Topic: General Posts

Subject: Income and Cash Flow Forecasting Tools
Steve Prevost
Member: 2007
Posts:3
Submitted on 06-27-16 11:30 am
Message:

I’ve used Excel extensively over the years for income and cash flow forecasting but it has a number of shortcomings – most notably that balance sheet changes are not automatically reflected and Excel links can be broken inadvertently.


 


I’m aware of a couple of enterprise solutions such as Host Analytics and Adaptive Planning but our company is not of that scale yet.  Can anyone recommend a better solution for small to medium sized businesses?  Thanks!  

 
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Replies
David Worrell
Member: 2015
Posts: 2

Subject: Re:Income and Cash Flow Forecasting Tools

Submitted on 07-05-16 6:08 pm.
Message:

Hi Steve:


Great question.  We are always looking for better cash flow forecasting tools -- and really, data analytic tools in general.  Here's my picks for the SME.


 


(1) QuickBooks Advanced Reporting -- available in Enterprise 15 and later (and maybe others now).  The most recent verion is built on QLICK VIEW, which is, itself, not a bad tool for business analytics.  You can create almost any report from QB data you want.


(2) Microsoft BI -- can do all kinds of things with native Excel, Access, and other SQL data sources.  Now priced at just $9/month.  Yes... NINE BUCKS.


(3) Bill.com -- want more automation?  Jump on the cloud bandwagon and let Bill.com automate your A/R and A/P ... as a bonus you get a couple of very sweet cash flow projection tools, including a calendarized version that allows you to reschedule payments.


(4) Google Docs -- OK, you'll have the same problems as XL ... but at least you can collaborate with others in your team!


Hope some of that helps.  I'd be happy to speak with you about your options.


David Worrell


704-614-2701


FUSE FINANCIAL PARTNERS

 
Steve Prevost
Member: 2007
Posts: 3

Subject: Re:Income and Cash Flow Forecasting Tools

Submitted on 07-11-16 3:59 pm.
Message:

Thanks David - that's helpful.  I'll check out those tools.  Best, Steve 

 
Fred Parrish
Member: 2000
Posts: 1

Subject: Re:Income and Cash Flow Forecasting Tools

Submitted on 08-04-16 12:46 pm.
Message:

Steve,


Please let me know if you haven't found a good solution for your income and cash flow forecasting.  I have a suggestion that would make the process very efficient for you.  My cell is 214-228-8145 if you'd like to call.

 
Harminder Sehmi
Member: 2016
Posts: 1

Subject: Re:Income and Cash Flow Forecasting Tools

Submitted on 08-12-16 11:40 am.
Message:
Hi Steve

 

Funnily enough I just responded to a very similar question posted by John O'Connor.  This is what I said to him.  If your issues are largely around the balance sheet, then Cognos would be ideal as once the double entry relationships are defined, it's very difficult to get it wrong.  On the other hand, given your size, then Excel still rules, I'm afraid!

 

Cheers

 

Hi John

 

I'm a very recent member of FENG and newly relocated from the UK into the San Francisco Bay Area and thought I'd share my experiences with planning software.

 

Generally, I would only recommend specialist software in situations where the key business drivers of the business, especially the revenue lines and related direct costs, are quite stable.  What i mean by that is that you have already achieved some level of predictability with volume being a key variable that determines the outcomes.  Or planning software is useful when you have multiple disparate business units each of whom are required to submit their own forecasts which are consolidated centrally.  

 

If this is you, then my suggestion would be Cognos which was acquired by IBM a while ago.  I've used its predecessor as well - Adaytum in Vodafone where I had many divisional responsibilities and the Group requirement was to submit forecasts and actuals in Hyperion.  At subsidiary level we had the liberty to do our own thing.

 

The easiest way to describe Cognos is to think of it as an Excel spreadsheet on steroids!  By that I mean you can create multiple dimensions - Excel has 4, so columns, rows, tabs and files, which can be linked together to drive complex models. With Cognos you can add more and simply create "cubes" to model different parts of the business.  The beauty of Cognos is that once all the various cube intersections have been formulaically defined, then when you slice and dice the cube, then the resultant relationships still hold true.  This is very powerful and of course, once the cube has been tested and verified, you cannot have any errors that always creep up in Excel models.

 

Cognos does not get rid of Excel altogether but used in conjunction is a very powerful tool for any finance function. The other advantage is that learning to use Cognos is much simpler than having to rely upon consultants to build and manage other planning products - like SAP BPC, which is another one that I have used.

 

If you are still learning what your key business drivers are, then I'm afraid the only solution is to continue with Excel as it's much easier to throw away models and start again.  

 

Happy to chat if you want to give me a call sometime on 650 889 8098

 

Best regards

 

 
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