When you want something done right…
Every company is different, and, as such, there is no single financial plan template that works across most businesses. In fact, in my experience, starting with a template required more time and effort than starting from scratch, as every template includes some assumptions and formulas that need to be changed.
Additionally, while working with hundreds of entrepreneurs on their financial plans, the biggest issue I’ve seen is that many of those entrepreneurs started with a template, and, because of that, they cannot explain how it works. For instance, they do not know how any given value in a spreadsheet cell is computed.
One key purpose of building a financial model is to understand how the money flows through a business, and, to do this, you need to understand how the money flows through the spreadsheet. It is much easier to understand a spreadsheet you build yourself than one that was originally created by someone else.
Finally, a financial plan can be trusted only if you know for certain that the numbers it spits out are correct. The more complex the spreadsheet, the more likely there are “bugs” in the formula or hidden assumptions that could be false. By starting from a blank sheet, you are forced to start with a simple model. This makes the results more trustworthy, since every detail is carefully thought through as you change and improve the spreadsheet.