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Cashflow Forecasting Software:
FAQs for Newcomers

Page Contents

  1. Selecting the Right Version

  2. Loading & Running Problems

  3. Registering Cashflow Plan

For more FAQs, see FAQs for Users and FAQs for Using Excel 2007, 2010. 2013, 2016 (relevant to newcomers and established users).

Note about Cashflow Plan Home (personal, household and home business cashflow planner):
Go here for details, free download and purchasing as this page mainly relates to business-related versions of Cashflow Plan.

Tip: Use your browser's search or find to locate key words on this page.


Note: Cashflow Plan contains extensive online help (130+ topics) along with a 100-page Word-based version of its manual and a series of Flash-based tutorials (running for 19 minutes) covering setting up Excel, getting started, the basics and using Quik-Plan. Manuals and tutorials are included in the download files for all versions of Cashflow Plan. The Super and Ultra versions are also supplied with a Cashflow Plan Consolidator Guide which is included in the download files for Cashflow Plan Super and Ultra.

The manual, tutorials and guide should answer any queries not covered below.

 
 
Fast Facts

Name: Cashflow Plan for Businesses (six versions).

Function: Microsoft Excel-based template for 12-month income, cash flow & balance sheet projections with roll-forward facility.

Uses: Cash flow planning, budgeting, raising finance, cash management.

For: Managers, consultants, entrepreneurs & startups.

Benefits: Easy-to-use. Expandable. Saves time & effort. Improves cash planning.

System: Windows 95/98/ Me/NT/2000/XP/Vista/
Win7,8,10 with Excel 5,7,8,95,97,2000,XP,2003,
2007,2010,2013,2016.

Prices (US$): Free, 39, 79, 119, 159 or 199.

See Also: Exl-Plan for multi-year projections.

 
   

1. Selecting the Right Version

Q. Is Cashflow Plan available to run on a Mac?
Sorry, no.

Q. What Windows-based releases of Excel can be used with Cashflow Plan?
All versions of Cashflow Plan are fully compatible with all Windows-based releases of Excel including Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 (see FAQs for Using Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 if you are new to this release).

Important Note: Cashflow Plan requires a Windows-based, desktop version of Excel. It will not run, on account of its extensive use of macros, with any cloud-based versions of Excel (or other similar spreadsheet types). If using Office 365 or Office 16, Excel must be installed on a Windows PC.

Q. How do I select the right version of Cashflow Plan?
Refer to a selection chart here and the range of assumptions handled by Cashflow Plan here. Take account of the likely size (turnover) and complexity of the business. Also, consider your level of expertise in finance and accounting. Our best advice is to go for the simplest version which will do the job for you. For example, if you are planning a business with annual sales of $250k, you certainly will not need the Super version and the Micro version will most probably more than suffice. The beauty of Cashflow Plan is that trial copies are available so you can easily check out more than one version. You can download free trial copies for all versions of Cashflow Plan.

Quick Guide to Cashflow Plan Versions

Q. What are the advantages of Cashflow Plan over building my own cashflow planner?
In a nutshell, you get a well-tested, better-built planner with more features and facilities in a fraction of the time and cost that it would take a very experienced spreadsheet user with financial background to develop a planner from the ground up. For more reasons as to why Cashflow Plan is better and faster, check here.

Q. Can I trade up to a more powerful version of Cashflow Plan?
Yes. Registered users of Cashflow Plan can trade up to more powerful versions of Cashflow Plan at a reduced cost based on the following formula: US$20 plus difference in price between existing and proposed version. VAT and other sales taxes may apply - full details.

Q. Can I use, or try, more than one copy on my PC at the same time?
No problem. Each version of Cashflow Plan goes into its own sub-directory and creates its own Program Group or menu. This means that you can evaluate more than one version and professional advisers etc. can operate multiple versions.

