that contains the operational and financial plan of a business, and details how its objectives will be achieved. It serves as a road map for the business and can be used when pitching investors or financial institutions for debt or equity financing .

Business Plan

A business plan should follow a standard format and contain all the important business plan elements. Typically, it should present whatever information an investor or financial institution expects to see before providing financing to a business.

Contents of a Business Plan

A business plan should be structured in a way that it contains all the important information that investors are looking for. Here are the main sections of a business plan:

1. Title Page

The title page captures the legal information of the business, which includes the registered business name, physical address, phone number, email address, date, and the company logo.

2. Executive Summary

The executive summary is the most important section because it is the first section that investors and bankers see when they open the business plan. It provides a summary of the entire business plan. It should be written last to ensure that you don’t leave any details out. It must be short and to the point, and it should capture the reader’s attention. The executive summary should not exceed two pages.

3. Industry Overview

The industry overview section provides information about the specific industry that the business operates in. Some of the information provided in this section includes major competitors, industry trends, and estimated revenues. It also shows the company’s position in the industry and how it will compete in the market against other major players.

4. Market Analysis and Competition

The market analysis section details the target market for the company’s product offerings. This section confirms that the company understands the market and that it has already analyzed the existing market to determine that there is adequate demand to support its proposed business model.

Market analysis includes information about the target market’s demographics , geographical location, consumer behavior, and market needs. The company can present numbers and sources to give an overview of the target market size.

A business can choose to consolidate the market analysis and competition analysis into one section or present them as two separate sections.

5. Sales and Marketing Plan

The sales and marketing plan details how the company plans to sell its products to the target market. It attempts to present the business’s unique selling proposition and the channels it will use to sell its goods and services. It details the company’s advertising and promotion activities, pricing strategy, sales and distribution methods, and after-sales support.

6. Management Plan

The management plan provides an outline of the company’s legal structure, its management team, and internal and external human resource requirements. It should list the number of employees that will be needed and the remuneration to be paid to each of the employees.

Any external professionals, such as lawyers, valuers, architects, and consultants, that the company will need should also be included. If the company intends to use the business plan to source funding from investors, it should list the members of the executive team, as well as the members of the advisory board.

7. Operating Plan

The operating plan provides an overview of the company’s physical requirements, such as office space, machinery, labor, supplies, and inventory . For a business that requires custom warehouses and specialized equipment, the operating plan will be more detailed, as compared to, say, a home-based consulting business. If the business plan is for a manufacturing company, it will include information on raw material requirements and the supply chain.

8. Financial Plan

The financial plan is an important section that will often determine whether the business will obtain required financing from financial institutions, investors, or venture capitalists. It should demonstrate that the proposed business is viable and will return enough revenues to be able to meet its financial obligations. Some of the information contained in the financial plan includes a projected income statement , balance sheet, and cash flow.

9. Appendices and Exhibits

The appendices and exhibits part is the last section of a business plan. It includes any additional information that banks and investors may be interested in or that adds credibility to the business. Some of the information that may be included in the appendices section includes office/building plans, detailed market research , products/services offering information, marketing brochures, and credit histories of the promoters.

Business Plan Template

Business Plan Template

Here is a basic template that any business can use when developing its business plan:

Section 1: Executive Summary

Section 2: Industry Overview

Section 3: Market Analysis and Competition

Section 4: Sales and Marketing Plan

Section 5: Management Plan

Section 6: Operating Plan

Section 7: Financial Plan

Section 8: Appendices and Exhibits

Related Readings

Thank you for reading CFI’s guide to Business Plans. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following CFI resources will be helpful:

financial section in a business plan

6 Small Business Financial Statements for Startup Financing

Financial statements you'll need for your startup business plan.

You're ready to start your small business and your're working on a great business plan to take to a bank or other lender. A key part of that plan is the financial statements. These statements will be looked at carefully by the lender, so here are some tips for making these documents SELL your business plan . 

Financial Statements You Will Need

You may need several different types of statements, depending on the requirements of your lender and your own technical expertise. 

The statements you will certainly need are:

Your lender may also want these financial statements: 

Putting these Statements in Order

First, work on your startup budget and your startup costs worksheet. You'll need to do a lot of estimating.

The trick is to underestimate income and overestimate expenses, so you can create a more realistic picture of your business over the first year or two.

Then work on a profit and loss statement for the first year. A lender will definitely want to see this one. And, even though it's not going to be accurate, lenders like to see a startup balance sheet. 

Some lenders may ask for a break-even analysis, a cash flow statement, or a sources and uses of funds statement. We'll go over these statements so you can quickly provide them if asked.

Business Startup Budget

 A startup budget is like a projected cash flow statement, but with a little more guesswork.

Your lender wants to know your budget - that is, what you expect to bring in and how much to expect to spend each month. Lenders want to know that you can follow a budget and that you will not over-spend. 

They also want to see how much you will need to pay your bills while your business is starting out (working capital), and how long it will take you to have a positive cash flow (bring in more money than you are spending). 

Include some key information on your budget:

A typical budget worksheet should be carried through three years, so your lender can see how you expect to generate the cash to make your monthly loan payments.

Startup Costs Worksheet

A startup costs worksheet answers the question "What do you need the money for?" In other words, it shows all the purchases you will need to make in order to open your doors for business. This could be called a "Day One" statement  because it's everything you will need on your first day of business. 

Profit and Loss Statement/Income Statement

After you have completed the monthly budget and you have gathered some other information, you should be able to complete a Profit and Loss  or Income Statement. This statement shows your business activity over a specific period of time, like a month, quarter, or year.

To create this statement, you'll need to list all your sources to get your gross income over that time. Then, list all expenses for the same time.

Because you haven't started yet, this statement is a called a projected P&L, because it projects out your estimates into the future.  

This statement gathers up all your sources of income, including shows your profit or loss for the year and how much tax you estimate having to pay.

Break-Even Analysis

A break-even analysis shows your lender that you know the point at which you will start making a profit or the price that will cover your fixed costs . The break-even analysis is primarily for businesses making or selling products, or to set the right price for a product or service.  

It's usually shown as a graph with sales volume on the X axis and revenue on the Y axis. Then fixed an variable costs (those you must pay) are included. The break-even point marks the place where costs are covered.

This analysis can also be useful for service-type businesses to show an overall profit point for specific services. If you include a break-even analysis, be sure you can explain it.

Beginning Balance Sheet

A startup balance sheet is difficult to prepare, even if there isn't much to include. The balance sheet shows the value of the assets you have purchased for startup, how much you owe to lenders and other creditors, and any initial investments you have made to get started. The date for this spreadsheet is the day you open the business.

Sources and Uses of Funds Statement

Large businesses use Sources and Uses of Funds statements in their annual reports, but you can create a slightly different simple statement to show your lender what you need the money for, what sources you have already, and what's left over to be financed.

To create this statement, list all your startup and working capital(on-going cash needs), how much collateral you will be bringing to the business, other sources of funding, and how much you need to borrow. 

Optional: A Business Requirements Document

 A business requirements document is similar to a proposal document, but for a larger, more complex project or startup. It gives a complete picture of the project or the business plan. It goes into more detail on the project that will be using the financial statements. 

Include Financial Statements in Your Business Plan

You will need a complete startup business plan to take to a bank or other business lender. The financial statements are a key part of this plan. Give the main points in the executive summary and include all the statements in the financial section. 

Finally, Check for Mistakes!

Before you submit your startup business plan and financial statements, check this list. Don't make these  common business plan mistakes !

Check all numbers for accuracy and consistency. Especially make sure the amounts you are requesting are specific and that they are the same throughout all the parts of your business plan. " How to Set Up and Maintain a Budget for Your Small Business ." Accessed Sept. 10, 2020. " Financial Projections Template ." Accessed Sept. 10, 2020.

Harvard Business Review. " A Quick Guide to Breakeven Analysis ." Accessed Sept. 10, 2020.

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How to Write a Financial Section for Your Startup Business Plan 2022?

How to Write a Financial Section

If you are a first-time entrepreneur, such questions might give you a tough time, and why not, finance is inarguably the most important financial section of a business plan .

No matter what your vision is, how impeccable your marketing strategies are, and what you aim to conquer with your product, in the end, everything boils down to how much your idea can make (earn) at the end of the day.

Hence, it is critical to justify your business with good figures.  Fill in accurate numbers in the business plan and elaborate them in a way that genuinely makes your business sound like a profitable venture to investors.

In fact, you’ll find many investors taking a quick peek at the numbers even before the executive summary .

Income statement

Cash flow statement, balance sheet, how to make financial assumptions.

Basically, the financial section will demonstrate whether or not your business idea is viable, and whether or not your plan will have the capability to attract any investment in your business idea. Here is a startup financial plan example of Airbnb’s Financial Traction. 

Airbnb's Financial Traction | Business model

In this article, we’ll outline the fundamentals of a startup financial plan that will provide a clear picture of your company’s current value, as well as the ability of your idea to earn a profit in the future. This information is very important to business plan readers.

