What are Pro Forma Documents?

What are Pro Forma Documents?

Deskera Content Team
Deskera Content Team
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Starting a new business venture is not an easy task. Apart from presenting something unique and spectacular to the end customers, the businessman has to take care of various other forms of documentation. Whether it's a start-up or a new branch of the existing multinational conglomerate, he has to propose different financial statements about the plan.

In this article we will look into the following:

What is Pro Forma?

Every businessman before launching a product sets up multiple meetings with his core team to discuss multiple types of “what-if” scenarios. This situational analysis helps the start-ups and even established businesses understand where they stand to date and what would be the potential profit if the entire team gives a go-ahead for a new product.

In common man’s language, pro forma is nothing but formal financial statements that consist of the three main accounting reports, namely income statement, a statement regarding the cash flows and the company’s balance sheet. This assists the entrepreneur to have a future vision by keeping the “what could be” question at the forefront while developing different business strategies. A pro forma is used to create this vision and it is done by using

  1. Industry Average
  2. Accepted Accounting principles of the industry
  3. Estimated tax rate
  4. Sales and Budget predictions are done by the business owner

Hence, it can be said to be a vital part of the business plans.

What is the use of Pro Forma?

This financial statement of the company is usually sought by entrepreneurs and investors for different reasons. As this is a statement based on assumptions, it plays a big role in deciding and portraying the next business plan of an organization. While an investor would seek this statement to understand his potential returns on the investments made, an entrepreneur or a strategic business owner can use it for multiple reasons such as -

  1. Cash flow predictions
  2. Investor relations
  3. Long-term financial planning
  4. Revenue forecasting
  5. Planning capital needs such as debts/equity or both
  6. Planning staffing
  7. Planning operational expenses

Although it is a hypothetical financial statement based on possible future scenarios, it helps the company to be prepared for both the situations - profit and loss which are the two sides of the same coin in business. The examples of this financial statement depend on which effects the corporation wants to see. Depending on it, the company prepares a projected balance, a statement of cash flows and an income statement for each of the financing options. These projected financial statements are referred to as pro forma financial statements.

Purpose of the Statement

Although this financial statement is made for various reasons as stated above, it is a very useful statement for entrepreneurs. A business owner can create this pro forma statement for multiple reasons such as

  1. Pro forma is a very helpful tool for business planning. This financial statement makes the comparisons easier as you can check, analyze and compare different financial assumptions then and there itself. It assists to understand which of the two proposals for financial gain is better and has a potential strategy to give better ROI.
  2. This financial statement can also be used as an official case paper to portray and project the impact of financial decisions on an entrepreneur’s business. It will assist him to understand which decision was made in haste and which one bought good financial returns. This can help him redesign the decisions for a future project or even make slight modifications in the decisions for ongoing projects.

For instance, if an entrepreneur is about to join a new tax bracket, he can make use of pro forma to understand what impact it will have on his business as his company expands to new heights.

  1. This financial statement also plays a crucial role in getting your business financed. When an entrepreneur wants a public or private investment, he just needs to present his pro forma statement to potential investors on how he will be using the capital for sustainable business growth. This financial projection of all the possibilities and expected growth in the plan is often a prerequisite from many investors before they give the needed amount.

Steps to create a Pro Forma Statement

If you have just opened a start-up or are a business owner who has very little idea about how to make a financial statement that represents your organization. There are different steps to create a pro forma for which financial statement the entrepreneur wants to prepare the document. Let us understand this in some more detail -

Pro Forma Statement Income

To create pro forma for a statement of income, a businessman needs to do the following steps -

  1. Set the sales goal to determine for which period he wants to check the statement
  2. Develop a production schedule for which he wants to set the target and map this goal for this particular period.
  3. The next step is to decide how he would be achieving this foal and match it with the production schedule. This could be done by increasing his sales every month with a fixed amount or he can plan to gradually increase the sales quota.
  4. When he decides the plan, he would need to calculate the total cost of goods sold (COGS) he has completed selling and deduct this and other operating expenses from the sales.
  5. The businessman can now create a pro forma statement of income with the available data in previous steps.

