Breaking Down the Components of a 3 Statement Model in Excel

 Building a fully integrated three-statement model in Excel, which includes the Income Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statement, requires a strong understanding of accounting principles and logic. Here are the key steps and logic required:

You can find 100s of financial model templates with integrated 3-statement modeling logic here.

Start with the Income Statement:

  • Revenue Forecasting: Project future revenue based on historical data, market analysis, and industry trends.
  • Costs and Expenses: Estimate costs of goods sold (COGS) and operating expenses. This could include direct costs, variable and fixed costs, and depreciation and amortization.
  • Profit Calculations: Determine gross profit, operating profit (EBIT), and net profit by subtracting relevant costs from revenue.

Link to the Balance Sheet:

  • Assets: Calculate current and non-current assets. Current assets often include cash, accounts receivable, and inventory, while non-current assets include long-term investments, property, plant, and equipment (PP&E). Cash will be linked to the change in cash flow on the cash flow statement each period (cumulative effect over time).
  • Liabilities and Equity: Include both current and long-term liabilities, such as loans and accounts payable. Equity includes retained earnings, which should be linked to the net income from the income statement.
  • Balancing the Sheet: Ensure that the equation Assets = Liabilities + Equity holds true for each period.

Construct the Cash Flow Statement:

  • Operating Activities: Start with net income from the income statement and adjust for non-cash items (like depreciation) and changes in working capital.
  • Investing Activities: Reflect cash flows from the acquisition and disposal of long-term assets and investments.
  • Financing Activities: Include cash flows from issuing debt, repaying debt, issuing equity, and paying dividends.
  • Net Change in Cash: Calculate the sum of cash flows from operating, investing, and financing activities, then add this to the opening cash balance to find the closing cash balance, which links back to the balance sheet.

Circular References and Balancing:

  • Watch out for circular references, such as interest expense (which depends on the amount of debt, which depends on cash, which depends on interest expense). These can be handled through iterations in Excel settings or by creating manual plug figures.
  • Continuously ensure that the balance sheet balances and that the cash at the end of the period in the cash flow statement ties back to the cash on the balance sheet.
  • For me, the best practice is to use extra tabs that do much of the complex calculations and those subtotal results can be pulled in accordingly.

Sensitivity Analysis and Error Checking:

  • Implement sensitivity analysis to understand how changes in key assumptions impact the model.
  • Regularly check for errors and inconsistencies. This includes ensuring that all formulas are correct and that there are no hard-coded numbers without justification.

Formatting and Documentation:

  • Make sure the model is well-formatted, easy to read, and logically structured.
  • Document assumptions and sources of data for transparency and ease of understanding.

Integration and Dynamic Linking:

  • Ensure all three statements are dynamically linked. For example, changes in revenue assumptions should automatically flow through the income statement, affect the balance sheet (e.g., through accounts receivable), and be reflected in the cash flow statement.

Using Excel, you can leverage features like formulas, pivot tables, and data validation to build and manage this model effectively. Remember that the key to a successful model is not just in the technical construction but also in the logical, consistent, and realistic assumptions underlying the forecasts.