Q. Are there any industry types for which Cashflow Plan would NOT be suitable?
Cashflow Plan is not suitable for cashflow planning for banks, insurance companies and similar financial institutions. Nor is it very suitable (without modification) for one-off major projects (e.g. shipbuilding); contractors with complex or lengthy payment schedules (e.g. substantial construction projects); natural resource businesses where products mature in value with age (e.g. forestry); or industries subject to exceptional taxes or levies on sales (e.g. fuel distribution or certain alcoholic drinks). Leaving aside these industries, Cashflow Plan should suit any business operating within manufacturing, services or distribution.

Q. Can I use Cashflow Plan for a software-type or Internet-related business?
Any version of Cashflow Plan will suit. The key trick is to completely ignore parts of Monthly Assumption Report No. 2 relating to materials and, possibly, direct costs as most software firms don't have substantial inventories or any significant cost of sales. The exact approach to use is explained fully in the online help or manual.

Q. What are the essential differences between Super & Ultra?
Ultra handles ten revenue/cost streams instead of six for Super. Check here for a more detailed description of the differences.

Q. We are an accountancy/consultancy practice and wish to use Cashflow Plan for clients. Which version?
Go for the Super or Ultra versions as these are the most flexible and powerful. Bear in mind that you can ask Cashflow Plan to suppress the printing of unused rows in its output reports so resultant printed reports are neat and concise. You might also wish to acquire Micro for very small, simple businesses.

Q. We need to be able to handle at least six revenue/cost streams. Which version?
Super handles six revenue/cost streams and Ultra handles ten streams. The following variables can be specified for each revenue/cost stream:

  • Sales
  • Material costs and purchases for resale
  • Finished goods and material stock inventories
  • Receivable & payable terms (up to six months credit)
  • Tax rates for inputs and outputs (i.e. VAT, GST etc.)

Q. We are a very substantial manufacturer with seasonal sales and variable inventories. Which version?
Choose either Super or Ultra. Super handles six revenue/cost streams and Ultra handles ten streams.

Q. I'm new to business and financial planning and need to do basic short-term cashflow projections. Which version?
Go for Cashflow Plan Micro. You can always trade up to a more powerful version at a discounted price at a later date - full details.

Q. Where can I get some basic information and advice on cashflow planning?
Have a look at our white papers on Making Cashflow Projections and Managing Working Capital.

Q. We are a large corporation and need to do high-level, strategic cashflow projections. Which version?
Have a look at Cashflow Plan Micro as this planner may suit because of its simplicity. Alternatively, go for one of the more powerful version (Super or Ultra) and make selective use of its range of facilities and variables. Note that you will be able to suppress the printing of rows for unused variables in output reports to create neater and more focused reports.

Q. How easy is it to update and roll forward assumptions and projections?
Cashflow Plan incorporates a roll-forward facility which greatly simplifies the task of updating assumptions and projections on a monthly basis. Roll forward works by advancing the original start month for projections by a single month. It then deletes the assumptions for the original first month and converts the original second-month assumptions into new first-month assumptions. This process is repeated for the remaining eleven months. The roll forward facility makes Cashflow Plan ideally suited for preparing regularly-updated cashflow projections. Because most assumptions are unlikely to change significantly between one month and the next, the task of updating assumptions and projections is greatly simplified.

Q. We need to do cashflow projections extending beyond one year. How?
Check out Exl-Plan, our range of Excel-based financial planners which generate detailed, fully-integrated projections (income statements, cashflows, balance sheets and ratio analyses) for time horizons covering months and quarters for three, five or seven years. There are nine versions of Exl-Plan to choose from depending on the scale and complexity of your business. Exl-Plan is ideal for preparing financial projections for business plans, raising finance, strategic reviews, business appraisals and so on. Details and downloads. The following table shows the equivalent versions of Cashflow Plan and Exl-Plan:

