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Principles of Finance

18.1 The Importance of Forecasting

Principles of Finance18.1 The Importance of Forecasting

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Table of contents
  1. Preface
  2. 1 Introduction to Finance
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 1.1 What Is Finance?
    3. 1.2 The Role of Finance in an Organization
    4. 1.3 Importance of Data and Technology
    5. 1.4 Careers in Finance
    6. 1.5 Markets and Participants
    7. 1.6 Microeconomic and Macroeconomic Matters
    8. 1.7 Financial Instruments
    9. 1.8 Concepts of Time and Value
    10. Summary
    11. Key Terms
    12. Multiple Choice
    13. Review Questions
    14. Video Activity
  3. 2 Corporate Structure and Governance
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 2.1 Business Structures
    3. 2.2 Relationship between Shareholders and Company Management
    4. 2.3 Role of the Board of Directors
    5. 2.4 Agency Issues: Shareholders and Corporate Boards
    6. 2.5 Interacting with Investors, Intermediaries, and Other Market Participants
    7. 2.6 Companies in Domestic and Global Markets
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. CFA Institute
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Review Questions
    13. Video Activity
  4. 3 Economic Foundations: Money and Rates
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 3.1 Microeconomics
    3. 3.2 Macroeconomics
    4. 3.3 Business Cycles and Economic Activity
    5. 3.4 Interest Rates
    6. 3.5 Foreign Exchange Rates
    7. 3.6 Sources and Characteristics of Economic Data
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. CFA Institute
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Review Questions
    13. Problems
    14. Video Activity
  5. 4 Accrual Accounting Process
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 4.1 Cash versus Accrual Accounting
    3. 4.2 Economic Basis for Accrual Accounting
    4. 4.3 How Does a Company Recognize a Sale and an Expense?
    5. 4.4 When Should a Company Capitalize or Expense an Item?
    6. 4.5 What Is “Profit” versus “Loss” for the Company?
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Review Questions
    11. Problems
    12. Video Activity
  6. 5 Financial Statements
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 5.1 The Income Statement
    3. 5.2 The Balance Sheet
    4. 5.3 The Relationship between the Balance Sheet and the Income Statement
    5. 5.4 The Statement of Owner’s Equity
    6. 5.5 The Statement of Cash Flows
    7. 5.6 Operating Cash Flow and Free Cash Flow to the Firm (FCFF)
    8. 5.7 Common-Size Statements
    9. 5.8 Reporting Financial Activity
    10. Summary
    11. Key Terms
    12. CFA Institute
    13. Multiple Choice
    14. Review Questions
    15. Problems
    16. Video Activity
  7. 6 Measures of Financial Health
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 6.1 Ratios: Condensing Information into Smaller Pieces
    3. 6.2 Operating Efficiency Ratios
    4. 6.3 Liquidity Ratios
    5. 6.4 Solvency Ratios
    6. 6.5 Market Value Ratios
    7. 6.6 Profitability Ratios and the DuPont Method
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. CFA Institute
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Review Questions
    13. Problems
    14. Video Activity
  8. 7 Time Value of Money I: Single Payment Value
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 7.1 Now versus Later Concepts
    3. 7.2 Time Value of Money (TVM) Basics
    4. 7.3 Methods for Solving Time Value of Money Problems
    5. 7.4 Applications of TVM in Finance
    6. Summary
    7. Key Terms
    8. CFA Institute
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Review Questions
    11. Problems
    12. Video Activity
  9. 8 Time Value of Money II: Equal Multiple Payments
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 8.1 Perpetuities
    3. 8.2 Annuities
    4. 8.3 Loan Amortization
    5. 8.4 Stated versus Effective Rates
    6. 8.5 Equal Payments with a Financial Calculator and Excel
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. CFA Institute
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Problems
    12. Video Activity
  10. 9 Time Value of Money III: Unequal Multiple Payment Values
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 9.1 Timing of Cash Flows
    3. 9.2 Unequal Payments Using a Financial Calculator or Microsoft Excel
    4. Summary
    5. Key Terms
    6. CFA Institute
    7. Multiple Choice
    8. Review Questions
    9. Problems
    10. Video Activity
  11. 10 Bonds and Bond Valuation
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 10.1 Characteristics of Bonds
    3. 10.2 Bond Valuation
    4. 10.3 Using the Yield Curve
    5. 10.4 Risks of Interest Rates and Default
    6. 10.5 Using Spreadsheets to Solve Bond Problems
