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How to Create a Cash Flow Forecast in Xero (and Excel)

Why cash flow is a better indicator than profit

cashflow and profit reports in xero and excel
Don’t overestimate how much money you’ll have to spend on a new business venture; better to forecast using cash flow as an indicator.

WE RECENTLY PROVIDED DETAILS of a case study highlighting the experiences of a business owner named Jerry. Jerry decides to start a real estate business on the side, after operating a business already that has synergies, for instance, in terms of clientele. 

We mentioned that Jerry should use his accounting software to determine whether his he’ll have the start-up capital required to fund his new venture for the next 12 months. The best way to do this is to create a cash flow forecast, and we’re going to show you how.

Cash flow is a better indicator of available funds

If you’re wondering why you wouldn’t create a profit forecast, it’s pretty simple. Cash flow represents money in the bank, after you’ve paid all your suppliers and staff and loan repayments and so forth, while profit just shows how much the business earned but doesn’t take into account any cash outlays. 

Profit just shows how much the business earned but doesn’t take into account any cash outlays.

It’s important to understand that it’s not uncommon for businesses to be profitable; however due to cash outlays, these same businesses may not actually have enough money in the bank to fund investment, or in this case, a new venture.

Generating a cash flow report in Xero

Follow these steps in Xero to generate a cash flow report for your business:

  1. Go to Reports, then click All Reports.
  2. Under Financial, select Cash Summary.
  3. Enter the following report settings:
    • Date — The latest finalised month
    • Period — 1 month
    • Compare With —  Previous 11 Periods
    • Select the Include GST and Show YTD filters
  4. Click Update to generate the report in Xero
  5. At the bottom of the report, click Export and select Excel to download the report in Microsoft Excel format.

Set up formulas to forecast 12 months ahead

In Excel, you’ll need to create formulas that will show you the average cashflow of your business across the previous 12 month period, so you can then forecast ahead for the next 12 months.

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Creating and working with formulas is something we teach you in our Microsoft Excel training courses. We also feature a suite of highly popular Xero online training courses, or if you want more information on creating profit and loss statements in Xero, read here.

If you don’t use Xero and you’re using MYOB or QuickBooks, our MYOB and QuickBooks training courses will also show you how to run cashflow reports, among many others.


Online bookkeeping accounting training courses for CPD points

EzyLearn Excel, MYOB and Xero online training courses count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for bookkeepers and accountants. We’ve been an accredited training provider of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers ever since the organisation started in Australia. Find out how CPD points can be of benefit to you.


 

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Basic Bookkeeping Reports in Xero: Profit and Loss

Learn How to Run a P&L Using Xero

Profit and Loss statement
Profit and loss statements should be run by businesses regularly and are required by law.

A basic, yet vitally important, report for every business owner is a profit and loss (P&L) statement. A profit and loss statement, as the name suggests, shows whether a business is running at a profit or a loss over a given period. We’ve written about why running multi-period P&Ls before in QuickBooks and MYOB is a good idea for businesses with inventory, but single period P&Ls are equally important for all businesses.

If you’re a bookkeeping newbie, a profit and loss statement, which sometimes goes by other names — income statements, earning statements, revenue statements, operating statements, statement of operations, or statement of financial performance — is a basic report you’ll learn to run in our Xero Daily Reconciliations Course. If you’re planning to work as a contract bookkeeper, you should get in the habit of running P&L statements for your clients regularly (if you’re a business owner, ask your bookkeeper to run them).

P&Ls are required by law

Depending on how a business is structured, it may be required by law to complete a P&L. A P&L shows how the revenue of the business is turned into net income by subtracting all expenses from income. They’re also useful for understanding a business’ net income, which helps with the decision making processes. A business will also need a P&L if they’re applying for a small business loan.

The contents of a P&L

profit and loss statements P&LsAlthough the process of running a P&L differ between accounting software packages, they usually all contain the same elements, depending only on the business itself. In the first section, the cost of sales is subtracted from the revenue, which highlights gross profit. The business’ operating expenses are then subtracted from the gross profit, which leaves the operating profit. Now, all of the non-operating revenues and expenses must be factored into account, after which the business’ profit or loss will be displayed.

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Because P&L statements are often used by a business’ owner to make financial decisions, to inform shareholders of the business’ performance, apply for a business loan, or as proof of income in the sale of a business, it’s important that you understand how to create one correctly. Our Xero Daily Reconciliations Training Course covers P&L statements, and much more. Visit our website to learn more or to enrol.

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online bookkeeping courses to earn cpd points

 

Did you know that EzyLearn Excel, MYOB and Xero online training courses count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for bookkeepers and accountants?We’ve been an accredited training provider of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers ever since the organisation started in Australia. Find out how CPD points can be of benefit to you.