Sensitivity Analysis Table Template
This sensitivity analysis table template helps you predict sales revenue based on changes in input variables including traffic growth, unit price, and sales volume.
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Sensitivity Analysis is a tool used in financial modeling to analyze how the different values of a set of independent variables affect a specific dependent variable under certain specific conditions. In general, Sensitivity Analysis is used in a wide range of fields – from biology and geography to economics and engineering.
A Financial Sensitivity Analysis, also known as a What-If analysis or a What-If simulation exercise, is most commonly used by financial analysts to predict the outcome of a specific action when performed under certain conditions. It is done within defined boundaries that are determined by the set of independent (input) variables.
The analysis is performed in Excel under the Data section of the ribbon and the “What-if Analysis” button, which contains Goal Seek and Data Table.
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Sensitivity Analysis Model – Free Excel Template
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Sensitivity Analysis – Excel Template
One of the best ways to model uncertainty is by creating a sensitivity analysis. It represents a table that shows how a given end result would change based on one or two of the variables that are used as an input for its calculation. It is rather easy to create a sensitivity table. The tool that you need to use is located in the Data tab under ‘What if analysis’. Its Excel name is Data table.
Some other related topics you might be interested to explore are Pivot Tables , GETPIVOTDATA , and Slicers .
This is an open-access Excel template in XLSX format that will be useful for anyone who wants to work as a Financial Analyst, Business Analyst, Consultant, Corporate Executive, or everyone preparing a corporate presentation.
You can now download the Excel template for free.
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Sensitivity Analysis (“What if” Analysis)
Using data tables to power-charge your financial models
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Sensitivity Analysis: “What if” Analysis
A financial model is a great way to assess the performance of a business on both a historical and projected basis. It provides a way for the analyst to organize a business’s operations and analyze the results in both a “time-series” format (measuring the company’s performance against itself over time) and a “cross-sectional” format (measuring the company’s performance against industry peers).
Typically, once an analyst inputs both historical financial results and assumptions about future performance, he/she can then calculate and interpret various ratio analyses, and other operational performance metrics such as profit margins , inventory turnover, cash collections, leverage and interest coverage ratios, among others.
General Rule of Thumb in Sensitivity Analysis
A scenario manager allows the analyst to “stress-test” the financial results because the reality is that expectations can and usually do change over time.
In previous articles, we discussed the fact that these forward-looking assumptions may not always hold true, and that the use of a scenario manager is a great way to incorporate several performance possibilities into your financial model. This allows the analyst to “stress-test” the financial results because the reality is that expectations can and often do change over time. Because the future cannot be predicted with any certainty, it’s never a good idea to take your financial model’s results and claim, either to your boss or to your client, that the results are final.
So what can you do if the financial model’s results are not the final results? Isn’t that why you build a model in the first place — to get some clarity or answer as to the future performance of the business? Yes and no. The purpose of the financial model is to provide some insight into future performance, but there is no one correct answer. Clients and managing directors like to see a range of possible outcomes, and this is where the sensitivity analysis, or “what-if” analysis comes into play.
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Data Table Format: Endless Possibilities in Analysis
It’s not unusual for a client to never even look at a financial model and opt to see the results presented in a data table format.
A sensitivity analysis, otherwise known as a “what-if” analysis or a data table, is another in a long line of powerful Excel tools that allows a user to see what the desired result of the financial model would be under different circumstances. It allows the user to select two variables, or assumptions, in the model and see how a desired output, such as earnings per share (a common metric used) would change based on the new assumptions. It is the perfect complement to a scenario manager, adding even more flexibility to one’s financial and valuation models when it comes to analysis and presentation.
In fact, it’s not unusual for a client to never even look at a financial model and opt to see the results presented in a data table format along with select financial data. This is why it’s important for the analyst to understand the mechanics of creating the data table and be able to interpret its results to make sure the analysis is working properly. We shall go over the mechanics of the data table next.
Sensitivity Analysis Data Table – Excel Template
Use the form below to download our sample Data Table:
Building the Data Table: Initial Set-Up
Let’s say, for example, that you have built a dynamic financial statement model in order to predict future earnings per share (EPS) for your business. Your model is flawlessly constructed and gives you an EPS result of $2.63 for the year 2009. Now, instead of presenting to your client that the answer to the question “What will EPS be in 2009?” is unquestionably going to be $2.63, it makes more sense to present a range of possibilities for 2009 EPS that depend on sensitizing certain assumptions in the model. Let’s look at an actual example below to illustrate our point:
Constructing the Matrix in Excel
- In a cell on the worksheet, reference the formula that refers to the two input cells that we would like to sensitize. In cell D208, we have referenced our EPS for 2009.
