http://www.paloalto.com - This session covers your initial plan setup, built-in help and guidance, financial forecasting, formatting, and publishing your plan (printing & exporting).
Probably the hardest thing about forecasting for your years is coming up with the first year's monthly numbers. So we've built a tool to help you with that inside the software. We can right click on any table that has the twelve-month forecasting for the first year and then choose forecaster from the menu and that will bring up our forecaster tool. That allows us to do a forecast for that product or service in a couple of different ways. We can do a point and click forecast so if we need seasonality we can go ahead and point and click on the graph. We could have our sales increase and then fall off in the middle of the year and then level out for the end of the year. We can quickly do a point and click forecast for seasonality. We can also do a growth rate forecast so we can set our first month sales by pointing and clicking or typing in a number if we want to, and then we can tell the program to use a growth rate and then select a growth rate from the slider here so we can tell it what we want our growth rate to be and then the program will forecast using that growth rate off of a hundred units for the first month, what the rest of the twelve months is going to be and then it'll give us the forecast total. Whenever we have this set up the way we want it to be we can just click ok in the program can apply those numbers to the actual spreadsheet for us so we don't have to do our monthly forecasting then we can scroll over to the next two years and look at our original number and then come up with an estimate of our next numbers. So next year we plan on doing forty five hundred and then the following year we're going to do fifty two hundred units in that product or service. And then one other thing that you can do using the forecaster again we can start with the growth rate so if we want to go ahead and use a growth rate of ten percent but then we want to do seasonality on top of it we can go ahead and adjust that straight line growth rate afterwards to provide some seasonality to our forecast as well. So however you want to do it the tools are there. Just use them in whichever way is more comfortable for you. So once we fill in our unit fields per unit then add our unit prices, so say we are going to charge a unit price of fifty dollars for the first product, and maybe a hundred dollars for our second product, the program is going to go ahead and calculate our sales for each of those products. And then we just have to tell it what percentage of our unit prices or sales is attributable to cost of sales. So let's see the first product we have a really low cost of sales ten percent I wanted, and then the next product or service we're going to have a higher cost of sales maybe it's fifty percent cost of sales. The program is going to can go ahead and use that data to calculate our unit cost and then our total cost of sales for us. And that completes the sales forecast for us just that quick. We'd still want to go over and fill in our unit prices for the second and third year. So that completes our sales forecast and then we can move on to back to the contribution margin table we were looking at earlier and you'll see now our sales and cost of sales information is there for us so we can move on with filling in the rest of the data in this table. So I want to pause there really quick and see if we have any questions about using the spreadsheets in the software. Ok you guys are being way too easy on me