An opportunity to engage with budgeting expert, NZ’s Geof Nightingale

September 3, 2019 JAK

Geof Nightingale, Developer of budgeting and forecasting programme Forecast 5, is coming to Birmingham and will be speaking on “Budgeting in Uncertain Times” at the I-Hub in the City and at the Professional Accountancy Conference at the NEC.

Dates are –

  • 16 & 17 September at the I-Hub,

  • 18 & 19 September at the NEC.

If you are involved in budgeting and forecasting, here are four good reasons why you should book to listen to Geof!

Suckered by Spreadsheets


Perhaps you do your corporate forecasting with Excel? If so, you may be amongst a dying breed, for although we all love the extensive capabilities of this favourite software, the stories of value destructing errors produced in Excel are legion.

One of the latest headlines “The world’s largest legal weed business had its accounts go up in smoke” referred to a Canadian cannabis business, Canopy, which understated losses by over CA$100m due to an Excel snafu.

Those who doubt how easy it is to go astray with Excel may find it interesting – terrifying? – to refer to the list of horror stories on the European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group (EuSpRIG) website.

Wobbly Winforecast

Some years ago to the dismay of thousands of accountants in the English speaking world, Sage Group took the decision to scrap its popular forecasting software, Winforecast.

Many continue to use WFC although all development and support closed over five years ago.

But the underlying operating system, Windows, doesn’t stand still and renders Winforecast increasingly unstable.

Some would say its irresponsible to base your corporate financial forecast on software that may fall over – irretrieveably – at any time.


Sage – helpfully? – suggest  …existing forecasts created in Sage WinForecast Professional v4.xx and below, can be opened in Sage 50 Forecasting 2007. And elsewhere on the Sage website, they report ….Sage 50 Forecasting outputs all it’s reports to Microsoft® Excel 2010 or earlier.

So if you want to use your WFC forecasts, you are invited to migrate them to software dated 2007, which can only integrate with Microsoft products which are almost ten years out of date.

Readers may draw their own conclusions!

Lightweight alternatives


There are some lightweight forecasting solutions in the market, which, although cosmetically appealing, are lightweight.


Generally, these produce only partial balance sheets and valuable management information tools like variance analyses and rolling forecasts don’t appear, and amongst other deficits, some don’t handle foreign currencies

Experience is the Key

Geof Nightingale, a New Zealand Chartered Accountant has been in financial software development and distribution for over three decades, in fact for most of his professional life. For nearly two thirds of this period, Geof was the New Zealand national distributor for Winforecast. When Sage pulled the plug, Geof went ahead and produced and delivered version 5 of the software Winforecast didn’t; and Forecast 5 was born.


Accountants like things to balance; accordingly Forecast 5 is based on a robust, double-entry type architecture. And the four, integrated, key reports produced – Cashflow, Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet and Funds Flow – by cross-balancing prove their overall integrity, providing reassurance to the user that the figures are right.

Of course, the old adage of garbage in, garbage out applies – but provided the input data is sound the output reports can be relied upon to provide board quality, decision ready information.

Apart from the deep technical knowledge of the internal mechanics of forecasting software – how it actually works – being at the forefront of this industry for so long has given Geof a wide and detailed understanding of the processes of financial modelling.

With this background, Geof and the team at Forecast 5 like to solve client problems. We believe “Feedback is the food of champions” and welcome tricky client situations looking for solutions!

In previous seminars and lectures led by Geof, attendees have learnt a great deal not only about Forecast 5 – certainly lots about Forecast 5 – but also appropriate modelling subroutines for complex issues and also, on occasions, the right accounting products for a variety of industries.

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