- Type one list of input values in the same column, below the formula. In the example, we have input a range of revenue growth assumptions.
- Type the second list in the same row, to the right of the formula. In the example, we have input a range of EBIT margin assumptions.
- Select the range of cells that contains the formula and both the row and column of values. In the example below, you would select the range D208:I214.
- Hit the keys Alt-D-T on your keyboard. This will pull up the “Data Table” box as shown to the right of the data table, below. Note: This “shortcut” works in both Excel 2003 and 2007, although an alternative would be to hit Alt-A-W-T for the 2007 version, which will direct you to the data table box through the “What-If Analysis” menu.
- In the Row input cell box, enter the reference to the input cell for the input values in the row. In the example below, you would type cell E35 in the Row input cell box.
- In the Column input cell box, enter the reference to the input cell for the input values in the column. In the example below, you would type E33 in the Column input cell box.
Sensitivity Analysis: Functioning Data Table Results
We will finally get our various diluted EPS results as seen in cells E209 through I214 in the data table. The only thing left to do now is to sanity check the results. As revenue growth increases, we should see an increase in diluted EPS, and we do. We should also see diluted EPS increase as EBIT margin improves, and we do. It looks as though we have constructed a well-functioning data table!
Aside from our data table matrix, another method to perform a sanity check on a forecasted figure like revenue is the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) . The annualized growth rate metric can be determined to confirm it is reasonable, which is based on the company’s historical growth rate and the industry average among comparable companies.
One thing to know is that sometimes Excel is set to calculate automatically, except for data tables. If it looks as though your data table is not working, try hitting “F9” to recalculate the entire worksheet. You can also adjust how Excel is set up by hitting Alt-T-O and then going to the “Calculations” tab in Excel 2003 or the “Formulas” section in Excel 2007. You can also hit Alt-M-X in Excel 2007 to make your selection.
In conclusion, performing sensitivity analysis via a data table is an effective and easy way to present valuable financial information to a boss or client. It provides a range of possible outcomes for a particular piece of information and can highlight the margin of safety that might exist before something goes terribly wrong. For example, how low can revenue growth or EBIT margins get before EPS becomes negative? Once you have constructed several data tables, you’ll realize that it takes no time at all and that there is no excuse for not incorporating them into your financial modeling arsenal.
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So the analysis can be carried with maximum 2 variables? How can we test if we want to try 3 variables (EBIT margin, revenue growth plus another variable)?
Can the sensitivity analysis data table be on a different sheet from where the basic model is? When I try that, Excel gives me an error “Input cell reference is not valid.” However, the same data table works fine on the same sheet as the basic model. Thank you for … Read more »
Hi there, thanks for the resource!
I’m having some trouble getting the results. I used Alt A W T and input the two cells, however, the results I got are all dash lines. Could you help with that please? Thanks so much
Hi, may I know where is the excel file for download? Can’t find the link, or can you send me? Thanks!
Thank you for the knowledge sharing.
Please how do I apply this technique on a financial statement that is built on monthly basis.
Great tutorial you couldn’t have made it easier. Thank you:)
I applied the above to one sensitivity exercise that i was working on, however, at times, the same values appear throughout the table. Why is that so? and how should i rectify that?
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Sensitivity Analysis Excel: How to Set It Up [Tutorial Video] (17:58)
In this lesson, you’ll learn how to set up sensitivity tables in financial models, including the key requirements for inputs and outputs and the required steps, and you’ll get practice creating these tables in the Walmart valuation.
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Sensitivity analysis in Excel lets you vary the assumptions in a model and look at the output under a range of different outcomes.
All investing is probabilistic because you can’t predict exactly what will happen 5, 10, or 15 years into the future – but you can come up with a reasonable set of potential scenarios.
For example, if a company you’re analyzing exceeds growth expectations and grows at 15% per year rather than 5-10%, that might be one scenario.
If it grows in-line with expectations, that could be another scenario. And if it declines or grows at a negative rate, that could be a third scenario.
