We recommend selecting a start date for your LivePlan forecast that reflects when you first begin to experience financial activity, such as spending or sales, or important milestones. This way, the start-up costs you incur as you prepare to open your business (i.e., on marketing or equipment) are captured in your forecast.
Changing your forecast start date
- In the dark-grey menu bar, click on the Options tab:
- Find the Start of forecast setting:
Note: For existing businesses, the forecast start date is not the day your business was originally established; instead, you should enter the date you will begin implementing the business plan.
- Click the Save Changes button:
Note: when you change the start date of your forecast, you may need to change the date range of your Benchmarks display so that you can still see your forecast data within the Benchmarks tab.
Calendar Year or Fiscal Year?
You can set your LivePlan forecast so it reflects either a calendar year or a fiscal year. When you set your forecast start date to January, LivePlan will automatically create a calendar year forecast, with each year running from January through December in the same year.
When you set your forecast start date to a month other than January, LivePlan will create a fiscal year structure. In that structure, each year will run 12 months from its start date. For example, if you start a forecast in April 2017, the fiscal year would run from April 2017 through March 2018.
When you have a fiscal year forecast, the fiscal years are labeled according to the year in which they end. Using the previous example, with a forecast starting in April 2017, the fiscal year would end in March 2018, and that would label it as Fiscal Year 2018. All financial statements and tables will display that year as "FY 2018," as shown below:
What if I need the first year to be a partial year?
LivePlan always includes 12 months of detail for the first year in your plan. If you need to use a calendar year structure (starting in January), but your revenues and costs begin in a later month, then you can build your forecast entries so that the initial months are zeroes. To do this, just use the Varying amounts over time input for each forecast entry.
In this case, if you may also want to change the number of years that have monthly detail in your forecast, so that you'll have monthly entries available for the second year of the forecast as well.
How this change affects your forecast entries
When you change the start date of a forecast that already has existing entries, the start date of every entry will shift accordingly. For example:
- Let's say your forecast originally starts in April 2017, and you have several revenue streams that also begin in April 2017. If you change the start date of this forecast to June 2017, all of those revenue streams will then start in June 2017.
- Let's say that your forecast originally starts in April 2017, and you have some expense items that start four months later, in August 2017. If you change your forecast start date to June 2017, then these expense items will still begin four months after the new start date, which moves them to October 2017.
Once you've changed your forecast start date, you can go back and edit your existing forecast items as needed.
How this change affects multiple forecasts
If you're using multiple forecasts in your company, it's important to know that changing the start date of one forecast will automatically make the same change to every other forecast attached the same company.
If you'd like to create multiple forecasts for the same company that have different start dates, it's best to make one or more copies of your company, and change the start dates of the copies.
If you want to change the number of years included in your financial forecast, read Changing the length of your forecast