How to Write the Financial Section of a Business Plan?

The financial section in a business plan is divided into three segments – income statement , cash flow projection, and the balance sheet , along with a brief analysis of these three statements. These three important statements are the bird’s view of the financial stats of your organization.

Apart from this, investors may also ask about break-even analysis to understand when your startup taking off the profits.

1. Income Statement

An example of an income statement report for your startup business plan is as below:

Income statement

Also known as the profit and loss (P&L) statement , it elaborates the profit or loss the business is expected to generate over a given period of time.

In a nutshell, the Income Statement shows your expenses , revenues , and profits for a particular period. Basically, it is a snapshot of your business that shows the feasibility of the business idea.

The Income statement can be generated keeping into consideration three scenarios: worst , expected , and best .

Established businesses should produce Income Statements annually. However, startups and small businesses should provide monthly reports while writing a business plan.

2. Cash Flow Statement

An example of a cash flow statement is as shown below:

Cash flow statement

This section provides details on the cash position of the business and its ability to meet monetary commitments on a timely basis.

A startup business should show monthly projections for the first year of business. It also shows quarterly information for the next two years.

When writing a business plan, you need to show Cash Flow Projections for each month over a period of one year as part of the Financial Plan of your startup. The Cash Flow Projections consists of three parts:

what cashflow includes

3. Balance Sheet

An example of a balance sheet statement is as follow :

Balance sheet

A balance sheet is a snapshot of what you’re worth. A balance sheet adds up everything your business owns, subtracts all debts, and the difference that you get shows the net worth of the business, also referred to as equity. This statement consists of three parts: assets , liabilities , and the balance calculated by the difference between the first two. The final numbers on this sheet reflect the business owner’s equity or value.

The term “balance” we are using for this sheet because it is representing the balance between Assets and Total Liabilities & Equity.

The purpose of the balance sheet:

Purpose of balance sheet

The investor wants to see your balance sheet to understand the condition of your business on a given date, which is usually the end of the fiscal year .

While writing a business plan for a new venture, you will have to work on creating projections for Balance sheets. These will serve as benchmarks to compare against actual results at the end of the fiscal year. Hence, it is important to look ahead to see how your balance sheet will appear given your marketing, sales, and inventory forecast. These three components of the business can have a major impact on your projections.

How Would You Make Assumptions While Projecting Your Financials?

Remember, while writing a business plan, you’re not providing actual data, but an educated guess. The financial forecast means the predictions about the financial stats of the future .

financial scenario analysis : what if scenario

As advised in the reference article, always use What-if scenarios while projecting your financials. This will increase transparency and help the investor to understand the best , expected, and  worst  sides of the startup. Because the future is unpredictable, it’s advised that you create several versions of your forecast.

It is a forecast and thus, it is highly recommended to go with simple math. No one expects you to understand everything. It is a prediction about the future and hence, financial predictions are not 100% accurate in predicting the future performance of your business.

Do not clutter the financial section by including every small detail. It distracts readers from focusing on core digits, There is lots of space available in the appendix of your business plan . attach other detailed statements there in the appendix.

If you are using your business plan to get a loan, then it is highly recommended to include your business’s financial history as part of the financial section.

To auto-assemble all of the above-given calculations in the financial section of a business plan , you’d need business planning software to make sure that you get this right on the first attempt itself.

Online Financial Planning Software is designed to help you create projections in the financial section. You can use it to highlight the viability of your business idea.  Understanding the financials, and if possible, mastering them can help you attract investment.

Learn more about how to calculate financial projections for your business plan

financial section in a business plan

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Start » startup, business plan financials: 3 statements to include.

The finance section of your business plan is essential to securing investors and determining whether your idea is even viable. Here's what to include.

By: Danielle Fallon-O'Leary , Contributor

 Businessman reviews financial documents

If your business plan is the blueprint of how to run your company, the financials section is the key to making it happen. The finance section of your business plan is essential to determining whether your idea is even viable in the long term. It’s also necessary to convince investors of this viability and subsequently secure the type and amount of funding you need. Here’s what to include in your business plan financials.

[Read: How to Write a One-Page Business Plan ]

What are business plan financials?

Business plan financials is the section of your business plan that outlines your past, current and projected financial state. This section includes all the numbers and hard data you’ll need to plan for your business’s future, and to make your case to potential investors. You will need to include supporting financial documents and any funding requests in this part of your business plan.

Business plan financials are vital because they allow you to budget for existing or future expenses, as well as forecast your business’s future finances. A strongly written finance section also helps you obtain necessary funding from investors, allowing you to grow your business.

Sections to include in your business plan financials

Here are the three statements to include in the finance section of your business plan:

Profit and loss statement

A profit and loss statement , also known as an income statement, identifies your business’s revenue (profit) and expenses (loss). This document describes your company’s overall financial health in a given time period. While profit and loss statements are typically prepared quarterly, you will need to do so at least annually before filing your business tax return with the IRS.

Common items to include on a profit and loss statement :

Businesses that have not yet started should provide projected income statements in their financials section. Currently operational businesses should include past and present income statements, in addition to any future projections.

[Read: Top Small Business Planning Strategies ]

A strongly written finance section also helps you obtain necessary funding from investors, allowing you to grow your business.

Balance sheet.

A balance sheet provides a snapshot of your company’s finances, allowing you to keep track of earnings and expenses. It includes what your business owns (assets) versus what it owes (liabilities), as well as how much your business is currently worth (equity).

On the assets side of your balance sheet, you will have three subsections: current assets, fixed assets and other assets. Current assets include cash or its equivalent value, while fixed assets refer to long-term investments like equipment or buildings. Any assets that do not fall within these categories, such as patents and copyrights, can be classified as other assets.

On the liabilities side of your balance sheet, include a total of what your business owes. These can be broken down into two parts: current liabilities (amounts to be paid within a year) and long-term liabilities (amounts due for longer than a year, including mortgages and employee benefits).

Once you’ve calculated your assets and liabilities, you can determine your business’s net worth, also known as equity. This can be calculated by subtracting what you owe from what you own, or assets minus liabilities.

Cash flow statement

A cash flow statement shows the exact amount of money coming into your business (inflow) and going out of it (outflow). Each cost incurred or amount earned should be documented on its own line, and categorized into one of the following three categories: operating activities, investment activities and financing activities. These three categories can all have inflow and outflow activities.

Operating activities involve any ongoing expenses necessary for day-to-day operations; these are likely to make up the majority of your cash flow statement. Investment activities, on the other hand, cover any long-term payments that are needed to start and run your business. Finally, financing activities include the money you’ve used to fund your business venture, including transactions with creditors or funders.

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financial section in a business plan

Business Plan Financial Section

Many companies that are requesting financing from a bank, investor, or immigration will need financial projections. These projections will need to cover several factors in order to demonstrate your company’s ability to properly perform budgeting and risk analysis. Pro Business Plans has worked with a number of companies to provide the financial projections and cover the section specific for your plan.

Financial Section

The financial section of the business plan typically includes revenue projections, financial budgeting, and overall risk analysis. Any stakeholder including potential partners or investors will want to know the feasibility of the project given the estimations for financial performance. The most effective approach for the financial section is to use your company’s prior operating history, or the history of similar companies in your industry. When this process is properly followed, readers will be more likely to provide credentials behind the financial section rather than arbitrarily making estimations. The following sections are included in the financial write up section by Pro Business Plans:

Revenue Projections

The revenue model must make logical sense and be based on industry standards. Some companies that estimate overly optimistic conversion rates or average customer spend may be seen as overly risky and the financials will be disregarded. In contrast, overly conservative revenue projections reflect a management team that may be unable to take calculated risks when they become available.

Expense Forecasts

The expense forecast for a business plan should typically be very conservative and include research based on the typical budget for the industry. Remember that many established companies have different budgeting structures that Startups, so even using a percentage of spend for various departments may not be adequate. The typical expense sections covered include, marketing, research & development, operations, and payroll.

Risk Analysis

There are several financial ratios that investors use to rapidly compare one investment to alternatives. The risk analysis section is particularly important if your business has an established operating history so that one may compare its risk relative to competitors in your industry. For instance, we perform a scenario analysis in order to determine the spread of variance across multiple events that may impact the profitability of your company.

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First Steps: Writing the Financials Section of Your Business Plan

This quick guide offers tips that will help you create the financials section for your business plan.

By The Staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. • Jan 4, 2015

In their book Write Your Business Plan , the staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. offer an in-depth understanding of what's essential to any business plan, what's appropriate for your venture, and what it takes to ensure success. In this edited excerpt, the authors outline what type of information you should include in the financials section of your business plan.

Financial data is always at the back of the business plan, but that doesn't mean it's any less important than such up-front material as the description of the business concept and the management team. Astute investors look carefully at the charts, tables, formulas and spreadsheets in the financial section because they know this information is like the pulse, respiration rate and blood pressure in a human being—it shows the condition of the patient. In fact, you'll find many potential investors taking a quick peak at the numbers before reading the plan.

