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Look for a font that is without serifs as they are easiest on the eyes. I would stick with black type but if a cell calls for more emphasis you may want to use a different color to signify a positive or negative. Use bold and italics when appropriate to let this information stand out from the rest. These features are outstanding for titles and headings. Try to make the font as large as you can to fit in the cell. Ten point is a good and readable size. There s nothing worse than having to squint to read the information on your spreadsheet. If you can t read it chances are good that the people you re preparing the spreadsheet for won t be able to read it either.
Also how do you intend to handle depreciation and amortization since these are non-cash items that are typically added back to the income statement entries when determining the cash effect. Also how long is your investment horizon? Is it really that important to you to project out to 30 years or is 3-5 years sufficient along with a terminal value that represents the expected NPV beyond 5 years? Usually this latter approach works best and looks the most credible to potential investors. There are numerous ways to calculate terminal value including multiples current market values projected forward and round guesstimates. Obviously these decisions are affected by your personal preference and the type of investment for which you re calculating present value.
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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.