5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs to Forecast in the Cloud
Posted on 28th February 2017 in Business
Written by James Marren
No pain, no gain? Not all things in life work to this maxim – getting on top of your business’ financials is one of them.
We all have just 168 hours in a week so it seems crazy to waste time on financial admin when there’s technology that can do a much better job of it for you. Updating your actual performance manually into a spreadsheet is a boring, laborious process. It’s also pretty impossible to keep up with over the medium to long term. If you and your accountant do manage to keep your books up-to-date, however, it will come at a considerable financial/time cost, leaving precious little resource for Forecasting your future. Therefore, despite your original good intentions to get on top of your finances, you’ve still ended up with an out of date and overwhelming “wall of numbers”. You can’t run your business in the dark, so why put yourself through this and stunt your business’ potential? Here are the top 5 reasons why forecasting in the cloud makes much more sense.
1. You get a real-time view of your financial position
Trying to get on top of your books with accounting software that’s not cloud-based is tedious, and because of that, it’s also the one job that’s liable to fall off the list. Xero and QuickBooks get direct data feeds from your financial institutions, and with automatic bank reconciliations that update daily, you know exactly where your business stands at all times. That’s one piece of the puzzle, but how are you doing against your budgets and forecasts? If your worst case scenario becoming a reality? “Working” in the cloud is so much easier, you’ll feel like a king, not a workhorse. With FUTRLI and QuickBooks or Xero, you’ll know exactly how your business is performing against a range of Scenarios, beautifully presented on a Dashboard, accessible via your iPhone.
2. Your business can reliably embrace ‘What-ifs’
A big problem with desktop accounting solutions is that Excel SpreadSheets are liable to formula errors. The data is hard to manage and manipulate and you can’t easily visualise what you need to do. FUTRLI, on the other hand, provides a clear view of your financials with beautiful graphs and charts, allowing you to easily track the decisions you are making. This allows you to develop your business operations based on facts, rather than sticking a finger in the air and hoping for the best. For example, with FUTRLI you can create a base scenario and then play with it to reflect a range of possible futures (optimistic, pessimistic and most likely, as a minimum). This way you are planning for every eventuality and not leaving yourself open and susceptible to surprises.
3. Your team can work with you to drive the numbers
‘We’re all accountable for driving business performance in one way or another. As the CEO, I feel strongly that it is my job to share the vision, give shared accountability and keep the team up-to-speed with the right management information. This way your team will have more autonomy to make a positive difference to your KPIs.’
– John Ryder, Founder and Managing Director of Hive.HR
We believe that collaboration with your team is absolutely key – more heads and hands make light work! If you’re precious about your Forecast in a spreadsheet because you live in fear that it will break, you can’t get the best out of the people employed to help you. FUTRLI, gives you and your team, who need the numbers just as much as you, access to your data online at any time, using any device with an internet connection. It also brings the data to life, with beautiful graphs and charts, making it so much easier for every member of the team to digest.
4. There are thousands of apps available to help
Making the move to the cloud opens up a vibrant ecosystem of apps designed specifically to help you work smarter and save you precious time. Xero’s App Market Place has 500+ time-saving apps designed to solve your business needs. Shopify and Rocketspark, for example, allow you to set up online shops that sync with Xero to enable orders to automatically flow through as invoices.
Alerts can monitor all kinds of measures of financial health. Your first step is to choose which area of the business you are going to monitor and the second is to decide when you want to be informed of good or bad news. The data that is being monitored is updated daily via the cloud, and you’re notified when you trigger an alert by dropping below or exceeding those chosen thresholds. This means you can action changes at the right moments, catching issues before they become problems or increasing your order of raw materials if a particular product line has nearly sold out.
If you don’t forecast in the cloud, how are you keeping track of your business’ performance? How do you determine what is good or bad without creating at least a base level scenario as a reference? How do you stay informed of changes as they happen when you are so busy? Are you adjusting behaviour throughout the month dependent on your results?
If you’re struggling to answer these questions, then it’s time to make a change.