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Frequently Asked Questions

4CastPro can be setup in different ways to meet your business forecasting needs. Here are the most common questions. Click on Sections Below:

  • Overview
    4CastPro is essentially a business forecasting,budgeting consolidation and reporting system. It also has a full help forum accessible from the main menu. 4CastPro can be used for monthly or quarterly forecasting/reporting,budgeting or for producing the financials for a 5 year plan (There is a 5 year planning tool under Administration menu). 4CastPro is designed to import actuals from your accounting system and it works best when you import your own Chart of accounts. It is a database system that records and forecasts TB movements and balances over time.
  • How do setup a TB Import Spreadsheet and initially sync the COA with my underlying Accounting system?
    After creating a new company in the Company Manager you will have a company with a default Chart of Accounts. An example TB.xlsx import spreadsheet is available for download. It requires a named range called "TB" All Accounts need to be allocated to a Statutory Accounts TYPE and to a default Management Accounts layout grouping Both files have the same first 5 columns: ACCT,ACCTName,CC,TYPE,ACCTGP0 CC - Needs to be same as that in 4CastPro eg 001FCT TYPE - Each account needs to be assigned to a Statutory Accounts type eg INC,COS,OVH (see list below) ACCTGP0 - This is your Management Accounts layout grouping Eg Main Sales, Other Sales etc. Here is what it should look like: Go to File-Upload/Import TB. 1 Upload your TB file 2 Select the file and the company into which you wish to import 3 Click on “Initial Sync TB” to initially sync the COA with your underlying Accounting system. You can then select the uploaded file and Click on “Import TB” to bring in actual data for the current period
  • How do I Import my Excel TB into 4CastPro?
    Once you have setup your TB Import spreadsheet & run “Initial Sync TB” or “Initial Sync NL” to initially sync the COA with your underlying Accounting system Go to File-Upload/Import TB. 1 Upload your latest TB for the current month 2 Select the file and the company into which you wish to import 3 Click on Import TB Alternatively there is a "Quick TB Import" button. This requires a simple xls TB with columns headed ACCT(Account code) and BAL(Account balance) on row1 of Sheet1. No named range is necessary
  • What other setup tasks are required?
    Once you have sync'd the COA with your underlying Accounting system you should should consider the following tasks: • Goto Administration-Setup: Setting up the Company Name, Year End, Current Year and other assumptions • Goto Administration-COA: To check your COA and ensure everything is rolling up under correct TYPES and ACCTGP’s • Goto Administration-P&L Layout: To add a custom structure to your P&L Account eg separate Sales, COS or Overhead sections • Goto Administration-Companies: Setting up the Companies within a group • Goto Administration-Departments: Setting up the Departments/Sites within the group • Goto Administration-FAMatrix: Setting up Fixed Asset Matrix so Depreciation is automatically calculated in your forecast/budget • Goto File-CompanyManager: The Administrator can setup Users and their access levels for a particular company database and create/delete/copy company databases • Goto Excel-Custom Excel Reporting: Configuration of the offline reporting spreadsheets & writing any reports to cover requirements not covered by the 'canned' reports
  • How do I set-up new Group/Company databases?
    The Company Database Manager is the first form to appear when you login. or Go to File - Company Database Manager This facility allows you to open and manage your company databases. Each database can itself contain a number of different companies that you wish to consolidate. They can each have their own COA as consolidation is by TYPE or ACCTGP Select the database and click “Open Company” to open a company database. Databases can be uploaded from the desktop version. Note there is a sample database that can be used to familiarise users without any danger of doing anything wrong with the live database - Plantest.mdb If you want to create a new database enter the database name you want in the box next to “Add Company” and click the “Add Company” or “Copy Company” button. You can backup and restore selected databases
  • How do I add another Company to my Database?
    Go to Administration - Companies Here you can add and delete companies and set up any consolidation nodes for sub groups
  • What are Departments?
