The financial plan is a dynamic instrument and an essential management tool. What should it include? Who can help?
What is a financial plan ?
The financial plan is a quantified report that presents the projected figures for the business activities to be carried out and the financial resources that the company must have to achieve this. You should develop the financial plan after you've analyzed the market and set clear objectives (as the financial plan translates the elements collected during the market reseach into numbers). As the objective is to achieve a certain profitability, prospective financial data are required.
What is the point of a financial plan?
The financial plan is a dynamic instrument and a precious management tool: it must allow you to take stock at any time relative to the targets you set, and to readjust them if necessary. The latter allows you to determine with more or less certainty if the income generated by your activity will be enough to cover all of your running costs (including your salary), even to make a profit.
You should already know that it is common not to break even during the first accounting year. However, if your plan sets out that the situation will not be profitable in the first three years of the activity, the project should be seriously re-examined.
What is required by law ?
The financial plan is often a legal obligation during the setup of a company: it must be filed with a notary. The forecasts must cover the first three years of the activity.
If a company fails within this period, the commercial court may request that the plan be adjusted. If it appears that your company under-capitalized (you did not allow sufficient funds to cover the launch of the company), your personal liability may be engaged.
However, you should also be aware that, unlike the balance sheet or the profit and loss account, the law does not require a specific structure for the preparation of such a document.
Download a financial plan template
Various models exist and all have the same objective. For example, you can use the model developed by 1819:
Brussels partners can help you to prepare this plan
Local economy offices, business centers, universities: ...there are numerous public organisations or support structures supported by the public authorities that can offer specific support, particularly for preparing a financial plan. You can find them under the section "Who can help me" on this website.
Those who want to can also receive a first consultation for free from an approved accountant specializing in startups. This pro-bono service is organised with support from the region. To arrange a meeting, contact BECI, the Brussels chamber of commerce.