Manage Your 2016 Financial Forecasts Better Using an App
Many of us are in the throes of creating budgets and financial forecasts for the new year. It’s a time-consuming and often painful process which usually requires providing detailed levels of data to support spending plans and gain sign-off from senior management and key stakeholders.
A financial forecasting app can help this process by enabling you to create visually stunning and user-friendly forecast and budget reports linked to as much supporting data as required. An added bonus is that you can easily deliver the forecast to your manager’s mobile devices for them to review in their own time.
Some examples of the kinds of forecast reports you could deliver via a financial forecasting app are:
- Expenses and budgets. Display your expected expenses and budgets for the upcoming year using interactive tables and pie charts, allowing users to highlight or tap on each data point to find out more about the data.
- Cost and revenue forecasts. Input data such as expected profit margins, headcount per client, expected sales figures and expected revenue and generate tables, line graphs and timelines with quarterly and yearly costs/revenue ratios. Include comparative charts to show year-on-year change and allow users to tap on data points to find out more about data.
- Breakdowns. Clearly display last year’s overall and department-specific figures and quarterly breakdowns, using infographics and interactive timelines. Include high-level figures such as expenditures and profits and contrast them to historical figures. Allow users to download data on PDF or Excel formats.
- Deliveries. Outline your key delivery expectations for the coming year using interactive timelines and allow users to tap on each delivery to find out more in an overlay screen. Include any necessary caveats or other stipulations.
In this article we outline the key benefits of using a mobile app for financial forecasts and explain how apps can help you save time, deliver forecasts more efficiently to stakeholders and ensure that your forecast reports are engaging and user-friendly.
Delivering financial forecasts directly to the mobile devices of management or stakeholders allows them to access and engage with reports more easily, empowering them to give them the necessary attention.
The forecast review process could likewise be delivered via an app, with management being able to submit comments upon receiving reports, enabling heads of departments to make any necessary amendments and to send reports right back.
Having financial forecasts available on your mobile device also helps you ensure that you have the necessary information at hand when attending end-of-year meetings and planning for the upcoming year, eliminating the need to bring supporting documents with you or a computer.
Apps offer the ability to make financial forecast reports visually engaging, in sharp contrast to usual paper or spreadsheet-based reports, often perceived as boring and unengaging.
They do this by enabling you to include a wide variety of media, from charts, graphs and infographics to interactive timelines and embedded documents.
Apps also make user experience easier and more engaging, for example by allowing you to separate reports into sections that can be accessed in just a tap. So for example, your app homescreen could include just an overview of the financial forecasts for the upcoming year, while tapping on separate sections could offer you a more thorough view of each of them.
At the same time, users’ physical interaction with reports via an app is also much more engaging, as it allows them to tap around, swipe, zoom and scroll according to their needs, making the reading process much more intuitive.
3. Real-time updates
A key benefit of mobile apps, in contrast to traditional PDF or paper-based reports, is the ability to update information in real time. This can be invaluable in the case of mistakes or incorrect information that needs to be amended.
Apps allow you to simply push this data directly to all users’ mobile devices, ensuring consistency and altogether eliminating the need to notify all users of errors.
From the perspective of the person generating the report, an app can really help them to increase productivity too. For example, the app could allow them to simply input the relevant data, whether on a computer or via the app, and automatically generate graphs and timelines accordingly.
This would immensely reduce the time they need to spend creating their own graphs and reduce the risk of human error.
At the same time, delivering financial forecast reports via an app could also increase users’ productivity by allowing them to consult them no matter where they are and to easily and intuitively access only the sections that are relevant to them.
Finally, apps provide an ideal platform for users to deliver feedback about the content, user experience or anything else. Convincing users to give feedback can be a struggle, but an app could push these requests to their mobile devices to better encourage them to do so.
Being able to deliver feedback via the app would also empower them to easily, quickly and conveniently complete feedback forms and to deliver them instantly from where they are standing, whether anonymously or otherwise.
Apps are the perfect platforms to create financial forecasts that are visually engaging, convenient and easy to create and deliver.
Have you used mobile apps to create financial forecasts before? Or are you planning to for 2016? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.