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. CFA Institute
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Review Questions
    12. Problems
    13. Video Activity
  12. 11 Stocks and Stock Valuation
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 11.1 Multiple Approaches to Stock Valuation
    3. 11.2 Dividend Discount Models (DDMs)
    4. 11.3 Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) Model
    5. 11.4 Preferred Stock
    6. 11.5 Efficient Markets
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. CFA Institute
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Review Questions
    12. Problems
    13. Video Activity
  13. 12 Historical Performance of US Markets
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 12.1 Overview of US Financial Markets
    3. 12.2 Historical Picture of Inflation
    4. 12.3 Historical Picture of Returns to Bonds
    5. 12.4 Historical Picture of Returns to Stocks
    6. Summary
    7. Key Terms
    8. Multiple Choice
    9. Review Questions
    10. Video Activity
  14. 13 Statistical Analysis in Finance
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 13.1 Measures of Center
    3. 13.2 Measures of Spread
    4. 13.3 Measures of Position
    5. 13.4 Statistical Distributions
    6. 13.5 Probability Distributions
    7. 13.6 Data Visualization and Graphical Displays
    8. 13.7 The R Statistical Analysis Tool
    9. Summary
    10. Key Terms
    11. CFA Institute
    12. Multiple Choice
    13. Review Questions
    14. Problems
    15. Video Activity
  15. 14 Regression Analysis in Finance
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 14.1 Correlation Analysis
    3. 14.2 Linear Regression Analysis
    4. 14.3 Best-Fit Linear Model
    5. 14.4 Regression Applications in Finance
    6. 14.5 Predictions and Prediction Intervals
    7. 14.6 Use of R Statistical Analysis Tool for Regression Analysis
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Review Questions
    12. Problems
    13. Video Activity
  16. 15 How to Think about Investing
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 15.1 Risk and Return to an Individual Asset
    3. 15.2 Risk and Return to Multiple Assets
    4. 15.3 The Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM)
    5. 15.4 Applications in Performance Measurement
    6. 15.5 Using Excel to Make Investment Decisions
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. CFA Institute
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Review Questions
    12. Problems
    13. Video Activity
  17. 16 How Companies Think about Investing
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 16.1 Payback Period Method
    3. 16.2 Net Present Value (NPV) Method
    4. 16.3 Internal Rate of Return (IRR) Method
    5. 16.4 Alternative Methods
    6. 16.5 Choosing between Projects
    7. 16.6 Using Excel to Make Company Investment Decisions
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. CFA Institute
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Review Questions
    13. Problems
    14. Video Activity
  18. 17 How Firms Raise Capital
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 17.1 The Concept of Capital Structure
    3. 17.2 The Costs of Debt and Equity Capital
    4. 17.3 Calculating the Weighted Average Cost of Capital
    5. 17.4 Capital Structure Choices
    6. 17.5 Optimal Capital Structure
    7. 17.6 Alternative Sources of Funds
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. CFA Institute
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Review Questions
    13. Problems
    14. Video Activity
  19. 18 Financial Forecasting
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 18.1 The Importance of Forecasting
    3. 18.2 Forecasting Sales
    4. 18.3 Pro Forma Financials
    5. 18.4 Generating the Complete Forecast
    6. 18.5 Forecasting Cash Flow and Assessing the Value of Growth
    7. 18.6 Using Excel to Create the Long-Term Forecast
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Review Questions
    12. Problems
    13. Video Activity
  20. 19 The Importance of Trade Credit and Working Capital in Planning
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 19.1 What Is Working Capital?
    3. 19.2 What Is Trade Credit?
    4. 19.3 Cash Management
    5. 19.4 Receivables Management
    6. 19.5 Inventory Management
    7. 19.6 Using Excel to Create the Short-Term Plan
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Review Questions
    12. Video Activity
  21. 20 Risk Management and the Financial Manager
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 20.1 The Importance of Risk Management
    3. 20.2 Commodity Price Risk
    4. 20.3 Exchange Rates and Risk
    5. 20.4 Interest Rate Risk
    6. Summary
    7. Key Terms
    8. CFA Institute
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Review Questions
    11. Problems
    12. Video Activity
  22. Index

