Free Cash Flow Forecast Template
We understand how important cash flow forecasting is for a business, especially right now. That’s why we’ve created a cash flow forecast template for you to start using for free today. Simply hit the button below and it’s yours.
Do you know exactly how much cash is coming into and out of your business? If not, that could be a problem. Forecasting how much cash your business is going to have in the coming weeks and months is crucial for business survival. But do you know how to create a cash flow forecast? If not, we’ve built this handy cash flow template for you to get started. Just make a copy of it and adjust it to suit your business.
This easy to use cash flow template can help you quickly calculate your total expenses and look at your expected earnings. Simply input the relevant numbers and the cash flow template will help you forecast your business’ future.
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What is a cash flow forecast?
A cash flow forecast is a plan of when cash will come into and out of your business, while clearly showing what you’ll have in your bank account at the end of the month. Cash flow forecasting typically looks at two types of data:
- Actual cash flow
- Forecast cash flow
That means you should look at what your cash flow looks like both now and in the future. A cash flow forecast should include all of your known and expected business expenses, like office rental and staff wages, as well as all of your revenue sources, such as product sales.
Why is a cash flow template important?
A cash flow forecast predicts exactly when and how much cash is going to enter and leave your business over time, allowing you to prepare for cash crunches and surpluses.
Having an accurate cash flow forecast that is updated regularly can provide you with a useful snapshot of the health of your business that can be shared internally or with external stakeholders such as board members or investors.
A cash flow forecast will ensure you keep on top of your business’ financial outlook, helping you with things like:
- Planning ahead for cash shortages and surpluses
- Scenario planning for ‘what if’ questions in the future
- Track your daily, weekly and monthly spending to ensure you stick to your budgets
- Navigating the ups and downs of cash flow, especially if you rely on contracts and project work
- Understanding the impact of late payments from clients
For a more in-depth explanation, check out this article about why a cash flow forecast is vital for business success.
Is it a good idea to use a cash flow spreadsheet?
Using a cash flow forecast template in Excel, Google Sheets or Numbers is definitely a good first step. However, it does come with significant limitations. Spreadsheets are prone to error, and need constant updating. The more your business grows, the harder it will be to maintain a manual cash flow forecast.
If you’d like to compare the differences, check out this article on using cash flow forecasting software versus using a spreadsheet.
How to use the Float cash flow template
Our cash flow template is easy to use – even if you’ve never done any forecasting before.
There are two main sections to fill out. The first is cash in, where you’ll outline money that’s coming into your business. We’ve included lines for:
- Anticipated sales
- Loans or investment
- Other sources of cash or equity
- Interest income
If any of these don’t apply to your business, just delete the row – or if there’s an additional source of income for your company, you can add that in.
The second section is cash out, where you’ll list all the expenses incurred by your businesses. Be sure to include those that you pay every month, like rent, as well as less regular expenses, such as utilities and taxes. This section of the forecast will include things like insurance, telephone and internet, business equipment, and marketing expenses.
Once you’ve entered all of your income and expenditure figures, the template will automatically calculate the difference. If the figure is positive, congratulations! It means that you’re anticipating your income to be greater than your expenditure, and you can start thinking about what to do with your surplus cash. If the figure is negative, it means that you’re forecast to spend more than you earn – but knowing that this in advance means that you can plan ahead and prepare for it.
Why do I need to keep updating my forecast?
The grunt work comes with keeping your numbers up-to-date. Set aside time every week to look at what cash has moved and update your projections accordingly. It’s a time-consuming task, but pop a regular time slot in your calendar to work through it, grab a cup of tea, and work through the figures to ensure your forecast stays up to date.
Without an accurate forecast, your business cannot predict how much cash it will have on hand weeks, months, or years down the road. A spreadsheet full of best guesses that aren’t tied to the day to day reality of your business will stop being useful very quickly.
Make sure you double-check what you’ve entered, as it’s all too easy to accidentally put an extra zero where it shouldn’t be.
Can I automate my cash flow forecast?
If the pain of forecasting manually in a spreadsheet becomes too great and you use online accounting software such as Xero or QuickBooks Online, you should consider using an app or add-on to manage the updating for you.
Check out the Xero Marketplace or QBO App Store, which provides a wide range of bolt ons that can automate many of the processes that can cause headaches when managing your cash. Float is one of these apps, and can create and automatically update your cash flow forecast using the data in your Xero or QuickBooks Online account.
Other add-ons that can help you keep a handle on your cash flow include Chaser, which automates the task of chasing clients to pay their invoices, and Dext, which streamlines the staff expense claims process.
Want to try out our cash flow forecasting app? Sign up for a free trial and find out why our users think it’s so much better than a spreadsheet!