Financial statements come in threes: income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. Taken together they provide an accurate picture of a company's current value, plus its ability to pay its bills today and earn a profit going forward. This information is very important to business plan readers.

You can typically gather information and use Excel or another financial program to create your spreadsheets. You'll also find them available in most business plan software; these programs also do the calculations.

Income statement.

An income statement shows whether you're making any money. It adds up all your revenue from sales and other sources, subtracts all your costs, and comes up with the net income figure, also known as the bottom line.

Income statements are called various names—profit and loss statement (P&L) and earnings statement are two common alternatives. They can get pretty complicated in their attempt to capture sources of income, such as interest, and expenses, such as depreciation. But the basic idea is pretty simple: If you subtract costs from income, what you have left is profit.

To figure your income statement, you need to gather a bunch of numbers, including your gross revenue, which is made up of sales and any income from interest or sales of assets; your sales, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses; what you paid out in interest and dividends, if anything; and your corporate tax rate. If you have those, you're ready to go.

If you're a startup and don't have any prior years' figures to look at, look for statistics about other businesses within your industry. The most important question to ask is: What has been the experience of similar companies? If you know that car dealers across the nation have averaged 12 percent annual sales gains, that's a good starting point for figuring your company's projections.

Balance sheet.

If the income sheet shows what you're earning, the balance sheet shows what you're worth. A balance sheet can help an investor see that a company owns valuable assets that don't show up on the income statement or that it may be profitable but is heavily in debt. It adds up everything your business owns, subtracts everything the business owes, and shows the difference as the net worth of the business.

Actually, accountants put it differently and, of course, use different names. The things you own are called assets. The things you owe money on are called liabilities. And net worth is referred to as equity.

A balance sheet shows your condition on a given date, usually the end of your fiscal year. Sometimes balance sheets are compared. That is, next to the figures for the end of the most recent year, you place the entries for the end of the prior period. This gives you a snapshot of how and where your financial position has changed.

A balance sheet also places a value on the owner's equity in the business. When you subtract liabilities from assets, what's left is the value of the equity in the business owned by you and any partners. Tracking changes in this number will tell you whether you're getting richer or poorer.

Balance sheets can also be projected into the future, and the projections can serve as targets to aim for or benchmarks to compare against actual results. Balance sheets are affected by sales, too. If your accounts receivable go up or inventory increases, your balance sheet reflects this. And, of course, increases in cash show up on the balance sheet. So it's important to look ahead to see how your balance sheet will appear given your sales forecast.

Cash flow statement.

The cash flow statement monitors the flow of cash over a period of time (a year, a quarter, a month) and shows you how much cash you have on hand at the moment.

The cash flow statement, also called the statement of changes in financial position, probes and analyzes changes that have occurred on the balance sheet. It's different from the income statement, which describes sales and profits but doesn't necessarily tell you where your cash came from or how it's being used.

A cash flow statement consists of two parts. One follows the flow of cash into and out of the company. The other shows how the funds were spent. The two parts are called, respectively, sources of funds and uses of funds. At the bottom is, naturally, the bottom line, called net changes in cash position. It shows whether you improved your cash position and by how much during the period.

Other Financial Information

If you're seeking investors for your company, you'll probably need to provide quite a bit more financial information than what is in the income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements. For instance, a personal finance statement may be needed if you're guaranteeing loans yourself. Applying business data to other ratios and formulas will yield important information on what your profit margin is and what level of sales it will take for you to reach profitability. Still other figures, such as the various ratios, will help predict whether you'll be able to pay your bills for long. These bits of information are helpful to you as well as to investors, it should be noted. Understanding and, if possible, mastering them, will help you run your business more smoothly.

Entrepreneur Staff

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Business Plan Section 7: Financial Information

In this section of your business plan, learn how to put your business finances into context to influence potential lenders or investors.

financial section in a business plan

This section of your business plan is crucial if you’re presenting your plan to potential lenders or investors, but it’s also important if you’re using it in-house as a roadmap to get started and continue to grow. You may have the best idea in the world for a business-or it may need tweaking. You won’t actually know until you sit down and work up the numbers for your financial information section.

As a startup, spelling out your sales projections for the future will help you closely examine your business model and costs, how you’ll allocate your resources, and figure out whether you actually do have a viable idea. For existing businesses, think of this as a financial checkup: a way to examine your previous sales figures and ensure your health going forward.

If you’re applying for a loan or making a presentation to investors, this section is the companion piece to your Funding Request. It’s where you support the numbers you put together in your sales and marketing plan, and demonstrate why you’re a good investment. In this section, you’ll take all of the marketing, sales, and product information you’ve amassed, and show how they translate into dollars. Sharpen your pencil and get your spreadsheet on!

Writing the Financial Section

There are two parts to the financial component of a business plan: historical data and prospective data. If you’re a startup, you obviously won’t have any previous financial information for the company, so many lenders will want to see your personal financial information in lieu of, or in addition to, your business financials.

Historical Data

Spell out how much money you’re investing in the business, along with specifics about the assets you plan to use. If you’re looking for financing, you’ll probably have to show personal income tax returns for the last few years. Be prepared with documentation for the last three to five years, depending on how long you’ve been in business. You’ll need income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and tax returns.

Income Statements

Income statements document how much money you’ve taken in for the business, where the money came from, what your expenses were, and your net income, or how much you wound up with after paying all the expenses. The statements are usually prepared quarterly, and will show at a glance whether the company is making money or operating at a loss.

Balance Sheets

Balance sheets list the type and value of all of your business’s assets and liabilities, along with ownership interest (who owns what in the company, and how much). Assets will include your cash on hand, accounts receivable, inventory, equipment, and property you own. Liabilities are things such as your accounts payable and long-term debt. The balance sheet is a snapshot of your company’s financial position at the time it’s prepared, comparing what you own with what you owe.

Cash Flow Statements

Cash flow statements show all the cash you have coming in and out of the company, whether as a direct result of your business activities or from any outside investments you’ve made.

Tax Returns

How your business is structured will determine which tax forms you have to file with the Internal Revenue Service each year, so these may be your personal tax returns with a Schedule C attachment, or separate corporate tax returns.

If you’re looking for a loan, you’ll most likely also need to show the value of any collateral you’re offering to ensure payments, like real estate, vehicles, inventory, stocks and bonds, and equipment.

Prospective Data

Now, everyone knows you don’t have a crystal ball and can’t actually predict what will happen over the next five years, but there’s a point to putting the projections together. Lenders and investors really want to see that you have thought things through and considered the possible outcomes as your business progresses. They want to understand the thought process behind your numbers and why you’ve made those assumptions.

This means you need to do a significant amount of planning before sitting down to work on your projections, critically thinking through different scenarios. Again, the work and research you’ve already done for previous sections of your business plan will be invaluable here in making the assumptions needed to put your projections together.

Include projected income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, which we described above, along with a capital expenditure budget.

Capital Expenditure Budget

A capital expense is a tangible, physical asset like property, buildings or equipment. This budget is your plan for how much you’ll spend to buy or upgrade these assets, whether that might be purchasing new machinery or repairing your HVAC system.

Funders may also want to see an analysis of how your results would change if some of the variables changed, so consider including a section on that, as well. As an added benefit, this isn’t just a theoretical exercise on your part, but will actually help you run the business and make adjustments as they become necessary. Business Insider offers a look at how to make realistic projections that will be meaningful to your business as well as to lenders and investors.

If you’re just at the beginning stages of business, make sure to also include any startup costs you’ll have. Some may be specific to your industry, such as particular types of equipment, tools or store fixtures. Others are fairly common across the board, like professional fees for lawyers or accountants, licensing and incorporation fees, security deposits and rent, and computers.

As a rule, the financial part of your plan should follow generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) as set by the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board, especially if you’re putting it together primarily to get a loan or a line of credit. For this section, it helps to be fluent with spreadsheets, as that’s the best and most accepted way to present this information. This is one part of the business plan that you may want to get some outside assistance with, perhaps from your accountant or financial advisor, to help put the numbers together and present them properly. If you use an accountant, and your financial statements have been audited, make a note of that in the plan. If you want to give it a go on your own, SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, has a financial projections template available on its website.

Attention to detail is very important throughout the whole process of writing a business plan, but we can’t stress it strongly enough with regards to your finances. Be VERY careful to make sure that your projections match the numbers you put together for the funding request portion of the plan. At best, any inconsistencies here could delay consideration of your application, and at worst, could be a signal that you’re not as on top of things as you should be, disqualifying you altogether.

Visuals help. Yes, there may be professional number crunchers going over your data, but consider showing your projections graphically along with the requisite spreadsheets, especially if the graphs demonstrate a positive trend.

Include a brief analysis of the financial information you’re presenting to explain the numbers, putting them into context for someone that has less of an understanding about your business and industry than you do.

Whether you have a startup or existing business, there’s an excellent likelihood you’ll also be asked for personal financial information, so consider including that as part of your business plan. Your credit history or a copy of a recent credit report can go in the appendix, together with copies of your tax returns or any additional information a lender may request.