    Departments are useful for companies with multiple sites within the P&L account section of their TB that each require their own TB eg a group of pharmacies or dental practices or shops. These are identified in the TB by populating one of the ACCTGP's under the Chart of Accounts(COA) facility. Departments under the Administration menu allows you to select that ACCTGP for your Departments and summarises all Departments you have entered under COA. The Departmental P&L's can then be selected via a dropdown button. There is also a Sheet by Department tabbed view.
  • How do I perform a Year End?
    Go to Administration - Copy/Zero Time Series There is a Year End Process to Move data back (usually 12 months) It moves all databack by 1 year and resets the year
  • How to I change the Layout of the P&L Account?
    Go to Administration - PandL Layout You can customise the layout to one that fits you main company layout. You can move Account Groups up or down, add sections and display or hide totals
  • How do I setup the balance sheet to automatically reforecast itself as a result of changes to the P&L Account data?
    By setting up various assumptions you can get the balance sheet to auto forecast itself meaning any changes to P&L data will feed through into the balance sheet and cashflow forecast The Balance Sheet Forecast is where you update your forecast of balance sheet accounts not updated from elsewhere within the model. Certain accounts in the Balance Sheet are directly updated from other parts of the model or from the balance sheet assumptions. The following accounts are not updateable within the Balance Sheet forecast: • Fixed Asset and Accumulated Depreciation is updated as and when the FA forecast is Recalc’d • Trade Debtor and Trade Creditor accounts are recalculated and populated directly by the model • VAT balances are recalculated and populated directly by the model • The PAYE/NIC creditor account can be set as %EMP is recalculated and populated directly by the model Trade Debtor/Creditors The calculation can be based on Days: Debtor and Creditor days and which accounts are VATable are setup against each Sales or Cost Account in the P&L CM - Current Month Days - Current Months Days 0-30 days Invoice(CM)xDays/30 31-60 days Invoice(CM) + Invoice(CM-1)x(Days-30)/30 61-90 days Invoice(CM) + Invoice(CM-1) + Invoice(CM-2)x(Days-60)/30 > 90 days Invoice(CM) + Invoice(CM-1) + Invoice(CM-2))xDays/90 eg 45 Days - The current months invoices are o/s plus 15/30th of previous months sales Only after 90 days is the calculation based on a 90 day average You can use a Sales or Purchase Ledger adjustment account if this calculation does not produce the desired result Fixed Assets You define the relationships between Fixed Asset Cost and Depreciation Accounts together with depreciation method and rate. As you add assets the depreciation will calculate itself in the P&L and Balance Sheet Stock You can set stock to calculate on stock days Accruals/Prepayments Various PL accounts eg rent/rates can be setup with an ACCRUE method. This allows you to enter T account movements Loans Loans can be setup in 2 ways • Set Method as LOAN. This provides T a/c functionality and allows you to forecast interest and repayments. Interest is charged to a 1INT system account • Set up a Financed Fixed Asset under Fixed Assets Drilldown. This sets up a LOAN Method Loan at same time as setting up asset • If you wish to show "Loans <1 Year" in your forecast you will need this account to be TYPE BWC. You can then setup a LOANCONTRA account in TYPE BLO and enter the amounts you wish to show as current liabilities. The "Loans <1 Year" can be set as 100% of the LOANCONTRA Account VAT • Under Administration-Setup you can tell the system your VAT Quarters, Set VAT Monthly(Default is quarterly) and set a 60 day VAT creditor if paying by dd. • There is also an option to Enter VAT Actuals for Past Periods which allows you to enter into the 1VATI and 1VATO cumulative VAT Inputs and Outputs for a more accurate actual periods cashflow. A System VATCONTRA account is auto populated so as to not change the actual TB • The VATCONTRA Account (or an added VATADJ account) can be used to make any adjustments in your forecast VAT as these accounts will not get zero'd on recalc Corporation Tax and Dividends The PYT/CHG method is also used on Corporation Tax and Dividends Payable accounts to provide T a/c functionality and allows you to set up a related P&L account Factoring/Invoice Finance You can assign an 'other debtor' or 'other creditor' account to be a debt factoring (or invoice discounting) account by giving it a METHOD of FACTOR. This means that under the balance sheet you can drill down at CC level to a Factoring Template allowing you to set a % of trade debtor facility and to set a required overdraft or bank balance figure for your forecasts. You can also set a factoring limit. This automatically calculates the debtor facility drawdown within the overall facility % and overall limits.
