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Create and manage Forecasts in QuickBooks Online

SOLVEDby QuickBooks92Updated 1 month ago

Learn how to add Forecasts in QuickBooks Online.

Forecasts help you set long-term and short-term goals for your business. Forecasting is typically based on past performance and trends in your industry. Your historical data is analyzed for patterns and projections are made based on this information. With all your financial data available in QuickBooks, you can quickly and easily create forecasts and use them to create budgets.

Create a forecast

You can create a forecast at any time but, the end of the year is a great time to start planning for the year ahead. To create a new forecast, you’ll need to sign in as an admin or as a Standard All user.

Note: Only QuickBooks Online Advanced subscriptions have access to Forecasts. If you have a different subscription and want to use Forecasts, learn how to upgrade or downgrade your QuickBooks Online edition. 

Step 1: Review the fiscal year for your business

Make sure the beginning of your fiscal year is set in QuickBooks. You can create a forecast any time, but it helps if your forecast start date is set to the beginning of the fiscal year.

  1. Sign in to your QuickBooks Online account.
  2. Go to Settings ⚙ and select Account and settings.
  3. Select the Advanced tab.
  4. In the Accounting section, review the First month of the fiscal year field. If it’s incorrect, select Edit ✎.
  5. Select the required month from the dropdown ▼ and select Save.

Step 2: Get your forecast data

If you already have your data in QuickBooks, you can skip this step. If not, you can base your forecast on data from either the current fiscal year or the year before. If you plan to use historical data, run a Profit and Loss Detail report to make sure transactions and accounts look correct.

The report automatically shows transactions created during the current year-to-date. To see a prior fiscal year's transactions, you will have to customize the report. See the Customize a report section below.

Step 3: Create your forecast

Note: QuickBooks Online creates the forecast accounts list based on your chart of accounts. If you need more accounts in your forecast, add them to your chart of accounts before you create the forecast.

To create a forecast, you can use your past financial data in QuickBooks Online. If this is your first forecast, start here:

  1. Select Financial planning, then select Forecasts.
  2. Select Create forecast
  3. From the Forecast for ▼ dropdown, select the timeframe you’re creating the forecast for.
  4. From the Forecast using ▼ dropdown, select one of the following forecast methods: 
    • Average of actuals 
    • Actuals from last fiscal year (Note: You can modify the forecast duration and forecast method until the first time you save from the Settings Customize alternate icon. panel.)
  5. If you selected Average of actuals, select the past actuals duration to be used to calculate the average from the Use actuals from ▼ dropdown.
  6. If you want to set rules (increase/decrease) at account type level, add them in the Set rules section.
  7. When you’re done, select Next.
  8. Select the edit ✎ icon to edit the name of your forecast, if needed.
  9. When you’re done, select Save and close.

Note: We recommend you refresh the forecast with the latest actuals by selecting Refresh actuals Refresh icon. each time you view it.

Edit a forecast

If you need to edit a forecast, make your changes in QuickBooks.

  1. Select Financial planning, then select Forecasts.
  2. Find your forecast on the list and select View/Edit in the Action column.
  3. Select Save or Save and close.

Note: We recommend you refresh the forecast with the latest actuals by selecting Refresh actuals Refresh icon. each time you view it. Additionally, you can modify each account one month at a time.

Convert a forecast to a budget

  1. Select Financial planning, then select Forecasts.
  2. Find your forecast on the list and select View/Edit In the Action column.
  3. Select Make this a budget to choose the fiscal year of the budgeting period.
  4. Select Make this a budget again to save the forecast as a new budget.

Learn more about creating a budget here: Create budgets in QuickBooks Online.

Delete a forecast

  1. Select Financial planning, then select Forecasts.
  2. Once you find your forecast on the list, select the View/Edit ▼ dropdown in the Action column. 
  3. Select the View/Edit ▼ dropdown, then select Delete.

Note: You can’t recover deleted forecasts.

Customize a report

  1. Go to Reports (Take me there).
  2. Find and select the Profit and Loss Detail Report.
  3. From the Report period ▼ dropdown, select a timeframe. For example:
    • If you want to use data from the prior year, select Last Year.
    • If you want to use data from your current fiscal year, select This Year-to-date.
      Note: Make sure the beginning and end of the year match your fiscal year. 
  4. Select Run report.
  5. If you don’t want to reopen the report again, select the print or export icon to print or download a copy of the report.

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