By Lynsey Bowen

Online forecasting tools use cloud-based technology to provide you with access to your business’ financial forecasts from anywhere with an Internet connection. Financial forecasts allow you to look at the future projections of your business giving you the information to make informed business decisions. Here are a few key reasons you should be using an online forecasting tool as part of your business admin routine.

1. Forecasting Avoids Failure

There are numerous benefits to forecasting regularly within your business, but the biggest one is because it will help you to avoid failure. By looking into the future of your business and seeing how it will perform, both under current circumstances and if things changed, you will be able to identify problems before they occur and implement tactics to avoid issues occurring in the first place. It is much cheaper to forecast than to fail.

2. Access from Anywhere

So those are the reasons you should be forecasting, but why use an online tool to do so? Because it allows you to access your forecast information from anywhere with an internet connection. This gives you the flexibility to:

  • Update your forecasts following important meetings
  • Do some quick calculations prior to making big decisions
  • Forecast the outcome of different scenarios as they are discussed

The level of freedom and flexibility online forecasting tools gives you means you can grow your business quickly, simply and efficiently – without an expensive phone call to your accountants.

3. Publish Forecasts to Stakeholders

Chances are you will come to a point where you will want to share a copy of your forecast with stakeholders such as board members, investors, mentors or your accountant. And wouldn’t it look more professional and easy to discuss if it weren’t a formula-ridden spreadsheet? Some online forecasting tools makes it really easy for you to share your financial forecasts, securely, with anyone you choose. And publishing your forecasts directly to your key stakeholders makes it easier for them to help you too!

Because these forecasting tool are available online, it means your stakeholders can access your published forecasts from anywhere. They can drill down into the figures behind your forecast without having to trawl through them to see if the formulae are correct. With some online forecasting software, there are no limits to the number of forecasts you can publish with meaning you can share endless scenarios with anyone you choose, anywhere in the world and discuss them at leisure to ensure you are making sound, reliable decisions about your business. With so many people working and collaborating from different places, online forecasting tools are becoming a vital part of building successful start-ups and SMEs.

4. Easier Cash Flow Management

Cash flow, or bad cash flow, can kill your business so it is essential that you have a tool in place which can help you monitor and manage your cash flow. Online forecasting software does exactly that, it helps you to see what your cash flow looks like both at the present and in the future. Many have simple dashboards which show you your forecasts as line graphs or bar charts. These graphic representations of how your cash flow is looking and where you could possible make improvements, are great and mean you don’t have to wade through endless numbers-crunching! It will also tell you to see, at a glance, if you are likely to run into any cash flow problems, allowing you to put remedial solutions in place before your business runs out of cash.

5. See Growth as Part of Your Future

Online forecasting tools are about more than just avoiding problems and managing your cash flow more effectively. In order to manage and plan for the growth of your business, it is important you use an online forecasting tool as it will help you to understand how your business is performing against your predefined performance indicators. These could be profit margins, break even points for different product lines or the amount of cash available within the business. Whatever measures you use to monitor the performance of your business, you can monitor and forecast them online. This will help you to plan the future of your business as you forecast its growth. You can forecast different scenarios and see the impact of different growth strategies without the risk of implementing them first.

6. Make Better Decisions

However you choose to use your online forecasting tool, the outcome is that you will have more confidence in the important decisions you are making about your business because you will be fully informed of the consequences.