A business case is used to prove to clients, stakeholders and investors that the product, idea or initiative you're pitching is a sound one. Including thorough financial information in a business case is essential and can provide the necessary justification for management, investors and key stakeholders to support your initiative.
Business cases require a financial section as the basis of approval for highlighting the cost of investments, ongoing costs as well as financial impacts such as ROI, IRR, and NPV of your idea. A business case should also include the financial assumptions you have applied, such as discount rate and NPV time horizon.
Financial analysis results supporting business cases will differ from case to case. Financial analysis results supporting expanding business operations will also have different information when compared with financials for start-ups. Your organisation may also specify specific assumptions and metrics to include in your business case, which would indicate overall expectations.
So, if you’re looking to write the financial section of a business case, here are some tips to guide you:
- State Your Assumptions – These assumptions need to be in line with what is covered in all the relevant sections of your business case. In some organisations, there may be more than one person working on a business case, and as such, it can be easy to get inconsistent messaging or assumptions flow through your document.
- Develop A Cashflow Analysis – Your business case should include a section for an overview of the cash you expect to generate and spend.
- Display An Income Statement & Balance Sheet – Once cash flow analysis is done, it is essential to present it in a profit and loss format. This allows presenting the options in a more condensed format across estimates (for the life of the project or five years). The typical format includes sales, costs directly associated with sales, operating expenses, tax, and depreciation expenses. Profitability can also be presented within the Income Statement Table.
- Indicate Net Present Value (NPV) & Break-Even (BE) Point – This part of the analysis dives into answering questions around which project generates better value for the company. These calculations also show an economic evaluation of investment options and profitability. Management will be looking for the project with the highest NPV and shortest BE period. You can read more on this and other methods in the Cost-Benefit Analysis article. It is particularly essential to get the assumptions in these calculations right.
- Identify Funding Requirements – Some projects require financing. This section should cover details of how much is needed, loan requirements and borrowing terms.
In summary, presenting financial analysis results in an easy-to-read format can help readers follow and assess project or initiative proposals.
Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, so including a graphical presentation of your financial analysis results in an easy-to-read format will make a good impression and help the reader understand the financial implications and justification for investing in the proposed initiative.