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In other words there is no cookie cutter approach because each potential investment has different profit and loss drivers. One of the first things to consider is what kind of data you have to work with in your cash flow template Excel spreadsheet. Ideally you re looking for accurate monthly data including income statement items like revenue and operating expenses and balance sheet items like equipment purchases and cash from financing activities. If you have a longer time frame you can go with quarterly periods but annual tends to be too long. After all how can you predict what is going to happen beyond 5 years with any accuracy unless you re valuing an annuity? Next how much detail do you need in your cash flow template Excel spreadsheet at the individual line item level? Is cash from financing sufficient or do you need equity financing debt financing interest earned etc.
If not done it can be confusing for the end user and also becomes harder to maintain the spreadsheet. This separation might involve using separate worksheets or just ensuring a clear distinction between the two areas on the one worksheet. 5/ KISS Too much information on one worksheet can be overwhelming and generally simpler is better. The spreadsheet mentioned at the start of this article could have been improved by spreading information over other worksheets. Other ways to achieve a simpler look are: - Using charts to convey information rather than tables of data. - Increasing the row height so that the worksheet is not too dense with data. - Shading every second row on a worksheet with a light colour where there are lots of numbers. 6/ Consider the Normal Flow of a Document The usual way to read a book newspaper or just text on screen is left to right and top to bottom.
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It is easier to change things at this stage than when the spreadsheet is well underway. 3/ Provide Adequate Help There are lots of ways to provide help. It could be a heading or title that describes what the spreadsheet is or does a comment in a cell information that is associated with data validation information in a text box a separate worksheet or even separate documentation. The amount of help provided will be determined by how intuitive to use the spreadsheet is and also by the answer to that first question Who is going to use the spreadsheet? 4/ Separate Data Entry from Results Areas of the spreadsheet for data entry should be kept separate from the areas that provide results of calculations.