Forecasting is the window in the system where you can set a Sales Forecast by Location by Period and can enter daily values. This forecast can be referenced in the Business Analytics module in the Daily Sales Summary data set to compare to actual values. If Custom Sales Forecasting is enabled for your instance, dates will be listed in blue and hyperlinked to their Daily Forecast.
Since forecasting is commonly looked at weekly, this window is designed to work for companies that have their Operational Year setup as 13-4 week periods, 4/4/5 periods, 4/5/4 periods, or 5/4/4 periods so that it can be based on weeks. Calendar Periods do not work well in this screen because Calendar months will not line up neatly with the weeks that are forecasted.
Security & Navigation
Users with the following Security Roles have access to Forecasting:
- Full Access (Primary)
- Accounting Manager (Primary)
- Forecasting Admin (Secondary)
Click here for more information on Security Roles.
Forecasting is found in the Reports section of the Operations Module. When selected, the Forecasting window will load.
Creating a Forecast
To get started, select the desired Location, Period, and Value (sales is the only option value to forecast currently) and then click the "Get Period" button. If you have a saved forecast already for this period, this will load that forecast. If you don't have a saved forecast then this will load the period with $0 values for each day.
When first creating the Forecast for the Period, if you'd like the system to populate the Forecast with values to get you started, you can choose from the values in the Start With drop-down and click 'Go'. These values are described below (and highlighted in red in the image).
1) Smart Forecast - This is the most complicated value to describe but also probably the best value to use to start a forecast. This also takes the longest to process so after pressing Go you may need to wait a minute for the Smart Forecast to populate the values. The system starts by getting the daily trend between this year and last year by getting the average sales by day of the week for the prior 8 weeks and then comparing that to the average sales by day of the week for those same 8 weeks last year. So for example if in the prior 8 weeks Saturday averaged $11,000 sales and Saturday averaged $10,000 in those same 8 weeks last year then your trend is 10% increase in Saturday sales this year. So then the system gets the actual values from last year for this same period that you are forecasting and applies that trend by day of the week. So if you're forecasting period 10 and if the actual value on the first Saturday in period 10 last year was $9,500 then the system will add 10% to that and forecast $10,450 for that same day this year. It will proceed to do that smart forecasting for every day of the period.
2) Prior Yr Actual - This will populate the forecast with the actual values from the same period last year
3) Prior Yr Forecast - This will populate the forecast with the forecast values from the same period last year
4) Prior Period Forecast - This will populate the forecast with the forecast from the prior period
5) Prior Period Actual - This will populate the forecast with the actual values from the prior period
6) Set All to 0 - Set all values in the forecast to $0
Show Prior Year
To help give context to the forecast numbers, some Users like to see how they compare to last year. To view this you can check the 'Show Prior Year' check box at the top of the screen. This will display 2 additional values in every cell for prior year actual value and the variance between the prior year actual and this forecast value. While this information is often helpful, it can also make the screen busier to look at so the user can use this check box to choose whether to see it or not.
With Show Prior Year unchecked:
With Show Prior Year checked:
Working With the Forecast Grid
The plainest way to use the forecast grid would be to type in a value for each day manually. While this can be done fairly quickly, the window comes with various features to help speed up entry.
1) Copy Top Row Down - If you've set values in the first row of the forecast and want those same values in the rest of the forecast by day of the week then press 'Copy Top Row Down' and the values for each day of the week will be copied to the other rows below
2) Apply % Adjusting - If you want to increase the values in the forecast by a certain percent (for example if you started with prior year actual and want to increase by 3%), then you can set the percentages you want to increase by in the % fields at the top of the grid and then press 'Apply % Adjustment'. This will only update the rows you've selected by checking the box on the far right of that row. To help set the percentages for each day, you can put a number percentage in the field above the 'Week Total' column and tab off, causing the following percentage fields to auto-populate with the same percentage
Spread button on each row - If you want to set the week total and spread that evenly across each day of that week, then put the value in the week total field and then press the 'Spread button'
When finished populating the forecast values as desired, click 'Save' in the upper left corner of the window.
A printable forecast is available from the Forecast screen by clicking the Print button at the top to the right of the Save button. This report will be formatted similar to the forecast screen.
For analytical reports comparing forecast to actuals, this can be done in Ad Hoc reports in the Business Analytics module. To create an Ad Hoc Report to compare actual sales to forecast, follow the simple steps below. Click here for more information on Ad Hoc Reporting
- Go to Ad Hoc Reports in the left hand navigation pane under Accounting or Operations - Reports - Ad Hoc Reports
- Click the dropdown next to "Create Crosstab Of" or "Create Chart Of" and select Daily Sales Summary from the list (red arrow in image below titled Ad Hoc Image)
- By default this already starts with Total Sales in the columns section and in the lower left hand portion of the screen under the Measures list you can select Forecast Amount, Forecast Variance, or Forecast Variance Percent (circled in green in image below titled Ad Hoc Image)
- Forecast Amount: this is the actual amount forecasted for each location for each day
- Forecast Variance: this is the difference between Total Sales and Forecast Amount for each location each day (Total Sales minus Forecast Amount)
- Forecast Variance Percent: this is the percent of the Forecast Amount difference to Total Sales (Total Sales minus Forecast Amount divided by Forecast Amount)
- Drag the desired forecast measure(s) into the columns or rows and then add other fields that will help you report as well
- For example, if you want to see Total Sales, Forecast Amount, and Forecast Variance as columns in a report and see it by day of the week, then you would put those 3 measures in the Columns and in Rows you would put Fiscal Day Name
- If you want to see it only for a specific location or specific date range, right-click those fields in the Fields list in the left-hand pane and select 'Create Filter'. Then, in the right-hand filter pane, select your desired values to limit the locations or dates of the report
- Just as with any other Ad Hoc Reports, this can be saved and viewed individually or added to Dashboards