Forecasting - software or excel?

Kashflow logo
Share this content

If you search for forecasting software on the internet, there are over 6 millions results. Refine the search terms, there are more hits. Browse through the first few pages and you will have a good idea of what is on offer. Are they good? I suppose it depends on what your requirements are, what you can compromise and live with, or whether you are aware that there could be something better.

For some people forecasting is all about time series analysis, linear regression, moving averages, and exponential smoothing, etc. At the other extreme, forecasting is simply just the actual plus a percentage increase or decrease. There is no fast rule to determine which method is superior and it all depends on circumstances and how you interpret the results. So an airline business may find linear regressi...

Please Login or Register to read the full article

The full article is available to registered AccountingWEB.co.uk members only. To read the rest of this article you’ll need to login or register. Registration is FREE and allows you to view all content, ask questions, comment and much more.

About AccountingWEB

Replies

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
14th Jan 2009 00:36

A good, balanced view
This is a great article which properly discusses the pros and cons of forecasting software vs Excel.

The conclusion is similar to my own experience. Every time I have tried to use forecasting software, I have found that I spend ages understanding what the software is doing with the data and then when I understand, I spend even longer trying to make it do what it should be doing if it were to reflect how the business I am forecasting works. This inevitably results in some kind of compromise.

I always find in the end that I can produce a more efficient model that truly reflects how the business works in much less time, if I design it from scratch in Excel.

Glen John Feechan BA Hon. ACA
[email protected]
Not Just Numbers Ezine
Excel Pivot Table Training Videos

Thanks (0)
avatar
26th Jul 2007 16:49

Another example
Thanks Eddie for the article and for the example forecast files, which go a long way in illustrating what can be done.

In my experience, one of the complications when forecasting in Excel is constructing a workable mechansim for collecting together the inputs from many subsidiary organisations. Consolidating many complex sub-forecasts in Excel is a headache and might drive you to finding a commercial solution.

If you have the luxury of being able to put together a forecast model alone, or in a small team, then I think Excel is hard to beat for speed and flexibility.

Your example forecasts are very interesting: it's a shame that the Excel files themselves couldn't be shared. If anyone is interested in looking at a similar forecast model in Excel, though on a smaller scale and less 'finished', I have one on my website at http://moverve.com/business-plan.php

Jim Johnson

Thanks (0)
avatar
30th Jul 2007 17:29

Sharepoint
Suggest you look at utilising Microsoft Sharepoint as a solution for consolidating Excel forecasts of many subsidiaries.
Happy to share my experiences ...
[email protected]

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Anonymous
25th Oct 2009 14:20

Excel forecast

While developing an Excel based model can enable complex scenarios to be modelled it has the downside that it can contain errors fro the less able user.

I need to produce simple forecasts quickly for a number of different companies and find the time invested in mastering Sage Winforecast has paid immense dividends.

Where more complex scenarios are needed then these can be modelled in Excel and then linked into Winforecast - this gives the best of both worlds.

When Sage Financial Forecasting came out I gave it a try but found that it was a nightmare! On the promise of a much improved situation I paid more money to upgrade - but found it little different.
Why a company that has the reputation of Sage issued a product that a best can be described as a Beta version [test version for the non technical people] is unbelievable.

I would be interested to hear what users think of the current version.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Gleb
20th Mar 2012 21:08

Disagree

Excel can not build optimal complex models to obtain best forecasting accuracy. For this purpose in our company we use GMDH Shell Forecasting Software. This is a more advanced technology compared to Sage Winforecast. And with reasonable price.

Thanks (0)
avatar
08th Dec 2016 21:48

can we have a more current appraisal of onslime forecasting software please?

Thanks (0)

Related content