You can use sensitivity analysis to look at how this company’s valuation changes as you move from one scenario to the next.
Sensitivity Analysis Excel: Data Tables and How to Build Them
Internally in Excel, sensitivity analyses are known as “data tables,” and you can access them in the ribbon menu under the Data tab and “What-If Analysis”:
In PC/Windows Excel, the shortcut is Alt, D, T or Alt, A, W, T (there is no shortcut in Mac Excel):
A properly set-up and formatted sensitivity table looks like this (taken from the Walmart DCF, where we vary the Discount Rate and Terminal Growth Rate to assess the company’s implied value):
To create this table, use the following steps:
Sensitivity Tables, Part 1: Building an Appropriate Financial Model
Before you do anything else, you must have a financial model or other analysis where several key inputs or assumptions directly affect the output.
For example, in our setup for this Walmart DCF, it’s easy to see that assumptions such as the Discount Rate and the Terminal Multiple affect the company’s implied share price.
The Terminal Multiple affects its Terminal Value, and then the Discount Rate affects the Present Value (PV) of the Terminal Value and the PV of the Free Cash Flows in the projection period, and those flow into the Implied Enterprise Value and then the Implied Equity Value and Share Price:
If you do not have a setup like this, where a few key cells affect the output of your model, sensitivity analyses will not work.
Sensitivity Tables, Part 2: Formatting
Next, start by formatting the cells the way you want. We usually pick blue colors for the background/fill of the outer cells, with white font color on top, and then a standard white background with black font color for the middle area:
This is just formatting, so you should look at our tutorial on how to color code in Excel for more.
Sensitivity Tables, Part 3: Enter the Row and Column Numbers You Want to Sensitize
This step is very important: when you enter the numbers in the row and column of the table that you want to sensitize, you cannot link them directly to anything in the model!
So, you must hard-code all these numbers in Excel, or you must start the row and column with a hard-coded number and then add or subtract in each column or row after that.
Here they are for Walmart:
Sensitivity Tables, Part 4: Link to the Output Variable in the Top-Left Corner
Next, go to the top-left corner of the table – cell D102 here – and enter a direct link to the output variable that you want to display in the table.
In this case, it’s the company’s Implied Share Price under the Perpetuity Growth Rate method of calculating Terminal Value:
This is the only part of the sensitivity table that should be linked to something in the model.
Sensitivity Tables, Part 5: Select the Entire Range and Create the Table
Now, select the entire range and go to Alt, D, T or Data, What-If Analysis, and Data Table, and enter the row and column input cells (the Terminal Growth Rate and Discount Rate here):
If the table does not refresh right away, press F9 to force a spreadsheet update and see the results.
Sensitivity Tables, Part 6: Check Your Work
The results should look like this:
You should check your work by reviewing the table and looking at the following points:
-Do the numbers change in each cell? If not, you’re doing something wrong. You should not see rows or columns where the output is the same.
-In valuation tables, does the company’s implied value increase as its revenue, revenue growth, or margins increase? Higher numbers should mean a higher valuation.
-As the Discount Rate increases, the company’s implied value should decrease .
The list goes on: make sure you understand how each assumption should affect the output and then see if it works that way in your table.
Sensitivity Analysis Excel: Key Requirements to Set Up the Tables
To recap and summarize this article, here are the key requirements for Excel-based sensitivity analysis:
1) The input variables and output must be on the same spreadsheet as the table . You cannot use assumptions or drivers from other sheets, such as the 3-statement model, in this table.
2) The numbers in the input row and column cannot be linked to or from anything that’s in the model. Start each input row or column with a hard-coded number and then hard-code the rest or make them change by simple percentages or numbers.
3) The row and column inputs and the output must be related in some way. If the inputs do not affect the output, the table will show no changes as you vary the numbers.
4) Set “Workbook Calculation” in Options or Preferences to “Automatic except for data tables” or your spreadsheet will slow down, especially with many tables. You can then press F9 to refresh or update the tables.
5) Enter a direct link to the output you want to sensitize in the top-left-hand corner of the table . And then, select everything and go through the steps shown above. “Row Input Cell” should be a direct link for the input in the top row, and “Column Input Cell” should be a direct link for the input in the left column.
6) You cannot modify individual cells in the table once it has been created. If you want to change something or select different inputs or outputs, you must delete and re-enter the entire table.
