What Are the Different Types of Financial Projection Models and What Are They Used For?


A financial projection model is an analytical tool used by businesses to create estimates of future performance and financial well-being. As part of a business plan or investment assessment, financial projections help to evaluate the feasibility of an idea and are used to inform strategic decision-making. This article will give an overview of the different types of financial projection models and what they are used for.

Definition of Financial Projection Models

Financial projection models are financial spreadsheets used to anticipate future earnings, expenditure and performance. They consist of income and balance sheets of the business’s past, present and projected financial standing, showing the business’s development over time. The model will also contain assumptions about future drivers, such as sales growth, cost of goods sold and other expenses, which feed into the forecast. It will also include cash flow analyses, forecasting when and how much money will come in and out of the business.

Overview of Different Types and What They Are Used For

The most common types of financial projection models are revenue and expense projections, capital expenditure projections, cash flow projections and balance sheet projections. Each model has a slightly different format:

  • Revenue and Expense Projections provide estimates of the income and expenses expected each month, quarter and year. This type of model is useful for budgeting and predicting how much money will be available for new investments, future growth initiatives and other spending.
  • Capital Expenditure Projections anticipate expenses associated with major investments, such as new equipment or property purchases. This type of model can help to assess the cost-effectiveness of potential investments and measure their impact on the bottom line.
  • Cash Flow Projections plot inflows and outflows of cash for a period of time, such as one year or several years. These estimates are essential for predicting the liquidity and solvency of a business, forecasting the impact of seasonal cycles on cash availability and identifying problems before they arise.
  • Balance Sheet Projections provide an overview of the assets and liabilities of a business. This type of model helps to understand how much money the company has available to borrow, how much it is worth, and the overall financial position of the business.

Types of Financial Projections

Financial projections are used to predict the future outcomes of a business. Business owners, financial planners and investors use financial projections to analyze profit, investments, and other financial outcomes, including cash flow projections, discounted cash flow (DCF) models, financial statement models and breakeven analyses. These models are used to anticipate future outcomes of company strategies, investment decisions and financial plans.

Cash Flow Projections

Cash flow projections helps to predict a company’s short-term and long-term income. It tracks the company’s net income by analysing inflows from sales, investment returns, and profits from other core business activities. It is also used to predict future cash outflows for expenses (such as salaries, rent, office supplies, etc.), taxes and other operating costs. Cash flow projections take into account the costs of a given project and use those figures to inform revenue-generating strategies, such as launching new products or services.

Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) Model

Discounted cash flow (DCF) model is a mathematical formula used to calculate the value of a business or project. It looks at the present value of future cash flows by taking into account the cost of money and inflation. The DCF model takes into account the cost of capital and investable funds so that investors can determine the profitability of a given project. DCF is often used by financial institutions, investors and other stakeholders to assess the fair market value of a business or project.

Financial Statement Model

Financial statement model is used to present a company’s financial performance over a specified period of time. Financial statement models present a company’s income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. These models include key ratios such as operating efficiency, liquidity and profitability. Financial statement model helps investors analyze a company’s financial performance, make decisions, and assess potential investments.

Breakeven Analysis

Breakeven analysis is used to evaluate the expected costs and profits a business will incur over a given period of time. It looks at the costs associated with a particular product or service, and the revenue generated from that product or service. Breakeven analysis is used to help determine the minimum amount of sales that a company needs to generate in order to cover its fixed costs. It is also used to determine the optimal price point for a product or service in order to maximize profits.

Advantages of Financial Projection Models

Financial Projection Models provide businesses with a powerful tool to utilize and make smart financial decisions. This type of projection offers several advantages that are beneficial for companies’ financial health.

Enable Companies to More Efficiently Assess Investments

The primary benefit of financial projection models is that they enable businesses to accurately assess the potential return of investment over different lengths of time. Financial projections are essential especially when proposing the feasibility of various investments or proposals. By utilizing a financial projection model, a company can project the profitability of their investments over a period of time and make decisive decisions based on their findings. Businesses may also use financial project models to develop scenarios depicting future financial trends and decisions.

Determine Financial Loopholes

In addition to helping assess potential investments, financial projection models can also be used to locate potential loopholes and bottlenecks. Utilizing financial projection models can enable businesses to detect potential inefficiencies in their current processes. By understanding the potential pitfalls in their businesses, companies can make well-informed decisions that can potentially optimize their businesses.

Establish and Showcase Financial Goals

Financial projection models can also be used to underpin and demonstrate financial goals to a company’s stakeholders. These projections can clearly showcase projections of future income, cost, budget and other important financial figures that can be used to inform investors and other stakeholders of the performance of the business. This allows them to more clearly understand the future prospects of the business and have a more informed decision in investing.

Shortcomings of Financial Projection Models

Financial projection models have a number of drawbacks that can affect the accuracy and effectiveness of forecasts. Some of the main drawbacks of financial projection models include:

May Lead to ‘Analysts Paralysis’

Financial models can lead to overanalyzing situations, known as ‘analysts paralysis’, where managers become overwhelmed by the complexity of the models and fail to take action. The underlying predictive variables can be numerous and complicated, making it difficult to make an informed decision.

