DEVPLAN© systems are designed so that a financial model can be initially produced with as little input as possible. Additional detailed input can then be added to more elaborately portray and manage project development and financing.
The model allows inputs to be used in many different ways, but all inputs are optional so the system can be used in an uncomplicated way for initial representation of a project (or for an uncomplicated project) and can be expanded as the development process introduces greater complexity.
Templates are included to present the inputs most frequently needed for certain kinds of projects.
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Inputs and structure of the model is built on several levels. Your control ranges from total control at the top to no ability to change the model at the bottommost level.
1. The top level is the inputs you are currently using. These will be the inputs you have selected from approximately 500 input possibilities. You don't really have to consider the 500 possibilities because you'll be guided by other models, some yours and some the case studies that I'll provide to you from my past work.
2. I'm considering creating a new feature called the "prototype". This would allow you to build a model saying, "It's just like Greenwood except for these few inputs". ProCash would then call up the Greenwood inputs and override its inputs with those few you have decided to make different. You have complete control and responsibility for levels 1 and 2. (Greenwood is, of course, just an example. Any input dataset can serve as the prototype.)
3. All models require a template. This is where the chart of accounts is found and all the parameters indicating tax treatment for all the various line items. It has many other features as well, but these two are the easiest to explain. It could have in it tables of Fair Market Rent and other features that I talked with Andrew about today. They are not there yet, but they could be easily added to the template. I don't consider the template to be part of the model inputs; it is how you tell the model how you want it to work. I think this is equivalent to Dave's saying he would like to change how the model works, and the templates are entirely under your control. They are not changed often, but when the tax law changes, or when other general parameters need changing that are beyond the scope of the current project, the template is where those changes are made. While you can change anything in the template (and there is documentation on what is there and how to change it), you may prefer that I maintain the templates because they are rarely changed and they are quite profound in how they impact the models.
4. There is a spreadsheet built into ProCash which you can use to create and modify customized reports. I'll create a couple of customized reports based on the two pro-formas you've given me. If you wish to, you can become proficient in creating and maintaining reports in this system. The procedure for using this spreadsheet is very similar to Excel. In fact, it was built by Sybase as a mimic of Excel. So, you can take total control over the top 4 levels, but nearly all of your work will be in levels 1 and 2 and you may prefer to never work at levels 3 and 4.
5. My programming work is in creating software objects which perform certain calculations based on the template and inputs you have specified. The most important and most complex of these objects are: CAPITAL REQUIREMENTS, OPERATIONS, CAPITAL REPLACEMENT, LONG TERM FINANCING, MORTGAGE SCHEDULES, CONST./BRIDGE FIN., DEPRECIATION, DEBT SERVICE, MELDING CONSTRUCTION-ACQUISITION-OPERATIONS, ACCOUNTING TRANSFERS, DISTRIBUTION OF OPERATING CASH FLOWS, INCOME TAXES and RESIDUAL VALUES (INCLUDING TAX ON CAPITAL GAIN). Other simpler objects do things like data storage, report generation and other utilities. These objects have evolved over the past 28 years. They are very complex. They have been updated for Windows 95, but except for changes like that I am very reluctant to change them and I promise you that you would never want to. They are written in modular fashion, so when we need to upgrade to whatever comes after Windows 95, someone other than me will probably do the upgrade.