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.