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 expectations
When you create a forecast, you’ll want to see how you’re performing against it. If you are underpeforming against your forecast, you need to identify why and correct that behaviour. The Comparison card is a great way to do just that.
Use case 1: This year v last year
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, there’s no need to worry, because that is exactly where we are going to start.
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 at 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 vs 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, but you can also choose to display them for a specific period, or”until the end of the last period”)
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.