Cash flow forecasting firm Float has announced the launch of its new ‘multi-budgets’ feature, which will allow users to create multiple cash budgets per line in their chart of accounts and split each one into separate amounts with individual payment dates.
Available as part of the app’s core functionality, the feature allows users to split budgets by any date, rather than having to group them at monthly intervals. It also ensures that businesses can track their actuals against forecasts in real time, helping them spot any upcoming cash gaps and take steps to avoid them.
A common complaint levelled at forecasting and planning tools is that they do not offer enough granular insight, and are not sufficiently accurate for small businesses needing to know their exact cash flow at any point in time – something Float founder Colin Hewett said the vendor had in mind when building the feature.
Hewitt called the release a “huge step forward”, as it will allow its users “the clearest possible picture of their finances, so that they know what they can and can’t afford to do as a business and if they’re ever in danger of going into the red”.
Multi-budgets is the first major feature release since Float was rebuilt last March. Possible uses for the new feature include a typical sales line, businesses budgeting by supplier or client, and payroll for businesses that pay their employees multiple times each month.
While there has been a degree of hype around what a new generation of forecasting tools can do for businesses and their accountants, the predicted mass adoption of such tools has so far not come about. However, Hewitt believes that improvements such as the multi-budgets feature will help to change this.
“I certainly think that this next-level granularity is what the industry has been crying out for,” Hewitt told AccountingWEB. “For accountants and small businesses still stuck with their spreadsheets, this may be the functionality that enables them to upgrade.
“It's really challenging to take something complex like this and make it simple, we're hoping to be the first to pull it off!”
As part of its Software Excellence Awards data analysis, AccountingWEB has been tracking a steady rise in the use of forecasting, planning and analysis (FP&A) applications driven mainly by small businesses rather than corporates or practising accountants.
The FP&A software landscape is a complex and patchy one that includes programs built into existing accounting systems alongside DIY forecasting models and Excel analysis tools that don’t show up in sales figures or market research surveys. Since Sage retired the desktop Winforecast application, the vacuum has been filled mainly by the cloud add-on generation including Float, which won the coveted Forecasting, Planning & Analysis award at the 2017 Software Excellence Awards.
AccountingWEB’s review of forecasting, planning & analysis software makes it easier for accountants to identify suitable tools for their needs and includes a detailed Float review alongside rival applications. The forecasting comparison is accompanied by similar guides to practice management and data and expense management software.