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Discuss how to use financial statements in forecasting firm financials.
  • Explain why balance sheet items are important in forecasting a firm’s financial result.
  • Explain why income statement items are important in forecasting a firm’s financial result.

In this section, we will briefly review some of the basic elements of financial statements and how we can analyze historical statements to help assemble financial forecasts. Financial forecasting is important to short- and long-term firm success. It helps a firm plan for the resources it will need, ensuring it will have enough cash on hand at the right time to cover daily operations and capital expenditures. It helps the firm communicate its future potential and manage its shareholders’ expectations. It also helps management assess future risk and set plans in place to mitigate that risk.

Financial forecasting involves using historical data, analysis tools, and other information we can gather to make an educated guess about the future financial performance of the firm. Historical figures provide a reasonable starting point. We use tools such as ratios, common size, and trend analysis to fine-tune our forecast. And finally, we assess what we know about the firm, its competitors, the economy, and anything else that might impact performance and further fine-tune our forecast from there.

It’s important to take a moment to consider the role of ethics in forecasting. Ethics is a huge issue in the world of accounting and finance in general, and forecasting is no different. There can be tremendous pressure on management to perform, to deliver certain levels of profit, and to meet shareholder expectations.

Forecasting, as you will learn throughout this chapter, is not an exact science. There is a great deal of subjectivity that can come into play when forecasting sales and expenses. Ethical behavior is crucial in this area. Those who create forecasts must have a firm understanding of where their data comes from, how reliable it is, and whether or not their assumptions and projections are reasonably justified.

Financial Statement Foundations

In Financial Statements, you were introduced to a firm called Clear Lake Sporting Goods. You learned about the four key financial statements: the income statement, balance sheet, statement of stockholders’ equity, and statement of cash flows. Each one provides a different view of the firm’s financial health and performance.

Clear Lake Sporting Goods is a small merchandising company (a company that buys finished goods and sells them to consumers) that sells hunting and fishing gear. It uses financial statements to understand its profitability and current financial position, to manage cash flow, and to communicate its finances to outside parties such as investors, governing bodies, and lenders. We will use Clear Lake’s company information and historical financial statements in this chapter as we explore its forecasting process. It’s important to note that in this chapter, we are focusing on just one firm and the one method its managers have chosen to forecast financial performance. There are a variety of types of firms in actual application, and they may choose to forecast their financial performance differently. We are demonstrating just one approach here.

The balance sheet shows all the firm’s assets, liabilities, and equity at one point in time. It also supports the accounting equation in a very clear and transparent way. We find one section of the balance sheet contains all current and noncurrent assets that must total the other section of the balance sheet: total liabilities and equity. In Figure 18.2, we see that Clear Lake Sporting Goods has total assets of $250,000 in the current year, which balances with its total liabilities and equity of $250,000.

A comparative year-end balance sheet of Clear Lake Sporting Goods shows all of the assets, liabilities, and stockholder equity for the prior and current year. In the current year, there are total assets of $250,000, which balances with the total liabilities and stockholder equity of $250,000.
Figure 18.2 Balance Sheet

The income statement reflects the performance of the firm over a period of time. It includes net sales, cost of goods sold, operating expenses, and net income. In Figure 18.3, we see that Clear Lake had $120,000 in net sales, $60,000 in cost of goods sold, and $35,000 in net income in the current year.

Full Income Statement for Clear Lake Sporting Goods reflects the performance of the firm over a period of time. Sales returns and allowances are subtracted from gross sales to determine the net sales for the year. Cost of goods sold is subtracted from net sales to determine the gross profit for the year. The different expenses for the company are listed as separate line items. These expenses are added together and subtracted from the gross profit to determine the net income for the year.
Figure 18.3 Full Income Statement

Finally, the statement of cash flows is used to reconcile net income to cash balances. The statement begins with net income, then reflects adjustments to balance sheet accounts and noncash expenses. The statement of cash flows is broken down into three key categories: operating, investing, and financing. This allows users to clearly see what elements of the business are generating or using cash. In Figure 18.4, we see that Clear Lake had cash flow from operating activities of $53,600, cash used for investing activities of ($18,600), and cash used for financing activities of ($15,000).

