Forespreading the earnings statement is a key part of structure a 3-statement model bereason it drives a lot of the balance sheet and cash circulation statement forecasts. In this overview, we attend to the common philosophies to forecasting the significant line items in the income statement in the conmessage of an incorporated 3-statement modeling exercise.

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Historical data

Before any type of forecasting can begin, we start by inputting historic results. The procedure entails either manual information enattempt from the 10K or push release, or using an Excel plugin via financial data companies such as Factcollection or Capital IQ to drop historical data directly right into Excel.

Here is Apple’s 2016 earnings statement:

Usual concerns when inplacing historical income statement data

When inputting historic income statement data, several issues are commonly encountered:

Deciding the level of revenue (sales) detail

Some suppliers report segment- or product-level revenue and operating information in footnotes (which roll up right into the consolidated revenue statement). For example, while Apple gives a consolidated “net sales” figure in the revenue statement, the footnotes carry out sales by product (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc.).

If it’s important that the final version consists of a scenario analysis — for instance, what if iPhone unit sales are better than expected, however the iPhone average selling price is worse than expected? — a in-depth historic segment breakout is beneficial to carry out a foundation for forecasts. Otherwise, relying on the net sales line on the earnings statement is adequate.

Line item classification

Not all companies classify their operating outcomes the same way. Some carriers will accumulation all operating prices right into one line, while others will break them right into numerous line items. If our model will certainly be provided to compare performance across various other firms, the classifications need to be apples-to-apples and regularly require us to make judgments on just how to classify line items and whether to hunt for more thorough breakdowns in the financial footnotes.

For instance, notification that Apple’s 2016 revenue statement above contains a line dubbed “Other income/(expense), net” of $1,348 million. This line aggregates interest price, interest income and various other non-operating costs, as we can check out in Apple’s 10K footnotes:

Due to the fact that 3-statement financial models should foreactors future interemainder expense based upon debt levels and interest income based upon future cash levels, we essential to recognize and use the even more comprehensive breakout provided in the footnotes.

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Companies prepare their historic earnings statement data in line with US GAAP or IFRS. That suggests income statements will not contain financial metrics choose EBITDA and Non GAAP operating revenue, which disregard specific items like stock-based compensation. As a result, we often have to dig in footnotes and other financial statements to extract the data needed to current earnings statement data in a means that’s valuable for analysis.

Putting it all together

Below is an example of exactly how to input Apple’s historic outcomes into a financial model:

If you compare it with Apple’s actual revenue statement (presented previously) you’ll notification numerous differences. In the model:

Other income is damaged out to explicitly present interest price and also interest revenue.Depreciation and amortization and also stock based compensation is explicitly identified in order to arrive at EBITDA.Growth prices and margins are calculated.

Notice the adherence to numerous financial modeling best practices including:

Formulas are colored black and inputs are blue.The version presents information from left to best (unfortunately providers report outcomes from right to left).Decimal places are consistent (2 for per-share data, none in Apple’s case for operating results).Negative numbers are in parentheses.Expenses are all negative (not all models follow this convention — the essential here is consistency).

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Once the historical information is inputted into the design, forecasts deserve to be made. Before diving in, let’s develop a few realities of forecasting.

Effective forespreading has actually exceptionally little to execute via modeling

While our focus in this post is to give you guidance on the mechanics of efficient modeling, a much more vital facet of forespreading is something this guide cannot provide: A deep understanding of the business and also sector in question. To foreactors a company’s revenue, an analyst need to have actually an knowledge of the company’s company model, essential customers, addressable sector, competitive position and also sales strategy. Garbage in = garbage out, as the old saying goes.

Your function will identify how a lot time you spfinish on getting the assumptions right

Most investment banking experts spend very bit time conducting the due diligence compelled to arrive at their very own assumptions. Instead, they rely on equity study and monitoring estimates to administer a “monitoring case” and also “street case” for future performance. Then the analyst ideally builds various other instances that need to display what would certainly occur if the street and also management situations don’t materialize. That’s why the majority of people knock investment banking models as all style and no substance. On the other hand also, a buy side or private equity analyst will spfinish far more time knowledge the businesses they are considering as an investment. If they get the presumptions wrong, after all, their retransforms will certainly suffer.

Messy models are useless

Assumptions are the a lot of vital part of getting a design “appropriate.” But a version that is messy, error-susceptible and is not incorporated will certainly never be a helpful tool despite great underlying presumptions.



The revenue (or sales) foreactors is arguably the single many necessary forecast in most 3-statement models. Mechanically, there are 2 prevalent ideologies for forecasting revenue:

Grow earnings by inplacing an aggregate growth price.Segment level detail and a price x volume approach.

