From WYSIWYG to Forecasting Powerhouse
When I started building financial forecasting models in the early 1990s, Lotus 1-2-3 had just introduced WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), which transformed the standard DOS command prompt format with a graphical interface. Life was good!
After beginning to work with local government budgets a few years later, I had the pleasure of learning the ins and outs of Quattro Pro, which at the time was a step up from the older versions of Lotus I had first cut my teeth on. My time with Quattro Pro was short-lived, as the office I was working in converted to the Microsoft Suite, including Excel.
It is in Excel that I have worked for over 20 years, building increasingly sophisticated and user-friendly forecasting models. While Excel can do a lot, I realized about eight years ago that the optimal format for complex budget forecasting was not a spreadsheet, but a database. I began restructuring my models to function more like a database, using "queries" to combine, consolidate and calculate data. The end result has been a much improved functionality of the models I build for clients.
Spurred by my realization that a database format was likely a better approach, I worked with several programmers and database experts to begin shaping the ideal framework for budget modeling in databases. Due to my lack of knowledge of this data management technology, and the costs of building a customized database for my needs, I decided to stick with Excel, and continue improving the performance of my models in this software, which is well-known to almost all of my clients.
Earlier this year, I was introduced to a company I had read about several years prior. I quickly realized Forecast5 Analytics had pursued my vision of using database technology to build robust, powerful, cloud-based budget forecasting software. I was immediately impressed with the power and efficiency of the software! The flexibility of the software to adapt to different charts of accounts, the excellent report-generating capabilities, and the associated analytics tools proved to me that this is the superior approach to budget forecasting.
After speaking with a wide range of employees at the company, I was convinced the product and the minds behind it were an excellent fit to my own philosophy of providing value that exceeds the costs of the service, and providing clients with meaningful tools to improve local government decision making. Based on the value and integrity demonstrated by Forecast5, I have agreed to partner with them, to bring a high caliber forecasting tool to my municipal clients.
Municipal Analytics is in the process of developing a deeper familiarity with the 5Cast software, and we look forward to working with Forecast5 to continuously improve the product to better serve local government financial management needs. Our role of Certified Analytics Partner with Forecast5 Analytics will allow us to focus more intensely on using financial data to support our clients needs, and spend less time developing and manipulating spreadsheets.
I'm excited about this partnership, and I look forward to sharing the new technology with our clients!