A 3 Way Model is a particularly powerful financial tool for businesses that have ambitions for substantial growth and increased profitability. It is a financial model of three intersecting parts; income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. This model conveys the financial health of a business, provides clear insights about future assets and liabilities and projects potential results for the years ahead.

Uses of 3 Way Model

  • Forecasts future performance and growth of the business
  • Projects cash flow requirements
  • Provides essential evidence used in the evaluation of business performance and progress
  • Supports budgeting and forecasting
  • Provides insights used to devise strategic and tactical plans

Key Takeaways

  • A 3 Way Model provides an overview of the financial health of a business
  • It can be used to project future results, forecast cash flow requirements and devise strategic and tactical plans
  • Adopting this tool can help a business increase their profits and grow

Building a Financial Model

Creating an effective three-way financial model for your business is an important part of financial planning and management. It's a vital tool to help you understand, analyze and manage the financial performance of your business. The model encompasses the three primary financial statements, the income statement, the balance sheet, and the cash flow statement.

Understanding the Income Statement

The income statement is an overview of a company's revenues, expenses, and profits over a given period. It includes items such as sales and service revenue, cost of goods sold, promotion, advertising and administrative costs, and net income. It also shows a company's earnings, or profit, over a given period. The income statement is useful in analyzing a company's financial performance, as it indicates how much revenue is generated and how much is spent to generate that revenue.

Understanding the Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is a financial statement that summarizes the assets, liabilities and equity of a business at a given point in time. It shows the financial position of the business, including the value of the assets, the value of the liabilities and the equity of the owners. Assets include cash, investments, inventory, and property—both tangible and intangible. Liabilities include any money owed to creditors and outside vendors. The balance sheet is useful for assessing a company's liquidity, as it shows the amount of cash and investments a company has relative to its liabilities.

Understanding the Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement is a statement that summarizes the cash inflows and outflows of the business over a given period. It shows the sources and destinations of cash, including cash received from customers, payments to suppliers, dividends and stock repurchases, and other sources and uses of cash. The cash flow statement is important in understanding where the cash is coming from and where it is going. It can be used to assess a company's liquidity, as it shows the current level of cash and its potential to meet short-term obligations.

Components of 3 Way Model

An effective 3 way financial model is vital for successful businesses, as it will provide insight into the company’s financial performance that can inform decision-making. These models generally include three main components which are revenue, cost of goods sold and expenses, and working capital and financing.


Revenue is the money that is earned from selling goods or providing services. It is important to track and monitor revenue from different sources such as sales, investments, and other sources. Revenues are typically displayed on the income statement and are then used to calculate gains and losses.

COGS & Expenses

The cost of goods sold (COGS) and expenses include the costs associated with manufacturing or buying a product or service, as well as the expenses to operate the business. These include the cost of raw materials, the cost of labor, and other overhead costs such as rent and utilities. COGS and expenses should be monitored closely as they can directly impact the profitability of the business.

Working Capital

Working capital is the remaining money after subtracting current liabilities from current assets. Current assets include items such as cash, accounts receivable, inventory, and so on. Current liabilities include items such as current debts, accounts payable, and so on. The working capital figure is important as it is indicative of the ability of the business to cover its financial needs in the near future.

Debt & Equity Financing

Debt and equity financing are two forms of financing used by companies. Debt financing refers to the money borrowed from lenders or creditors, such as loans, bonds or mortgages. Equity financing refers to the money invested by shareholders or venture capitalists. It is important to understand the different types and costs of financing in order to make informed decisions when raising capital.

Establishing Financial Assumptions

When predicting cash flow, revenue, expenses and other drivers in the financial model, it is important to establish financial assumptions that are backed by historical observations, market research, and competitor analysis. Establishing financial assumptions allow business owners to predict how much they need to invest now to be able to cover expenses and maximise profits but also take into account extenuating factors that may not be as easily observed such as changing industry trends.

Debugging & Refining Assumptions

Business owners should take the time to debug their financial assumptions and refine them to ensure that they are sensible, practical and realistic. This involves going through each assumption and trying to identify any unrealistic or unlikely elements, such as overly aggressive growth forecasts or expenses that could be reduced or eliminated. Business owners should also make sure to review their model and assumptions regularly to ensure that market trends and forecasts are accurately reflected.

Building Assumptions

Building financial assumptions involves gathering data from a variety of sources, such as market research, competitors, industry experts, and other external factors. This data is used to craft assumptions and forecasted figures in a way that accounts for both external and internal factors. Business owners should also make sure to factor in unexpected events that could impact the business, and use this data to create robust models that can handle any disruptions.

