Time Required: 3.45 hours
To jump to specific steps, use the links above.
Note: This page is for Strategic Advisors.
Now that you've completed the Model phase, you're ready to build your client's forecast in LivePlan and update the mapping to the Dashboard.
Planning vs. Accounting
- The LivePlan forecast is not meant to mimic your accounting system exactly. Business planning is not transactional like accounting. You don't need to get into deep detail in your forecast - you're using it to make broad decisions, so a broad picture is fine. This is why, in the Model phase, you created a shorter list of forecast categories that relate to your Chart of Accounts.
- In a related note, this forecast isn't built from your client's actuals. A forecast with integrity can only be built by doing the historical research and information-gathering we've completed in the prior steps, and then making future projections from that data.
- One last point: The Dashboard contains your client's actuals from the past three years. Your forecast should have a current start date, and cover three years into the future.
This short video will show you around the LivePlan Forecast:
See the sections below for specific instructions on how to enter each part of the forecast. You may also find these related articles helpful:
- Helpful forecast features
- Changing the start date of your forecast
- How do I edit or delete forecast entries?
- How can I find the in-app videos again?
Step 4.01: Enter forecasted Revenue
Use the revenue categories you arrived at in the Model phase, and create one Revenue entry for each category. The video below shows you how to set up a Revenue entry:
Basic instructions for this step: Forecasting your revenue streams
Step 4.02: Enter Direct Costs
Create a Direct Cost (or COGS) entry for each cost of goods item in your forecast. Whenever possible, we recommend setting your Direct Cost entries so they calculate directly from an existing Revenue entry. The link below shows you how to do that.
Note: When entering Direct Costs, keep an eye on the gross margin emerging in the P and L.
Basic instructions for this step: Entering Direct Costs
Step 4.03: Enter Personnel/ labor
In LivePlan, you can create labor entries for individual employees or groups of employees. You can create entries for specific current employees by name, or more general entries representing roles in the company. Whatever best represents the business model is fine.
Note: There are business models where you might not need a detailed representation of labor. If so, you can optionally use a Direct Cost entry to represent COGS labor and an Expense entry to represent overhead labor.
Basic instructions for this step: Entering Personnel
Helpful related articles:
- Changing the Burden Rate for employe-related expenses
- How can I represent part-time personnel in my forecast?
- Entering commission payments in LivePlan
Step 4.04: Enter Expense forecast
The overhead expenses are one area in the LivePlan forecast that you can usually represent in the fewest possible entries. For some businesses, you may be able to use a single "All General and Administrative" entry representing all overhead. In other cases, you might be able to use a few entries, like "Rent," "All Sales & Marketing," and "Remaining G & A."
Note: One expense that can be helpful to enter separately in the forecast is rent. A number of Benchmark and Dashboard metrics are calculated based on the rent expense.
Basic instructions for this step: Entering expenses
Step 4.05: Enter Assets and schedule
Asset entries in LivePlan can be customized for a wide variety of scenarios. The link below will show you the options. If you have a scenario that's not represented, please feel free to contact our Customer Advocacy team for help.
Basic instructions for this step: Entering Assets
Helpful related article: Entering special types of assets
Step 4.06: Enter Dividends and schedule
Depending on your client's financing structure, you may or may not need this entry. LivePlan allows you to schedule dividend payments in any month of the plan, in any amount you need.
Basic instructions for this step: Entering Dividends and Distributions
Step 4.07: Enter estimated corporate and sales tax rates
LivePlan calculates corporate and sales taxes from the Revenue entries, using flat percentages that you set.
Basic instructions for this step: Setting tax rates
Helpful related article: Representing VAT, HST, or GST in your forecast
Step 4.08: Set Cash Assumptions
The Cash Flow Assumptions page in LivePlan manages your AR, AP, and Inventory settings. You can update these settings to do some light cash flow modeling for your client. This tool is extremely useful in the Advisory phase.
Basic instructions for this step: Adding Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable to your forecast
Helpful related article: Adding and managing Inventory
Step 4.09: Enter any Financing needs
LivePlan can represent loans, business lines of credit, and investments. The software will automatically calculate loan payments and interest, or you can enter loans with a custom payment schedule. Several specialized loan scenarios are represented in the link below.
Helpful related article: Entering special types of loans
Step 4.10: Enter Starting Balances
This is the only section of the LivePlan forecast that is generated from your client's accounting actuals. Using a Profit and Loss you've pulled from QuickBooks or Xero, enter the beginning balances for assets, liabilities, and equity to form the starting point of your forecast.
Basic instructions for this step: Entering Starting Balances for an existing company
Step 4.11: Final Mapping with new forecast categories
With all forecast entries completed, it's time to revise the mapping between your forecast and the client's actuals in the Dashboard. This short video shows you how:
Basic instructions for this step:
Sharing the forecast with your client
You can share the completed forecast with your client in several ways: