Forecast settings

In this article:

When you create a company, you have to make some choices related to the forecast, such as the length of the forecast, start date, and currency type. However, if you change your mind about these settings later, you can easily adjust them. This article explains how to change these company settings.

Note: It's important to remember that if you make any changes to your forecast settings, they will apply to all scenarios in that forecast.

Changing the company name

Your company name is displayed in various locations throughout LivePlan. Your company's name appears at the top of the left sidebar and will be visible on the cover page of any plan or report you export, as well as in your Pitch.

Note: If you have already published your Pitch as a web page, you must re-publish it to reflect the new name.
  1. In the sidebar, click Options:
    Liveplan menu with options highlighted.png

  2. In the Company name field, enter a new name:
    Company Options.png

  3. Click Save Changes:
    forecast options with arrow pointing to save changes button.png

Changing the forecast length

LivePlan comes with a default forecast that spans three years. It includes two years of monthly financial detail and one year of annual detail. However, you can easily customize these settings as per your preference.

If you started with a 5-year forecast and want to shorten it to 3 years, you can do so easily. However, note that this change will permanently delete all data from years 4 and 5 of your forecast. If you wish to keep this data, it is recommended that you make a copy of your plan first and then shorten the original's length.

To change the forecast length:

  1. In the left sidebar, click Options:
    Liveplan menu with options highlighted.png
          
  2. Under Length of forecast, select the number of years you want your forecast to cover:
    options_length_of_forecast.png

  3. Click Save Changes:
    forecast options with arrow pointing to save changes button.png

Changing a 5-year forecast to 3 years

If you have a 5-year forecast but want to shorten it to 3 years, you can easily do so. 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:

discard_later_years.png

Click Confirm to shorten your forecast. Once deleted, the year 4 and 5 forecast data cannot be recovered.

Changing the amount of monthly detail

  1. In the left sidebar, click Options:
    Liveplan menu with options highlighted.png 
        
  2. Under Monthly detail, select one, two, or three years of monthly detail from the drop-down menu:
    2023-02-06_11-36-26.png

  3. Click Save Changes:
    forecast options with arrow pointing to save changes button.png

Note: If you'd like to add monthly details 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.

To change your forecast start date:

  1. In the left sidebar, click Options:
    Liveplan menu with options highlighted.png

  2. Find the Fiscal Year Cycle and the 1st Year of Forecast settings and select your start date from the drop-down menus:
    forecast_start_date_new_company.png

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

  3. Click Save Changes:
    forecast options with arrow pointing to save changes button.png

    Note: When you change the start date of your forecast, you may need to change the date range of your Benchmarks display to still see your forecast data within the Benchmarks tab.

Determining your forecast start date:  Calendar Year or Fiscal Year?

It's possible to adjust your LivePlan forecast to match a calendar or fiscal year. If you set your forecast's start date to January, LivePlan will generate a forecast that runs from January through December, reflecting a calendar 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 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:

FY_highlighted.png

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 later, 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 starts in April 2024, and you have several revenue streams that also begin in April 2024. If you change the start date of this forecast to June 2024, all those revenue streams will now start in June 2024.
  • Let's say that your forecast initially starts in April 2024, and you have some expense items that begin four months later, in August 2024. If you change your forecast start date to June 2024, these expense items will still begin four months after the new start date, which moves them to October 2024.

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.

Changing 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. In the left sidebar, click Options:
    Liveplan menu with options highlighted.png
          
  2. Under Preferred currency, choose the desired currency symbol:
    preferred_currency_options_menu.png

  3. If the symbol you want to use isn't listed, choose Other and enter the desired symbol in the field provided:

    other_currency_options_menu.png

  4. Click Save Changes to apply the new setting:
    forecast options with arrow pointing to save changes button.png

To change the number separator

  1. In the left sidebar, click Options:
    Liveplan menu with options highlighted.png
          
  2. Under Number separators, choose the desired number separator:
    number_separators_options_menu.png

  3. Click Save Changes to apply the new setting:
    forecast options with arrow pointing to save changes button.png

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. In the left sidebar, click Options:
Liveplan menu with options highlighted.png
      

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

company options menu multi month charges detail.png

3. Click Save Changes in the upper-right corner of the Options menu:
forecast options with arrow pointing to save changes button.png

How do I choose?

If you are unsure about which option to choose, it is recommended that you select "Spread out multi-month charges," as this is the default setting and follows best practices in accounting. When you receive payment upfront for services that will be rendered over several months, it is generally appropriate to put that money on the balance sheet and recognize the revenue on a monthly basis. This method is known 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.

LivePlan provides an option to immediately recognize revenue, which is ideal for businesses that follow cash-based accounting. This method is straightforward and might be preferable for certain types of businesses, particularly small or sole proprietorship entities that don't maintain inventory and primarily deal in immediate cash transactions. Examples of businesses that might use cash-based accounting are food trucks, artists, and smaller home-based businesses.

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

If you use accounting software, it's important to ensure that your choice in LivePlan matches the one 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.

Changing the plan language

LivePlan currently supports U.S. English, U.K. (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.

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.

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.

  1. In the left sidebar, click Options:
    Liveplan menu with options highlighted.png

  2. In the Plan language section, choose a language from the pull-down menu, then click Save Changes:
    LivePlan's

  3. The section titles and table labels in your plan will now appear in the language you've chosen:
    plan_outline_espanol.png

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 LivePlan software supports business plans and pitches written in any language, though the instructions and examples are only available in English. LivePlan can translate the section titles and table labels in your plan into French, German, Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese. 

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 a language not listed above, we recommend downloading your finished plan as a Word document, and making the translations within Word.

Related topics:

Was this article helpful?
3 out of 5 found this helpful