Cashflow Plan
Version *
Equivalent Exl-Plan Version Exl-Plan's Time Horizon
Micro Micro One revenue/cost group - first year on monthly basis plus 2 years on quarterly basis (3 years)
Lite Lite Two revenue/cost groups - first year on monthly basis plus 2 years on quarterly basis
Plus Pro Four revenue/cost groups - first year on monthly basis, 2 years on quarterly basis plus 2 years on annual basis
Super Super Six revenue/cost groups - first year on monthly basis, 2 years on quarterly basis plus 2 years on annual basis
Super Super Plus Ten revenue/cost groups - first year on monthly basis, 2 years on quarterly basis plus 2 years on annual basis
Ultra Ultra Six revenue/cost groups - first three years on monthly basis, 2 years on quarterly basis plus optional 2 years on annual basis
Ultra Ultra Plus Ten revenue/cost groups - first three years on monthly basis, 2 years on quarterly basis plus optional 2 years on annual basis
* All version cover 12 months ahead with weekly breakdown for initial three months.

Q. We need to do a lot of sensitivity analysis and scenario planning. Which version?
Super and Ultra have several special facilities which can assist these tasks including:

  • Sensitivity-analysis tool for globally changing selling prices, volumes, direct costs and overheads for months.
  • Automatically generated 'what-if' tables which automatically display the impact of incremental changes in inventory, receivables and payables on cashflow projections and cash balances.

Q. Can Cashflow Plan handle cashflow projections for an international business?
Yes. See also the answers to the next few questions. When setting up Cashflow Plan via the menu option for *Setup | Enter Basic Model Info .., a user can specify whether its main output reports should use US/Canadian or UK/International formats. The main differences between these two formats relate to spellings (labor vs. labour etc.); terminology (stocks vs. inventory etc.); structure of accounts (e.g. layouts of balance sheets differ**); ratio definitions; accommodation of taxes on sales, valued added (VAT) and goods & services (GST); and printer page sizes (European A4 vs. US Letter). Cashflow Plan is being used in over a hundred countries with the USA, Canada, UK, Australia and South Africa predominating.

** In the US/C format, balance sheets show assets and liabilities in two separate columns whereas balance sheets in the UK/I format are structured as:
Net Fixed Assets + Net Current Assets - Long-term Liabilities = Shareholders' Funds.

Q. Can I changes the currency symbol and denomination supplied with Cashflow Plan?
No problem. You specify the desired currency (£, $ etc.) and denomination (units, thousands, millions or billions) when setting up Cashflow Plan via the menu option for *Setup | Basic Model Info ...

Q. Can Cashflow Plan handle different taxation regimes?
Yes. Cashflow Plan can handle corporation tax, payroll taxes & charges as well as VAT, GST and other sales/input taxes. For corporation taxes, you specify the effective tax rates after taking account of any losses forward, capital allowances and other adjustments. Payroll taxes and social insurance type charges are expressed as a percentage of payroll costs. In the case of VAT, GST etc., Cashflow Plan accommodates several different tax rates for sales and inputs and lets the user specify the payment/refund frequency. You can also define the term for input/output tax (e.g. GST or VAT) so that the correct description appears throughout Cashflow Plan's reports via the menu option for *Setup | Basic Model Info ...

Q. Can Cashflow Plan handle mixed currencies?
Yes - up to a point. When setting up Cashflow Plan, you specify the base currencies to be used in all assumption and output reports. However, because Cashflow Plan is operating within an Excel spreadsheet, there is unlimited scope to use multiple currencies and to convert data to the base currency for incorporation into Cashflow Plan's reports.

Q. Can I use Cashflow Plan to help prepare a business plan?
Cashflow Plan will not be suitable if your business plan extends beyond one year. In these circumstances, it would be much better to use Exl-Plan, our range of Excel-based financial planners. These generate detailed, fully-integrated projections (income statements, cashflows, balance sheets and ratio analyses) for time horizons covering months and quarters for three, five or seven years. There are nine versions of Exl-Plan to choose from depending on the scale and complexity of your business. Exl-Plan is ideal for preparing financial projections for business plans, raising finance, strategic reviews, business appraisals and so on. Details and downloads. For further guidance on preparing a business plan, have a look at the white papers on How to Write a Business Plan and Developing a Strategic Business Plan.

