Comparison pages

With the comparison pages in Spotlight Forecasting, you can show figures from your budget and forecast tasks side-by-side on a single page. For example, you may have created a budget on which your forecast was based, but now want to see how the current forecast differs from the budget.

To set the short name for your budget or forecast

Note: If you do not set a short name, the system will automatically populate the short name with the first ten characters from the task name. You can change this name later by following the steps below.

  1. From the Task Manager tab, click the Edit button alongside the required task.
  2. Click Show Settings, then in the Short name of Budget or Forecast box, enter an abbreviated name to use.
  3. Click Save and Continue.
  4. The new short name is now saved, and you can use it to select the options you want as part of the comparison pages.

To add a comparison page

The comparison pages are available in all new forecasts, but if your forecast was created before these pages became available, you’ll need to add them to your forecast. To do this:

  1. Open the Customise Layout tab, then click Add Page.
  2. From the left-hand pane, select the Balance Sheet, Cash, or Profit and Loss option.
  3. From the centre pane, select the required comparison page, then click next.
  4. If required, enter a new page name.
  5. From the Insert after drop-down list, choose the position of the new page.
  6. To add your new page, click Add Page.

To edit a comparison page

Before you can display any of the comparison pages, you’ll need to customise them and select the settings you want to show.

  1. From the Customise Layout screen, click the Customise option for the appropriate page.
  2. When you customise the page for the first time, the Customise Columns option automatically appears. Select the options you need as follows:

    From and To dates - For profit and loss and cashflow forecast pages, enter the date range you want to compare, for example April 2022 to March 2023. If you’re working with a balance sheet page, enter the date to which you want to see the cumulative balance.

    Note: The full value for the date range is compared as a single figure, not individual months. If required, you can add additional comparison pages for different months.

    Base - Choose the base values to compare against. This can be your budgets (profit and loss page only) or any of your forecasts.

    Note: For your options to appear correctly on this drop-down list you must have entered a short name for your budgets or forecasts within the relevant Show Settings option.

    Compare - Choose the data you want to compare against the base values. You must select at least one comparison option.
    Show $ Variance - If you want to show the variance as a currency value, select this check box.
    Show % Variance - If you want to show the variance as a percentage, select this check box.
  3. To save your changes, click Save.

If required, to amend the page options further, you can then open the Show Settings option and select the report type/format, detail level and (if applicable) row options you want to see.

To prepare rolling forecasts

You can copy an existing forecast to create a new rolling forecast and compare forecast to actuals. To do this:

  1. Ensure your forecast is finalised.
  2. From the Task Manager tab, click the Make a Copy option alongside the forecast you want to copy.
  3. Enter a name and short name for the copied forecast, for example 'Rolling Forecast'. The short name will be used on your comparison pages.
  4. As you're creating an exact copy of the forecast, leave the Optional Adjustments blank.
  5. To create your new forecast, click Copy.
  6. If you haven't yet updated the data source in Task Manager with the most recent actuals, select the Actuals check box and enter the date range you want, then click Import Data.
  7. Click the Edit button alongside the new rolling forecast, then use the Sync Data option to sync the updated actuals into the rolling forecast.

    Note: use only the 'Sync Actuals' check box in order to update Actuals in your forecast. Using the 'Sync Budget' check box will overwrite the budget values. Please ensure that you 'Sync Actuals' only in the rolling forecast task.
  8. Each month, repeat the process outlined in steps 6-7 to import the most recently completed month to update the rolling forecast.

To compare your rolling forecast to the original forecast, you can use one or all of the comparison pages.

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