The forecasted cash position in your operational plan can quickly become out of sync with reality. The Opstarts Actuals module lets you easily reconcile your cash position with actual expenses amounts paid and receipts from sales, and reforecast your plan based on those values.
By default, only the account administrator can enter actuals. Other users can be given actuals access from the user administration screen.
Step 1: Select the month to enter actuals for at the top of the left status bar
You can always go back and edit actuals for any month and reforecast your plan.
Step 2: Select a plan items section
Actuals entry is divided into the same sections as your Opstarts plan - Products, Employees, Expenses, and Cash items. Select one of these sections from the left menu bar.
Step 3 (optional): Update mappings for plan item changes
The first time you enter actuals, Opstarts will automatically create a set of actuals items mapped to your plan items. In most cases, you'll never need to edit those mappings.
If you've added new plan items since the last time you entered actuals, you'll be prompted to create actuals records for the new plan items(s).
Step 4: Enter actuals for each section
Actuals can be imported directly from Quickbooks, Stripe, and other accounting/payment/billing systems: Importing actuals guide.
Now we'll review the actuals entry sections, from simplest to most detailed.
If you have any cash items for the month (loans, investments, etc) that were a different value than expected in the plan, you can update those amounts here.
If all you want to do is reconcile your cash position without entering in any more data, you can simply enter in a cash adjustment amount, and that amount will be entered for the month being reconciled. This is commonly done by companies where the final amount for the month is a very small percentage off plan.
For example, let's say your receipts from sales were $10k more than planned and your expenses were $30k more than planned, resulting in a net cash balance of $20k less than plan. If you don't want to reconcile (or don't have the data yet) the expense and revenue sections individually, you can simply enter in a -$20k cash adjustment here, and when you reforecast, your plan will be updated with a -$20k adjustment entry for this month (and your cash position for future months will be correspondingly $20k lower).
If all you want to do is reconcile your cash balance, that's all you need to do in actuals.
The Expenses section will have a list of your expense items and the planned amount for that month. Enter in any amounts that were different than plan.
Just like in the Cash section, there's an Expense Adjustment line. If you don't want to enter in individual actuals amounts for your expense items, you can just enter an adjustment amount that will increase/reduce your total expense spend for the month by that amount. This is sometimes done by companies when none of the individual expenses were off by a significant amount.
The employees section works the same way, with one difference.
When updating $ amounts for staff expenses, you'll also be prompted to update the quantities of employees. If the change in amount was due to an employee leaving or being added, just update the Added or Lost Quantity amounts to reflect that change in the employee record, headcount reports, etc.
Finally, the product section allows you to reconcile your cash received from each of your product lines.
The products section is a little more involved, due to payment schedules, sales/subscription quantities, and sources of sales. To take full advantage of reconciling product receipts, do the following:
- Enter in the cash received from that product sales. This is all you need to do to reconcile each revenue stream to update all your cash-basis forecasts, reports, etc. If differences are just due to payment timing issues, you won't need to enter anything else. However, if the variance is due to other items like unexpected growth or churn, price changes, discounts, etc you'll want to update those values as well to get accurate SaaS metrics (MRR, LTV, etc).
- Enter in the quantities for new users from organic growth, various lead sources, etc. If you don't know exact breakdowns, it'll be fine to just enter all new users as organic growth, the only thing that will impact is detailed growth analysis by lead source. Then enter in the number of churned users. Confirm that your total matches your total number of active subscribers.
- Enter in the average price your subscribers are contracted to for this month. This is not how much they paid in cash that month, but how much the average contract price is. For example, if you have a $1000/month product, but this month gave all subscribers 25% off, enter $750 for the price. If you have a $100k/yr product, but this month half your subscribers were on discounted $50k/yr products, enter $75k as the average price. The default value here is the price value in the product plan item, which is the amount used to determine revenue per subscriber in MRR/SaaS calculations. If you enter in a different average price value here, this price will be used in calculating this month's MRR/SaaS values.
Step 5: Reforecast
Note that if you leave the actuals screen, information you've entered will not be saved. You can hit Save in the top right at any point to save your work up to that point and come back to complete Actuals entry later.
When you're ready, hit Reforecast to reconcile and update your plan. When you Reforecast, Opstarts first automatically archives a version of your plan in the state prior to these actuals being entered. This lets you always compare your current performance to prior versions of your plan. Opstarts then updates the values in your plan with the actuals entered and reforecasts the plan going forward using those values.
Months in your plan using actuals values will be highlighted with a shaded bar.
And your plan title will be updated to reflect the reconciliation.
The previous version of your plan will be archived in read-only format. You can compare the current version to any archived version in your overview screen or reports, or make a copy of the older version if you need to revert back to that plan for any reason.