At this point, it is fair to say that you know the difference between Flex and Flow and you have an idea where your goal should be for each. If not, please review Part 1 and 2 of this series. With that knowledge and understanding under our belt we are ready to discuss the calculations. First, I am going to give you the formulas and then I am going to play out 3 different flow scenarios with some brief explanations of each.

**Let’s start with everyone’s favorite (or at least it should be)…Flow.**

To calculate what your house profit target (HPT) should be based on your flow goal is really simple. Multiply the revenue variance (RV) by the goal percentage (GOAL%) to get the house profit target (HPT).

**RV x GOAL% = HPT**

The next thing I recommend is determine if the property met the house profit target. This gives you the first indication on whether you made the flow % or not. This is calculated by subtracting the house profit target (HPT) from the house profit variance (HPV) to get the house profit goal variance (HPGV). Positive numbers for the house profit goal variance are great and negative numbers are never good.

**HPV – HPT = HPGV**

To calculate your actual flow, just divide your house profit variance (HPV) by your revenue variance (RV) and that equals the flow percentage (FLOW%). This gives you your actual flow through percentage.

**HPV ÷ RV = FLOW%**

Now let look at some examples of how this process works. I am using a flow goal of 70% in the calculations below.

**Example #1**: This is a basic flow calculation.

Actual Revenue |
Budgeted Revenue |
Revenue Variance |

$300,000 | $280,000 | $20,000 |

Actual House Profit |
Budgeted House Profit |
House Profit Variance |

$150,000 | $140,000 | $10,000 |

Step #1 is to determine the house profit target. We should multiply the revenue variance by the flow goal. In this example, that would be $20,000 x 70% which equals $14,000. $14,000 is our house profit target.

Step #2 is to determine if the property met the house profit target. We just subtract the house profit target from the actual house profit variance. For this situation it would be $10,000 – $14,000 = ($4,000). In essence we are $4,000 short of our target.

Step #3 is to determine our actual flow percentage. We just divide the house profit variance by the revenue variance to get the number. For this scenario it would be $10,000 ÷ $20,000 = 50% Flow. The 50% flow is less than our goal, but we already had that indication from step #2.

Step #4 is always to analyze the financial statement to find efficiencies and inefficiencies. In this case it would be to analyze your financial statement, paying particular attention to variable expenses to determine if the property could have saved the $4,000. There could be a fixed cost overage or something unexpected that caused this as well, but the goal is to focus more on what can be controlled.

**Example #2**: This is a flow calculation with a huge flow percentage. The best of the best sometime question themselves when they get some of these numbers. The question usually sounds something like this, “it that even possible?” and the short answer is yes.

Actual Revenue |
Budgeted Revenue |
Revenue Variance |

$280,200 | $280,000 | $200 |

Actual House Profit |
Budgeted House Profit |
House Profit Variance |

$150,000 | $140,000 | $10,000 |

Step #1 is $200 x 70% giving us a house profit target of $140.

Step #2 is $10,000 – $140 giving us a house profit goal variance of $9,860. At this point you know the property far exceeded the flow percentage goal, but by how much? Let’s see…

Step #3 is $10,000 ÷ $200 giving you a flow percentage of 5000%. I know what you’re thinking, “Is that even possible?” It is calculated just like example #1 using difference numbers and it is correct and therefore possible.

Step #4 would investigate the cause for the huge house profit goal variance with so little additional revenue. This is obviously an extreme case, but you are probably looking for a large item that was budgeted but wasn’t used. Maybe an electric bill or franchise bill was missed. It is import to know why there is such a huge shortage because chances are pretty good that the expense has hit in a previous month or will be hitting at a later date which will give you a financial statement equally as bad.

**Example #3**: This is a really bad financial statement showing a negative flow percentage.

Actual Revenue |
Budgeted Revenue |
Revenue Variance |

$285,000 | $280,000 | $5,000 |

Actual House Profit |
Budgeted House Profit |
House Profit Variance |

$136,000 | $140,000 | ($4,000) |

Step #1 is $5,000 x 70% giving us a house profit target of $3,500.

Step #2 is the same as it has been in previous scenarios, house profit variance minus house profit target. Some of my mathematically challenged colleagues look at the numbers and in their head come up with ($500) because the difference between $4,000 and $3,500 is $500 but that would not be correct. Our equation is ($4,000) – $3,500. Not to get too far into math class, but because the $4,000 in this case is negative and you are subtracting a positive number you actually get ($7,500) as the house profit goal variance. Example #2 was really good, now this one is really bad.

Step #3 is to find out your true flow percentage and given what we know from Step #2 it isn’t going to be pretty. (4,000) ÷ 5000 gives us a flow of -80%. That is negative 80% flow through because you spent $7,500 more than your goal.

Step #4 is always to find inefficiencies or efficiencies in the financial statement. Although the property missed house profit by $4,000, the house profit goal variance was negative $7,500 and we should be looking for that amount of expense variances because of the additional revenues generated. This is the opposite situation from Example #2 because you are looking for double posted bills and things of that nature. Don’t forget to focus on the variable expenses even if you find a double posted bill or something of that nature.

As you can imagine there are literally trillions of flow situations that can happen, but the formulas are the same no matter the numbers. I would encourage you to grab a financial statement or two or ten and run these formulas to see how you did. Are there some inefficiencies that can be improved to meet the goal set in Part 2?

In Part 4 we are going to discuss the scenarios where you fell short of budgeted revenues. The flex formula is a little different and gets more complicated, but like flow the formulas do not change only the numbers going into it.

Hospitably Yours,

Justin

Question: would it be true if I assume that for Flow calculation purpose, step one and two were not necessary. These steps give you an idea or direction of what the flow would be ahead of time and hence are helpful but for calculation purpose they are not needed ?

Hi Meribakwass. You would be correct for a calculation only. Step #1 is to determine what the House Profit (today called Gross Operating Profit) should have been to meet your goal and step #2 is used to determine how you performed to your goal. I would argue that step #1 & #2 are just as important as the calculation itself, but each person and/or company uses it a little differently. Thanks for the question.

What if your Revenue Variance is negative, how would you calculate your flow?