Editor in Chief (interim) AccountingWEB
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CrunchBoards rebrands as forecasting engine

25th Nov 2015
Editor in Chief (interim) AccountingWEB
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CrunchBoards, the Brighton-based cloud reporting tool, underwent a major overhaul earlier this month and is repositioning itself more as a forecasting than a dashboard environment.

As CrunchBoards co-founder Hannah MacIntyre told AccountingWEB at Xerocon in February, “We’re going to replace Winforecast.

As the product has evolved over the past year, one of the benefits of the “boards” and “cards” interface that CrunchBoards created was that you could take a set of actuals data and then modify it to display and view a forecast alongside. The updated version of CrunchBoards has removed that intermediate step and is now “all about forecasting” with past and future data all in one place.

“Today, you don’t need to start from scratch with scenarios, instead you can see what 2016 looks like in seconds with our powerful updates and import features,” explained CrunchBoards co-founder Amy Harris. “In our last release we introduced the option to build scenarios in seconds based upon last year’s actuals. In this release we’ve gone one step further and allowed you to apply amount or growth percentage increases. Want to speculate a 2% increase on last year’s sales and a 10% cut in costs? Now you can with ease.”

CrunchBoards started life as a Xero add-on but now works with QuickBooks Online, too. Forecasts can also be built from imported .CSV files of financial and non-financial data. Those wishing to construct a forecast can do so, but if actual data is available, CrunchBoards can extrapolate a formula based forecast automatically or allow the user to make a copy and add their own detailed projections on each forecast line, explained CrunchBoards UK country manger Helen Cockle.

When constructing ever-popular cashflow forecasts, CrunchBoards lets you show when VAT will be paid to get an even more accurate projection.

“Because we are a live engine, you can build a rolling forecast that will automatically update itself,” she added.

The CrunchBoards roll-out strategy relies on accounting practices to adopt the tool and configure the forecasts and dashboards needed by business clients. Once the adviser has built the forecasts, they can share the live boards with clients, or email PDF summaries if that is preferred. And having created one set of scenarios and reports, it is a simple matter to replicate similar models across multiple clients, Cockle explained.

Under its revised pricing structure, the basic cost of CrunchBoards starts at £99/month for a five-company version (with a free licence for the practitioner), rising to £499/month for a 500-company edition.

The metamorphosis of CrunchBoards into a forecasting engine has been accompanied by a graphical rebrand plus speed enhancements to the software and an overhaul of the backroom servers to cope with the increased calculation workload and the growing 7,000+ user base, Cockle said. As well as joining the QuickBooks world, CrunchBoards is considering widening the selection of accounting systems it links with and is planning to expand into North America.

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