When creating any forecast entry, you have two options for entering your numbers:
- Constant amount, which applies the same number to every month or year of your forecast
- Varying amounts over time, which allows you to manually enter different numbers for each month of your forecast, or to have certain months with no numbers at all
The example below shows you how to access these input types for a sample revenue entry, but the process is identical for direct costs, expenses, personnel, assets, or any other type of forecast item:
When do I use varying amounts over time?
The Varying amounts over time input is useful in a number of different scenarios:
- Let's say you want to show growth in your revenue, or growth in your direct costs or expenses, as your business grows. In that case, you can use Varying amounts over time to enter larger amounts for each month or year of your plan. (Or, you can use the point-and-click chart to draw an upward curve.) The default forecast length is three years, with one year of monthly detail, but you can change the forecast length to five years with up to three years of monthly detail in the Options menu.
- If the unit price of your product or service varies seasonally, Varying amounts over time allows you to set different unit prices for different months.
- If you're adding personnel to your forecast and you want to show seasonal fluctuations in the number of staff you'll be employing, Varying amounts over time allows you to enter a different number of employees each month. You can also use this method to show seasonal fluctuations in salary amounts.
In other words, the Varying amounts input can be used throughout the forecast, adding flexibility to your projections.
Applying a percentage of growth to varying amounts entries
When you've created an entry using varying amounts over time, you can then apply a flat growth percentage to each month of the current year. Enter the percentage in the Change field, and click Apply:
As shown above, the point-and-click chart and the numbers entered below it will both change as the percentage is applied to all months of the current year.
Note: The change field will not apply a growth rate to the forecast item. Changes will only apply to the currently selected year.
Using the fill-right feature in forecast grids
Varying amounts over time entries provide a fill-right shortcut to save time when forecasting the same figures for multiple months. Each field in the grid has the fill-right option, except for the very last one.
To use this feature, click in a field that contains the value you want to copy across. Next, hover over the three blue dots below that field, and then click the Apply button. The value from this field will be copied into all of the fields in the row.
Click I'm Done to save your changes.