You will see sensitivity tables in almost every financial model of intermediate complexity and beyond, so you must know how to use them.
They aren’t that difficult, but many students make mistakes with the points above.
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Financial Planning and Analysis
Identifying the differences between types of analysis.
- What-if analysis : What-if analysis is the process of testing to see “what would happen if” you change something in the model.
- Sensitivity analysis : Sensitivity analysis is the process of tweaking one key input or driver in a financial model and seeing how sensitive the model output (e.g. the NPV or the IRR) is to the change in that variable.
- Scenario analysis : Scenario analysis is the process of tweaking a whole series of inputs or drivers in a financial model and seeing what happens with the models result.
What is Sensitivity Analysis
Steps Used to Conduct a Sensitivity Analysis
- Basic structure – includes a combination of assumptions that are to be varied, ensuring which and how many assumptions are needed at a period, assigning values before the simulation, analyzing the correlations of the values, etc.
- What to vary – set of different assumptions that can be chosen to vary in the model, such as the number of activities, objective in relation to the risk assumed and the projected profits, technical ratios, number of constraints and limits, etc.
- What to observe – include the value of the variable as per the regular business plan, the value of the decision variables, and value of the variable after going through between two different strategies applied
- Input the base case output to be put under sensitivity analysis. (e.g. V1)
- Calculate the new value of the input by measuring through the sensitivity test while all other inputs in the model are kept constant. (e.g. V2)
- Calculate the percentage change in the output and input respectively.
- The sensitivity is then calculated by dividing the percentage change in output by the percentage change in input.
Uses of a Sensitivity Analysis
- Indicating the sensitivity of simulation to assumptions of the input values in a model
- Predicting the effects of different scenarios and decisions
- Testing the robustness of the values
- Assessing the risks of a strategy or the business plan
- Determining if the optimal value criteria are reached or still have space to grow
- Identifying the dependency of the outputs to certain inputs, whether it is helpful or risky
- Acting as an error checker of the model
- Building informed and appropriate decisions or strategy
- Removing redundancy in the model structure
- Representing as a tool to communicate between entities
Sensitivity Analysis Example Models
- Sensitivity Analysis
- Amortization & Depreciation Schedule
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- Corporate Finance
- Cost Analysis
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Sensitivity Analysis Excel Templates Start the discussion!
What is sensitivity analysis?
Sensitivity analysis is a practice used frequently in the field of financial modeling . This kind of analysis is performed in order to estimate how various figures relating to an independent variable can affect the dependent variable of the model. This sensitivity analysis is always done with models that depend upon one or more input variable . This form of analysis is often referred to as a “What-If” simulation and is often done in order to predict outcomes of different decisions based on different variables.
As such, sensitivity analysis allows you to analyze how the different figures within sets of independent variables affect the end result in different conditions. This also allows you to analyze how changing these independent variables will affect the overall outcome of the dependent variable, enabling you to identify the most important independent variables.
What is the purpose of a sensitivity analysis?
Sensitivity analysis can be very important in business. Conducting sensitivity analysis allows you to project the impact of specific changes you could make within a project. This allows you to identify the key variables that will have a significant influence on the success or failure of your projects.
Further to this, sensitivity analysis allows you to identify and plan for these impacts that changes in these variables could have, Therefore, you can determine the potentially negative impacts that changes in variables could cause.
By conducting a sensitivity analysis, you can also identify the changes in variables that could have a positive influence over the progress of a project. Thus, it will help you to identify changes that could be made to improve performance.
Performing Sensitivity Analysis
To conduct sensitivity analysis most effectively, it needs to be done in an incredibly systematic manner . There are three key steps to be followed when performing sensitivity analysis:
- Identifying the specific variables which will affect the project
- Calculating the effects that changes to these variables will have
- Giving consideration to these variables in different potential combinations
Sensitivity analysis is often conducted in excel via different formulas.
Why is Sensitivity Analysis Important?
Sensitivity Analysis is incredibly important whenever calculations need different estimations, the effects of which are difficult to project. Sensitivity Analysis will allow you to project the implications of changes to different variables. This will help you to plan for different possibilities and potential implications of certain changes.
