Pro-Forma: Step by Step Guide


Revenue Introduction Text

Selecting a Product Type: Subscriptions vs. Unit Sales

Add your Products/Services to forecast Revenue as either Subscriptions (recurring revenue from one sale) or Unit Sales (not recurring).

Unit Sales: every sale is a one-time purchase.

Subscription: every sale is the start of a recurring contract. Only forecast the new signups. The model calculates the recurring ones based on the attrition (churn).

Name your Product/Service

Name your Product or Service effortlessly. You can always rename it later.

Forecast Sales

Create a separate “Product/Service” for each of your revenue streams. You can use the automatic forecast or paste the number of sales from a spreadsheet.

Unit Sales Product

Unit Sales revenue forecasts the number of units to be sold in each month at a given price

Revenue Inputs


This price is multiplied by the number of sales to get revenue.

For a subscription, enter the effective monthly price, even if you bill quarterly or annually. For example, if your subscription is $240 per year, enter $20 here as the Monthly Price.

Why do we ask for the MONTHLY price?

Even if your subscription is billed quarterly or annually, revenue is recognized in the month the service is provided. In a $240 annual subscription, $20 of value is provided every month, so $20 of revenue should be recognized each month instead of $240 in the first month. Since the cash is collected up front, this also requires a “Deferred Revenue” liability to be created on the balance sheet. “Deferred Revenue” represents the cash collected that has not yet been earned as revenue.

What if I don’t have a fixed price?

For certain pricing structures, you will need to set up the products/services a bit differently.

Pricing based on project size

Let’s say your pricing for a project is based on the number of square feet. You can’t forecast exactly how many square feet each project will have, so we recommend forecasting based on the average size project. You can also model two different services to represent “small projects” and “large projects”.

Fixed plus variable:

Let’s say your pricing for a project is $1,000 plus $100 per hour. In this case, create two offerings, one priced $1,000 and the other $100. In the first one, forecast the number of projects, and in the second forecast the number of hours spent on those projects.

Annual Price Increase

Enter the increase in price to be applied at the beginning of each calendar year. Most businesses will increase their prices over a 5-year period, but you can always set this to 0 for a simpler forecast.


Price = $100

Annual Price Increase = 10%


1st year price = $100; 2nd year price = $110; 3rd year price = $121; etc.

Subscription Length

This is the frequency at which a subscription is renewed and billed.

First, this affects the renewal. Assume the renewal rate is 90%.

  • If the Subscription Length is “Month-to-Month”, then the subscription will be up for renewal every month. Only 90% of the subscribers last month will carry over to this month. One year later, only 28 of 100 original subscribers would be left.
  • If the Subscription Length is annual and the renewal rate is 90%, those subscribers will continue throughout the course of the year and 10% will drop off at the end of the year.

Second, this determines the billing frequency. For an annual subscription, the customers can be billed either monthly, quarterly, or annually. For purposes of this model, the customers are billed at the beginning of the period, but you can adjust the “Cash Collection” to determine how quickly they pay.

Renewal Rate (%)

This is the rate at which a subscription is renewed. 90% means at the time of renewal, 90% of customers will renew.

The model uses this to calculate the number of returning subscribers each month, so you only have to forecast the number of new sales, not total sales.

You can edit the “Subscription Length” to determine whether subscriptions renew monthly or annually.

Cash Collection

Select the timing of when cash for a sale is collected.

This does not affect the amount of revenue, since revenue is recognized in the month that it is earned, not when the cash is collected.

However, it does affect “Accounts Receivable” and “Cash”. The timing of when cash is collected can have a substantial impact on a business’ ability to grow.

As an extreme example, has a powerful business model because it can collect cash from a sale up front, and pay the suppliers and distributors weeks or months later. This means more cash is available to invest in growth.

If Amazon had to purchase the labor and materials to serve their customers before they got paid, their Net Income would look the same, but the amount of cash on hand would decrease dramatically. They would likely have to raise money in order to grow.

Forecast Method

Select how you want to forecast sales.

For unit sales, this is the number of units sold each month. This is multiplied by the Price to calculate revenue for that month.

For subscriptions, this is the number of NEW subscriptions sold each month. The model automatically projects the number of recurring subscriptions and multiplies that by the Monthly Price to calculate revenue for that month.

You can forecast sales in 4 ways.

  • Monthly Detail: paste in your own forecast from a spreadsheet into the 12 x 5 grid. This is most useful when your business experiences a few intermittent sales or a seasonal growth pattern.
  • Exponential Growth: enter the number of sales at the beginning and end of the model, and the model will calculate the numbers in between. You can also adjust when you will start and stop selling this particular product.
  • Straight-line Growth: same as exponential growth, but the number of sales grows the same amount each month.
  • Link to Parent: connect this forecast to the forecast of another Product/Service. You can adjust what percent is carried over, and even add a time period between one sale and the other. This is often used for a software app where users get a free or basic version one month and then a certain percentage will upgrade a month later. Another common example is when customers purchase a hardware product (unit sales) and start the software subscription (subscription) at the same time.

Why does my revenue look too high?

If you are modeling a subscription, the app automatically calculates the number of returning subscribers from previous months and adds that to the number of new subscribers this month. Check that you are only modeling NEW subscriptions, not TOTAL subscriptions.

Why don’t I see all the revenue for an annual subscription?

If I charge a user $120 for an annual subscription in January, you might expect to see $120 in revenue in January. However, accrual accounting rules require that revenue is recognized in the month when it is earned, not necessarily when the cash is collected. The model will recognize $120 of cash in January but only show $10 of revenue per month for the 12 months of the subscription. The rest of the revenue is “deferred” as a liability until it is earned.

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