Next Article: Business Plan Section 8 – Funding Request

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5 key areas to cover in a business plan’s financial projections

Deborah Sweeney

Drafting the financial projections within a business plan takes a bit of time and data referral to properly detail information as it pertains to your startup’s finances. Are you unfamiliar with what it means to cover your business plan’s financial projections? We’re here to help you out.

What are financial projections?

A business plan essentially acts as a blueprint for your startup. You might begin to outline goals and milestones that you’d like your startup to reach within the next few years in business.

Additional information — including descriptions of your products and services, an industry analysis, and a snapshot of the startup’s finances — are also included.

That specific snapshot of the startup’s finances is housed in a business plan’s financial projections. This section is dedicated to the startup’s current cash flow.

Information that covers a sales forecast, cash flow statement, expenses budget, breakeven analysis, and balance sheet for the next three years may all be found in the financial projections.

Typically, this information is presented through charts and tables to make it a bit more digestible and easier to review.

If it’s your first time writing about the financial projections of your startup, you may find the process is a bit intimidating. You might even run up against common questions about financial projections including the following:

Related: Why thinking about cash flow matters to small businesses

There are five key items that need to be addressed in every financial projection.

Here’s a brief primer for what to cover in the financial projections of your business plan.

1. Sales forecast

Technically, there isn’t a specific sequence for writing financial projections. However, many startups choose to start this section by covering their sales forecast.

Rather than guessing monthly sales, a sales forecast gives entrepreneurs a realistic look at current and anticipated sales numbers. Add a sales forecast spreadsheet into your financial projections with a recommended sales projection over the next three years.

Detail what the current monthly sales look like during your first year in business. Some aspects you might cover here include the cost of the products/services you’re selling and the number of customers you have and expect to expand in growth.

After year one, break this timeline down by sales based on a monthly, or quarterly, basis for every year thereafter. This allows you to further forecast the startup’s revenue.

At the end of the day, a business’s growth is measured by its sales. A sales forecast may not be able to determine the entire financial future of a startup.

However, it does offer practical insight into how to budget and manage expenses for the business and forecast when the business may become profitable.

2. Cash flow statement

Three statements should be included in a startup’s financial projections:

Cash flow statements are fairly simple to estimate. This statement shows physical dollars moving in the business and the money that is exiting the business. This is typically shown over a specified period of time, such as a monthly basis. Incoming funds and money are known as revenue. Money being spent is the startup’s expenses.

Open Laptop With Financial Statements And Textbooks Nearby

Understanding cash flow allows for a closer look at how much money is coming in and out of the business on a monthly basis.

Without a cash flow statement, the startup may assume that because it has revenue, it is profitable, even if it really is not.

Estimate cash flow allows startups to adjust budgets accordingly. Take note over time of any changes or trends as they pertain to your startup’s return on investment (ROI).

If you find your startup is spending too much on an initiative with little ROI for the startup, you may scale back spending in that department and place your financial focus elsewhere.

3. Expenses budget

Now that you have a forecast of anticipated sales, you’ll likely have expenses associated with operating the startup to reach these sales. The simplest way to break down an expense budget is through identifying items that are fixed costs and variable costs.

Think about your startup’s location rent or internet bills. Variable costs, as their name suggests, vary depending on the needs of the business.

For example, you might hire an employee for seasonal work  or decide to spend more money on advertising and marketing. Determine the general figures on both costs to determine which expenses have the most — and least — risk to the business.

4. Break-even analysis

This is the magic moment when your business is able to have its overall revenue cover, and exceed, all of its expenses.

Break-even analysis is calculated using fixed and variable costs. It is a necessary inclusion in your financial projections. This analysis does more than show that your data is reliable and projected properly with expenses able to match sales over a specific timeline. It also shows investors that business is on the rise and will continue to keep rising.

5. Balance sheet

As mentioned earlier, your business plan’s financial projections require the inclusion of a balance sheet as part of the necessary financial statements. The balance sheet provides further information about the owner’s assets and liabilities as well as the owners’ equity.

Assets may include items you own of assigned value, like property or inventory. These items may provide future benefits to the startup. For instance, inventory may be sold which allows for an increase in sales. Liabilities are obligations, or debts, owed to other parties.

A good example of a liability would be a small business loan that you are working to pay off and took out on behalf of the business.

Once all liabilities have been repaid, you may make note of this in the owners’ equity section of the balance sheet.

The balance sheet is the perfect space to house assets and liabilities that are not already accounted for in your P&L statement. This gives you a better idea of the net worth of your startup at the end of the year.

Wrapping up your business plan’s financial projections

We’re not quite finished with financial projections for your small business. What else should you know about this section moving forward?

Make room for additional financial information

What else do you need to cover besides income statements, cash flow statements and operating expenses in your financial projections?

You might find you need to expand on additional information in your financial projections. For instance, you may also form a profits and lost (P&L) statement or look into financial ratios for the business.

You might also include an appendix. This touches on additional information that may be requested from you, such as your credit history or resume.

The items listed above will help you get started with financial projections but are solely not limited to these financial documents.

Calculate for 3-5 years into the future

Business Ledger Showing Expenses And Sales

Financial projections are living, educated guesses for running the finances of your business. Whether your business just got its start or has been operating for a few months, estimating its financial projections for three years out into the future allows you to receive a better glimpse of the company’s financial performance.

If possible, try to calculate beyond three years. Aim for a five-year financial timeline. It’s a bit like drafting a business plan in that way.

Financial projections guide a business towards interest in investors, which is key for its overall growth and future.

Utilize free templates and software

Need a template to work with to set up your financial projections? You may use spreadsheet software, like Excel from Office 365 , to help create financing tables and charts.

Additionally, templates are available to download through resources like SCORE . These templates can help you create documents from scratch or enter in information from previously created documents.

Ask for professional help

If you genuinely don’t know where to start or need help creating financial projections, don’t feel compelled to go it alone. Reach out to a legal professional or accountant for assistance. They will be able to provide guidance and answer any questions you may have as it pertains to your financial projections.

Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

Update and maintain for COVID-19 purposes, as necessary

Remember, much like a business plan, you may always return to your financial projections. Note the date in which you were able to break even with your startup.

If your projected sales forecast radically shifted in a certain year, detail the shift in numbers and perhaps cite the cause for the shift. This may include unprecedented events, such as COVID-19, and the timeline length for their impact on the business.

Unprecedented moments are beyond the control of any business, regardless of size or length of time in operations. They still must be accounted for and so must information about how you were able to pivot the company moving forward.

Did you introduce a new product or service during this time to help with the economic slowdown that turned out to be a boom for business?

Make note of this offering and add it to your sales forecast. Investors will be especially interested in learning how you were able to navigate the coronavirus and remain in operations. However unprecedented the time, it shows that your business remained resilient and agile in making a successful pivot.

Related: 10 ways for small businesses to weather the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic

We hope that these tips will help you when putting together your business plan’s financial projections. Nothing is ever certain in life or in business, but with this guide, you will be able to better protect and move your own small business forward.

The above content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

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Financial Management

4 Steps to Creating a Financial Plan for Your Small Business

Rami Ali

When it comes to long-term business success, preparation is the name of the game. And the key to that preparation is a solid financial plan. It helps you pitch investors, anticipate growth and weather cash flow shortages. To get started, you need to learn some of the key elements to financial planning.

What is a Financial Plan?

A financial plan helps determine if an idea is sustainable, and then keeps you on track to financial health as your business matures. It’s an integral part to an overall business plan and is made up of three financial statements—cash flow statement, income statement and balance sheet. In your plan, each of these will include a brief explanation or analysis.

Key Takeaways

Why is a Financial Plan Important to Your Small Business?

A well-put-together financial plan can help you achieve greater confidence in your business while generating a better understanding of how to allocate resources. It shows your business is committed to spending wisely and its ability to meet financial obligations. A financial plan helps you determine if choices will impact revenue and which occasions call for dipping into reserve funds.

It’s also an important tool when asking investors to consider your business. Your financial plan shows how your organization manages expenses and generates revenue. It shows where your business stands and how much it needs from sales and investors to meet important financial benchmarks.

Components of a Small Business Financial Plan

Whether you’re modifying your plan or starting from scratch, a financial plan should include:

Income statement: This shows how your business experienced profit or loss over a specific period—usually over three months. Also known as a profit-and-loss statement (P&L) or pro forma income statement, it lists the following:

Balance sheet: Rather than looking backward or peering into the future, the balance sheet helps you see where you stand right now. What do you own and what do you owe? To figure it out, you’ll need to consider the following:

Shareholder equity (the amount of money generated by your business): Use this formula to calculate it:

Shareholder Equity = Assets – Liability

Now that you have these three items, you’re ready to create your balance sheet. And just as the name implies, when complete, you’ll want this to balance out to zero. On one side, list your assets, such as cash on hand. And on the other side list your liabilities and equity (or how much money is generated by the business). The balance sheet is used along the other financial statements in order to calculate business financial ratios, discussed further below.