  • How do I forecast my Fixed Assets and Depreciation?
    There are 2 Ways by setting the "Enter Depreciation in P&L" option under Set up to Yes/No 1 Yes This is for simple situations where you can use the fixed asset matrix assumptions to calculate depreciation for you. You can also add in where fixed assets become fully depreciated. 2 No This is where you can set up a custom FA spreadsheet to write-back a detailed FA Register forecast (This is one of the template Excel reports) or You can also use your own spreadsheet and manually enter your own depreciation
  • How do I setup my Loans?
    Drill down on the Loan Section of the balance sheet. Set Method of the account as LOAN. This provides T a/c functionality and allows you to forecast interest and repayments. Interest is charged to a 1INT system account. You can use the Loan calculator to auto populate the interest and repayments.
  • How do I setup Confidendial Invoice Discounting or Factoring?
    You need an account called Factoring or Invoice Discounting under Other Debtors or Other creditors on the balance sheet Set the Method of this account to "FACTOR" You also need to flag sales accounts as factored When drilling down you have a facility to enter % of factored debt, the maximum factor limit and whether you wish system to assumme you drawdown enough such that the bank never goes overdrawn
  • What are Account METHOD's used for?
    All P&L Accounts and certain balance sheet accounts can have their method set when you drill down to the Account level view from an item on the P&L Account or balance sheet Each account has a dropdown with the relevant methods for that account. P&L Methods: -ENTER Default method allowing entry of amounts on drilldown form -%ACCT( with %SALES,%EMP options) Used to set an account up as a % of an account or account group -ACCRUE To set an account up with accruals and prepayments -PREPAY To set up an accrued sales account based on % sales unbilled -STOCK To set up a COS account with a stock forecasting facility where you enter stock days -STOCK2 To set up a COS account with a stock forecasting facility where you enter stock purchased/invoiced and stock consumed -EMPLOY To set an account up for direct posting of employment costs from the -STAFF forecasting facility. You need to set one on a COS account and one on an OVH or OVE account -PROVISION To set up a Stock, Debtor or other cost provision that does not affect Purchase ledger or cashflow - ACCRUE,EMPLOY,PROVISION,STOCK(2) methods all have the option to be setup as % of ACCT via a tick box at Account level. -QTYPRICE To setup accounts where you wish to input quantity multiplied by price to calculate balance -PRODUCT Allows you to set-up the account to be one account(or statistical account) multiplied by another account -REPEAT Allows an account to repeat static balances in the forecast eg share capital Balance Sheet Methods: -LOAN Can be set-up for BLO type accounts. Provides Loan forcasting capability with interest being forecast on a 1INT system account -PYT/CHG A PYT/CHG method can be set on Tax and Dividend Accounts to set up a related balance sheet account and provide T a/c functionality -%PBT This can be set on Corporation Tax charge accounts to automatically accrue a tax charge at an effective rate
  • How can I see the calculations behind the Cashflow Report?
    If you hit the Download xls button you will get a spreadsheet which includes all the formulae and T accounts behing the CASHFLOW report. You will have to unhide all rows and columns!
  • What are Packs?
    4CastPro is designed for both Monthly Management Account Reporting against Budget/Forecast and for producing the financials for a 5 year plan There is a canned Management Account Pack (for simple Board Requirements) and a canned 5 Year Plan Pack (Perfect for when the Bank need a Plan) The “Savexls button” allows you to save the reports to your desktop Standard Packs: Management Accounts Pack Button This creates a spreadsheet pack of Management Accounts/Plan reports for a Single Company or a Consolidated Group (Depending on which Company Node you currently have selected) A custom board pack could be set up using the “Excel Report” main menu item Plan Pack Button This creates a spreadsheet with tabs for the selected number of years forward It gives the plan by month Custom Packs (New Feature v8) Allows you to design and run your own Custom Packs including any of the canned reports within 4CastPro each on a separate tab and including an Index page/tab.
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