Forecast Builder

LivePlan's Forecast Builder makes it easy to create a starting forecast from your accounting data when connected to QuickBooks Online or Xero. It provides step-by-step guidance to ensure that your accounting data is properly mapped to its corresponding forecast items in LivePlan. 

In this article:

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

Accessing the Forecast Builder

The Forecast Builder appears when a plan is connected to QuickBooks Online or Xero before making any entries or edits to the forecast or when creating a new scenario from your accounting data.  

Creating a new forecast scenario using accounting data:

  1. Start a new Forecast scenario:
     - If you don't have any additional scenarios in your forecast, click Create near the top-left of your LivePlan window:
    forecast sidebar with scenario create highlighted.png
     - If you have already created one or more scenarios, click on the Forecast Scenario drop-down and select Create New Scenario:
    creating a new forecast scenario dropdown.gif
  • Select Use QuickBooks Data or Use Xero Data and click Next:
    Create new scenario from accounting data.png

Connecting to QuickBooks Online or Xero before editing your forecast:

When a plan is connected to QuickBooks Online or Xero before making any edits to the forecast, the Forecast Builder will guide you through creating a starting forecast from your accounting data. 

  1. Click on the company drop-down in the left sidebar and select Create New Company:
    2023-12-12_14-06-31.png
  2. Click Forecast in the left sidebar:
    LivePlan Menu Arrow Pointing to Forecast.png
  3. Click Get Started:
    Forecast Get Started.png
  4. Select "Import QuickBooks or Xero Data"
    Forecast Start Import Data.png
  5. Select your accounting solution and follow the connection steps on-screen:
    Forecast Builder Pick Accounting Solution.png
  6. Once your accounting data has been downloaded, you will be taken to the Forecast Builder:
    Forecast Builder Let's Create A Forecast.png

Configuring your revenue, expenses, and direct costs

Once you have successfully connected and synced to your accounting solution, you will arrive at the first step of the Forecast Builder. Here, you will organize your income accounts from QuickBooks Online or Xero (displayed in the right column) into LivePlan revenue streams (shown on the left):

Forecast Builder Organization.png

Income accounts will show the percentage of your total income each account represents along the right side of the account box. Similarly, the revenue stream created in LivePlan will display the total income that the new stream will represent below the name of the LivePlan revenue stream. Note that multiple revenue accounts can be connected to a single LivePlan revenue stream:

Forecast Builder Suggested Mapping.png

Note: Percentages displayed in the Forecast Builder represent the past 12 months of data from your accounting software. The definition of "most recent year of data" is based on the start date you've set for your forecast. For example, suppose you've set your forecast to start in January 2023. In that case, LivePlan will use accounting data from January - December 2022 to build your starting forecast. LivePlan will download your current fiscal year and the two prior fiscal years from your accounting solution. LivePlan's Dashboard can display, analyze, and present all available accounting data.

You can rearrange accounts, exclude accounts, rename accounts, and create new LivePlan forecast items from here. Your expenses and direct costs can be configured similarly. 

Moving accounts:

All accounts in the left column can be rearranged by clicking and dragging the forecast item to its new location:

Forecast Builder Arrange Mapping .gif

Excluding accounts:

LivePlan automatically excludes accounts from the Forecast Builder that have no data within the current fiscal year and the two prior fiscal years. However, you may still see accounts displaying 0% if they contain no data from the past year but do contain data older than one year.

To exclude accounts from the forecast builder, click "Show accounts excluded from LivePlan" to open the Excluded Accounts box and drag the account to the box:

Forecast Builder Exclude Acccounts .gif

Note: Excluded accounts will not contribute data to the starting forecast or Dashboard. You can update your account mapping if you wish to include these accounts later.

Renaming LivePlan forecast items:

You can rename any forecast item from the column on the right by clicking on the name of the item you wish to rename. Type the new name, then click on the checkmark to rename or the X to cancel:

Forecast Builder Rename.gif

Creating new forecast items

To create additional forecast items for your revenue, expenses, or direct costs, click the New button near the lower-right corner of your LivePlan window. Type the name of the forecast item, and click the checkmark to save or the X to cancel. Then, drag accounts that you wish to relate to that new forecast item and place them next to the newly created forecast item:

Forecast Builder New Revenue Stream.gif

Configuring special expenses

After setting up your revenue accounts, Forecast Builder will guide you through setting up payroll, income taxes, and interest expenses from your accounting data. On each of the three pages, you will be presented with the account that LivePlan identified as containing your payroll, interest, and income tax data. If you wish to include additional accounts, place a check next to any of the accounts below:

Forecast Builder Payroll Check.gif

If you don't want to include any accounts, leave all boxes unchecked. When you have made the selections, click Next in the lower-right corner to continue.

Once all sections of the Forecast Builder have been completed, you will be presented with a final confirmation of the forecast that will be created:
Forecast Builder Confirmation.png

Click Create Forecast to finish the Forecast Builder. You will be taken to your new forecast next, where you can now adjust the starting forecast.

For more info:

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