These gems give you comparative insight into how you are performing against last year, forecast, budget, or two scenarios.
Written by Hannah Dawson
Tracking your performance against what you said it would be
It’s no use, spending time creating a forecast/budget and then leaving it on the shelf to gather dust. You NEED to see how much you have spent towards your budget and how you are performing against your forecast. If you aren’t on top of this during the month, then you can’t correct behaviour if it is heading off in a tangent.
Add Comparison Cards either from the Build your own section or by hitting one of the templates
Use case 1: This year v last year
This is a bit of a vanity metric, but still something you should be abreast of. Often for the most important year v year insights it’s better to use a Snapshot so that you don’t miss the instant insights. When an entire P&L is presented sometimes, you can’t see the wood for the trees, however we are going to start there.
Start with a P&L comparison for this yr v last yr (one of our templates).
What you want to see, at a simple level, is revenue increasing, expenditure maintaining your target levels and cash in the bank getting bigger. The comparison of these periods will certainly let you know if revenue is decreasing, expenditure increasing and cash in the bank declining!
The template covers a 12 month period, but you can of course edit this on the Report tab.
Look at the chart first. There will be two lines, one for last year and one for the current. You can change what is displayed on the chart, by adjusting the dropdown:
Are there any obvious months that need to be looked at in more detail based upon the trends you see?
Automatically, this report has variance analysis, selected for you on the Advanced tab. The green/red arrows are small but very powerful indicators of success and problems within your business. In the example below, it’s worth changing the chart to the Private Income account, to see if its underperformance is a constant theme.
So, while this gives you insight, it is still looking to the past and we want to look to the future.
Use case 2: Actual V forecast/budget or scenario
Our scenarios section is a flexible tool for all kinds of future prediction. So whether you have created a budget that you set at the start of the year, a working forecast that you live in for your decision-making or a best/worse case scenario on top, you can compare them to your actuals here.
Flip the Card around:
Change the dropdown from Year vs Year comparison:
To this, ensuring you choose one of your scenarios in column 1.
Where you want the actuals to appear is your choice (We update your actuals automatically and I like to choose “until the end of the last period” so that the cards are always up to date.)
Depending on when your scenario starts, you may want to look ahead instead of backwards, so you would change the direction of travel to & the following. It’s very easy to configure as you see fit!
Flip the card and you have your analysis. Of course this is most powerful when you have created your own, more detailed forecast/budget. But you see the power.
Use case 3: Scenario v Scenario
You cannot make a decision on the direction of travel your business is going to take without exploring a couple of possibilities. What is your margin of safety? If you are 10% off on your revenue target but still buy stock for the original projections – what happens to your cash etc. Use this option to get a grip on which future will become your action plan with ease.