To get the most benefit from the Dashboard, you need to enter two sets of financial information into LivePlan:
- Your actuals from your accounting
- Your future forecast.
Once these two sets of values are in LivePlan, the Dashboard can accurately show you how your business is doing compared to your forecast or periods of past performance.
For most of our LivePlan users, we highly recommend completing a forecast before entering actual results, as described in Getting started with the Dashboard. However, if your situation requires you to focus on entering actuals first (for example, if you are an accountant or SBDC counselor setting up a LivePlan company for a client), this article will outline the steps for doing that.
Step 1: Create a new company
If you haven't done so already, set up a new company.
Step 2: Connect to your accounting solution
In the "Where do you want to start?" view, click on Start Dashboard:
If you don't see this view, just click on the Dashboard tab, and then click Get Started:
Then, connect to your accounting solution:
If you don't use one of these accounting solutions, skip to Step 4.
Step 3: Map your accounts or manually enter your results
Once your Dashboard is connected to an accounting solution, you need to map the accounts you are importing to the ones in LivePlan:
If you don't use one of these integrated accounting solutions, you can use the manual entry interface to manually enter your results.
Note: you can save some time by creating your forecast categories as you map.
Step 4: Add your client as a contributor or guest
At this point, you may want to add your client as a collaborator on the LivePlan company you've created. If you want your client to be able to edit parts of the company (including the Dashboard), invite them as a contributor. If you just want your client to have read-only access and the ability to view the metrics on the Dashboard, invite them as a guest. The following article provides instructions for adding these users to a company:
Step 5: Complete the forecast
Finally, if you want to compare actual values to planned values, you need to build a forecast:
Step 6: Track your progress
Once you have both sets of values in LivePlan, read Using the Dashboard overview and Trends: Comparing actuals to your plan or performance to learn about the charts and metrics available on the Dashboard.