Forecasting models help organizations accurately predict financial outcomes and make strategic decisions. A forecasting model can be constructed using a three-way financial model, which is comprised of the Income Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statement. This blog post will discuss the benefits of using a three-way financial model and how to construct a forecasting model based on these statements.

Definition and Purpose of Forecasting Models

Forecasting models are mathematical models that use historic financial data to project future financial outcomes. These models can can help guide decisions about areas like pricing, investments, staffing, and budgeting.

Benefits of Using Three-Way Financial Models

Using the three-way financial model is a great way to structure forecasting models because it applies to the key elements of financial performance. By evaluating the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement together, organizations can gain a holistic view of financial performance and assess potential risks or opportunities across all financial units. Additionally, the three-way financial model also allows for more accurate forecasts as all components are directly linked to one another.

  • Income Statement: provides insights into the revenues, expenses and profits of a company
  • Balance Sheet: provides information on the assets and liabilities of a company
  • Cash Flow Statement: provides information on the cash inflows and outflows of a company

Key Takeaways

  • Forecasting models use historic financial data to predict future financial outcomes.
  • A three-way financial model comprises the Income Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statement.
  • Using the three-way financial model allows for a more holistic view of financial performance and more accurate forecasts of future financial outcomes.

Gathering Necessary Data

Accurately forecasting the future financial performance of a business requires knowledge of the firm’s current financial performance and historical data. Thus, gathering the necessary data is the first step in developing a three-way financial model. This data can be gathered from a company's internal financial statements and external sources, as needed.

Step 1: Determine Time Periods to Consider

When gathering data for the three-way model, first determine an appropriate range of years for which data must be collected. This period should be significant enough to contain significant market changes, if any. Determining the appropriate time period will depend on the complexity of the model, the industry the business is operating in, and the purpose of the analysis.

Step 2: Analyse Current Financial Statements

The next step is to analyse the company’s financial statements. This may include the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. These documents will provide information such as revenue, costs, profits, and other financial metrics that can be used in the financial model. With this information, the financial analyst will be able to figure out the income and expenses for the organisation over the determined time period.

Step 3: Collect Data from Secondary Sources (if necessary)

Depending on the model and its purpose, the financial analyst may need to collect data from external sources in addition to the financial statements. This could include gathering data on the industry, such as market size, forecasted growth, competitors’ data, etc. Additionally, analysts may receive historical data from external sources such as government organizations and industry associations.

Once the data is collected, the analyst can begin constructing the three-way financial model and forecasting the future performance of the business. With the right data and a solid model in place, the analyst can make reliable predictions and provide valuable insight to the company.

Developing the Model

Developing a three-way financial model can help you make informed financial decisions. The three-way financial model consists of three important components, namely the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement, which are used to forecast the projected income, financial position and cash flows of a company, respectively. Here are the steps to developing a forecasting model using the three-way financial model.

Step 1: Identify Goals & Objectives

The first step in developing a forecasting model is to identify and set realistic goals and objectives. This will ensure that you have clear targets to reach and that everything you do adheres to your strategy. It is also important to clearly define your data sources, which will inform the forecast assumptions.

Step 2: Set Assumptions and Scenarios

The second step in developing a forecasting model is to set assumptions and scenarios. This involves looking at past data and financial information to identify key trends and factors that will determine the validity of your assumptions. This means that you need to set key assumptions and scenarios that will help you accurately simulate different future outcomes. This could include forecasting assumptions such as sales volume, prices and cost elements, as well as factoring in different economic and industry-related influences.

Step 3: Construct the Forecasting Model

The third and final step in developing a forecasting model is to construct it. You need to build a framework that will act as the basis for your forecasts. This includes creating the three-way financial model and entering the assumptions and scenarios that you established in the previous step. Once you have this done, you will be able to make an educated guess as to the future potential of your business.

Once you have constructed the model, you can test out different scenarios and data inputs. This will help you understand what factors could affect the future of your business and how to use the model to make better decisions. You should also keep recalibrating the model to make sure it is up-to-date with the latest data and inputs. This will provide you with an up-to-date and reliable forecast when making key financial decisions.

Forecasting with a Three-Way Financial Model

A three-way financial model is an essential tool in the forecasting and budgeting process. In a three-way model, the essential components (income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement) offinancial reporting are combined into one comprehensive tool. Here are the steps for developing a forecasted financial model using a three-way model.

