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Strategic Advisor Blog

Content, tips and best practice for accountants, CPAs and bookkeepers who offer
Strategic Advising Services to small business clients.

Forecasting Versus Budgeting: What’s the Difference?

[fa icon="calendar'] Wed, Jan 31, 2018 / by Kathy Gregory posted in Financial Modeling & Forecasting

It’s the question I get asked the most by accountants who are thinking about branching into Strategic Advising services: “I do budgeting already. What’s the difference between a budget and a financial forecast?"

The answer is both simple and complex, and has a lot to do with the real value of advisory services, which is aiding small business growth.

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What You Really Need to Know About Cash Flow

[fa icon="calendar'] Fri, Sep 15, 2017 / by Tim Berry posted in Financial Modeling & Forecasting

Cash is king. You’ve heard it forever, but do you know what it really means?

Cash in this context isn’t bills or coins, it’s money in the bank that you can spend today. It’s the single most important resource in any business, and also one that is way too frequently misunderstood.

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How to Use Industry Benchmarks to Make Budgeting and Forecasting Easier

[fa icon="calendar'] Wed, Aug 16, 2017 / by Noah Parsons posted in Financial Modeling & Forecasting

If you want to know how your business compares to the competition, you can find your answer in industry benchmarks. Benchmarks are industry standards, or guidelines, for key financial metrics. Basically, they represent the average of key numbers collected from many different businesses and then sorted by industry.

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Planning Principle: It’s Business Planning, Not Accounting

[fa icon="calendar'] Fri, Apr 14, 2017 / by Tim Berry posted in Financial Modeling & Forecasting , Strategic Advisor Method

It’s business planning not accounting. Your projections, although they look like accounting statements, are just projections. They are always going to be off one way or another, and their purpose isn’t guessing the future exactly right, but rather setting down expectations and connecting the links between spending and revenue.

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Financial Forecasting: A passion! No, seriously.

[fa icon="calendar'] Thu, Oct 27, 2016 / by Kathy Gregory posted in Financial Modeling & Forecasting , Strategic Advisor Method

The financial forecast is the heart of any successful strategic advising relationship. Many people falsely assume that reporting is the necessary bit, but the forecast is what provides the roadmap and the basis for the advising.

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Building a Solid Financial Forecast

[fa icon="calendar'] Tue, Sep 27, 2016 / by Kathy Gregory posted in Financial Modeling & Forecasting , Strategic Advisor Method

A well-built structure relies on a solid foundation. This is obvious. What might not be as obvious is that a well-built financial forecast also relies on a solid foundation. What is the foundation of the financial forecast? Let’s start by examining what it is not.

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The Business Plan: Make It Personal

[fa icon="calendar'] Mon, Aug 29, 2016 / by Kathy Gregory posted in Financial Modeling & Forecasting , Strategic Advisor Method

Summer break is ending, and I can feel it.

With three weeks remaining before the beginning of a new school year, there is a need to get it all in! There were big expectations for summer: night time bike rides and star gazing, s’mores, family reading, and pool time. Because we live in the heart of the Willamette Valley in Oregon, trips to the coast and to the mountains are a requirement.

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What Makes a Sales Forecast Credible?

[fa icon="calendar'] Wed, Jun 15, 2016 / by Tim Berry posted in Financial Modeling & Forecasting

So for me, what makes a sales forecast credible?

It starts with product market fit. I want to understand the story of the need, and not necessarily big numbers, but who needs this and why.

That’s the beginning.

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How to Forecast Sales

[fa icon="calendar'] Fri, May 13, 2016 / by Tim Berry posted in Financial Modeling & Forecasting

This article is part of the Bplans “Business Startup Guide”—a curated list of our articles that will get you up and running in no time!

First, allow me to deal with a very common problem: Business owners are often afraid to forecast sales.

But, you shouldn’t be.

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The Recommended Sales Forecasting Method

[fa icon="calendar'] Fri, May 6, 2016 / by Noah Parsons posted in Financial Modeling & Forecasting

New entrepreneurs frequently ask me for advice about forecasting their sales. These entrepreneurs are always optimistic about the future of their new company, but when it comes to talking about the details, most aren’t sure how to predict how much money they’re going to make.

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Introducing Lean Planning: How to Plan Less and Grow Faster

[fa icon="calendar'] Wed, May 4, 2016 / by Noah Parsons posted in Financial Modeling & Forecasting

Today, I want to introduce a new approach to business planning: Lean Planning.

Lean Planning replaces lengthy business plans with a planning process that focuses on increasing your chances of success in business.

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Simplify Your Business Plan Sales Forecast

[fa icon="calendar'] Tue, May 3, 2016 / by Tim Berry posted in Financial Modeling & Forecasting

Forecasting is usually easier when you break your forecast down into components. As an example, consider a forecast that simply projects $1,000 in sales for the month, compared to one that projects 100 units at $10 each for the month.

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What Is a Market Forecast?

[fa icon="calendar'] Fri, Apr 1, 2016 / by Tim Berry posted in Financial Modeling & Forecasting

A market forecast is a core component of a market analysis. It projects the future numbers, characteristics, and trends in your target market. A standard analysis shows the projected number of potential customers divided into segments.

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