Q. Can I use Cashflow Plan to help generate consolidated projections for several subsidiaries?
The Super and Ultra versions of Cashflow Plan both contain a comprehensive tool for consolidating projections (i.e. cash flow and income statements plus forecast balance sheets) for subsidiary businesses using a special Report for Consolidation. This report is linked to an additional workbook (Cashflow Plan Consolidator) which facilitates the consolidation process and includes tools for changing currencies/ denominations and eliminating inter-company transactions. A Cashflow Plan Consolidator Guide is included in the download files for Cashflow Plan Super and Ultra.

Q. Need more help to select the most appropriate version of Cashflow Plan?
Use this Contact Form to send us an outline of your needs or utilize our Online Business Plan Advice Service. You can download a complete 100-page, Word-based version of the printed manual for Cashflow Plan (MANUALCASH.ZIP - 160k). Alternatively: View/download it as an Acrobat file (PDFMANUALCASH.PDF - 490k) or view it as a web page.

You can download free trial copies of all versions of Cashflow.

The Super and Ultra versions are also supplied with a Cashflow Plan Consolidator Guide (CASHCONSOLGUIDE.ZIP - 19k). This is also available as an Acrobat file (PDFCASHCONSOLGUIDE.PDF - 48k) or can be viewed as a web page. The Guide is included in the download files for Cashflow Plan Super and Ultra.

See also the FAQ for Users for guidance on using, changing and extending Cashflow Plan. This also deals with many issues of interest to prospective users.


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2. Loading & Running Problems

IMPORTANT:
If you experience loading and running problems when using Excel 5, 7, 8, 95, 97, 2000, XP or 2003, refer to the FAQs below. if using Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, you should go to FAQs for Using Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016.

Q. Where can I get quick instructions to load and run Cashflow Plan?
This Quick Start Guide will lead you through installing, running and exploring Cashflow Plan.

For additional guidance, you can watch several How to ... Tutorials (based on Exl-Plan which shares many common features with Cashflow Plan) covering the basics of setting up and using Cashflow Plan.

Q. I use Excel 2000, XP or 2003. When I load Cashflow Plan, it displays an "Important Notice" and a message indicates that Cashflow Plan has not been properly loaded?
This message appears if Cashflow Plan's macros fail to operate. To resolve this problem, you need to allow Excel to run macros. To do this, you must reduce Excel's security level from High to Medium via Tools | Macro | Security | Security Level. You should then close and reopen Excel and then reload Cashflow Plan. During reloading, you will be asked whether you want to enable macros. This is quite safe to do provided you secured Cashflow Plan from our site or another reliable and trustworthy site. Note: This issue arises because Microsoft changed the default setting of macro security from medium to high for Excel 2000 and higher versions. See the tutorial Set Up Excel (2 min.) or click the thumbs below for guidance.

Click to display full size Click to display full size Click to display full size
Load Excel, select Tools, Macro, Security ... ... click Medium security level and close Excel. Reload Excel, load Cashflow Plan and, when prompted, enable macros.

Q. I use Excel 2000, XP or 2003. When I load Cashflow Plan, Excel displays a message about enabling macros. What should I do ?
If Excel displays a message about enabling macros while Cashflow Plan is loading, you must select Enable Macros. This is quite safe provided you secured Cashflow Plan from our site or another reliable and trustworthy site. These macros are essential to enable Cashflow Plan to work. Note: This issue arises because Microsoft changed the default setting of macro security from medium to high for Excel 2000 and higher versions. See the tutorial Set Up Excel (2 min.) or click the thumbs above for guidance.

