Financial projections are financial statements that provide a forecast of your business’s expected performance over the next 3 to 5 years. They allow businesses to determine where their money is going and to better assess their future cash flow. Financial projections offer many benefits, including helping businesses to understand their financial position, identify areas of risk, and plan more effectively for the future.

Definition of Financial Projections

Financial projections are a forecast of a company’s financial performance based on historical data. They project a company’s expected income, expenses, profits, and cash flow, as well as its financial position over a predetermined period of time. Financial projections are used to assist in strategic decision-making, to create budgets and goals for the business, and to access future capital needs.

Benefits of Financial Projections

Financial projections can provide many benefits for businesses. Below are some of the most important:

  • They can help businesses to identify their current financial position, as well as areas of risk.
  • Such projections offer a means to plan effectively for the future. For example, they can help managers to determine how much funding they will need for a particular project.
  • They can also help to identify factors that may have an impact on the business, such as changes in the marketplace or economic conditions.
  • Finally, financial projections can help to inform business decisions, such as whether to expand or downsize.

Key Takeaways

  • Financial projections help businesses identify their financial position and areas of risk.
  • Such projections assist with strategic planning decisions.
  • Financial projections can provide an understanding of the marketplace and economic conditions.
  • Finally, they can help to inform business decisions such as whether to expand or downsize.

What is the Purpose of Financial Projections?

Financial projections are used to analyze a company's past financial history and project future performance. By making projections, businesses can identify areas of potential growth or troubleshoot potential problems, allowing them to make informed decisions to improve operations and increase profits. Financial projections also enable businesses to set financial goals and to better understand their cash flow requirements.

Guide Investment Decisions

Financial projections provide entrepreneurs and business owners with the data necessary to make informed decisions about investments. They can be used to determine whether an investment is worth the risk and will be profitable for the business. Financial projections can also be used to identify any potential areas of improvement within the organization and provide evidence for potential investors who may be interested in partnering with the company.

Set Financial Goals

Financial projections provide businesses with a roadmap to plan for the future. When making projections, businesses should consider the growth goals they want to achieve in the short-term and long-term. Using projections, businesses can develop a detailed plan that outlines how they will reach their growth and financial objectives. This data can also be used to track progress and ensure that the business is on the right track to achieve their desired results.

Identify Cash Flow Gaps

Financial projections can help identify potential cash flow gaps in a business's finances. Cash flow is the lifeblood of a business, and knowing where it is coming from and where it is going is essential for successful financial management. By reviewing their financial projections, businesses can quickly identify any potential cash flow gaps in order to create plans for how to address those gaps and ensure financial stability.

Short-Term vs Long-Term Financial Projections

When assessing the financial health of your startup, it is important to look at both short and long-term financial projections. Each can provide valuable insight in different ways and when used together, offer a more comprehensive picture of your startup's financial situation.

Benefits of Each

Short-term financial projections provide an overview of the immediate future, typically the next three to twelve months. These projections provide a more granular understanding of how individual financial decisions can impact the business. For example, you can use short-term financial projections to determine whether a certain investment could lead to significant returns within three months.

Long-term financial projections provide a comprehensive and more holistic overview of the company's financial health over the next three to five years. These projections are more suitable for making strategic and long-term decisions. For example, long-term projections can help a startup determine if they should invest in creating a new product line or expanding into new markets.

How to Use Them Together

To get a comprehensive view of your startup's financial health, it is important to look at both short- and long-term financial projections together. By examining the projections in tandem, it can become easier to identify potential areas of investment or growth opportunities that could help the startup achieve its financial goals over both the short and long terms.

For example, a short-term projection could highlight an area of the business that requires additional investment. Comparing this to a long-term projection could help the startup determine if the short-term investment makes sense in relation to the company’s long-term goals. In other words, short- and long-term projections could provide your startup with the information it needs to make informed and data-driven decisions.

Operational Planning with Financial Projections

Operational planning is not just about forecasting upfront expenses and revenues. Financial projections can also be a powerful tool when it comes to assessing your startup’s financial health. With the right information, it can help you make well-informed decisions on the future of your business and stay ahead of any potential financial problems.

Setting Unit Prices

Before you create your financial projections, the first step is to set unit prices for your goods or services. Look back at the sales data from your previous month or year and use that as a benchmark. Also take into consideration any unique or difficult challenges your business faces. This will help you get an accurate estimate of what you’re likely to charge for goods or services in the future.

