Cash Flow Break-Even Analysis for Budgeting

business volume

To calculate your break-even point in dollars, you need to divide your total fixed costs by what is known as the contribution margin ratio. The contribution margin is the difference between the price at which you sell your product and your total variable costs. The cash flow break-even point for a company is the level of sales that is equal to the fixed and variable expenses.

You need to know if your business will be profitable – that’s what a Profit and Loss forecast does. The process of thinking about and capturing your expectations of what will happen – in a format that allows you to make better decisions. Accounting software tracks the past and tells you whether or not you’re profitable.

This means that you are neither making nor losing money, but just breaking even. Cash flow break-even analysis differs from accounting break-even analysis, which only considers operating costs and ignores the time value of money. Break even points can be incorporated into cash flow forecasts to help create data-driven revenue and sales goals that ensure the business’s core operating costs are covered. XIRR returns the internal rate of return for a series of cash flows where you provide both the timing of the cash flows and their amounts. This will provide a more accurate result, especially if your cash flows rise and fall at different times.


Rely on BC Templates 2021 and win approvals, funding, and top-level support. The complete, concise guide to winning business case results in the shortest possible time. For twenty years, the proven standard in business, government, education, health care, non-profits. Secondly, set this cash inflow level as a target to reach for Break-Even.

It shows your total assets, total liabilities and the difference between the two, called equity. Equity is important for securing business loans because it serves as an incentive for you to pay back the loan. Once your business is up and running, your income statements will be based on actual receipts and disbursements, rather than estimates. These will help you evaluate how your business is performing over time. Other expenses are not part of operating the business or creating the good or service. These are things like interest payments on loans, capital equipment purchases, or owner’s draw.

Step 2. specificity Input Variable 2, Total Fixed Cost (F)

Sage’s acquisition of Futrli is part of its continued strategic approach to support accountants from proposal to advisory services. Accountancy firms need to act quickly to ensure that they offer their clients a range of advisory services, move with new trends, and increase revenue sources. A break-even analysis reveals when your investment is returned dollar for dollar, no more and no less, so that you have neither gained nor lost money on the venture. “In the next 3 months, we need to sell $86,000 to cover our expenses.”


To get most types of a beginners guide to small business bookkeepings, you will probably need a full business plan, so keep working through all the sections in this chapter. Developing your financial plan is one of the harder parts of writing your business plan. But if you’ve made it this far, you have some good tools for getting started. There are also business development resources to help you develop a financial plan, which are included in the Resources section at the top of this website.

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In that case, you would discount the cash flows at the end of periods 1-4. The timing of the payments to be discounted is still a bit imprecise, which can be fixed with XIRR, which I’ll discuss later. The huge assumption with NPV, aside from the cash flows, is the discount rate. A good starting point is your weighted average cost of capital. In other words, what’s the weighted average cost of the funds you will use? Let’s say the company owners expect a 10% return on their cash and can borrow money at 6%.


Using the calculator above, plug in your numbers and see how many units (ie. products) you have to sell in a typical month to cover your costs. The calculator will also tell you the total revenue you will need to bring in to cover your fixed costs PLUS the costs of delivering your product or service. In a text-book break even analysis, fixed costs would be defined as the expenses you have even if you don’t sell a single product. A break even analysis is an essential part of your business plan and your financial forecasts.

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If the project had cost $14 million, the NPV would have been -$693,272. That would indicate that the project cost would be more than the projected return. The WACC incorporates the average rate of return that shareholders in the firm are expecting for the given year. Find the premier business analysis Ebooks, templates, and apps at the Master Analyst Shop. When failure is not an option, wise project managers rely on the power of statistical process control to uncover hidden schedule risks, build teamwork, and guarantee on-time delivery.

When these have been entered the break-even point will automatically be extrapolated for four years. For more information, see our article on profit and loss forecast and gross profit margin. If you find demand for the product is soft, consider changing your pricing strategy to move product faster. However, discounted pricing can actually raise your break-even point. If you’re not careful, you’ll move product faster at the lower price but will incur more variable costs to produce more units in order to reach your break-even point. Using your break-even analysis, you can create a strategy for the future.

What is Contribution Margin?

When the competition gets serious, the edge goes to those who know how and why real business strategy works. Businesses that sell to other companies may negotiate prices individually with each customer. The next step is to find which spans, if any, contain a break-even point. Depending on the input figures, it is possible to have no ranges with a break-even point, or break-even in just one span, or break-even points multiple spans.

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A break-even analysis is a financial calculation that weighs the costs of a new business, service or product against the unit sell price to determine the point at which you will break even. In other words, it reveals the point at which you will have sold enough units to cover all of your costs. At that point, you will have neither lost money nor made a profit. Variable costs vary tremendously company-by-company and industry-by-industry. Your costs could be as simple as a fixed margin for items that you sell to highly complex calculations involving labor, fluctuating material costs, 3rd party contractors, etc.

The volume required in order to pay the total cost continually changes over time due to changes in various costs and prices. A lower break-even point means that your company has to sell fewer units or products to break even. A higher break-even point means your business has to sell more units or products to break even.

rate of return

This is the amount we need to sell to keep a neutral cash position and cover all of our expenses for that period. Fixed Expenses – are consistent regardless of the quantity of goods or services provided to customers (think payroll, rent + utilities, equipment leases, etc.). Fixed Expenses is similar in concept to your gross cash burn rate, since this represents the total cash you are spending regardless of sales activity. But one important cash projection benefit that’s often overlooked is the way they can help companies figure out when they might expect to reach their break-even point. The company must generate $12,500 in sales to cover its fixed and variable expenses, or sell 125 units at $100 a piece. Explore the contribution margin ratio and understand how to use the cash flow break-even formula.


However, there are many cash items that are not income and expense items, and vice versa. For example, the purchase of a tractor is a cash outflow if you pay cash at the time of purchase as shown in the example in Table 1. By creating a cash flow budget you can project sources and applications of funds for the upcoming time periods.

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