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:
- Accessing the Forecast Builder
- Configuring your revenue, expenses, and direct costs
- Configuring special expenses
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 prior to 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:
- Click on the Scenario drop down menu along the top of your LivePlan window and select Create New Scenario:
- Select Use QuickBooks Data or Use Xero Data and click Next:
Connecting to QuickBooks Online or Xero prior to editing your forecast:
When a plan is connected to QuickBooks Online or Xero prior to making any edits to the forecast, the Forecast Builder will guide you through creating a starting forecast from your accounting data.
- Create a new company in LivePlan:
- Click Forecast in the left sidebar:
- Click Get Started:
- Select "Import QuickBooks or Xero Data"
- Select your accounting solution and follow the connection steps on-screen:
- Once your accounting data has been downloaded, you will be taken to the Forecast Builder:
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 left column) into LivePlan revenue streams (shown on the right):
Income accounts will show the percentage of your total income represented by each account along the right side of account box. Similarly, the revenue stream that will be 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:
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. If you've set your forecast to start in January 2023, for example, LivePlan will use accounting data from January - December 2022 to build your starting forecast. In total, LivePlan will download your current fiscal year to date along with the two prior fiscal years from your accounting solution. LivePlan's Dashboard can be used to display, analyze, and present all available accounting data.
From here you can rearrange accounts, exclude accounts, rename accounts, and create new LivePlan forecast items. Your expenses and direct costs can be configured in a similar fashion.
All accounts in the left column can be rearranged by clicking and dragging the forecast item to it's new location:
LivePlan automatically excludes accounts from the Forecast Builder that have no data within the current fiscal year and the two prior fiscal years. You may still see accounts displaying 0% if the account contains no data from the past year but does 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:
Note: Excluded accounts will not contribute data to the starting forecast or Dashboard. If you wish to include these accounts at a later time you can update your account mapping.
Renaming LivePlan forecast items:
Any forecast item from the column on the right can be renamed by clicking on the name of the item that you wish to rename. Type the new name, then click on the checkmark to rename, or the X to cancel:
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:
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 has identified as containing your payroll data, interest data, and income tax data. If you wish to include additional accounts, place a check next to any of the accounts below:
Leave all boxes unchecked if you don't want to include any accounts. When the selections have been made, 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:
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.