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Definition of Sensitivity Analysis
It is a situation similar to “what-if” analysis or the use of simulation analysis. It is used to predict the outcome of a decision based on a certain range of variables. It is especially very useful in cases where investors and stake-holders are evaluating the projects and proposals from the same industry or from different industries but driven by similar factors.
Uses of Sensitivity Analysis
Here we discuss the uses of sensitivity analysis:
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- Developing Recommendations for the Decision-makers
- Feasibility testing of an optimal solution
- Identifying the sensitive variables
- Identifying critical values and break-even point where the optimal strategy changes
- Assessing the degree of risk involved in strategy or scenario
- Allows the decision-makers to make assumptions
- Making recommendations
- Quantifying the parameters
- Developing a hypothesis for testing different scenarios
- Estimating the requirements of the input and output variables
- Understanding the relationship between input variables and the outcome
Forms of Outcomes in Sensitivity Analysis:
- Expected or the Original
Examples of Sensitivity Analysis (With Excel Template)
Let’s take an example to understand the calculation of Sensitivity Analysis in a better manner.
Sensitivity Analysis – Example #1
The expected Cash Flow forecast for the next 12 years is provided (see below). The cost of capital is 8 %, assuming the variables remain constant and determine the project’s Net Present Value (NPV). More details of the calculation are in the attached excel sheet.
Sensitivity Analysis is used to know and ascertain the impact of a change in the outcome with the inputs’ various projected changes.
- Develop the forecasted income statement
- Determine the fixed costs and the variable costs on analyzing all the costs involved in the process
- Determine the range of Sales Factors percentages
- Increase and decrease the sales volume based on the various Sales Percentage factors
- Increase and decrease the Variable costs based on the various Sales Percentage factors
- The Fixed costs remain constant irrespective of the sales volume and changes to it.
- Determine the Net Income Before Taxes for the various sales volume. This can be arrived at by simply reducing the sales by variable and fixed costs aligned to it.
- Determine the Net Income After Taxes by applying the Tax Rate as applicable
Sensitivity Analysis – Example #2
Example of J&B Inc. The original or expected Sales Volume is $582,401 arising out of 7882 units and at the rate of $73.89.To conduct the sensitivity analysis – J&B Inc conducted two models with different input variables for the Pessimistic Model and the Optimistic Model, as seen highlighted below:
Based on these pessimistic and optimistic values of the sales and variable costs, the net income after taxes can be seen as varying. Hence, on creating the two models, we aim to arrive at a conclusion or analysis of the input factors to reach the desired Net Income figures.
The estimation of sales and, therefore, the variable costs helps decide and has a great impact on the NPV of given projects. The fixed costs and any changes to it become insignificant but remain constant across different levels of sales volume.
Relevance and Use
As per the requirement of the decision-making area, the variables and their types would differ. Accordingly, the parameters are decided, and the sensitivity analysis is conducted. Sensitivity Analysis, among other models, is put much more to use as a decision support model than merely a tool to reach one optimal solution. However, this form of analysis becomes ambiguous when the terms “pessimistic” and “optimistic” become subjective to the user and the levels considered are set as per the user.
The uncertainty of the output due to the different sources of inputs and their uncertainty results to uncertain analysis. This, in turn, leads to the quantification of uncertainty and therefore, the need to run the sensitivity analysis comes to the picture. This is a method, again, to re-calculate the output based on different alternative assumptions. The common areas of application of the models of sensitivity analysis are:
- Business: In resource allocation, guide the future data flows, identify critical assumptions
- Environmental: Impact of water purifying plant, global climate models
- Social Sciences: Econometric Models
- Engineering: Testing designs
- Chemistry: Measurement positions
- Meta-Analysis: To check whether the results are sensitive to the restrictions included Time-critical decision making.
- Multiple: Criteria decision making – Selecting the best alternative from the pool of the available different alternatives
This is a guide to Sensitivity Analysis. Here we discuss how to calculate sensitivity analysis along with practical examples. we also provide a downloadable excel template. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –
- Discounted Cash Flow Analysis
- What is the Cost-Benefit Analysis?
- Difference Between Hard Cost vs Soft Cost
- Examples of Cost of Goods Manufactured
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Sensitivity analysis is a practice used frequently in the field of financial modeling. This kind of analysis is performed in order to estimate how various
Guide to Sensitivity Analysis. Here we discuss how to calculate sensitivity analysis along with practical examples and excel template.
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