Stress Testing Assumptions

Once all assumptions have been established, it is important for business owners to ensure that their model can withstand any potential disruption by stress testing it. This involves observing whether the model still performs under extreme or unlikely scenarios, such as a sudden and unexpected market change or a market crash. Business owners should also test the model over successive periods of time to determine its scalability, and how it can withstand a changing business environment.

Corrosive Effects of Leverage: An Analysis of 3 Key Financial Metrics

Leverage can be an important tool for growing your business, but it carries with it the risk of exposing your company to the corrosive effects of growing debt. It is important to understand how the level of leverage you pursue might affect important financial metrics, such as interest expense, interest coverage ratio, and debt to equity ratio.

Interest Expense

The amount of interest expense you will pay on debt will depend on several factors, only some of which can be controlled. The cost of financing will depend on the terms you agree to and your company's credit rating. Generally, the higher the amount of debt, the more interest expense your business will pay. If a business has too much debt, it can become difficult to keep up with interest payments as well as meet other commitments, such as payroll.

Interest Coverage Ratio

The interest coverage ratio is used to measure a company’s ability to pay its loan interest expenses. It is calculated by dividing the company’s income before interest and taxes (EBIT) to its interest expense for the same period of time. The higher the ratio, the more able the company is to pay its interest payments. A ratio of less than 1.0 indicates that the company is not generating enough earnings to cover its interest expense.

Debt to Equity Ratio

The debt to equity ratio is an important indicator of a company's financial health. It measures the company’s total liabilities relative to its total shareholder equity. The higher the ratio, the more reliant the company is on debt to finance its activities. This can be a concern for potential investors and lenders, as it suggests the company may be taking on too much risk. A ratio that is too high can also lead to a downgrade in credit ratings, which can affect the company’s ability to secure funds in the future.

It is important to understand how leverage can affect each of these three financial metrics when creating an effective 3 way financial model for your business. By carefully balancing debt with other sources of capital, you can reduce the corrosive effects of leverage while still allowing your business to grow.

Recap: Benefits of an Effective 3 Way Financial Model

In this blog post, we discussed the importance of creating an effective 3 way financial model for your business. Weighing the pros and cons, the benefits of creating a detailed financial model are ample. The most important benefits include increased financial awareness, improved decision-making, and long-term projections.

Improved Financial Awareness

Creating a comprehensive 3-way financial model for your business can help to create an accurate overview of your company’s financial state. Through this more detailed picture, you can better understand the intricacies of your business’s financial health and gain an insightful snapshot of where you stand. More specifically, this model gives you the ability to view potential impacts from changes in different variables. Through this, you can understand how well equipped your business is to handle different scenarios.

Improved Decision Making

Financial models provide the capacity to easily track the effects of projections and decisions. This can help you to make the most well-rounded decisions for your business, carefully considering the overall financial implications of each alternative. Not only can this help you to understand the present, but it can also help anticipate and plan for the future as well.

Long-Term Projections

For successful long-term planning and management, investors, creditors, analysts, and entrepreneurs rely greatly on financial models. These models can allow for accurate forecasting of your business’s financial situation over an extended period of time. Looking at the big picture of the future, you can use these financial models to determine the most appropriate course of action for your business.

Overall, financial models can empower your business and give you the tools to make the wisest decisions for your future. By creating an effective 3 way financial model for your business, you can increase your financial awareness, improve your decision-making, and gain long-term projections that aid in successful long-term planning.


Creating an effective 3 way financial model is a great way to stay up-to-date with the current trends, analyze potential changes and make strategic decisions. Whether you're a startup or an established business, an effective financial model is an important tool for businesses of all sizes. It can be used to assess the profitability of investments, evaluate the results of new acquisitions, compare pricing strategies and forecast future performance.

By utilizing a 3 way financial model, businesses can better analyze their strategic situation, trends, and new changes in the market. Through a thorough assessment of the variables, businesses can make educated and accurate decisions on where to allocate resources, create new products and services, and optimize their investments. Furthermore, the model helps businesses anticipate potential problems and identify profitable opportunities. The model also provides them with instant feedback on the financial impact of their decisions.

By incorporating the model into their strategies, businesses can achieve growth and success in both the short-term and long-term. They can implement the changes necessary to reach their desired objectives and, ultimately, achieve their desired financial outcomes. With an effective 3 way financial model, businesses can stay ahead of their competition, enhance their operational efficiency and maximize their return on investment.

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