Tracking Revenues

Once you’ve set the unit prices, you can then use the financial projection tool to calculate your potential future revenues. You’ll need to input the number of goods or services you’re likely to sell, as well as any discounts you’re offering. The tool will then generate an estimate of how much revenue you can expect in the future.

Assessing Cost of Goods Sold

You can also use the financial projection tool to assess the cost of goods sold. Input the cost of goods and factor in any expenses like taxes, tariffs, or other fees. The tool will then generate an estimate of your total cost of goods sold. By comparing your revenues and cost of goods sold, you’ll be able to get an accurate assessment of your financial health.

  • Look back at sales data for setting unit prices
  • Use financial projection tool to calculate future revenues
  • Input cost of goods to assess cost of goods sold
  • Compare revenues and cost of goods sold for accurate assessment of financial health

Financial Ratios to Assess Financial Health

Financial ratios are an important factor to consider when assessing a startup’s financial health. They can provide important insights into the performance of a business and help stakeholders better understand the overall financial situation. To properly assess a startup’s financial health, there are three primary types of ratios to consider: liquidity ratios, profitability ratios, and efficiency ratios.

Liquidity Ratios

Liquidity ratios represent a measure of how liquid a company’s current assets are relative to its current liabilities. This is important for startups to consider, as it gives them insight into their ability to pay their immediate debts without having to sell any of their long-term investments. Some key liquidity ratios to consider include the Current Ratio, Quick Ratio, and Cash Ratio.

Profitability Ratios

Profitability ratios are measures of how effectively a company is generating profits. In the case of a startup, it is important to understand their ability to generate an adequate return on investment so that they can continue their growth trajectory. Some key profitability ratios to consider include the Gross Profit Margin, Operating Profit Margin, and Net Profit Margin.

Efficiency Ratios

Efficiency ratios are measures of how efficiently a company is operating. These ratios provide insight into how effective a company is at utilizing its assets to generate sales. Some key efficiency ratios to consider include the Inventory Turnover Ratio, Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio, and Total Asset Turnover Ratio.

Analyzing the Effects of Potential Changes

When it comes to assessing your startup’s financial health, financial projections play a key role. By carefully analyzing the potential impacts of changes in areas like revenues, cost of goods sold, and financial ratios, you can create more realistic forecasts that give you a better understanding of your company’s overall financial health. Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

Assessing Revenues

The most important factor when it comes to determining the financial success of any business is the amount of revenue the business generates. By making projections based on the expected level of revenues, you can get a better idea of how your business is performing and whether or not changes need to be made to boost profitability. You should consider any potential external factors like economic changes, consumer trends, and competition that may impact your revenues.

Calculating Cost of Goods Sold

Cost of goods sold (COGS) is the amount of money spent on the production, acquisition, and delivery of products and services to consumers. Looking at COGS as compared to your projected revenues can help you calculate your margins and judge how profitable your operations are. It’s important to take into consideration any potential increases in COGS due to new investments, price changes, or supply chain disruptions.

Analyzing Financial Ratios

Financial ratios are used to measure and compare different elements of your business in order to identify areas of potential risk and opportunity. Ratios like the debt-to-equity ratio, current ratio, and profit margin ratio all provide valuable insights into how efficient and effective your operations are and can help you identify areas that need to be improved upon. By analyzing these ratios as you create your projections, you’ll get a more accurate picture of your company’s overall financial health.

  • Assessing Revenues
  • Calculating Cost of Goods Sold
  • Analyzing Financial Ratios


Financial projections offer a multitude of benefits for entrepreneurs. They can be used to inform vital business decisions, predict the company’s cash flow, spot potential problems, and assess the overall financial health of the business. It is essential to understand the scope and limitations of financial projections so they can be used to their fullest potential.

At their core, financial projections are a tool to better understand the business and the industry in which it operates. Through careful planning, research, and reevaluation, financial projections can provide valuable insight into the financial health of a startup. By understanding how to use financial projections to assess financial health, entrepreneurs can set the foundation for long-term success.

Excel financial model

  • 5-Year Financial Projection
  • 40+ Charts & Metrics
  • DCF & Multiple Valuation
  • Free Email Support