From the time Forecast5 was established in New Zealand, half a billion NZ dollars’ worth of apples have been exported annually on the strength of it.
Australasia’s largest vehicle distributor uses Forecast5, the Crusader and Hawke’s Bay Rugby teams and a large part of New Zealand’s wine industry use it, and in addition, Geof Nightingale has successfully launched the forecasting software in Australia.
Last week Forecast5 exhibited at Europe’s largest accounting exhibition, Accountex 2016 – which welcomed over 6,000 visitors this year – to a favourable reception from the large crowds who stopped at the Forecast5 stand.
“Progressing to the UK was a natural step, because this market loved WinForecast,” Nightingale said, shortly after arriving in London for Accountex 2016.
Fast, flexible, friendly, affordable – that’s how users describe Forecast5.
Updated to incorporate UK requirements two months ago, it is popular with accountants and financial controllers who particularly appreciate the way Forecast5 produces integrated reports of cashflow, profit and loss, balance sheet and funds flow.
Accountants are regularly asked to forecast the effect change will have on a business. What will happen if the UK Brexits? How will the strengthening dollar affect our American sales? Will IS attacks damage us—and by how much? What effect will losing our best designer have on our future?
Forecast5 has been developed to replace Sage’s Winforecast; to model these and other forecasting scenarios accurately and fast. When one driver is changed, this translates through the entire program, with the impact on net profit, net cash, and the balance sheet automatically and immediately available.
Previously, many financial directors used to rely on WinForecast to help them predict the future. Sage stopped selling this budgeting & forecasting program in 2012 and support for it ended in 2014, resulting in Winforecast falling over if attempting to run it on Windows 10 or Office 2016.
Geof Nightingale, the owner of Navigator Software, worked with Bob Black, the developer of WinForecast. When Black sold the software to Sage in 1999 and retired to Sydney, Nightingale became the Sage distributor for New Zealand
“WinForecast was a popular product, although it had its limitations” said Nightingale. “So when Sage stopped supporting it, I searched the world for a similar program to keep my clients happy—but couldn’t find one. The only solution was to work with the clients, drawing on my knowledge from helping both Black and Sage to develop and enhance their product, and to take the plunge and develop my own package.”
Forecast5 is the successful result!
Nightingale, a New Zealand chartered accountant, became involved in financial software straight out of university, “back in the days when computers operated with removable 10 megabyte disks”. He works hard at understanding what the end users need—and how to give it to them.
“We developed Forecast5 as a replacement for WinForecast and have enhanced the functions and features. For instance, our package offers monthly currency exchange rates, not a single one. It runs on a Microsoft SQL database: an industry standard, not a proprietary one.”
“For example it has an employee group option under wages records: if you have 700 staff, 300 of whom are labourers, WinForecast required you to budget each employee separately; with Forecast5 you would need just 1 record.”
“We’ve included a lot of small features to improve ease of use. Some seemed logical developments to me, others are the result of research with our clients. We are always open to new ideas and are constantly looking at ways to update and improve the program,” Nightingale said.
WinForecast users can cut and paste their record list into Forecast5 in a very simple process to convert their Winforecasts into Forecast5.
Two months ago, Forecast5 Version 3 was launched with the UK market in mind: it includes National Insurance codes, VAT, and PAYE that British accountants need.
Accountants can download a fully featured version for 21-day free trial at www.forecast5.co.uk
Those who purchase and settle before the end of May will be able to avail themselves of a 25% discount on the product price. Order forms for this Show – Month – Special can be downloaded here.
“We’re just about ready to launch our Cloud version, using Microsoft Windows Azure which takes advantage of the new PAAS technology. This will give users the option of a web-enabled version, cloud deployment and monthly subscriptions” Nightingale said.
“In the next couple of months we will be extending Forecast 5’s functionality to provide daily cash projections, non-deductible expenses, more kpi’s and enhanced reporting, to list just a few features on the roadmap.”
“We are also evolving the product to integrate with Sage 50 (in beta now), Sage 300, Xero, Exact, Microsoft and other financial software solutions to create new forecasts and import monthly actuals. Currently any data can be imported from an Excel sheet into Forecast5, we are working on improving this process.
After the Expo Nightingale and Forecast5’s UK distributor, Johnny Kipps of Kipps Business Reporting visited a number of clients and the ICAEW before Nightingale headed back to New Zealand – although after this very successful visit, he will be returning before the end of the year for the next exhibition!
Just before he returned to Auckland, Geof and Johnny conducted the draw for the lucky winner of the free copy of Forecast5 and a bottle of Monkey Shoulder triple malt whisky – which was won by Mrs Christine Hori of Horizontal Commercial Solutions. Well done, Christine! I hope you enjoy both your prizes!
And the beautiful proteas which graced the Forecast5 stand – hand-carried from Kirstenbosch in the Cape – went to Kirsty McGregor of the Association of Crowdfunding Experts; Thanks Kirsty, well deserved!
For more information, please contact Jonathan Kipps, on 07770 608 900, or Johnny@forecast5.co.uk