Balance Sheet

Why have a balance sheet? It can provide insight into your business and show important measures like how much cash you have, what your obligations are and what kind of profit you’re making all at a glance.

Personnel plan: You need the right people to meet goals and retain a healthy cash flow. A personnel plan looks at existing positions and helps you see when it’s time to bring on more team members, and whether they should be full-time, part-time, or work on a contractual basis. It looks at compensations levels, including benefits, and forecasts those costs. By looking at growth and costs you can see if the potential benefits that come with a new employee justify the expense.

Business ratios: Sometimes you need to look at more than just the big picture. You need to drill down to specific aspects of your business and keep an eye on how individual areas are doing. Business ratios are a way to see things like your net profit margin, return on equity, accounts payable turnover, assets to sales, working capital and total debt to total assets. Numbers used to calculate these ratios come from your P&L statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement and are often used to help request funding from a bank or investors.

Sales forecast: How much will you sell in a specific period? A sales forecast needs to be an ongoing part of any planning process since it helps predict cash flow and the organization’s overall health. A forecast needs to be consistent with the sales number within your P&L statement. Organizing and segmenting your sales forecast will depend on how thoroughly you want to track sales and the business you have. For example, if you own a hotel and giftshop, you may want to track separately sales from guests staying the night and sales from the shop.

Cash flow projection: Perhaps one of the most critical aspects of your financial plan is your cash flow statement . Your business runs on cash. Understanding how much cash is coming in and when to expect it shows the difference between your profit and cash position. It should display how much cash you have now, where it’s going, where it will come from and a schedule for each activity.

Income projections: How much money will your company make in a given period, usually a year. Take that and then subtract the anticipated expenses and you’ll have the income projections . In some cases, these are rolled into profit and loss statements.

Assets and liabilities: Both of these elements are part of your balance sheet. Assets are what your company owns, including current and long-term assets. Current assets can be converted into cash within a year. Think of things such as stocks, inventory and accounts receivable. Long-term assets are tangible or fixed assets designed for long-term use like furniture, fixtures, buildings, machinery and vehicles.

Liabilities are business obligations that are divided into current and long-term categories. Examples of current liabilities in a financial plan are accrued payroll, taxes payable, short-term loans and other obligations due within a year. Long-term liabilities include shareholder loans or bank debt that matures more than a year later.

Break-even analysis: Your break-even point—how much you need to sell to cover all your expenses—will guide your sales revenue and volume goals. Start by calculating your contribution margin by subtracting the costs of a good or service from the amount you pay. In the case of a bicycle store, the sale price of a new bike minus what you paid for it and the salary of your bike salesperson, your rent, etc. By understanding your fixed costs, you can then begin to understand how much you’ll need to markup goods and services and what sales and revenue goals to set in order to stay afloat or turn a profit.

Create a strategic plan: Starting with a strategic plan helps you think about what you want your company to accomplish. Before looking at the numbers, think about what you’ll need to achieve these goals. Will you need to buy more equipment or hire more staff? Is there a chance of new goals affecting your cash flow? What other resources will you need?

Determine the impact on your company’s finances and create a list of existing expenses and assets to help with your next steps.

Create financial projections: This should be based on anticipated expenses and sales forecasts . Look at your goals and plug in the costs needed to achieve them. Include different scenarios. Create a range that is optimistic, pessimistic and most likely to happen, so you can anticipate the impact each one will have. If you’re working with an accountant, go over the plan together to understand how to explain it when seeking funding from investors and lenders.

Plan for contingencies: Look at your cash flow statement and assets, and create a plan for when there’s no money coming in or your business has taken an unexpected turn. Consider having cash reserves or a substantial line of credit if you need cash fast. You may also need to plot ways to sell off assets to help break even.

Monitor and compare goals: Look at the actual results in your cash flow statement, income projections and even business ratios as necessary throughout the year to see if you need to modify your plan or if you’re right on target. Regularly checking in helps you spot potential problems before they get worse.

Three Questions Your Financial Plan Should Answer

Once you’ve created your plan, you should have answers to the following questions:

Financial plans that can’t answer these questions need more tweaking. Otherwise, you risk starting a new venture without a clear path and leave behind valuable insight.

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Whether you’re looking to secure outside funding or just monitor your business growth, understanding and creating a financial plan is crucial. Once you have an overview of your business’ finances, you can make strategic decisions to ensure its longevity.

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It is remarkably difficult to start a small business. Only about half stay open for five years, and only a third make it to the 10-year mark. That’s why it’s vital to make every effort to succeed. And one of the most fundamental skills and tools for any small business owner is sound financial management.

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What Is a Business Plan?

Understanding business plans, how to write a business plan, elements of a business plan, special considerations.

Business Plan: What It Is, What's Included, and How To Write One

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

financial section in a business plan

Investopedia / Ryan Oakley

A business plan is a document that defines in detail a company's objectives and how it plans to achieve its goals. A business plan lays out a written road map for the firm from marketing , financial, and operational standpoints. Both startups and established companies use business plans.

A business plan is an important document aimed at a company's external and internal audiences. For instance, a business plan is used to attract investment before a company has established a proven track record. It can also help to secure lending from financial institutions.

Furthermore, a business plan can serve to keep a company's executive team on the same page about strategic action items and on target for meeting established goals.

Although they're especially useful for new businesses, every company should have a business plan. Ideally, the plan is reviewed and updated periodically to reflect goals that have been met or have changed. Sometimes, a new business plan is created for an established business that has decided to move in a new direction.

Key Takeaways

Want Funding? You Need a Business Plan

A business plan is a fundamental document that any new business should have in place prior to beginning operations. Indeed, banks and venture capital firms often require a viable business plan before considering whether they'll provide capital to new businesses.

Operating without a business plan usually is not a good idea. In fact, very few companies are able to last very long without one. There are benefits to creating (and sticking to) a good business plan. These include being able to think through ideas before investing too much money in them and working through potential obstacles to success.

A good business plan should outline all the projected costs and possible pitfalls of each decision a company makes. Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical. However, they can have the same basic elements, such as an executive summary of the business and detailed descriptions of its operations, products and services, and financial projections. A plan also states how the business intends to achieve its goals.

While it's a good idea to give as much detail as possible, it's also important that a plan be concise to keep a reader's attention to the end.

A well-considered and well-written business plan can be of enormous value to a company. While there are templates that you can use to write a business plan, try to avoid producing a generic result. The plan should include an overview and, if possible, details of the industry of which the business will be a part. It should explain how the business will distinguish itself from its competitors.

Start with the essential structure: an executive summary, company description, market analysis, product or service description, marketing strategy, financial projections, and appendix (which include documents and data that support the main sections). These sections or elements of a business plan are outlined below.

When you write your business plan, you don’t have to strictly follow a particular business plan outline or template. Use only those sections that make the most sense for your particular business and its needs.

Traditional business plans use some combination of the sections below. Your plan might also include any funding requests you're making. Regardless, try to keep the main body of your plan to around 15-25 pages.

The length of a business plan varies greatly from business to business. Consider fitting the basic information into a 15- to 25-page document. Then, other crucial elements that take up a lot of space—such as applications for patents—can be referenced in the main document and included as appendices.

As mentioned above, no two business plans are the same. Nonetheless, they tend to have the same elements. Below are some of the common and key parts of a business plan.

Unique Business Plans Help

The best business plans aren't generic ones created from easily accessed templates. A company should entice readers with a plan that demonstrates its singularity and potential for success.

Types of Business Plans

Business plans help companies identify their objectives and remain on track to meet goals. They can help companies start, manage themselves, and grow once up and running. They also act as a means to attract lenders and investors.

Although there is no right or wrong business plan, they can fall into two different categories—traditional or lean startup. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) , the traditional business plan is the most common. It contains a lot of detail in each section. These tend to be longer than the lean startup plan and require more work.

Lean startup business plans, on the other hand, use an abbreviated structure that highlights key elements. These business plans aren't as common in the business world because they're short—as short as one page—and lack detail. If a company uses this kind of plan, it should be prepared to provide more detail if an investor or lender requests it.

Financial Projections

A complete business plan must include a set of financial projections for the business. These forward-looking financial statements are often called pro-forma financial statements or simply the " pro-formas ." They include an overall budget, current and projected financing needs, a market analysis, and the company's marketing strategy.

Other Considerations for a Business Plan

A major reason for a business plan is to give owners a clear picture of objectives, goals, resources, potential costs, and drawbacks of certain business decisions. A business plan should help them modify their structures before implementing their ideas. It also allows owners to project the type of financing required to get their businesses up and running.

If there are any especially interesting aspects of the business, they should be highlighted and used to attract financing, if needed. For example, Tesla Motors' electric car business essentially began only as a business plan.

Importantly, a business plan shouldn't be a static document. As a business grows and changes, so too should the business plan. An annual review of the company and its plan allows an entrepreneur or group of owners to update the plan, based on successes, setbacks, and other new information. It provides an opportunity to size up the plan's ability to help the company grow.

Think of the business plan as a living document that evolves with your business.

