What Are Pro Forma Financial Statements? Definition & Examples

Such companies, however, are expecting people to forget that these expenses are real and need to be included. If you want to plan for upcoming economic changes, you need pro forma financial statements to predict future income, identify and control risks, and secure funding for your business. Planning and budgeting for business changes play crucial roles in operating a successful company.

  • It can reveal if your company will be in the negative or positive months and years from now.
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  • Pro forma financial statements are a great way to assess the financial impact of those assumptions.
  • You can address this fact simply with a final paragraph in the compilation reports, and the author may elect to include the reason for the lack of independence.

When deciding whether or not to invest in a company or a project, it’s reasonable to wonder how the future will unfold. There’s no way to predict the future with certainty, but you can analyze multiple “what if” scenarios to understand the potential outcomes. Pro forma financial statements enable investors to do that with available information. Every small business should create a budget, and the budgeted financial results are pro forma statements. An owner may create pro forma reports to assess the potential profitability of a product, or to determine if a business expansion makes financial sense. Often, the difference between a past balance sheet and a pro forma balance sheet is that the pro forma balance sheet reports additional periods, sometimes even interim figures.

How To Prepare Pro Forma Statements

There may be several sets of these pro forma documents, each based on different potential investment amounts, or just one based on what you think you need. For this projection, you need to determine where in your company the investments would be parlayed. For example, you may be able to add the investment onto the balance sheet under the cash row in the historical with acquisition pro forma template, or you may have to divide the investment under multiple rows. Check the templates in this guide to determine which is right for you to create your own. This projection looks backward (at one or more years) at another company’s financial statements. Using this combination, the projections shows how they would have done together.

Here’s a closer look at what pro forma financial statements are, how they’re created, and why they’re a key aspect of financial decision-making. A pro forma income statement uses the pro forma calculation method, mainly to draw the attention of potential investors to specific numbers when a company issues its quarterly earnings announcement. Also, mention how you came to a certain conclusion in your pro forma statements. List your assumptions, cite your sources (market research, past financial statements, etc.), and make it all available to your investors.

  • On the other hand, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or GAAP are the standards, rules and methods used by accountants in the U.S.
  • According to the SEC, this does not take the place of the pro forma balance sheet, but the pro forma income statement may be withheld.
  • Pro forma statements of cash flow estimate how much cash inflow and outflow is expected in one or more future periods.
  • The pro forma financial information should be presented in columns and show the condensed historical amounts, the pro forma adjustments, and the pro forma amounts.

These statements are used to present a view of corporate results to outsiders, perhaps as part of an investment or lending proposal. A budget may also be considered a variation on pro forma financial statements, since it presents the projected results of an organization during a future period, based on certain assumptions. A pro forma balance sheet shows what your future balance sheet may look like and can summarize your total assets and total liabilities. Banks and lenders often use them to project a business’s financial stability. Because pro forma balance sheets can showcase a company’s five-year projection, it’s also helpful for business planning.

How to Create A Pro Forma Income Statement

This isn’t to say companies are always dishonest with pro-forma earnings – pro forma doesn’t mean the numbers are automatically being manipulated. But by being skeptical when reading pro-forma earnings, you may end up saving yourself big money. To evaluate the legitimacy of pro-forma earnings, be sure to look at what the excluded costs are and decide whether or not these costs are real.

Acquisition projection

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Because these govern bookkeeping and accounting practices, including how we make financial reports they must use real historical data. Unlike pro forma statements, we can use these documents for tax preparation and filing. Whether done knowingly or unknowingly, serving pro forma statements as if they 3 ways to write a receipt were GAAP compliant statements can get you in trouble. Pro forma financial statements are financial reports based on hypothetical scenarios that utilise assumptions or financial projections. Building accurate pro forma financials requires an in-depth financial analysis of your present business.

Why Are Pro Forma Financial Statements Important?

If you’re considering a major decision, such as a business merger or a new product launch, creating pro forma statements is important. ” Owners create a set of projected financial statements, including the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement, based on a set of assumptions. Whether you’re trying to interpret pro forma financial statements or prepare them, these projections can be useful in guiding important business decisions. In fact, business owners, investors, creditors, and other key decision-makers all use pro forma financial statements to measure the potential impact of business decisions. Many of the items listed above are part of the GAAP, but not included in pro forma reporting, making it rife for possible deception.

These are often intended to be preliminary or illustrative financials that do not follow standard accounting practices. Companies use their own discretion in calculating pro forma earnings, including or excluding items depending on what they feel reflects the company’s true performance or future performance. Base your pro forma on historical data, financial and market analysis, and data-driven financial assumptions. On the other hand, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or GAAP are the standards, rules and methods used by accountants in the U.S. These rules help keep reporting and recording consistent, accurate, and legally compliant. Because pro forma statements aren’t GAAP compliant, these hypothetical numbers are just that.


Doing so can allow you to conduct a side-by-side comparison of possible outcomes to determine which is favorable and guide your planning process. In creating your pro forma documents, it is advisable to create multiple sets with different scenarios, especially when their purpose is to help make decisions. In this way, your management team (or C-suite) has all the information they need to make informed decisions. If you enable them, they have the best and worst-case scenarios that review the fiscal impact of their decisions and possible ways to mitigate risk. For more information on conducting risk analyses and the free templates to do so, see “All the Risk Assessment Matrix Templates You Need.” As an example, your team might need to decide between the acquisition of two separate businesses. You could deliver to them two sets of pro forma financial statements, and two risk assessment templates to use to discover their best option.

A company may present a pro forma statement to inform investors about their internal assessment of the financial outcome of a proposed change in the business. Pro forma means “for the sake of form” or “as a matter of form.” When it appears in financial statements, it indicates that a method of calculating financial results using certain projections or presumptions has been used. An income statement, also known as a profit and loss statement, shows the revenue and expenses of a business over a specific period.

Through the net income equation, one can determine their bottom line and how much funds they have to carry over to the next period. These are like regular financial statements, except they deal with hypothetical future financial situations. They are both important in terms of financial reporting, but they differ in terms of what they communicate.

Russell creates a pro forma income statement for next year to inform his decision. Russell follows The Ascent’s guide to forecasted financial statements to generate the document. Since we can’t predict the future, don’t rely solely on pro forma financial statements.

Whether it is investing, assets, liabilities, or other line items, make sure any forecasting done is based on good financial assumptions. Financial assumptions are predictions, forecasts, or guidelines assumed to be true that you base your financial plans on. Some examples of financial assumptions include forecasted prices of your products, revenues, or supplier rates and COGS.






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