Pro Forma Balance Sheet

A balance sheet refers to the financial document of an organization that consists of its assets, liabilities and shareholder equity specific to a certain point in time. If an entrepreneur wants to prepare a pro forma for the balance sheet, he must do the steps given below -

  1. The foremost step to creating this financial statement is to transfer the change the company has in retained earnings. This transfer is done from the statement of income to the pro forma statement of balance sheet.
  2. The businessman then needs to identify if he needs to make any adjustments to the current assets or liabilities of the corporation. This can vary as it depends on the sales variance that he has projected while deciding the sales goal.
  3. The next step is to add the assets, owner’s equity and total liabilities to complete his financial pro forma balance sheet statement.

Pro Forma Cash Flow Statement

When the entrepreneur wants to create a financial statement for cash flow, he needs to follow the steps given below -

  1. Do an addition of cash-on-hand and cash receipts namely interest income, loans, sales
  2. The businessman should make a list of his outgoing cash flows like the salaries, cost of sales etc.
  3. He must then do the addition of all the operating expenses and even other costs incurred such as income tax, cash disbursements.
  4. The final step is to calculate the total cash payments, net cash change and ending cash position. This will complete your pro forma cash flow statement.

This is the only financial statement where the businessman cannot project on basis of assumptions. If he has completed the preparation of the income statement and balance sheet, then it's very simple to prepare a statement for the cash flow. Moreover, when you create these financial statements, an important point here to note is that even if the process to create them does not differ from the one used to create other regular financial documents. The only pivotal distinguishing factor in creating these pro forma statements is the adjustments made to create them and not the mathematical calculations.

What is a Letter of Intent?

It can be rightly said that the pro forma documents are just like the letters of intent. This financial statement expresses what a particular invoice or transaction would look like upon completion of the speculated period. These documents are mostly used by entrepreneurs to express interest in business transactions. It can also be used to reveal the intended purpose and even project the outcome of the transaction.

According to the rule, when the company wants to share documents related to it and the earnings, it is expected that the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) must be followed, These principles have been established by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). To apply for a Small Business Administration loan, the small businesses need to submit a pro forma financial document to the lender, mostly banks. It helps the owners to forecast outcomes as well as ensure the desired outcomes will be met at the end of the calculated period.

What does Pro Forma mean for the Investors?

These financial statements are also made by the businessman to present to potential investors. Irrespective of the number of investors, it is an important tool to project the plans of the company to increase the interest of stakeholders in the company. The pro forma statements are seen as predictions by the stakeholders to understand how the future of the company looks and whether he has made the right investment. He can also decide if he further wants to invest in the organization or take any other action.

Using these financial statements of a particular corporation, an investor can conduct a ratio analysis.

Limitations of financial statements

The pro forma statements of a company can be widely inaccurate as it is made of hypothetical scenarios. Even if an entrepreneur must project his plans, no entrepreneur can make a perfect prediction of his business. Therefore, it is very important to use other financial documents to get a complete and actual idea of the finances of a business.

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As the market is getting fiercely competitive with new products, a businessman has to think of innovative ways to expand his business sales. He needs to prepare the plans in advance by preparing the pro forma statements to project business growth and attract new customers. With Deskera, you can get seamless accounting software that makes the configuration of sales easier.

Key Takeaways

  1. Pro forma are financial statements of an organization. A corporation can make these statements for income, balance sheet and cash flow.
  2. This financial statement is a company’s projection of its business plans for a particular period. This is a hypothetical prediction of what it aims to achieve for the future.
  3. These financial statements can also be used to get your business financed. It can be used for long-term financial planning, to plan staff and recruitments, for business revenue predictions and also to improve investor relations.
  4. The steps to create pro forma for income, cash flow and balance sheet are almost the same. The businessman only needs to pay attention to the adjustments made in each while creating them.
  5. As these are hypothetical statements done by the entrepreneur to project his business goals, it is always advised to check other financial documents to get a good understanding of the financials of an organization
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