A business plan is a document created by a company that describes the company's goals, operations, industry standing, marketing objectives, and financial projections. The information it contains can be a helpful guide in running the company. What's more, it can be a valuable tool to attract investors and obtain financing from financial institutions.

Why Do Business Plans Fail?

Even if you have a good business plan, your company can still fail, especially if you do not stick to the plan! Having strong leadership with focus on the plan is always a good strategy. Even when following the plan, if you had poor assumptions going into your projections, you can be caught with cash flow shortages and out of control budgets. Markets and the economy can also change. Without flexibility built in to your business plan, you may be unable to pivot to a new course as needed.

What Does a Lean Startup Business Plan Include?

The lean startup business plan is an option when a company prefers a quick explanation of its business. The company may feel that it doesn't have a lot of information to provide since it's just getting started.

Sections can include: a value proposition, a company's major activities and advantages, resources such as staff, intellectual property, and capital, a list of partnerships, customer segments, and revenue sources.

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How to Format the Financial Section of a Business Plan

How to Format the Financial Section of a Business Plan

The financial plan is a key part of your company’s business plan. It not only helps you plan your startup costs and estimate income and expenses, but it is also essential to getting financing from lenders or investors.

The Financial Statement

First, a financial plan should include a financial statement that consists of the following three parts.

How Much Detail?

A startup business should show monthly details in the cash flow and income statements for the first year of business, along with quarterly information for two more years.

Analysis and Budgeting

Most startups should also include a break-even analysis. This shows the amount of revenue you need to recover your startup costs (break even) and start making a profit.

Your financial plan also needs to include a startup and operations budget, showing the total capital needed to start the business and how much you will need to run it. This budget should include things such as wages and salaries, benefits, rent, insurance, equipment, taxes, advertising and marketing expenses, utilities, and the cost of goods sold.

Other Factors to Consider

If you’re using your business plan to look for a loan, you need to specify how much capital you’re looking for, how you plan to use the money and how it will benefit your business, desired terms of the loan, and any collateral you have available. If you’ll be using your business plan to approach angels, venture capitalists, or other equity investors, you need to detail how much capital you are seeking, what you plan to use the money for and how it will help your business, and any additional capital infusions you expect to need in the next five years.

Investors will always want to know your expected return on investment (ROI); they’re typically seeking a high rate of return. Keep in mind that investors or lenders will probably want you to include your personal financial statements as well.

Your accountant, business plan templates, and the many accounting software tools on the market can help you create the financial section of your business plan and determine what you need to include.

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Email is a core component of many companies' marketing strategies, and its success depends on how effectively you can grow and maintain your subscriber list. The more people who opt in to receive your business's newsletters and marketing messages, the greater the number of potential leads you're reaching every time you send a campaign.

To help, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council share some creative and effective strategies to help small businesses gain (and keep) email subscribers.

What's one creative tactic a small business can leverage to gain more subscribers on their email list? Why is this effective?

1. align your value proposition with your email offer.

Aligning your product’s core value proposition with your email offer is an effective way to significantly grow your list. If your product or service is aligned with content, then the ask is on-brand and relevant. However, if your core value proposition is not content related, it may feel spammy or unnatural to promote your email list. To overcome this, connect your company’s value to the content offer. — Nick Chasinov , Teknicks

2. Offer a first order discount

Offer a first order discount for email subscribers only. This is effective because everyone wants a good deal and a large percentage of your customers will be first-time visitors to the site if you are running any sort of paid acquisition strategy. — Josh Weiss , Reggie

3. Express the desire to keep in touch

Be honest with people about adding them to your email list. Be genuine about your desire to keep in touch. Often, I'll meet people and have a genuine curiosity to learn more about them, but am limited with time, so I'll say, "I wish I could spend more time with you. Are you cool if I add you on social media and keep in touch via our newsletters?" Most of the time, they'll say yes. — Givelle Lamano , Lamano Law Office

4. Give subscribers early access

Early access to new products or services, along with coupons and discounted offers, are tempting reasons to subscribe to a business email list. Owners and marketers can segment audiences separately, ensuring that regular newsletters don't overwhelm prospects who are particularly interested in new deals. — Mario Peshev , DevriX

5. Offer a free trial or sample

Any type of incentive can make it more attractive for people to sign up to an email list. One of the best ways is if you can offer a discount or free trial on a product. If it's software, for example, offer a free trial. For physical products, it might be a free sample. Offering a financial benefit may work better than a free e-book, which is very common by now. — Kalin Kassabov , ProTexting

6. Create gated content

Adding gated content to your blog or website can be an effective way to gain more email subscribers because you’re offering valuable content in exchange for contact information. To be effective, make it easy for visitors to sign up and access it, and be sure to offer relevant and valuable content to potential subscribers. — Abhijeet Kaldate , Astra WordPress Theme

7. Run a contest or giveaway

A very good way of growing your email list is to run contests or giveaways. People love freebies and they won't mind exchanging their email addresses for them. All you need to do is announce an interesting prize and ask your participants to submit their email addresses to enter the giveaway. The results will blow your mind. — Andrew Munro , AffiliateWP

8. Gamify your email subscription process

One creative tactic a small business can leverage to gain more subscribers on their email list is gamification. It's a wonderful way to capture people's attention and encourage them to opt in. It also helps you drive their interest and motivate them to interact with your business. — Josh Kohlbach , Wholesale Suite

9. Leverage Pinterest

Small businesses can use Pinterest to gain more followers on their email list. This strategy entails pinning an item from their website to a board, which automatically links back to the business website. It is effective because it increases targeted traffic and potential conversions for the small business. — Kristin Kimberly Marquet , Marquet Media, LLC

10. Make it personal

Business leaders across all industries can leverage the power of personalization to grow their email lists. Research shows that the majority of people prefer to engage with brands that offer personalized content and offers. If you want users to sign up, encourage them to select their preferences so they only receive relevant emails that connect to their specific goals and pain points. — John Turner , SeedProd LLC

Expert Profile: YEC

Areas of Expertise: Entrepreneurship, Generation Y CEOs


Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at

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Guide to Creating a Business Plan With Template

Skye Schooley

To make your business idea a reality, you need a business plan. These simple business plan templates will get you started.

Having a road map helps you reach your journey’s end successfully. Business plans do the same for small businesses. They lay out the milestones you need to reach to build a profitable small business. They are also essential for identifying and overcoming obstacles along the way. Each part of a business plan helps you reach your goals, including the financial aspects, marketing, operations and sales.

Plenty of online business plan templates are available to take some of the pain out of the writing process. You may benefit from simple, easy-to-follow business plan tools so you spend less time writing and more time launching your venture.

What is a business plan?

With most great business ideas , the best way to execute them is to have a plan. A business plan is a written outline that you present to others, such as investors, whom you want to recruit into your venture. It’s your pitch to your investors, sharing with them what the goals of your startup are and how you expect to be profitable. 

It also serves as your company’s roadmap, keeping your business on track and ensuring your operations grow and evolve to meet the goals outlined in your plan. As circumstances change, a business plan can serve as a living document – but it should always include the core goals of your business.

Why do I need a business plan?

Starting a new business comes with headaches. Being prepared for those headaches can greatly decrease their impact on your business. One important step in preparing for the challenges your startup may face is writing a solid business plan.

Writing a business plan helps you understand more clearly what you need to do to reach your goals. The finished business plan also serves as a reminder to you of these goals. It’s a valuable tool that you can refer back to, helping you stay focused and on track.

What are the three main purposes of a business plan? 

Before you write your business plan, it’s important to understand the purpose of creating it in the first place. These are the three main reasons you should have a business plan:

Your business plan can be written as a document or designed as a slideshow, such as a PowerPoint presentation. It may be beneficial to create both versions. For example, the PowerPoint can be used to pull people in, and the document version that contains more detail can be given to viewers as a follow-up.

Free downloadable business plan template

Business News Daily put together a simple but high-value business plan template to help you create a business plan. The template is completely customizable and can be used to attract investors, secure board members, and narrow the scope of your company.

Business plans can be overwhelming to new entrepreneurs, but our template makes it easy to provide all of the details required by financial institutions and private investors. The template has eight main sections, with subsections for each topic. For easy navigation, a table of contents is provided with the template. As you customize each section, you’ll receive tips on how to correctly write the required details.

Here is our free business plan template you can use to craft a professional business plan quickly and easily.

Types of business plans

There are two main types of business plans: simple and traditional. Traditional business plans are long, detailed plans that expound on both short-term and long-term objectives. In comparison, a simple business plan focuses on a few key metrics in concise detail so as to quickly share data with investors.

Simple business plan

Business model expert Ash Maurya has developed a simple type of business plan called a lean canvas . The model, which was developed in 2010, is still one of the most popular types of business plans emulated today.

A lean canvas comprises nine sections, with each part of the plan containing high-value information and metrics to attract investors. This lean business plan often consists of a single page of information with the following listed:

Traditional business plan 

Traditional plans are lengthy documents, sometimes as long as 30 or 40 pages. A traditional business plan acts as a blueprint of a new business, detailing its progress from the time it launches to several years in the future when the startup is an established business. The following areas are covered in a traditional business plan:

We lay out each area of a traditional business plan in detail below.