Step 1: Analyzing the Income Statement

The income statement is the foundation of the three-way financial model and provides a “snapshot” of the company’s financial performance. To begin the forecasting process, it is essential to analyze the company’s current financial position and the forces driving its revenues and expenses. This step requires an examination of line items in the income statement such as sales, cost of goods sold, taxes, and other operating expenses. This analysis should include an examination of historical trends such as revenue growth, profitability and profitability drivers.

Step 2: Forecast Revenues to Determine Pre-Tax Income

Once the analysis of the income statement is completed, the next step is to forecast revenues for the period being forecasted. The forecast of revenue should be based on historical performance as well as industry trends, economic conditions, and expected changes in the company’s customer base and product mix. As revenue is forecasted, the other income statement line items should also be adjusted accordingly to determine the company’s pre-tax income.

Step 3: Forecast Depreciation and Amortization Expenses

Depreciation and amortization expenses should be forecasted based on past and expected capital expenditures, as well as expected economic depreciation. Additionally, non-cash expenses such as stock-based compensation should also be forecasted and added to the forecasted depreciation and amotization expenses. By forecasting these expenses, the forecasted net income for the period can be determined.

Evaluating the Model

The three-way financial model is a powerful tool that can be used to project the financial performance of an organization in the future. However, like any forecasting tool, accuracy is key. Before using the model to make major financial decisions, it is important to evaluate the model and ensure it is as accurate as possible.

Step 1: Assess Assumptions and Scenarios

The accuracy of any forecasting model depends upon the assumptions it makes and the scenarios it accounts for. In the case of the three-way financial model, it is wise to review the assumptions and scenarios used in the model. Are they realistic and accurate? Are there any important scenarios that have been omitted? Answering these questions will help ensure that the model is as accurate as possible.

Step 2: Evaluate the Accuracy of the Model

Once the assumptions and scenarios have been reviewed, the next step is to evaluate the accuracy of the model. The most common way of doing this is to compare the model’s predictions with actual financial performance. If there is a significant difference, it could indicate that the model is not as accurate as it should be.

Step 3: Revise the Model as Necessary

If the model is not as accurate as it needs to be, it should be revised to account for any issues found during the evaluation process. This can include adjusting the assumptions and scenarios, as well as changing the data sources and the methodology used to generate the model. Once the revisions have been made, the accuracy of the model should be evaluated again.


Having a sound forecasting model is necessary to understand a business’s financial standing, and the Three-Way Financial Model is an excellent tool that can be utilized to develop such models. The purpose of this post was to provide an overview of the Three-Way Financial Model and to give an overview of how to create a forecast model utilizing this system.

Benefits of Utilizing the Three-Way Financial Model for Forecasting

The Three-Way Financial Model provides a clear and concise way to understand both the short and long-term financial picture of a business. Because of its flexibility and inherent understanding of how risk and accounting principles impact the financials, it is easy to make informed decisions with regards to financial models. Additionally, it allows for multiple scenarios to be created and analyzed easily so that businesses can choose the best path forward for their operations.

Further Considerations for Model Validation

Before using the Three-Way Financial Model for forecasting, it is important to validate it with proper accounting principles and test it against historic and current data. Additionally, stress tests should be conducted to ensure that the accuracy of the model is sufficient for the purposes intended. Finally, it is important to remember that financial forecasting models must be revisited and revised periodically in order to remain relevant and accurate.

All in all, the Three-Way Financial Model can be a powerful tool used to develop financial forecasting models. With careful review, validation and consultation with professionals, forecasting models created from the Three-Way Financial Model can be used to inform sound and well-rounded decisions for any business.


Developing forecasting models using three-way financial models can provide businesses with more accurate projections of their future financial performance. This guide has outlined the necessary steps to get started with forecasting models, as well as the associated benefits that come with obtaining accurate and reliable forecasts.

Summary of Steps for Developing Forecasting Models with Three-Way Financial Models

  • Identify the data elements needed for a three-way financial model.
  • Gather the necessary data from a variety of sources.
  • Develop a timeline that aligns with the forecasting goals.
  • Define key financial assumptions.
  • Build out the three-way financial model.
  • Run sensitivity analyses.
  • Produce reports, charts, and graphs to illustrate the findings.

Benefits of Acquiring Accurate Forecasts for Business

  • Provide more accurate predictions of revenue, expenses, and overall financial performance.
  • Allow businesses to make more informed decisions based on reliable data.
  • Help to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses within the business.
  • Allow businesses to form better budgeting strategies.
  • Help to guide businesses in the right direction for optimal performance.
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