A Statement of Cash Flows for Clear Lake Sporting Goods is broken down into three key categories: operating, financing, and investing. The totals from these three categories are added to the net income to determine the total cash flow increase or decrease. This is added to the beginning cash balance to determine the ending cash balance.
Figure 18.4 Statement of Cash Flows

Another key concept to remember about the financial statements is that the statement of cash flows is necessary to truly understand how the firm is using and generating cash. A common misconception is that if a firm reports net income on its income statement, then it must have plenty of cash, and if it reports a loss, it must be short on cash. Although this can be true, it’s not necessarily the case. Historically speaking, we need the statement of cash flows to get the full picture of how cash was used or generated in the past. Looking to the future, we need a cash flow forecast to plan for possible gaps in cash flow and, potentially, how to make the best use of any cash surplus. Throughout this chapter, we will see how to use historical financial statements to help develop the future cash forecast.

It’s also important to remember that the four financial statements are tied together. Net income from the income statement feeds into retained earnings, which live on the balance sheet. Equity balances on the balance sheet feed information to the statement of stockholders’ equity. And information from both the income statement (net income and noncash expenses) and the balance sheet (changes in working capital accounts) all feed into the statement of cash flows. These relationships will be helpful to understand when using historical statements and preparing forecasts.

Balance Sheet Analysis

Fully understanding the items that are on the balance sheet and how they relate to one another and to other financial statements will help you create a financial forecast. In Financial Statements, you learned that on the classified balance sheet, both assets and liabilities are broken down into current and noncurrent categories. You also know that the balance sheet must live up to its name—it must balance. This means that total assets (what the company owns) must equal total liabilities and equity (what the company owes).

You continued your financial statement development in Measures of Financial Health, where you saw how to use elements of the balance sheet to assess financial health. Ratios based on balance sheet accounts can be useful for understanding relationships between balance sheet items—how they related in the past and then, in forecasting, how those relationships might change or remain the same in the future. Examples of balance sheet ratios include the current ratio, quick ratio, cash ratio, debt-to-assets ratio, and debt-to-equity ratio.

In Financial Statements, you also explored common-size analysis. To prepare a common-size analysis of the balance sheet, every item on the statement must be expressed as a percentage of total assets. Seeing each item as a percentage—that is, seeing its relationship to total assets—is also helpful for assessing historical statements and how those percentages or relationships can be used to predict future balances in the forecast. For example, in Figure 18.5, you can see that Clear Lake’s current assets represented 80% of its total assets in both the current and prior years.

A comparative year-end balance sheet for Clear Lake Sporting Goods shows assets, liabilities, and stockholder equity for the prior and current year. Each line item is represented as both a dollar figure and a percent of the total assets or liabilities.
Figure 18.5 Common-Size Balance Sheet

Income Statement Analysis

Like balance sheet analysis, income statement analysis is also quite helpful in preparing for the forecasting process. In Financial Statements, you learned that the income statement is commonly broken down into a few sections. Cost of goods sold is deducted from net sales to arrive at gross margin. Gross margin refers to the profits earned solely on the sale of the product itself, without consideration for the expenses incurred to run the business. Next, operating expenses are deducted to reflect operating income. Operating income reflects the profits of the core business function. Finally, other items, such as interest expense, tax expense, and other gains and losses, are deducted to arrive at net income, a.k.a. the bottom line. Each segment of the income statement is helpful for assessing past performance and estimating future expenses for a forecast.

You continued your financial statement development in Measures of Financial Health, where you saw how to use elements of the income statement to assess historical financial performance. Ratios based on the income statement can be useful for understanding relationships between net sales and expenses—how they related in the past and then, in forecasting, how those relationships might change or remain the same. Examples of income statement ratios include gross margin, operating margin, and profit margin. Common ratios that incorporate items from both the balance sheet and the income statement include return on assets (ROA), return on equity (ROE), inventory turnover, accounts receivable turnover, and accounts payable turnover.

In Financial Statements, you also explored common-size analysis. To prepare a common-size analysis of the income statement, every item on the statement must be expressed as a percentage of net assets. Seeing each item as a percentage, in terms of its relationship to total sales, is also helpful for assessing historical statements and how those percentages or relationships can be used to predict future balances in the forecast. For example, in Figure 18.6, you can see that Clear Lake’s cost of goods sold represented 50% of its net sales in both the current and prior years.

A comparative common size year-end income statement for Clear Lake Sporting Goods shows gross sales, sales returns and allowances, net sales, cost of goods sold, gross profit, the company's expenses, and net income for the prior and current year. Each line item except for gross sales and sales returns and allowances is represented as both a dollar figure and a percent of the total assets or liabilities.
Figure 18.6 Common-Size Income Statement
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