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How to Create a Cash Flow Forecast With FUTRLI & QuickBooks Online

Posted on 31st August 2017 in Advisory

Written by Freya Hughes

Running a business without a forecast is like walking a tightrope with a blindfold on. You have no idea of your stepping, and can accidentally deviate from your path all too easily. Slacklining is meant to be fun, and so is running your business, but without vision neither appeal. Instead of plummeting down from a great height, add forecasting to your day to day business, and keep yourself and your company protected. We’re looking at how to use your QuickBooks Online data to create a forecast in FUTRLI, so you can see the path ahead clearly.

From KPI dashboards to cash flow forecasts, scenario planning to white labelling, we’ve made sure you can rely on FUTRLI to be the all-in-one solution for your business. We are fully integrated with QuickBooks Online , and pick up where their software finishes. Daily syncs means that your data is always in near real-time, which is great, but wouldn’t it be great to see the future? Well, wish granted! Here’s how to set up a cash flow forecast with FUTRLI and Quickbooks.

Back to basics

Budgeting ensures that you have enough cash to run your business. It’ll portray your company’s intended direction, though is usually static. You’ll find following your budget will likely help you get to where you want to be, but you will find there will be moments where you need to stop and regroup. A baseline for comparison between actuals, it’s a really important part of your business planning, so check up on it and your progress regularly.

Similar to your budget, forecasting is crucial to running a business. While your budget is static, your forecast updates in real-time. Surviving the business world can be tricky, though your forecast is there to help you see your path clearly, as you’re constantly armed with up to date information about your business.

Read the difference between a budget and a forecast

The beauty of cloud-based software is its agility and speed. QuickBooks and FUTRLI are both super flexible, so you and your clients can make edits and adjustments with ease. Real-time data is the easiest way to get a snapshot of where a business stands, and using a forecast gives you a glimpse into the future. It’s worth noting that a budget is like a static road map, while a forecast is like a sat-nav, which updates to steer you past obstacles.

A person blindfolded

Not using either in your business or firm means you might as well be blindfolded. Forecasting is like removing the blindfold – it shows you your immediate path, and you can project the coming years. Once you’ve set up this tool, you’ll realise that your vision was dulled – the insights you’re seeing with one will really open your mind. Make sure you’re using your forecast regularly, or it won’t have such an impact.

Sync data

The automatic daily syncs are a great time-saving tool to take advantage of. If there’s any one thing a business needs more of, it’s time! Any new data that’s been added to your account will be pulled through and be ready to go. If you’d prefer, however, you can manually sync with QuickBooks. It’s very simple (though will take a few more minutes), just navigate to the ‘Organisations’ tab and click the ‘Connect’ button.

Any budgets you’ve created in QuickBooks can be uploaded to FUTRLI via CSV. Once they’re in, you have freedom to edit, copy and report upon. Now, it must be noted that budgets and forecasts are different animals. If you’re a bit confused about the whole thing, read here the core differences you need to be aware of.

Once you’ve imported your existing data, that can transform a budget into a cashflow forecast. Assign optional credit terms and VAT/Tax %s per account line to make this work seamlessly. You can create from other sources too, of course. These include: from a quick copy, from an advanced copy (where you can change the start date and duration of the scenario), from last year’s actuals, and from advanced last year’s actuals (which will let you flex accounts by amounts or %).

Import your QuickBooks data

We’re going with the budget here, as we know it can seem a mammoth task. Fortunately, it’s not, so here’s how to get it started.

When you’re ready, you can use an example template which contains the appropriate formatting for your budgets. Download and paste the values from your QuickBooks budget into the template, which can be found in the ‘Scenarios’ section. Of course, you don’t have to use the template but to save time, it’s best practice.

A person treading carefully

When the blindfold is removed by your forecast, you must make sure you’re treading carefully. Using a forecast at first may feel like you’re a beginner in business again, but practice makes perfect!

Time to create your forecast

You’re now ready to create your forecast. Navigate to the ‘Scenarios’ section of FUTRLI, the place to build everything from budgets, to scenarios to effortless cash flow forecasts. Hit ‘New’ (adjacent to the organisation you’re uploading to), then you need to update your settings which will then allow you to sit back and let FUTRLI do the hard work. Once the automation is complete, you’ll be taken to the ‘Creation’ page.

Now you’re here, click ‘New’ and choose from four main options. ‘Create from Last Year’s Actuals’ does what it says on the tin; press ‘Quick Create’, for FUTRLI to examine your profits, costs and overheads month-by-month for the 12 months prior to your scenario’s chosen start date. These will then be applied going forward, therefore ensuring that any known varieties are taken into account. For example, if sales are peak in December and trough in January, it will be factored into your projection.

Your QuickBooks budget has been the springboard for your FUTRLI forecast. As mentioned earlier they are different, though best practice is to use both when running a business. Your static budget needs updating regularly, and you must stick to it!

We hear time and time again of entrepreneurs creating a budget and allowing it to gather dust in a corner of the office, but it’s there to guide you, just like your forecast. Now you’ve built the latter, you can log in and out and get a great idea of how your company is performing at just a quick glance.

Tightrope tricks

When you’ve got your team involved with your forecasting, they’ll know exactly what’s expected of them. You’ll be doing tricks on your proverbial tightrope in no time, as you are confident in your decision making and are pushing your business to new heights!

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