Q. I use Excel 2000, XP or 2003. When I try to load Cashflow Plan, Excel displays a message like "The macros in this project are disabled ..... ". What should I do ?
You need to reduce the security level set within Excel from High to Medium via Tools | Macro | Security | Security Level. You should then close Excel, reload Excel and then reload Cashflow Plan. You will then be asked whether you want to enable macros whenever you try to load a workbook file (like Cashflow Plan) that contains macros. This is quite safe provided you secured Cashflow Plan from our site or another reliable and trustworthy site. These macros are essential to enable Cashflow Plan to work. Note: This issue arises because Microsoft changed the default setting of macro security from medium to high for Excel 2000 and higher versions. See the tutorial Set Up Excel (2 min.) or click the thumbs above for guidance.

Q. What should I do when a blank screen appears during loading of Cashflow Plan and the system hangs?
This is probably due to a memory leak, caused by another application, which has reduced the memory available to Cashflow Plan. To resolve, use CTRL+ALT + DEL to close down Excel and Cashflow Plan. Then, reboot the PC to wash out the leak.

Q. Why does Excel fail to calculate automatically after I load Cashflow Plan?
By design, Excel's autocalculate function does not work in Cashflow Plan. To update projections, click the one of the "C" buttons within Cashflow Plan's toolbar or use the calculate options within the *Tools/Setup menu. To restore autocalculate to Excel after using Cashflow Plan, close and reload Excel.

Problems ?
If you experience a problem installing or loading Cashflow Plan, feel free to use this Contact Form. Be sure to indicate file name; exact stage at which problem was experienced; and precise nature of problem or text of any message.

if using Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, refer to FAQs for Using Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016.


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3. Registering Cashflow Plan

Q. Do I need to buy the printed manual?
No. All versions of Cashflow Plan contain extensive online help (130+ topics) along with a 100-page Word-based version of its manual and a series of Flash-based tutorials (running for 19 minutes) covering setting up Excel, getting started, the basics and using Quik-Plan. The printed 130-page spiral-bound manual (7" x 9") is available as an optional extra (US$20). A copy of the manual and the tutorials are included in the download files for all versions of Cashflow Plan. The Super and Ultra versions are also supplied with a Cashflow Plan Consolidator Guide which is included in the download files for Cashflow Plan Super and Ultra.

Q. If I acquire a printed manual for one version and subsequently trade up to a more powerful version, do I need a new manual?
No. All versions use the same manual. Get full details on trading up here.

Q. What is the advantage of remotely upgrading the trial version?
First, you get electronic delivery more quickly than if you have to wait for an air mail delivery. Second, you save time by not having to do a further download and reinstall. Thirdly, you can start using the trial version immediately and will not lose your work when you upgrade. To remotely upgrade, you can use this service which will also give you the option to download a fully-operational copy immediately after payment is made.

Q. Can I use the trial version to produce projections?
Yes, provided that the projections are done in the context of evaluating Cashflow Plan for purchase. However, the trial version contains limitations and restricted facilities. These are removed when it is upgraded to the full-commercial version. Bear in mind that Excel's automatic recalculation is always turned off in all trial (and commercial) versions of Cashflow Plan. To recalculate a model, select the menu option *Tools/Setup | Calculate All & Check or click the button with the "C" within the circle. To recalculate the current worksheet, select the menu option *Tools/Setup | Calculate Sheet or click the button with the "X" within the circle.

Q. If Cashflow Plan is licensed to me as a single user, can I use it with a desktop PC at work as well as on a notebook at home?
Cashflow Plan's license restricts the use of Cashflow Plan to one PC (or notebook). The only exception is that a user may install a further copy of Cashflow Plan onto a notebook (or PC) which s/he also personally uses. This concession does not extend under any circumstances to work colleagues or external businesses, advisers, clients, associates etc.

Got an Unanswered Question ?

If you can't find the answer to a question in the FAQs above or at the FAQ for Users, use this Contact Form and we'll get back to you.
.



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