A three-way financial model is a type of financial forecasting tool used to help gauge future economic performance. It consists of three essential components: an income statement, a balance sheet and a cash flow statement. Each of these components provides a comprehensive view of the finances of an entity and provides valuable insights into the trends and risks associated with the underlying business.

Components of a Three-Way Financial Model

  • Income Statement – This section contains income and expense data to assess the past performance and help predict future performance of a company.
  • Balance Sheet - This section contains asset and liability data to provide an overall financial picture of the company.
  • Cash Flow Statement – This section contains cash in and out data to help judge the liquidity of a company.

Key Takeaways

  • A three-way financial model can be used to forecast future economic performance.
  • It consists of three essential components: an income statement, a balance sheet and a cash flow statement.
  • Income statement and balance sheet components provide insights into the trends and risks associated with the underlying business.
  • Cash flow statement component provides valuable insights into liquidity of the company.

Building a Revenue Model

When building a three-way financial model, a vital element is creating a revenue model. A good revenue model can show trends in the past and help you accurately forecast future revenue. Here are the steps you should take to create a three-way financial model.

Estimate Total Revenue

The first step in creating your three-way financial model is to estimate the total revenue you expect to generate through your business operations over a given period of time. Estimating total revenue can be done by forecasting sales, income, and accounts receivable. To do this, take an inventory of all existing customers, count new customers, track customer payment history, and examine any other factors that might affect revenue such as price changes and discounts.

Calculate Gross Income

Once you have estimated total revenue, you will want to calculate the gross income your business can expect to generate. Gross income is the income generated from operations, minus any taxes or other expenses. To calculate this, you will need to add up all sales, subtract taxes, and take into account any discounts or returns. Once you have subtracted all these expenses, you will have a reliable estimate for gross income.

Account for Operating Expenses

The next step in creating a three-way financial model is to account for operating expenses. Operating expenses include all costs associated with running the business, such as payroll, rent, utilities, marketing, and any other overhead costs. Calculate the total cost of operating your business by adding up all of these expenses. Once you have your total operating expenses, subtract them from your estimated gross income to get your net operating income.

Objectively Forecast Future Revenue

Finally, to create a three-way financial model, you must objectively forecast future revenue. This is done by looking at past trends and extrapolating the data to predict what revenue will look like in the future. To do this, take an inventory of your existing customers and count new customers to form an idea of future demand. Also, use market research to gain an understanding of potential growth opportunities, seasonality, and any external factors that could affect revenue.

Establishing an Expenditure Model

Creating a three-way financial model is an important step for any business. The expenditure model enables an organization to assess the cost of their current, past, and future operations. This can provide invaluable insight into the long-term viability of operations.

Estimate Fixed Costs

The first step in creating an expenditure model is estimating all the fixed costs associated with the business. These include any overhead costs, rent, or mortgage payments, as well as any other expenses that occur on a regular basis. Making a list of all fixed expenses can help you understand where the bulk of your money is being spent.

Estimate Variable Costs

It is also important to consider any variable costs associated with running the business. These include costs such as salaries, fuel, and materials that may vary from month to month. Estimating these costs can help provide an accurate picture of the total cost of operations.

Anticipate Future Costs

When creating a three-way financial model, it is important to anticipate any future costs that may arise. This includes any potential investments or expansions as well as other expenses related to future operations. Thinking ahead can help ensure that there are resources available to finance any forthcoming expenses.

Allocate Financial Resources

Once all of the costs have been estimated, the next step is to allocate financial resources. This includes determining how much money is available for current and upcoming expenses. It is important to consider long-term investments as well as short-term needs. Having an accurate view of available funds can help guide financial decisions and ensure that operations remain within budget.

Creating an expenditure model is an important step in creating a three-way financial model. Estimating fixed and variable costs as well as anticipating future costs can provide invaluable insight into the total cost of operations. Allocating financial resources can also help ensure that the business remains within budget.

Creating an Operational Model

Creating a three-way financial model can be a complex undertaking, but it is essential for accurate long-term financial planning. The model helps investors understand the true financial health of a company and its capacity for future growth. One of the most important elements of the model is the operational model, which outlines the day-to-day operations of a business and helps determine its actual performance.

Identify Key Performance Indicators

The first step in creating a successful operational model is to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) for the business. KPIs are metrics used to measure the performance of a business over time. They can include net sales, operating expenses, return on assets, and more. Identifying these KPIs allows a business to track their progress against goals over time and make suggestions for improvement.

