We went live with a major product update on Thursday evening. This is the culmination of several months of work from our team, and we are eager to hear what you think of the new functionality. Here is a quick look at what’s new:
Introducing the “full financials” option
As you know, LivePlan is designed to provide a basic set of financials. You enter your sales forecast, personnel plan, and budget details, and the app produces a proper P&L statement. Simple and sensible — that has been a key goal for this project. With the new release, new plans still start in this same “basic financials” mode. If you want to add more detail to your financial plan, though, you now have the option to switch your plan into “full financials” mode, which adds much of the new functionality described below.
How to access the new financial features
Your existing plans will remain in basic-financials mode. The same is true of all new plans that you create. We always start with basic financials. To switch your plan to full financials:
- Open your plan
- Click the Plan Settings link (on the right side of the black title bar)
- Click the Level of Detail tab
- Under Financial Mode, click Full
- Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page
Balance sheet and cash flow statement
In full-financials mode, your plan will include a projected balance sheet and a projected cash flow statement. These are the other two (along with the P&L) of the three standard financial statements. The balance sheet allows you to better manage major purchases (“assets”), which now include automated depreciation to reflect their long-lasting value. The cash flow statement enables you to see your cash position over time. This is particularly important with startups, where the time lag between sales and payments on credit often creates a need for short-term financing or other resources.
Cash flow assumptions
In full-financials mode, you can adjust your cash flow projections with a series of controls: adjust what percentage of your sales and purchases are on credit, set the average payment delay for accounts receivable and payable, and choose whether to turn on automated inventory handling based on your forecasted sales.
Loans and investments
In full-financials mode, the optional Loans and Investments section makes it easy to add funding sources. Automated calculations are provided for loans, lines of credit, and credit cards. Just enter what you know, and the app will take care of the rest. You can also enter more general financing if you are not sure yet what form it will take.
Support for sales taxes in forecast
In full-financials mode, it makes sense to include any sales taxes (or GST, VAT, etc.) that you collect from your customers and later pay out to the government, since keeping that cash on hand temporarily can have a notable effect on your cash flow. In basic-financials mode, we typically recommend excluding such taxes from your forecast, since the money you collect is not yours to keep. With full financials, though, you have a new option in the sales forecast to collect taxes at a set rate for individual products or services.
Five-year plans and additional years of monthlies
Tim Berry, our founder and resident planning expert, recommends the standard three-year plan with one year of monthly detail as the starting point for your business plan. Predicting the future beyond three years or at a monthly detail in future years is difficult and often unwarranted. That said, you may have good reasons to want to extend the timeline, particularly if you are working with a lender who requests five years of projections. In LivePlan, a new option in the plan settings now lets you increase the plan length to five years, with as many of those years in monthly detail as you like.
All plans now include an Appendix chapter with the full monthly detail of all of the financial charts. Previously this detail was available for you to view in the app, but readers of your plan document could see only the annual view of the tables in the body of the plan. Since these tables are wider than the rest of the plan, the appendix pages print in landscape orientation, which is common with business plan documents.
Want to discuss your work in progress with your partners or collaborators? Or just write notes to yourself about what you want to say in each part of the plan? Check out the new commenting feature. Each item in your plan now includes its own Facebook-style comments area. Add comments for your other users to see, without exposing them to readers of your final document. This feature also makes the free guest pass more valuable as a way for your contacts to review and comment on your plan without making changes.
Plan-specific access rights
You can now choose which plans are accessible to each of the users on your account. When working on a plan, you can also control which users have access to it. This makes it much easier to work on plans for multiple companies or teams without worrying about anyone seeing or changing the plans of others.
New look and feel for table builders
Our user experience designer has reworked the table builders for entering financial information to be more attractive and functional.
Let us know what you think!
Your feedback is a major part of our own planning process. Let us know what you think of the new features in whatever way is easiest for you:
- Click the Give Feedback button at the top of the app to send us a quick note
- Call us at 888-498-6138 or +1 541 683 6162. Our customer care team is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday.
- Use the live chat on our website at www.liveplan.com during office hours
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep the feedback coming!