Forecast settings

In this article:

When you create a company, you make some choices related to the forecast, such as the forecast length, start date, and currency type. But, if you change your mind about these settings later, it's easy to adjust them. 

This section describes how to change the length of your forecast (three years or five years), when your forecast starts (on a fiscal year or calendar year), which currency symbol your forecast uses, and whether your forecast uses cash or accrual accounting. 

When you make any changes to your forecast settings, please remember that the settings will apply to all scenarios in that forecast. 

Changing the company name

Note: Changing the company name here will change it in the Plan but not the Pitch or cover page.
  1. Click on the Options section:
  2. In the Company name field, enter a new name:
    Company Options.png
  3. Click Save Changes:


Changing the forecast length

By default, the forecast in LivePlan is three years long and includes two years of monthly financial detail and one year of annual detail. However, you can easily change these settings if you prefer.

Changing the forecast length:

  1. Click on the Options section:
  2. Under Length of forecast, choose the number of years you want your forecast to cover:
  3. Click Save Changes.

Changing a 5-year forecast to 3 years

If you start with a 5-year forecast and want to shorten it to 3 years, you can do that. Remember that this change will permanently delete any data from years 4 and 5 of your forecast. To retain this data, we recommend making a copy of your plan first, then shortening the original's length.

This message will appear when you shorten a forecast:


Once deleted, the year 4 and 5 data cannot be recovered.

Note: if you have multiple forecasts in your plan, making a change from 5 years to 3 will affect every forecast. If you need to retain some of your original 5-year forecasts, we recommend making a copy of your original plan first, and then changing the forecast length in the copy.

Changing the amount of monthly detail

  1. Click on the Options section:
  2. Under Monthly detail, select one, two, or three years of monthly detail from the drop-down menu:
  3. Click Save Changes.

Note: if you'd like to add monthly detail to your financial statements as well, please take a look at Adding an Appendix of monthly-detail financials to your downloaded plan.


Changing your forecast start date

If you are forecasting for a new business, 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. This way, any start-up costs you incur as you prepare to open your business are captured in your forecast.

Changing your forecast start date:

  1. In the menu bar on the left side of the browser window, click on the Options tab:
  2. Find the Fiscal Year Cycle and the 1st Year of Forecast settings and select your start date from the drop-down menus:

    Note: For existing businesses, the Fiscal Year Cycle and the 1st Year of Forecast is not the day your business was initially established. Instead, you should enter the first month of either your current or next fiscal year cycle.

  3. 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.

Determining your forecast start date

Calendar Year or Fiscal Year?

You can set your LivePlan forecast to reflect either a calendar 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 where each year will run 12 months from its start date. For example, if you start a forecast in June 2022, the fiscal year would run from June 2022 through May 2023.

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 June 2022, the fiscal year would end in May 2023, which would label it Fiscal Year 2023. All financial statements and tables will display that year as "FY2023," 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 of your plan. If you need to use a calendar year structure (starting in January), but your revenues and costs begin in a later month, you can build your forecast entries so that the initial months are zeroes. To do this, use the Varying amounts over time input for each forecast entry.

In this case, you may also want to change the number of years that have monthly detail in your forecast to have monthly entries available for up to three years of the forecast.

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 initially starts in April 2023, and you have several revenue streams that also begin in April 2023. If you change the start date of this forecast to June 2023, all those revenue streams will now start in June 2023.
  • Let's say that your forecast initially starts in April 2023, and you have some expense items that begin four months later, in August 2023. If you change your forecast start date to June 2023, these expense items will still begin four months after the new start date, which moves them to October 2023.

Once you've changed your forecast start date, you can go back and edit your existing forecast items as needed.

How this change affects forecast scenarios

This feature is available to LivePlan Premium users. To learn more about LivePlan Premium, please click here

Suppose you're using multiple forecast scenarios in your company. In that case, it's important to know that changing the start date of one forecast will automatically make the same change to every other forecast attached to the same company.