1. Executive summary 

The executive summary is the most important section of your business plan, because it needs to draw your readers into your plan and entice them to continue reading. If your executive summary doesn’t capture the reader’s attention, they won’t read further, and their interest in your business won’t be piqued.

Even though the executive summary is the first section in your business plan, you should write it last. When you are ready to write this section, we recommend that you summarize the problem (or market need) you aim to solve, your solution for consumers, an overview of the founders and/or owners, and key financial details. The key with this section is to be brief yet engaging.

2. Company description 

This section is an overview of your entire business. Make sure you include basic information, such as when your company was founded, the type of business entity it is – limited liability company (LLC), sole proprietorship, partnership , C corporation or S corporation – and the state in which it is registered. Provide a summary of your company’s history to give the readers a solid understanding of its foundation. Learn more about articles of incorporation , and what you need to know to start a business.

3. Products and services 

Next, describe the products and/or services your business provides. Focus on your customers’ perspective – and needs – by demonstrating the problem you are trying to solve. The goal with this section is to prove that your business fills a bona fide market need and will remain viable for the foreseeable future.

4. Market analysis 

In this section, clearly define who your target audience is, where you will find customers, how you will reach them and, most importantly, how you will deliver your product or service to them. Provide a deep analysis of your ideal customer and how your business provides a solution for them. 

You should also include your competitors in this section, and illustrate how your business is uniquely different from the established companies in the industry or market. What are their strengths and weaknesses, and how will you differentiate yourself from the pack?

Follow this step-by-step guide on how to conduct a competitor analysis and what details it should include.

You will also need to write a marketing plan based on the context of your business. For example, if you’re a small local business, you want to analyze your competitors who are located nearby. Franchises need to conduct a large-scale analysis, potentially on a national level. Competitor data helps you know the current trends in your target industry and the growth potential. These details also prove to investors that you’re very familiar with the industry.

For this section, the listed target market paints a picture of what your ideal customer looks like. Data to include may be the age range, gender, income levels, location, marital status and geographical regions of target consumers.

A SWOT analysis is a common tool entrepreneurs use to bring all collected data together in a market analysis. “SWOT” stands for “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.” Strengths and weaknesses analyze the advantages and disadvantages unique to your company, while opportunities and threats analyze the current market risks and rewards.

5. Management team 

Before anyone invests in your business, they want a complete understanding of the potential investment. This section should illustrate how your business is organized. It should list key members of the management team, the founders/owners, board members, advisors, etc.

As you list each individual, provide a summary of their experience and their role within your company. Treat this section as a series of mini resumes, and consider appending full-length resumes to your business plan.

6. Financial plan 

The financial plan should include a detailed overview of your finances. At the very least, you should include cash flow statements, and profit and loss projections, over the next three to five years. You can also include historical financial data from the past few years, your sales forecast and balance sheet. Consider these items to include:

Make sure this section is precise and accurate. It’s often best to create this section with a professional accountant. If you’re seeking outside funding for your business , highlight why you’re seeking financing, how you will use that money, and when investors can expect a return on investment .

Struggling for cash flow? Here are eight cash flow strategies for survival.

If you really want to master your financial plan, Jennifer Spaziano, vice president of business development at Accion, offers these helpful tips:

7. Operational plan

The operational plan section details the physical needs of your business. This section discusses the location of the business , as well as required equipment or critical facilities needed to make your products. Some companies – depending on their business type – may also need to detail their inventory needs, including information about suppliers. For manufacturing companies, all processing details are spelled out in the operational plan section.

For startups, you want to divide the operational plan into two distinct phases: the developmental plan and the production plan. 

Free vs. paid business plan templates

You have your option of choosing between free and paid business templates. Both come with their own benefits and limitations, so the best one for you will depend on your specific needs and budget. Evaluating the pros and cons of each can help you decide.

Free templates

The biggest advantage of using a free template is the cost savings it offers to your business. Startups are often strapped for cash, making it a desirable choice for new business owners to access a free template. Although it’s nice to use templates at no cost, there are some drawbacks to free business plan templates – the biggest one being limited customizability.

“The process of writing a business plan lets you personally find the kinks in your business and work them out,” Attiyya Atkins, founder of A+ Editing, told Business News Daily. “Starting with an online template is a good start, but it needs to be reviewed and targeted to your market. Downloadable business plans may have dated market prices, making the budget inaccurate. If you’re looking to get money from investors, you need a customized business plan with zero errors.” 

Janil Jean, head of overseas operations at, agreed that free templates offer limited customization – such as the company name and some text. She added that they are often used by a ton of people, so if you use one to secure funds, investors might be tired of seeing that business plan format.

Paid templates

The benefit of paying for business plan templates – or paying for an expert to review your business plan – is the accuracy of information and high customization.

“Your audience gets thousands of applications per day. What’s to make your business plan stand out from the crowd when you’re not there in the room when they make the decisions about your enterprise?” Jean said. “Visuals are the best way to impress and get attention. It makes sense to get paid templates that allow you maximum customization through design, images and branding.”

On the contrary, the limitation to using a paid template is the cost. If your startup doesn’t have the funds to pay for a business plan template, it may not be a feasible option.

The best business plan software

In case you take the route of investing money in your business plan, there are several great software programs available. Software takes the legwork out of writing a business plan by simplifying the process and eliminating the need to start from scratch. They often include features like step-by-step wizards, templates, financial projection tools, charts and graphs, third-party application integrations, collaboration tools and video tutorials.

After researching and evaluating dozens of business plan software providers, we narrowed down these four of the best options available:

LivePlan is a cloud-hosted software application that provides many tools to create your business plan, including more than 500 templates, a one-page pitch builder, automatic financial statements, full financial forecasting , industry benchmark data and KPIs . Annual plans start at $15 per month.

Bizplan is cloud-hosted software that features a step-by-step builder to walk you through each section of the business plan. Annual plans start at $20.75 per month.

GoSmallBiz is a cloud-based service that offers industry-specific templates, a step-by-step wizard that makes creating a detailed business plan an easy one, and video tutorials. Monthly plans start at $15 per month.

Enloop focuses on financial projections. It provides you with everything you need to demonstrate how financially viable your business can be, and walks you through the process of generating financial forecasts. Annual plans start at $11 per month.

Common challenges of writing a business plan

The challenges of writing a business plan vary. Do you have all the information about your business that you need? Does your industry have strict guidelines that you must adhere to? To help you prepare, we identified 10 of the most common issues you may face:

Crafting a business plan around these 10 challenges can prepare your business – and anyone who joins it – for a prosperous future.

How to overcome the challenges of writing a business plan

Although you won’t accurately predict everything for your business, you can take preemptive steps to reduce the number of complications that may arise. For example, familiarize yourself with the business plan process by researching business plans and identifying how others successfully executed their plans.

You can use these plans as a basis; however, Rick Cottrell, CEO and founder of, recommends taking it one step further: Talk to small business owners and others who have experience.

“The business owner should talk to an accountant, banker, and those who deal with these plans on a daily basis and learn how others have done it,” Cottrell said. “They can join startup and investment groups, and speak to peers and others who are getting ready to launch a business, and gain insights from them. They can seek out capital innovation clubs in their area and get additional expertise.”

If you research how to write a business plan and still don’t feel comfortable writing one, you can always hire a consultant to help you with the process.

“It is simply a time-consuming process that cannot be rushed,” Cottrell added. “Millions of dollars can be at stake and, in many cases, requires a high level of expertise that either needs to be learned or executed in conjunction with an experienced business consultant.” 

Sean Peek, Jennifer Post, Chad Brooks, Howard Wen and Joshua Stowers contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article and related articles.

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Financial Planning Business Plan

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Revenue by Month

Expenses by month, net profit (or loss) by year, use of funds.

Grizzly Bear Financial Managers will incur the following start-up costs:

Please note that the items which are considered assets to be used for more than a year will labeled long-term assets and will be depreciated using G.A.A.P. approved straight-line depreciation method.

Sources of Funds

Meghan will invest $23,000. 

Projected Profit & Loss

Projected balance sheet, projected cash flow statement.

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Accounting Firm Business Plan

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Created by:

​ [Owner.FirstName] [Owner.LastName] ​

​ [Owner.Company] ​

Image 1


​ [Owner.Company] is a new accounting firm located in [Owner.City] , [Owner.State] and will serve the surrounding area. The firm will be owned and operated by [Owner.FirstName] [Owner.LastName] , who has (insert number) years of experience in the accounting industry. The firm will offer a range of services, including bookkeeping, tax preparation, financial planning, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as individual clients. The firm will also offer online and virtual services for clients who prefer remote assistance.


​ [Owner.Company] will be registered as a(n) (LLC/Corporation) and will have (insert number) employees at the start, including the owner. The firm will maintain a well-equipped office with a variety of software and tools to ensure that projects can be completed efficiently. [Owner.Company] will differentiate itself from competitors by offering a personalized and comprehensive approach to accounting services, as well as a commitment to customer satisfaction.


