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Wrting a business plan - Should I do it on Word or on dedicated software?

Wrting a business plan - Should I do it on Word...

Client is tendering to buy a business in Mauritius and wants a business plan for the bank.

I have not done this before so would welcome any guidance/advice/pitfalls to watch out. I am thinking of doing this myself and getting it checked by a more experienced accountant for a fee.

Initial Googling shows that there are dedicated softwares available for this. Are these any better than Word? Should I invest in one of them?

Thanks for all the advices on this

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23rd Nov 2010 16:23

Books Word Excel

You may want to use the dedicated software as a guide or get one or two books but I would use Word AND Excel.

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24th Nov 2010 15:01

I use to be a Corporate Finance Partner...

and I tried just about every specialist software and liked none of them. They all gave a result which was - in my opinion - amateurish.

Eventually I settled on Sage Winforcast for the numbers bit and Word for the wordy bit.

Note however, Sage winforcast is not cheap - indeed, the last time I look, it was damned expensive - its and investment worth making if you are going to do this sort of work often, but if its just a one off, stick with excel.

Before you start, ensure that you have a very strong engagement letter in place establishing exactly what your engagement is, your responsibilities are and the extent of your liability. (For example are you preparing a forecast or a projection – they mean very different things to the bank and to your liability) This sort of work can become very contentious very quickly and if blundered into it you can find that the bank try to hold you responsible if the client later defaults on the facilities provided. Always agree the fee method in advance. I often worked on contingency fees, agreeing a percentage of the facility arranged and insisting that the bank make transfer to me from the loan at the time of the granting of the facility.

When you get down to it, always start with the P&L, Sales, debtor days, cashflow, then expenses, creditors days, cashflow. Then consider opening balance sheet, asset investments, loan repayments, cashflow etc. Then look at the free cash flow, ability to service commitments and what changes to your assumptions you need to make... and you will need to make changes! These types of forecasts / projections are very much about presenting an acceptable view to all concerned that appears reasonable and realistic at the same time.

Then write the wordy bit. If you want a structure for this, let me know. I don't want to teach you to suck eggs if you already have something in mind.

Finally, be aware, that Corporate Finance is as much about salesmanship as it is about accountancy. People lend to people. Get the story right and you will guarantee a successful result; a major part of this is to know your audience and pick them accordingly. Different banks and bankers look at different things. Find out as much as possible about whom you are talking to before you talk to them, if not you will waste many many hours as I did when I first started doing this sort of work.

Best regards

Albert Camus

 

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By aadil
24th Nov 2010 15:41

Thanks Peter and especially Albert,  for a detailed reply. I shall certainly accept your offer, just waiting to hear from the client on whether they want me to go ahead.

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