September 1, 2014

Financial Dashboards, Forecasting and Budgeting for Growing Companies

Growing a company is no easy task. Figuring out if you have the cash to open a new location or offer a new product or change an existing product takes a bunch of number crunching. Most of us do that in a spreadsheet. Most of us wish there was an easier way.

This review is for any entrepreneur or small business owner who needs an intuitive financial dashboard on a daily basis, but more so, needs the ability to forecast and run scenarios to grow a company. If you have ever tried to build a pro-forma in Microsoft Excel and spent hours trying to do it, 60mo is an app worth trying out. We used the free 30-day trial for this review and found it to be a robust, easy-to-use application. There are two versions: 60mo Dashboard and 60mo Forecasting.

60mo for Financial Forecasting and Budgeting

Things I really like:

  • From one section called “Numbers” you can fill in enough financial data to see a variety of reports: P&L, income vs. expense, income breakdowns, expense breakdowns. It integrates with Quickbooks Online, and other services like Freshbooks, Peachtree and Xero are in the works.
  • For a startup, this tool rocks. It can help you run “what-if scenarios” that will allow you to model out a variety of ways to get to cash-flow-positive status.
  • For an existing company, similar scenario planning is possible for a new office, a new employee, a new whatever, so you can look at your numbers to see what it is going to cost.
  • For an angel investor or venture capitalist, this looks like a tremendous tool for managing a portfolio of companies.  Portfolio companies could report in status each week or month by simply granting you access.

The message that hooked me into evaluating this application came from a Techcrunch article, which said, “think of it like Mint for business.” I had actually written to Mint some time back to ask if they were planning on building out a small business package, but never received a reply, so the message about Mint for business struck home. (Mint, for the record, lets you do all these same things on a personal finance level.)

Many accounting packages offer forecasting and budgeting functionality, but I have not found them easy to understand.  However, with 60mo, the budget view allows you to see your actual spending vs. your budgeted (a projection) amount by category for the current (and past) month. This gives you a visual cue in the dashboard overview as to how your spending to date fits into your projected amount.  The system can tell you if you go over, of course, but the cool part is it will alert you as you approach your budget so that you don’t go over.  The feature is available on their mobile version as well.

Things I wish it did:

I’m sure they hear this from many customers: “When are you going to provide accounting functions?” The biggest weakness is 60mo is not an accounting tool.  However, to be fair, they are not trying to be an accounting tool. That space is already dominated by market leader Intuit. 60mo is focused on making forecasting and budgeting easier, thus the integration with Quickbooks and Quickbooks online.  This also means they don’t have a balance sheet or cash flow statement capability, but I was told they would be adding that soon.

Overall, 60mo is an up-and-coming forecasting and budgeting application for startups to companies with 10 to 200 employees.  If you want to blend data from different places — Quickbooks, credit cards, your bank accounts — 60mo lets you combine it all in one dashboard so you can quickly see your financial picture.

9 Comments ▼
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TJ McCue - Product Editor


TJ McCue TJ McCue is the Product Editor for Small Business Trends and an entrepreneur who publishes Tech Biz Talk. TJ is a former Wall Street Journal columnist. He also writes for Forbes and American Express OPEN Forum. He loves learning about technology apps and software services - share yours with TJ.

9 Reactions

  1. Most businesses currently have access to talent. Working capital is the new shortage. Plus most small business owners don’t have an easy way to forecast cash and need that information to grow. How much added effort is needed along with this tool to get properly actionable data? I would really like to hear from someone who uses this tool. As a non-bank provider of funding for small businesses, this is a tool we could recommend. Sandra Chesnutt, AdvancedAR

  2. This sounds like an excellent problem but I wonder how many of these ‘stand alone’ products will succeed. Small business owners are master multi-taskers, but do they have the time to enter data into 60mo, than into an accounting program than again into their crm tool, knowledge base tools, etc.
    I believe that ultimately, the successful apps will be the ones that learn to ‘share’ data with each other.

  3. Hi Sandra, thanks for the candid comment. I agree. Keeping a close tabs on cash and forecasting it is clutch, and I would suggest it always has been. Although it seems even more important now, with the speed at which the world moves.

  4. Thanks, TJ!

    This looks like a good one for young entrepreneurs.

    You wrote that “it can help you run ‘what-if scenarios’ that will allow you to model out a variety of ways to get to cash-flow-positive status.” WOW!

    For so many people that are trying to do their own thing right now, this looks like a great tool.

    The Franchise King®

  5. Great find. I’m definitely going to pass this article on to the small businesses we deal with. Thanks!

  6. Thanks for comment, Marcy. I believe 60mo does “share” data with other programs.

    Joel, agreed — for young, and even experienced. The part that I liked was making investor updates easier. I’m an angel investor in a software startup and I know the CEO spends hours every month and quarter preparing these “status reports” — frankly, I want him out selling, not spending hours on reports. BTW, it is not lil’ me who is requesting the reports. So I think there’s some cool power in this new app and service. I liked the energy I found at this rapidly growing company, 60mo, i mean.

  7. Yes, building reports is not a high income producing activity. However, analyzing significant data and making shifts in your strategy is mission critical for any business looking to compete. Too many times we see business owners making decision arbitrarily without quantifiable justification. Nothing wrong with making gut decision, but the numbers usually don’t lie. I’d like to see how it stacks up against the other vendors programs in the space.

    Ryan Mettee
    Lumnari.com

  8. Thanks TJ, appreciate the review and salient comments.

    To quickly address a few points, we’re adding additional reporting such as pro-forma cash flow statements and balance sheets. Additional functionality for more “formal” and prettier reporting will be coming soon.

    Marcy, we actually integrate with your bank accounts, credit cards, and accounting tools (currently only QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online, but more systems soon) and allow you to export data at any time. Interoperability and data sharing are extremely important to us.

    Ryan, would be happy to discuss how 60mo compares to any of the other tools on the market, but I think you’ll find that we’re the only web-based provider in the SMB space with the mix of functionality that we have.

    If anyone else has thoughts or questions please feel free to contact us directly at support[at]60mo.com or on twitter at @60mo!

  9. Hey Ed, thanks for visiting the site. It’s always an unknown if a company will find their review and then join the discussion. I think many companies, even web-based ones, are sometimes nervous about joining the conversation. I understand, but am also amazed. It’s like going to a party and someone directly asks you a question and you ignore them…. So I’m thrilled someone deep in the company has responded to these inquiries/comments. Hats off to you and 60mo. Keep up the great work.

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