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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.
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.
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Column Alignment Depending on your information you may want to adjust where the information falls within the column. Try left center or right and see how it reads. I generally find that numbers and dates are best centered and that text seems to work with a left justification as full sentences or phrases are read left to right. But again try the different methods and see what works best for the data that you are presenting. Allow sufficient space around the information in the cells by adjusting the column width. Excel offers a feature that allows you to double-click on the end of the cell column and it automatically adjusts to fit all of your information.