Troubleshooting financial numbers Follow

Here's some general information about diagnosing financial data in Business Plan Pro, using the Interest Expense line of the Profit and Loss table as an example.

Diagnosing Financials In Business Plan Pro

A number of data entry cells in Business Plan are locked by design, because the data is entered in a different place, and the information is brought into the locked cells automatically. You can use the features of the software to find the correct place in which to edit the data values in cells that are not locked.

The four key features of Business Plan Pro that give you absolute diagnostic power over the numbers in your business plan are the "Spreadsheet" tab, the Row Help pane, the Formula field, and the "View" menu.
  • The "Spreadsheet" tab
    While the data entry wizards in Business Plan Pro can help a new user through the process of initial data entry, they do not have the flexibility (nor do they show enough specific detail) to find and correct all of the individual numbers in the business plan.

    Using the "Spreadsheet" tab, which is above the "Next Task" button in each of the financial tables in Business Plan Pro, gives you direct access to each of the editable data cells in any of the financial tables in your business plan. It also allows you to use the Row Help pane and the Formula field to discover how to find and edit the original data entry cells whose contents are reflected in any locked rows or cells.

  • The Row Help Pane
    The Row Help pane is below the cells of each spreadsheet table in the plan. It is above the "Spreadsheet" and "Preview" tabs, which are above the "Next Task" button. Please see the attached screen shot showing the Interest line in the Profit and Loss table as an example.

    If you click on any row or cell in a table, you can read in the Row Help pane an explanation of the calculation that takes place on that row or in that cell.

    If the Row Help pane is not visible, you may need to click the "Full Screen" button at the lower right, beneath the spreadsheet, to make it visible. It may help to drag the upper border of the Row Help pane upward to make it larger, so you can read the text it contains.

    If the current row or cell is locked, the Row Help explains where those numbers come from. For example, if you click on the Sales row in the P&L table, the Row Help area explains that the Sales income comes from the Sales Forecast table. You can then go to the Sales Forecast and change the projected Sales figures, which are then reflected in the P&L Table.

  • The Formula field
    If you click on any data cell in the spreadsheet view of a table, you can see the formula for that cell (above the heading for Column A in the Spreadsheet view -- as shown in the attached screen shot).

  • The "View" Menu
    Every table in the plan is listed in alphabetical order on the "View-->Tables" menu. You can use this menu to go directly to any table, chart, or topic in the plan. Even items that do not print (and are not in the Outline) are available from the "View" menu. 

    An example is the General Assumptions table, which show the loan interest rates for Current Borrowing and Long-Term Liabilities, as well as the income Tax Rate. By default, it is not in the Outline, and does not print. However, clicking "View-->Tables-->General Assumptions" brings it right up.
So, here's an example for you. If I noticed something unusual about the Interest Expense in the Profit & Loss table, I would take the following steps to troubleshoot it:
First, I'd switch to the spreadsheet view so I could get a clearer picture of the Interest Expense row over time. Then, I'd read the "Row by Row" help information on Interest Expense to get an understanding of the calculation. It would show me:


As you can see, it explains that I can't change the number here (the row is protected) as it is calculated by multiplying the liabilities balances (from the Balance Sheet) by the interest rates (from the General Assumptions table).

So, I would use the View menu to go to the General Assumptions table and check to be sure that my Interest Rates were entered correctly. Once I'd determined those values are correct, I'd go to the Balance Sheet and check my Long-term Liabilities and Current Borrowing balances. Looking at that spreadsheet, I could see if there was an issue with either of those balances. Again, I'd find that the cells are locked and I could use the Row by Row help to determine I need to go to the Cash Flow table to make changes to it or I can use the Formula Backstep tool to go back to the source of the data for those cells (as shown in the 3 images below):







This is how you could trace a calculated number (Interest Expense) back to it's source (New Current Borrowing) in order to make a change to the source data.
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