Forecast Data Template

A great way to quickly bring your forecast data into Castaway is via Excel, especially if you already have the information in a spreadsheet.

To make the process easier, Castaway generates a Forecast Data Template to ensure you cover all the available data entry points you have available for the elements in your Castaway model.

This template can only be used in reference to Forecast and Budget information, not Actuals data.

Generate the Template

To build a Forecast Data Template, navigate to Forecast > Upload > Build Forecast Data Template.

An Excel file will be immediately downloaded.


Navigating the Forecast Data Template

When you launch the downloaded template, it should look something like the screenshot below in Excel. Note that this is not to be confused with Castaway's Excel Integration Template, which looks fundamentally different and has an entirely different purpose. 


The Forecast Data Template is divided into 4 different column types:

Element Name (column A)
The Element Names here are taken directly from the names you have entered in your Castaway project.

If you'd like to change any of the names listed here, you will need to rename the element in the Chart of Accounts directly.

Data Type (column C)
This column refers to the Forecast Data you can adjust in this template.

The options available here correspond to the Element Settings you have applied in your project.

For example, if you've set your Revenue Method to 'Units x Rate', 'Enter Units' will be available as a data entry point in your template.

Note: we recommend that you first build your Chart of Accounts and adjust the necessary Element Settings (eg: Cashflow Method or Revenue Method) before generating a Forecast Data Template so that your Data Type has the latest entry rows available.

Forecast Months  (from column D onwards)
The months you can forecast will appear from column D onwards.

If you have Actual months, those monthly headers will no longer appear in the template unless you roll your file back. 

System codes (hidden column B)
The template has a hidden column B which contains the system codes of your project. These codes are unique to the project you are working on and its individual elements. 

WarningDo not delete, alter or reposition the codes in column B as this is how Castaway reads and references the values entered in the template to the correct and corresponding elements in your project. 

Working with the Template

There are many benefits to working with the Forecast Data Template when forecasting. Key ones include:

  1. You can add Excel reference formulas such as VLOOKUP or SUMIF to pick up values from another sheet in the Template file, or from another Excel file. This is especially useful if you already have your budget prepared in a separate worksheet
  2. You can forecast your project in a single space. Instead of forecasting element-by-element in your Castaway project, you may prefer to have all the available data entry points in a single page for convenience
  3. You can have different iterations of your forecast. By generating and saving different versions of your Forecast Data Template, you can begin keeping track of how your numbers change as your forecast during the year
  4. Forecast Data Templates can be used for scenario analysis. You can also build different Data Templates that represent different scenarios and import them into your project to generate a 3-way model based on that particular scenario. This is a great application to strengthen your business strategy for the future.

Upload your Template

Once you've entered the necessary forecast information in your template, return to Castaway and select 'Click to Upload' OR drag and drop the file from your file location to the designated space in Castaway. 


Other uses

The Forecast Data Template is a flexible and versatile tool.

While its main purpose and design is to help users quickly upload and manage their forecast information in one space, the template has many other uses. For example:

Scenario Planning

Enter and upload different forecast information into the template for different scenarios to generate respective 3-way forecasts. You can create worst-case and/ or best-case scenarios and review projected outcomes for better business modelling and planning.

Record-keeping for forecast changes

If your business is fast-moving or fast-growing, you will need to reforecast on a frequent basis.

Save or generate a new forecast template each time to keep a history of how your forecast changes each time. 

As you can see, the Forecast Data Template has other creative uses. If you can think of others, please share them with our Customer Success team! We'd love to hear how else you're using this function.