If you'd like to create multiple forecasts for the same company with 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


To change the currency format

For each company in your LivePlan account, you can designate the currency symbol and number separator (comma or period) you want to use. This setting only changes the currency details; it does not perform currency conversions. The numbers you enter will remain the same regardless of the currency symbol and number separator you choose.

To change the currency symbol

  1. Click on the Options section:
  2. Under Preferred currency, choose the desired currency symbol:
  3. If the symbol you want to use isn't listed, choose Other and enter the desired symbol in the field provided:


  4. Click Save Changes to apply the new setting:

To change the number separator

  1. Click on the Options section:
  2. Under Number separators, choose the desired number separator:
  3. Click Save Changes to apply the new setting:


Changing the setting for multi-month charges

If you have revenue streams with recurring charges that cover multiple months, LivePlan gives you two options:

  • To spread those charges out (generally referred to as accrual-based accounting)
  • To recognize the revenue immediately when you receive it (generally referred to as cash-based accounting)

To change the setting for multi-month charges:

1. Click on the Options tab:

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2. Select the option you prefer under Multi-month charges:


3. Click Save Changes in the upper-right corner of the Options menu:


How do I choose?

If you aren't sure which option to choose, Spread out multi-month charges is usually the correct answer, and it is the default setting. That follows best practices in accounting. Since you are getting paid up front in the first month for services you will render over multiple months, it's generally proper to put that money on the balance sheet and recognize the revenue a month at a time. This is referred to as accrual-based accounting.

For example, when our customers buy 12-month subscriptions to LivePlan, we count 1/12 of the total fee each month as revenue in our financial statements. The remaining balance is kept on our Balance Sheet as Prepaid Revenue until it is fully utilized at the end of the subscription year.

However, LivePlan also offers the option to Recognize revenue immediately, in case your accounting system is set up that way. This is called cash-based accounting, and it is intended for businesses like food trucks and other companies that always get paid at the time of purchase, so there's no cash timing to manage. 


Make sure your forecast and actuals use the same type of accounting

It's important to be sure that your choice in LivePlan matches the choice you made in your accounting system. Otherwise, the data on the Dashboard will be misleading.

When you set up QuickBooks Online or Xero, you are given a configuration option to use either cash-based or accrual-based accounting. If your accounting system is cash-based and you choose the option in LivePlan to Spread out multi-month charges (accrual method), your results will look like you are making much more money than expected, but the variance will just be a matter of timing.


To change the plan language

LivePlan currently supports U.S. English, Oxford English, French, German, Italian, Spanish (ES and Latin America), or Portuguese. You can choose to have the section titles and table labels in the Pitch and Plan appear in any of these languages. You can then write the rest of your pitch or plan in this language as well.

Note: LivePlan can't translate any text you have written in your plan. If you'd like your entire plan to be in another language, we recommend writing it in that language. LivePlan can only translate the section titles and labels.

  1. In the left sidebar, click on Options:
  2. In the Plan language section, choose a language from the pull-down menu, then click Save Changes:
  3. The section titles and table labels in your plan will now appear in the language you've chosen:

    Note: All instructions in LivePlan will remain in English.

Customized titles can't be translated

If you have changed the title of a chapter, section, or topic in your plan and then change the language, LivePlan can't translate your customized title. You will want to re-enter this title in the language of your choice.

The same applies to creating a custom chapter, section, or topic. You'll want to title it in the language of your choice - LivePlan can't translate a custom title from English.

Republish your Pitch after translation

If you have published your Pitch as a web page in English and then change the language, you will need to republish the Pitch to have your web page display the new language.

Does LivePlan support international languages?

The instructions and examples in LivePlan are only available in English. If you'd like to create a business plan or Pitch in another language, you can certainly write your plan content in your language of choice in the software.

LivePlan can translate the section titles and table labels in your plan into French, German, Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese. You can update the language from the Options page.

Note: LivePlan can't translate your plan's text; only the section titles and table labels will be translated.

If you need these elements translated into language not listed above, we recommend downloading your finished plan as a Word document, and making the translations within Word.


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