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Business plans and cashflow forecast software

Is there any software out there that helps with preparation of business plans and cashflow forecasts

I am increasingly being asked to help with the preparation of business plans and cashflow forecasts for small start ups (a good sign, I think). I have a decent enough Excel model that I use, but back in the day I seem to remember using a pretty good piece of software that produced professional looking presentations when it comes to some narrative etc. There seem to be lots of free downloads available, but is there anything that AccountingWeb memebers would recommend?

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By JOhnnyK
17th Aug 2017 19:15

Hi
As we all know, underlying all business plans is the ability to intelligently project and correctly analyse future financial data; and for this you need good forecasting software.

Excel will take you so far – and the model you have developed might take you further than most – but its unlikely that in addition to the cashflow you prepare for your clients your Excel model will produce the associated profit and loss, balance sheet and funds flow statement, all as an integrated suit.

Assuming that your Excel model does produce a profit and loss report and a balance sheet, will it easily handle foreign currencies, financed fixed assets, opening accruals, prepayments and other working capital items, structured loans, multiple depreciation methods and rates, revaluations, VAT, PAYE and NI?

And if your client decides he needs to analyse his p&L based on cost, or hopefully, profit centres, can you quickly make the adjustments to your model to show these profit centres and the all-important gross profit percentages on the face of the report?

As you are talking about small startups, you and your client almost certainly won’t have to worry about consolidations as yet, but you will have to deal with the banks, and possibly investors who may – or should - be interested in what the balance sheet will look like in two to three year’s time.

And they will want to see some scenario planning as you extend your forecasts into the future – what happens if the pound falls against the dollar by 5% in year 2, sales volumes go up by 7.5% in year 2 and the same in year 3, but your sales margins come under pressure at the same time?

Hopefully by dint of applying more and more Excel skills you’ve managed to keep up so far with the demands of the client’s potential financiers.

And then the client comes back from yet another bank meeting to tell that, rather than the loan initially discussed, the bank wants to see what the cashflow, the p&l and the balance sheet will look like for the next three years if they extend a debtors financing package, instead.

Oh, and the rate has gone up! And so it goes on….

We don’t provide you with the words for your business plan, but our forecasting software - Forecast 5 – will help you model your client’s cashflows quickly, accurately and intelligently and will produce the reports that, with the minimum of top and tailing, your client can put before the financiers to win their support for the new startup.

Feel free to go to www.forecast5.co.uk/trial/ to give it a trial.

You should find Forecast 5 will produce decision ready numbers in which you can have confidence; putting the words to the numbers for the business plan will be much easier now.

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18th Aug 2017 12:31

Add Liveplan to Kents list it's £10 per month and produces a very presentable pack at the end with a lot of graphs narrative and summaries etc and also links to Xero. It also puts the words and numbers together in a modern presentable way. It's ideal for the small jobs you mention where fees maybe tight.

Forecast 5 is too expensive and not as good as winforecast which is sorely missed and was about a third of the price that they are trying to put forecast 5 out at. When I trialled it there was a lot of bugs in it and didn't work properly. It also looks very dated compared to Spotlight which has better looking reports quickly produced from live data. Forecast 5 is looking really dated now and it only produces the numbers which is not sufficient in current market, as who has time manually writing up narrative and summaries etc.

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08th Sep 2017 15:02

Try FD4Cast - robust but flexible Excel modelling and happy to do customisations where required.

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