Create a Balance Sheet Model

The second step in creating an operational model is to create a balance sheet model. A balance sheet is a snapshot of a business’s financial health at a certain point in time. It includes assets, liabilities and equity, which are all important to understand when creating an operational model. The balance sheet can help a business gain insight into their financial performance and make decisions that will lead to future growth.

Develop Forecasting Metrics

The third step in developing an operational model is to create forecasting metrics. Forecasting metrics are used to project future performance based on historical data. They can be used to anticipate future trends and provide a basis for strategic planning. Developing forecasting metrics for an operational model allows a business to anticipate possible outcomes and develop strategies to mitigate any risks.

Clearly Determine Costs Savings

The final step in creating an operational model is to clearly determine cost savings. Cost savings are cost reductions that a business can achieve through strategic planning. Cost savings can be achieved by improving processes, increasing efficiency, and implementing cost-cutting measures. Cost savings can help a business achieve its desired financial goals and increase its return on investment.

Modeling Predefined Financial Goals

A financial model helps makes investment decisions by considering different economic scenarios. With the right financial model, businesses can estimate future outcomes based on financial data available. Financial modeling also helps businesses set goals, measure risk and evaluate opportunities. This blog post provides a guide to creating a three-way financial model so businesses can take advantage of greater visibility and benefit from better decision making.

Evaluate Investment Opportunities

The three-way financial model begins by evaluating investment opportunities within the model. This is done by analyzing the possible returns of a given investment and determining the timing. Businesses must also consider whether the investments are able to absorb volatility, thus reducing the overall risk of the investments. Investments should also be easy to liquidate and have a low correlation to the existing investments.

Assign Metrics to KPI's

The next step is to assign metrics to key performance indicators (KPI’s). This involves establishing the performance targets for the investments. For example, what is the desired rate of return for the investment? What is the risk tolerance of the investment? What is the desired timeline for the investment? These metrics should be tracked and monitored as the financial model is refined and goals are met.

Calculate Financial Risk

The next step in creating the three-way financial model is to calculate financial risk. Financial risk is the amount of change in the value of an asset within a specific time period, but it can also refer to the probability of an undesirable outcome. This can be done by using measures such as value at risk, volatility and beta.

Review Results

Once the calculations are complete, the results should be reviewed and compared to the predefined goals. Any discrepancies should be addressed. Additionally, any other assumptions that were made should also be reviewed to ensure accuracy.

Creating a three-way financial model can provide businesses with greater visibility into their investments and help them make better decisions. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, businesses can create their own financial model to evaluate investment opportunities, assign metrics to KPI’s, calculate financial risk, and review results.

Finalization and Checklist

Finalizing a three-way financial model is an important step to ensure accuracy and completeness. It should be done after all data and assumptions have been entered. Depending on the complexity of the model, this process may require significant time and resources. After the finalization process is complete, a checklist should be created and reviewed to confirm that all relevant steps have been taken.

Validate Assumptions

The first step in finalizing a three-way financial model is to validate all assumptions. This involves making sure that all numbers used as input in the model are correct and accurate. This is essential for ensuring that the resulting outputs are reliable and meaningful. Additionally, it helps ensure that the inputs reflect the most recent market conditions and trends.

Troubleshoot Data

Once all assumptions have been validated, the next step is to troubleshoot any data that may lead to errors or discrepancies in the model. This may require double-checking the data input, or consulting a financial advisor or other expert. In some cases, it may be necessary to restructure or adjust the model parameters in order to arrive at a more accurate output.

Finalize Documentation

Finally, all documentation associated with the model should be finalized. This includes any notes or comments related to assumptions, assumptions input into the model, and other information related to the model’s structure or methodology. It is important to ensure that all relevant information is documented so that it is easily accessible in the future.


Creating a three-way financial model is a great way to plan for the long-term success of a business. By considering the ways in which income, expenses, and cash flows interact, businesses can better understand their overall financial health and make informed decisions about the future.

A three-way financial model should involve accurate, up-to-date accounting of all company income, expenses, and cash flow. This information should be obtained from trusted sources, and should be kept safe and secure to prevent any potential mismanagement of company funds.

Using a three-way financial model will help businesses make informed decisions, plan for future opportunities, and determine the best ways to allocate resources. This model can help companies reach their financial goals and increase their overall success.

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