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Business plan software

What do you use?

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We use Futrli for forecasting, although I'm planning at some point to trial Castaway and potentially change. 
 

However, we've been asked a couple of times recently to do a business plan, rather than just forecasts. There's a few websites that (apparently) pretty much write it for you (LivePlan, Enloop) but the forecasting element seems a little basic though (admittedly I've not trialled anything yet, just looked at their websites) and had thought of signing the client up for it, then once it's finalised cancelling the subscription,. All seems a bit of a faff, but I can't seem to find a software aimed at accountants/advisers/consultants etc. 

What do people use for full business plans?

 

Thanks

Replies (15)

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By johnt27
25th Nov 2021 11:45

Liveplan is good but I rarely get involved in doing this kind of work. Castaway by far and away the best forecasting tool out there

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By atleastisoundknowledgable...
25th Nov 2021 12:00

Thanks John.

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By D V Fields
25th Nov 2021 12:38

Microsoft have a product called Excel. It does the job very well and flexible enough to let you configure any which way you want rather than the fixed format of other applications. Both have advantages - but I go for Excel every time.
Good luck with your chosen option.
Dave

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By atleastisoundknowledgable...
25th Nov 2021 12:42

Thank you Dave.

Does Excel have ready-built business plan templates that can be auto-populated very quickly?

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By D V Fields
25th Nov 2021 13:05

Probably not but then why use a template? The template even if anywhere close to what you want would easily be created. Users may want to use their own spreadsheets for their inputs which you can bring into the master forecast via Visual Basics for Application (VBA) and populate other fields accordingly. The choice is a pre defined format from commercial applications versus flexibility to achieve exactly what you need. The latter requires more effort on your part but puts you in control and of course is re-usable.
Dave

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By atleastisoundknowledgable...
25th Nov 2021 13:32

I'm not exactly an expert in Excel and am too busy to built something each time; I'm looking for more of a bish-bash-bosh solution that has 90% of the words already done.

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By D V Fields
25th Nov 2021 21:32

Excel isn't going to give you the wording; only the numbers. If you are not comfortable with Excel then choose a suitable alternative.

If it is the wording that you want pre-populated then, in my view only, anything that provides that is going to be so generic as to be meaningless. But it's not my call.
Dave

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By WhichTyler
25th Nov 2021 20:28

I'd go one step back and suggest Word (to start with). It's very easy to jump to Excel with out thinking about and reporting the underlying business need, market research, project plan, key stakeholders and players etc etc.

The idea that '90% of the words of a business plan' would be pre-populated is horrific. I'm out...

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By atleastisoundknowledgable...
25th Nov 2021 23:17

Ok, 90% is possibly somewhat of an exaggeration, although LivePlan claim to have 500 templates that you can just plug a few specifics into and voila. (Some editing required).

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
26th Nov 2021 12:59

atleastisoundknowledgable... wrote:

Ok, 90% is possibly somewhat of an exaggeration, although LivePlan claim to have 500 templates that you can just plug a few specifics into and voila. (Some editing required).

in which case its not a business plan is it? Its someone else's template with some of your clients numbers stuffed in.

I guess it depends if you are actually helping your client plan their business (in which case I would be starting with a blank word document and a blank excel sheet and a very long phone call) or if you are producing some nonsense business plan for the bank, in which case any old garbage will do shove it through , no-one cares its just a tick in a box somewhere.

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By atleastisoundknowledgable...
26th Nov 2021 13:23

This would be for the latter sort.

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By CJS88
25th Nov 2021 17:35

Sage 50 Forecasting. The best product Sage ever sold.

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By atleastisoundknowledgable...
25th Nov 2021 17:55

I did use it in the day ( and liked it ), but like all the good ones it was a forecasting tool, not a business plan tool.

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By johnt27
26th Nov 2021 08:21

CJS88 wrote:

Sage 50 Forecasting. The best product Sage ever sold.


Don't you mean Sage Winforecast? If I remember correctly Sage 50 forecasting was a poor relation in comparison...

My suggestion of Castaway is the de facto replacement of Sage Winforecast - it even looks remarkably similar...

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By CJS88
26th Nov 2021 13:37

Probably, I think the name changed as time went on. Very good for keeping banks happy.

The Actual v Budget was reporting was v good as well.

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