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How to Use Forecasts & Dashboards to Drill into the Cause of Any Issue in Your Business

Posted on 21st December 2016 in Advisory

Written by Ankur Gomes

We asked one of our resident Management Accountants, Ankur Gomes, to run through how you can create a suite of Boards for better business planning and management in FUTRLI. We’ll review a selection of Boards in this blog and how you can use them. These include: a Management Board, a Ratios Board, a Current Financials Board, a Comparison Board, a Look at the Last 5 years Board, and, finally, what we all really care about, Next Year’s Overview.

Unlocking the platform’s full potential

I use FUTRLI everyday with businesses from every industry and I can say that FUTRLI (pronounced Future-lee) is much more than simply creating tables & graphs. If used to its full potential (as it absolutely should be!) it can drill down to the root cause of any problem your business might encounter, in real time. I know, I am very biased, but I wouldn’t run your business without it.

To achieve the supreme level of dynamism that FUTRLI provides you need to segregate your Boards into different categories and combine them with our Alert functionality. The Boards are your window into your business and, just like your home, your Boards will will show you a different view. Each subcategory can report on different aspects of your business and give you a holistic perspective. 

In this blog we will review…

  • 6 Business Planning Boards
  • The Boards in Action: A workflow of how a Director would use them
  • Summary of FUTRLI for Business Planning

Your 6 Business Planning Boards

A typical approach would be to create a KPI Suite, consisting of the following 6 Boards.

 

 

 

1. Your Management Board

This is where you should obtain the pilot’s view of your business. A perfect place for your business KPIs & Key Predictive Indicators. The ideal Management Board should have a combination of Financial & Non-financial Cards, enabling you to measure both the qualitative & quantitate aspects of your business. Snapshot Cards are also a popular choice here.

2. Ratio Board 

This Board should be created with a mix of business ratios carefully selected with your business objectives in mind. Liquidity ratios like current ratio, payable days should be selected if you operate in a cash sensitive business. Asset intensive businesses should focus on ratios like return on capital employed, asset turnover ratio etc.

3. Current Financial Board 

As the name suggests, this Board can include elements of your financial statements like P&L, balance sheet & cashflow statements. However, they can also include expense breakdown reports etc. as per your needs.

4. Comparison Board 

This Board can be specifically designed for month / quarter end reporting. FUTRLI’  Comparison Cards offer a perfect solution here. Comparison Cards are designed to compare your actual data with your forecast for your chosen period and offers a great solution to your management accounting / month end reporting needs, through variance analysis.

5. Last 5 year’s Board 

This is where you can include all your historic Financial Cards for analysis and reference should you need to.

6. Next year’s Board 

This Board can be dedicated to create Report Cards and concentrate on forecast data. Although the forecast data can be integrated with the actuals in other Boards, some clients benefit from having a dedicated Forecast Board. This saves you from toggling between Forecast & Actuals and means you can share Boards more readily.

Once all these Boards are set up and in place, the FUTRLI Alert functionality can be used to take the reporting functionality to a new level.


The Boards in Action

Let’s review this example together. Director A is very busy running a company, where he lacks the time to monitor his Boards from time to time. His business is currently facing liquidity issues and he is keen to be hands on with his business’s cash position.

How FUTRLI can be used to help Director A 

Director A can build and organise his Boards as per the above recommendations and set up the Alert functionality on, let’s say various Report Cards and formulae, measuring his cash position.

Here’s a simulated walkthrough of him encountering a cash emergency in his business & using FUTRLI to solve it:

STEP 1: Receives a FUTRLI Alert, saying his cash ratio has fallen below the pre-set threshold. At this point Director A, does not know anything else apart from the fact that he will end up in overdraft. He can however do the following to drill through to the root cause of the alert.

STEP 2: He checks his Cash Ratio Card in the Ratio Board and realises that the ratio has dropped since yesterday; signifying a cash shortage.

STEP 3: To check whether this is an expected cash shortage, he refers to his Comparison Board and concentrates on the bank account variance column. Here he finds an adverse variance, which tells him that the cash shortage was not expected as per his forecast.

STEP 4: Curious to find out what might have impacted his bank adversely, he refers to the expense section of the P&L Comparison Card, where he sees an adverse variance for an expense item.

STEP 5: This prompts him to recall having received correspondence about this expense increase, which he misplaced. He now can refer to his Current Financial Board and under balance sheet refer to the other bank accounts to see if he can internally transfer cash to resolve the overdraft issue.

STEP 6: He then refers to his Forecast Board and under his cash flow forecast, adjusts the forecast expense figure for this item for the rest of his scenario.

Conclusion

The above steps show how Director A can use FUTRLI to quickly take corrective actions, in near real time to resolve a potentially detrimental situation for his business. The point to take from this is, as long as the Boards and Cards are created and categorised as per the business needs, FUTRLI can Alert you to a concern, highlight its root cause and offer you a platform for assessing different solutions.

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