What Are the Basics of Financial Modeling?

Financial modeling is a complex beast, but it is essential for businesses that want to grow and be successful.

Financial models involve the process of creating and using mathematical representations of financial situations and decisions. It allows you to analyze and evaluate various scenarios and outcomes, such as the value of a company, the profitability of a project, or the impact of a merger.

Here are the basics about what they are and what they are used for.


Financial modeling can help you determine what the value of a business or associated asset might be. This figure will be based on expected future cash flow and earnings. 

Potential investors require this information as it helps them decide whether or not the business is worth investing in.


If you want to project what the future performance of a business might be, you can do this by looking at historical trends and assumptions. This financial modeling strategy helps you identify and set expectations and goals, as well as uncover any opportunities or challenges.


It’s very important for a business to budget well and accurately, and financial modeling will allow you to plan and allocate your existing resources to the best effect and outcome.

By doing this, you can better control your costs and monitor the progress of your budget on an ongoing basis.

Scenario Analysis

Making business decisions is difficult, but with financial modeling, you can “play out” different scenarios to understand which ones will have the best outcome. 

It’s a safe way to test the impact of decisions and actions without affecting the actual business and allows you to tinker with varying inputs and assumptions until you get the outcome you want.

Decision Making

Scenario analysis is one key way financial modeling can help you make business decisions. It also provides you with relevant information and insights, which give you enough data to make rational and informed choices that positively impact your business objectives.

Risk Management

Finally, financial modeling will reveal and measure any risks associated with the financial decisions you make before you make them.

This allows you to mitigate or avoid any losses, damages, and issues while maximizing returns and benefits.

What Are the Different Types of Financial Modeling?

There are lots of different types of financial modeling, each one designed for a specific purpose, and they vary in complexity. Here are some of the most used financial modeling methods:

Three-Statement Model

This is one of the most basic models, and it works by linking the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement together. 

This shows how all the company’s financial operations are interrelated and are used to perform historical analysis and future projections of the business performance. 

This method also provides a foundation for other more complex models to build upon.

Discounted Cash Flow (DCF)

The DCF is a valuation model designed to estimate the present value of a company’s future cash flow situation. It also determines the intrinsic value of a company or project that requires investment.

The DCF estimates the free cash flow for a forecast period and calculates the terminal value of the business at the end of said forecast period. It works by discounting the free cash flow and terminal value to the present day using an appropriate discount rate (usually the weighted average cost of capital) and adding up the discounted values to get the enterprise value of the company.

Merger Model (M&A)

This analyzes the financial impact, costs, and benefits of combining two companies and reveals how the merger or acquisition will affect the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement of the combined entity.

The M&A model projects the standalone financial statements of both companies for a forecast period, then adjusts the financial statements for any merger-related items, such as goodwill, intangible assets, debt, and transaction costs, before combining the adjusted financial statements of both companies to get the pro forma financial statements of the merged entity.

Finally, it calculates key metrics and ratios of the merged entity, such as earnings per share, net income margin, return on equity, and debt-to-equity ratio.

Initial Public Offering (IPO)

The IPO projects the valuation and share price of a company if it were to go public. It determines exactly how the IPO will affect the equity value and capital structure of the company. 

This model is additionally used for identifying the potential return for investors and the optimal pricing strategy for the company. 

It works by estimating the pre-money valuation of the company based on comparable companies or transactions. Then, it determines the number of shares to be issued and sold in the IPO and calculates what the post-money valuation and implied share price of the company will be. From this, it adjusts the balance sheet for any IPO-related items and analyzes the sensitivity and scenario analysis of different IPO assumptions and outcomes.

Leveraged Buyout (LBO)

LBO evaluates the feasibility and returns of acquiring a company using debt financing. It shows how much debt can be used to buy a company and how much equity is required. 

It is also used to understand how debt will be repaid and how much return will be generated for the equity investors as well as to assess the attractiveness and riskiness of a leveraged buyout deal. 

LBO first estimates the purchase price and financing structure of the deal which allows it to project the financial statements of the target company for a forecast period. It then adjusts the financial statements for any LBO-related items and calculates the free cash flow to equity and the internal rate of return. The model also performs exit analysis and sensitivity analysis of different LBO assumptions and outcomes.


Financial modeling takes skill and expertise, so it is best left to the professionals to carry out. If you require financial modeling, get in touch with EvolveCFO, we can provide experienced individuals to help you get the best from your business.

To learn more about what we do, or to request a quote, contact us at hello@finvisor.com or 415-416-6682. We’re here to help you navigate deferred revenue journal entries so you can make the most of your assets!

*This blog does not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. This blog should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction.*



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