Approach 1. is straightforward. In our example, Apple’s revenue growth last year was 9.2%. If, for example, the analyst meant that growth price to persist throughout the foreactors duration, revenue would ssuggest be grvery own at that price.

Segment level detail and a price x volume approach

Conversely, if the analyst has actually a thesis on alters in price and volume by segment, a more in-depth foreactors approach is forced. In this case, the analyst would make explicit presumptions for volume and also price by each segment. In this instance, rather of explicitly forecasting a consolidated development price, the consolidated development price is an output of the model based upon the price/volume segment buildup.

Segment level information and also a price volume buildup for Apple


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Cost of products sold

Make a percent gross profit margin (gross profit/revenue) or portion COGS margin (COGS/revenue) presumption and also recommendation that back into the dollar amount of COGS. Historical margins help to administer a benchmark which the analyst deserve to either straight-line into the foreactors duration or reflect a thesis that emerges from a particular viewpoint (which the analyst creates on their own, or even more likely from equity research).

Operating expenses

Operating costs incorporate selling expenses, general and bureaucratic expenses and also research and also breakthrough costs. All of these costs are thrust by revenue development or by an explicit expectation for feasible changes in margin. For example, if last year’s SG&A margin was 21.4%, an “We don’t have actually a thesis on SG&A”-forecast for next year would ssuggest be to striaght-line the prior year’s 21.4% margin. Obviously, if we execute intend alters, it would certainly usually be reflected with an explicit readjust to the margin assumptions.

Depreciation and also amortization

Depreciation and also amortization expenses are generally not classified clearly on the earnings statement. Rather, they are embedded within various other operating expense categories. However before, you typically need to forecast D&A in order to arrive at an EBITDA foreactors. Because D&A costs are a duty of historical and expected future funding expenditures and purchases of intangible assets, they are actually foreactors as part of the balance sheet buildup and also referenced back into the income statement after the buildup is complete.

Stock-based compensation expense

Like D&A, stock-based compensation is embedded within other operating expense categories, but the historical quantities have the right to be clearly discovered on the cash circulation statement. Stock-based compensation is generally foreactors as a percent of revenue.

Forespreading interemainder expense

Like forespreading depreciation and also amortization, forespreading interest expense is done as part of the balance sheet buildup in a debt schedule and is a function of projected debt balances and the projected interemainder rate.

Interemainder cost is established based on the company’s debt balances and also interemainder revenue is determined based on the company’s cash balances. Analysts calculate interest in financial models making use of one of 2 approaches:

Interest rate x average duration debtFor example, if your design is forespreading a $100m debt balance in the finish of 2019 and also $200m at the end of 2020, at an assumed interest rate of 5%, the interemainder cost would be calculated as $150m (average balance) x 5% = $7.5m.Interemainder rate x start period debtUnder this technique, you would calculate interest off the start of period balance (which is last year’s finish of duration balance) of $100m x 5% = $5m.

Which method is better?

Conceptually, forecasting using average debt is taken into consideration even more logical because debt balances adjust over the period. However before, debt (and even more especially revolver debt) is regularly offered as plug in a model, and also when using average debt, this creates a circularity in the version. Circularity is problematic in Excel, and that’s why experts frequently use start debt balances instead. To learn even more around circularity, go to the “Circularity” section of this short article around financial modeling best methods.

Interest income

While revolver debt is usually the deficit plug, cash is the surplus plug such that any kind of excess cash flows forecast by the version normally lead to better cash balances on the balance sheet. This implies that we attend to the exact same circularity issues below as we execute once forecasting interemainder earnings. Interest revenue is a role of projected cash balances and also the projected interemainder rate earned on idle cash. We deserve to just foreactors it when we complete both the balance sheet and the cash circulation statement. Like interest price, analysts have the right to calculate interemainder by making use of either the beginning- or average-duration technique. And choose interest price, if you forecast interest earnings based on average cash balances, you’ll be producing a circularity.

Other non-operating items

In enhancement to interest earnings and interemainder cost, service providers might have other non-operating income and also prices presented on the revenue statement, for which the nature is not clearly disclosed. Those items are commonly ideal foreactors on a straight-line basis (as opposed to operating expenses, which are typically tied to revenue growth).


Normally, ssuggest straight-lining the last historic year’s taxation rate is adequate. However before, there are times wright here taxes rates historically are not indicative of what a company have the right to sensibly mean to face later. Find Out more about this in our post on modeling taxation prices.

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Shares exceptional and income per share

The last aspect of the revenue statement foreactors is forespreading shares impressive and also EPS. We cover this in our primer on forecasting shares and EPS.