The accounting industry is expected to continue to grow as businesses and individuals seek professional help with their financial matters. [Owner.City] is home to several small and medium-sized businesses and a growing population of individuals who may require accounting services. The local market is competitive, with several well-established accounting firms serving the area. However, [Owner.Company] is confident it can differentiate itself through its personalized approach and commitment to customer satisfaction.


​ [Owner.Company] will use a combination of traditional and digital marketing techniques to reach potential clients. This will include advertising in local newspapers and industry publications, as well as utilizing social media platforms and email marketing to promote services and specials. The firm will also rely on word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied clients. In addition, [Owner.Company] will offer free initial consultations and discounted rates for new clients to attract business and establish relationships.

​ [Owner.Company] will have a team of skilled accountants who will be responsible for providing accurate and timely services to clients. The firm will have a manager overseeing all projects and ensuring they are completed to the highest standards. The firm will have policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance with industry regulations and standards.


​ [Owner.Company] will generate revenue through the sale of accounting services to businesses and individuals. The firm will also generate revenue through the sale of financial planning and consulting services. The firm will have operating expenses, including payroll, rent, utilities, and insurance. The firm expects to generate (Amount) i n revenue in the first year, with a projected growth rate of (Percentage) per year. [Owner.Company] will also seek funding through loans or investors in order to cover start-up costs and support growth.

​ [Owner.Company] is well-positioned to take advantage of the growing demand for accounting services in the [Owner.City] area. With a team of experienced accountants, a focus on personalized and comprehensive services, and a commitment to customer satisfaction, the firm is confident that it will be successful in the competitive accounting market.

​ [Recipient.FirstName] [Recipient.LastName] ​

China holds up Arm’s exit from troubled joint venture

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Supreme Court Student Debt Cancellation Cases: 4 Expert Takeaways

Eliza Haverstock

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

As the oral arguments around President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan unfolded at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, activists, borrowers and experts packed the courtroom, while protestors gathered outside . 

"It was the Super Bowl for student loan nerds," says Betsy Mayotte, founder and president of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors, of the arguments — which lasted nearly two hours longer than scheduled. "But the problem is, we don’t know the outcome of the game for a long time."

A decision is expected by late June. Between now and then, the nine justices will evaluate two key lawsuits and determine if some 40 million Americans will see up to $20,000 of federal student debt erased .

Here are four key takeaways from the arguments, according to academics, lawyers, student loan experts and activists.

1. Standing could determine the Supreme Court ruling 

Much of the oral arguments centered on legal standing , which is the right of a party to bring a lawsuit to court. In the first case, Biden v. Nebraska, several justices questioned whether Missouri — one of six states suing — had the right to bring a case on behalf of Mohela, an independent state-created student loan servicer. 

"Usually, we don’t allow one person to step into another’s shoes and say, 'I think this person suffered harm' even if that harm is very great," said liberal Justice Elena Kagan.

In the second case, Department of Education v. Brown, the justices questioned if the two plaintiffs — individuals who claim they weren’t eligible for part or all of the relief — were harmed by not having the opportunity to participate in a notice-and-comment period for the program.

In the Mohela case, the federal government is "essentially arguing that the scope is too broad" and in the second case, it’s “arguing that the scope is too narrow," Dominique Baker, an associate professor of education policy at Southern Methodist University, said in a post-arguments discussion hosted by the Brookings Institution, a left-leaning think tank. "I think what is too broad and what is too narrow is really a subjective question, and so ultimately, we are going to rely on nine people's definitions of a subjective question."

The court only needs to find one plaintiff has standing to begin evaluating the legality of Biden’s plan.

2. Dissecting the meaning of 'waive or modify' 

The court’s decision on the legality of Biden’s plan could come down to the wording of the HEROES Act of 2003, a law passed by Congress following the 9/11 attacks.

In particular, observers were struck by the number of questions that justices asked about two words in the act: "waive" and "modify."

"The Secretary of Education may waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision applicable to the student financial assistance programs," the law reads. This provision is applicable "as the Secretary deems necessary in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency."

The White House argues this sentence allows debt cancellation due to the pandemic, but some justices seemed skeptical.

"When we start thinking about the merits of the case, quite frankly, this is going to hinge a lot on how the justices view a waiver and a modification," Baker said.

"The government has interpreted the word 'modify' to mean rewrite,” said Sheng Li, litigation counsel at the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a conservative think tank, during a Wednesday seminar. “Congress has been very careful in crafting statutes that cancel debt. And when they craft such statutes, they make it very clear that this is a statute that allows the secretary to cancel debt, and creates very explicit conditions."

3. A strong performance by the U.S. solicitor general

Several experts praised U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar’s performance arguing the back-to-back cases on behalf of the White House. Born and raised in Idaho, Prelogar has a master’s in creative writing, a Harvard law degree and years of experience as a Justice Department attorney. Biden appointed her as the fourth-ranking individual at the Justice Department in 2021.

"I think the solicitor general did an excellent job standing up for borrowers, highlighting the impact of the pandemic on student loan borrowers and showing how if cancellation doesn’t happen, there’s going to be a wave of defaults and delinquencies," Persis Yu, deputy executive director and managing counsel of the borrower advocacy group Student Borrower Protection Center, said from the steps of the courthouse minutes after arguments concluded.

"Prelogar knocked it out of the park," University of Illinois Chicago law professor Steven Schwinn told CNBC. "I do think she could have influenced or even changed the thinking of two justices, maybe more."

4. Don’t make financial decisions based on Supreme Court arguments 

After a monthslong legal tussle over Biden’s student debt cancellation plan, the oral arguments don’t change the frustration felt by scores of borrowers. 

People feel like "it’s been this game of cat-and-mouse for so long, so why am I even getting my hopes up at this point?" says Kristen Ahlenius, director of education at workplace financial wellness company Your Money Line, who frequently works with public schoolteachers and other borrowers with higher-than-average student debt burdens.

Don’t let your frustrations keep you from planning ahead. "Borrowers need to take action to make sure they’re in the best position possible," Yu said.

Student debt cancellation isn’t guaranteed, and there likely won’t be a Supreme Court ruling until late June. Under current guidance, payments will resume 60 days after June 30, or 60 days after the high court’s decision — whichever comes first. Call your loan servicer, understand what your monthly payment could be and put aside money now if you can.

"I’m seeing borrowers who are forming their own opinions based on what they heard or what they read. I am seeing some say ‘slam dunk,’ and I’m seeing others saying this will get struck down," Mayotte says. "Some borrowers are taking action based on what they heard today, but I think that’s a mistake. I don’t think we know until we know."

financial section in a business plan


Video game developers eye Ireland for new tax incentive plan

Programme will offer a refundable corporation tax of €8m for expenditures on qualifying projects.

financial section in a business plan

Between five and 10 companies are having discussions with the Irish gaming industry, according to Imirt. Photograph: Jason Henry/The New York Times

Some video game developers are showing an interest in the Republic after the Government recently launched a tax incentive programme aimed at boosting investment and cultural awareness.

The programme, which took effect in January, will offer a refundable corporation tax of as much as €8 million for expenditures on qualifying projects. The credit is available for companies that are resident in the European Economic Area – which includes European Union countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – and have business in the State.

Between five and 10 companies, some of which are publicly listed, are having discussions with the Irish gaming industry, according to Patrick O’Donnell, a board member of Imirt, the industry body. It is the first sign that the tax credit could attract investment to the country.

“This credit is being examined closely and driving return on investment decisions between Ireland and other locations,” said Mr O’Donnell, who is also an analyst at stockbroker Goodbody.

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Take-up of the incentive could help put Ireland on the map in the global gaming market, which is anticipated to reach $504 billion (€475 billion) by 2030, according to market researcher Grand View Research.

It’s also seen as a way to leverage the Republic’s other established film, technology and animation sectors, and to “support the expression of Irish and European culture”, according to the Government’s statement.

Several other countries have incentives for gaming companies, including the UK, France and Canada, which all have thriving video game industries.

“With its high quality of life, technically skilled workforce and favourable corporate taxation, Ireland was already a very attractive place to establish a business,” said Craig Stephens, a board member of Imirt. The tax credit makes the country “even more appealing”.

[  The Last of Us has become a weapon in the biggest video games deal in history  ]

Several other big-name game developers already have a presence in Dublin, including California-based Activision Blizzard and Riot Games, which is owned by China’s Tencent Holdings.

The games companies make up part of the well-established wider Irish tech scene, which includes the European headquarters of Twitter, Meta Platforms and ByteDance’s TikTok.

Attaching a cultural component makes the State’s tax credit incentive “particularly interesting”, said Maria O’Brien, a digital media and cultural policy lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast. “These requirements illustrate a pragmatic recognition of the need to establish a strong industry base in Ireland in order to develop games as a cultural form.” – Bloomberg


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  24. Free Accounting Firm Business Plan for Accounting Firms

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