Spring 2012 Forecaster User Forum – Q&A
The following questions were brought up during the Spring 2012 Forecaster User Forum sponsored by the MSX Group. We have provided both the questions, answers and related links for more information on certain topics.
QUESTION: We are using Management Reporter, Will it be necessary to bring the budget data from Forecaster back into the GL using the Budget transfer tool in order to use the budget in MR?
ANSWER: Yes. MR cannot report data directly from Forecaster.
QUESTION: How do I set up Users in Forecaster when using Windows Authentication?
ANSWER: Forecaster users must be defined in both the Forecaster application and in SQL Server. The only difference between defining SQL and WA users in the application is that the domain name must appear in the ID. For example, DOMAINjdoe.
Please refer to the following Microsoft KB article for additional details regarding adding users: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/938604
QUESTION: When using your forecast as a baseline (Single-Row tab) on the data entry screen, do the baseline numbers get updated as the forecast changes?
ANSWER: When you define periods to use as a baseline, if any of the underlying data for those periods is updated in Forecaster, the change will come through the next time the baseline is displayed. However, budget balances that were based on, say, a 10% increase over the baseline, will not be updated unless you pull up the baseline for that account and apply the 10% increase again.
QUESTION: Can users change the balances used in the baseline?
ANSWER: The baseline numbers cannot be modified from the Single-Row screen. To modify baseline balances, you will need to create an input set that contains the baseline periods in the default column set and make the changes directly in the Multi-Row tab.
QUESTION: Is there a sample database for Forecaster with examples of input sets and reports?
ANSWER: Forecaster includes an Access-based sample database that can be accessed on any workstation where the Forecaster client is installed. The database contains a fully-functioning demo company including all setup and sample data. To login to the demo company, launch Forecaster as you normally would. On the sign in screen, select “Demo” in the application field. Select Standard Authentication and type in the username ADM. Leave the password blank and click Sign In.
QUESTION: Does Microsoft intend to re-release Service Pack 4 for Forecaster 7.0?
ANSWER: Microsoft indicated during the MSX Group Forecaster Forum that they are expecting to re-release SP4 in the future, but they do not have dates for the release at this time. SP4 was released in late June 2011, but was pulled back by Microsoft sometime after that due to problems believed to be related to the calculation of Revenue or Custom Details. SP4 is now only available on a case-by-case basis through Microsoft Support.
QUESTION: When you add line item details to an account with auto calc turned on, will Forecaster calculate in real time as the user is working or only when they save?
ANSWER: When the auto-calc option is enabled, calculated results are calculated immediately as changes are made. However, the results are not posted to the account balances until you save.
QUESTION: Is Workflow in Forecaster tied to any other workflows in the GL or SharePoint?
ANSWER: Forecaster Workflow helps you manage the budget entry process. It is independent of workflow functions from other applications.
QUESTION: Workflow question – If the budget has been approved and moved up the workflow and is locked, how can you make changes?
ANSWER: Workflow can be set to lock data entry for a dept/cost center at different WF status levels. If changes need to be made, your Forecaster Admin will need to change the status to one that does not lock from entry. Forecaster Admins are not prevented from making changes to centers locked by Workflow.
Please refer to the following Microsoft KB article for additional details regarding Workflow: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/937602
QUESTION: Does Forecaster utilize Excel Addins?
ANSWER: Yes. Forecaster has a highly functional Excel add-in that can be used to pull data directly from Forecaster to an external spreadsheet. The Excel add-in can also be used to pull specific data from an Excel file to be posted to the Forecaster database via the application. Utilizing the Excel add-in can be a very effective way of integrating external data stored in spreadsheets into your Forecaster budget process.
Please refer to the following Microsoft KB article for additional details regarding Excel Add-Ins: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/860754
QUESTION: We do multi-year budgeting; currently we are Forecasting for 2012 and budgeting for 2013 to 2015. We have set up 4 periods, one for each of those years. Is this the best method? It seems to cause problems with the HR calculations. Would it be better to set up 48 periods with summary periods for each of the years? Do you have any other suggestions or comments?
ANSWER: Forecaster HR works best when it can tied to a specific year and periods since most HR calculations (particularly taxes) are based on 12 monthly calculations. You should consider setting up your input screen to include the twelve months for the first forecast year and tie your future years’ forecasts to HR using the calculations function in Forecaster.
QUESTION: In Forecaster Security, can some users be set up based on segment 2 and others based on segment 3 of our account number?
ANSWER: Security in Forecaster is tied to a specific segment. You can concatenate more than one segment in your Segments definitions to provide maximum flexibility.
QUESTION: Can you override calculated balances on the data entry screen?
ANSWER: Data that is tied to a formula in the input screen can only be changed in the input screen by modifying the variables that are part of the calculation formula as defined in the associated calc set.
QUESTION: Can you add an account directly to the input screen – and if so would you have to update the roll-up?
ANSWER: Any new accounts or other segment IDs that are added to Forecaster must be added first in the Segments worksheet(s) first. These new additions may automatically update to the Rollups if they are defined using ranges. Rollups that do not use ranges will need to be updated to include the new segment IDs.
QUESTION: Can you import fixed asset data from GP?
ANSWER: The Forecaster Capital Details option is designed to enable users to easily budget for expected future purchases. Expected future depreciation for existing assets can be imported or input to Forecaster, but we usually recommend defining separate depreciation (dummy) accounts for New and Existing assets and use a calculation to combine the totals to the appropriate GL account. You can use the data import wizard to import your amortization for existing assets to the appropriate accounts.
Please refer to the following Microsoft KB article for additional details regarding Capital details: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/860310
QUESTION: How does the Promote function work in Forecaster?
ANSWER: The Promote feature in Forecaster allows you to change Salary Grades for an employee during the budget period. Promote can be used in the HR Master screen by highlighting the line with the employee to be promoted, right-clicking and selecting Promote. In the resulting window, you can indicate the new Salary Grade, new salary and effective period. It is not possible to promote an employee from a salaried to an hourly salary grade or vice-versa.
Please refer to the following Microsoft KB article for additional details regarding Promotions in HR: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/938572
QUESTION: Can you copy HR Details (including promotion details) from one input set to another?
ANSWER: Yes. The Copy Plan wizard allows you to copy account balances and all details (HR, Line Items, Capital, Revenue and Notes) and related setup from one input set to another. You can pick and choose the data you wish to copy. The feature is useful for creating new versions of your budget for re-forecasting or what if scenarios without editing the original budget. Copy Plan can be accessed under Tools>Wizards>Copy Plan.
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