How to Create a Financial Forecast for Your Small Business Using Profit First Principles

financial forecast

How to Create a Financial Forecast for Your Small Business Using Profit First Principles

Creating a financial forecast for your small business is crucial for effective cash flow management and planning. Using the Profit First principles, you can develop a more accurate and actionable forecast that will help you make better financial decisions. In this blog post, we'll discuss the steps to create a financial forecast using Profit First principles, specifically tailored for UK small businesses.

1. Understand the Profit First Principles

Profit First is a cash management system designed to help businesses prioritise profit and ensure long-term financial stability. The main principles of Profit First involve allocating a percentage of revenue to profit, owner's pay, taxes, and operating expenses. By prioritising profit, you can improve cash flow management and develop a healthier financial outlook for your business.

2. Analyse Your Current Financial Situation

Before creating your financial forecast, it's essential to have a clear understanding of your current financial situation. Review your income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements to assess your business's financial health. Using cloud accounting software like Xero can help you generate accurate and up-to-date financial reports.

3. Set Realistic Revenue Projections

Develop realistic revenue projections for the upcoming months or years, taking into account factors such as market trends, seasonality, and growth potential. Be conservative in your estimates and consider creating multiple scenarios to prepare for unexpected changes in the market or economy.

4. Allocate Revenue Using Profit First Percentages

Once you have your revenue projections, allocate your revenue according to the Profit First percentages. This will involve setting aside a specific percentage for profit, owner's pay, taxes, and operating expenses. These allocations will help you create a more accurate financial forecast and ensure that you prioritise profit and financial stability.

5. Forecast Expenses and Cash Flow

Using the allocated revenue, forecast your expenses and cash flow for the upcoming months or years. This will involve estimating costs for items such as salaries, rent, utilities, and inventory. Be sure to consider any planned investments or growth initiatives that may impact your cash flow.

Using Xero's budgeting and forecasting tools can help you create accurate cash flow projections and monitor your progress throughout the year.

6. Review and Adjust Your Forecast Regularly

A financial forecast is not a static document but should be reviewed and adjusted regularly to reflect changes in your business and the market. Monitor your actual financial performance against your forecast and update your projections as needed. This will help you stay on track with your Profit First goals and make better financial decisions for your business.


Creating a financial forecast using Profit First principles is an effective way to prioritise profit and improve your small business's financial planning. By analysing your current financial situation, setting realistic revenue projections, and allocating revenue according to Profit First percentages, you can develop a more accurate and actionable forecast. Reviewing and adjusting your forecast regularly will help you stay on track with your financial goals and ensure long-term success for your small business.

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About the Author

Annette Ferguson 

Owner of Annette & Co. - Chartered Accountants & Certified Profit First Professionals. Helping online service-based entrepreneurs find clarity in their numbers, increase wealth and have more money in their pockets.