Models are Based on Predictive Variables - Predictions Can Be Wrong

The predictions made by financial projection models rely heavily on the choice of predictive variables, which are based on assumptions about the market, the company, and the industry. If these assumptions are incorrect, the projections generated by the model may be significantly inaccurate.

Calculations Can Be Complex and Technical

Financial projection models can require expertise in the areas of financial analysis, accounting, financial modeling and forecasting. Performing calculations and analyzing projections requires a strong technical and financial background which can be difficult for people without the necessary experience. Complexity can lead to errors in calculations and assumptions which will create further issues with the accuracy of the results.

Who Uses Financial Projection Models?

Financial projection models are used by a variety of profession individuals in the finance industry. This section will explore who uses financial projection models, and why.

Business Owners

Business owners can benefit from using financial projection models. By projecting cash flow and income, owners can see how their business will operate within the coming months or years. This can be especially useful for owners that are uncertain of the financial future or need to diversify their investments. It can help them identify the potential risks or rewards of different decisions, so they can make informed investments or purchases.


Accountants also use financial projections to forecast a company’s financial performance. By creating a projection, they can forecast the amount of taxes that the company will owe, or identify areas of potential income. Furthermore, accountants can use projection models to report a company’s financial performance to stakeholders, either to inform them of the company’s current performance or to project their future performance.

Financial Planners and Analysts

Financial planners and analysts use projection models to predict a company’s future performance. For example, they may use the model to identify possible investments, or to recommend changes in the company’s financial strategy. Additionally, they can use the projections to forecast cash flow, profits, and other metrics for the company.

Financial projection models provide a wealth of information that can be used by business owners, accountants, financial planners, and analysts. By forecasting a company’s future performance, these individuals can make sound financial decisions that will benefit the company in the long run.

Examples of When Financial Projection Models are Used

Financial projection models are used for a variety of reasons and by many different types of organizations. The most common types of uses for financial projection models are investment proposals, business performance analysis, and retirement planning.

Investment Proposals

When companies and organizations are considering investments, they will often turn to financial models to project how the new assets will perform. Financial models contain historical movements in the selected asset, potential return on investment, and other crucial factors. Financial models are used to project the future so that companies can better understand the implications of investing money in a particular asset.

Business Performance Analysis

Financial projection models can also provide valuable information on the past, present, and future performance of a business. The models are used to analyze various aspects of the business such as sales figures, expenditures, and profits over an extended period of time. This allows the company to have an in-depth view of their performance - including long-term trends - which can help them to adjust and make adjustments to their strategy in order to maximize their profits.

Retirement Planning

Retirement planning is another area where financial models are vital. Financial models are used to project the future value of an individual or family's savings or investments. This allows them to determine the best ways to save and invest their money so that they can reach their desired retirement goals. The models also factor in things like inflation and tax rates, which allow individuals to make the most out of their money.


Financial projection models are essential tools that are used to determine future performance and make decisions in the present. They come in three main types - static, dynamic, and advanced. Static models are the simplest to compute and are often used by smaller businesses, while dynamic models focus on more detailed projections and are used by larger companies and organizations. Advanced models are used for the most complex financial analysis and are primarily used in the financial sector.

The use of financial projection models is extremely versatile, as they can be used for a variety of purposes such as budgeting, planning, forecasting, and performance analysis. Additionally, they can be used in real-time for predictive analysis or for making long-term decisions.

Despite the many potential advantages of financial projection models, such as greater accuracy, cost savings, and improved decision-making, they can also come with certain shortcomings. These can include potential biases in the data, difficulty in understanding the data, and inaccurate estimates when the underlying assumptions are not met.

Summary of Different Types of Financial Projection Models

  • Static: Simple models with basic computations, often used by smaller businesses
  • Dynamic: Focus on more detailed projections and used by larger companies and organizations
  • Advanced: Used for the most complex financial analysis and primarily used in the financial sector

Overview of Who Uses Financial Projection Models and When

Financial projection models can be used by a wide range of organizations and individuals, including private companies, non-profits, governments, financial institutions, and investors. They are typically used for budgeting, planning, forecasting, and performance analysis, and can be used in real-time for predictive analysis or for making long-term decisions.

Summary of Potential Advantages and Shortcomings of Financial Projection Models

  • Advantages: Greater accuracy, cost savings, and improved decision-making
  • Shortcomings: Potential biases, difficulty in understanding the data, and inaccurate estimates

Financial projection models can be extremely useful for businesses, organizations, and individuals to determine the best course of action for achieving their desired goals. However, it is important to remember that they come with both potential advantages and shortcomings, and should therefore be used with caution and consideration.

Expert-built startup financial model templates

1000+ Excel financial model templates for your business plan

Leave a comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up