Date settings


Understanding date settings is essential to leveraging Francis's built-in features. These settings enable core functionalities such as rolling forecasting and variance analysis. We strongly recommend that users familiarize themselves with the date settings before extensively building their models.



The timeline defines which months to view in your model. It does not impact formulas or calculations but simply allows you to define what date range to show at a given time.

When planning your start-of-year budget, include a few months from the previous financial year, allowing you to consider last year's actuals when planning ahead.

Forecast Start

As the name suggests, the Forecast Start indicates the period from which you're currently forecasting in your model. In Francis, every financial plan has a forecast start date. Months before the Forecast Start include actuals, and months after the Forecast Start are forecasted values.

Updating the Forecast Start has the following effects on your model:

  1. Months up to the new Forecast Start that previously included forecast values are swapped with actuals

  2. All forecast formulas after the new Forecast Start recompute to adjust for new actuals.

Note that technically, budgets are perceived as forecasts that simply happen to start at the beginning of the year. Consequently, Forecast Start is also used to specify your budget start. Consider defining a consistent naming convention to easily distinguish between budgets and rolling forecasts.

Before updating Forecast Start, save a snapshot of the current state of your forecast using our versions feature. This will allow you to reference old forecasts in charts and reports.

Last Close

The Last Close represents the last closed month in your accounting system. It is most often equal to or after the forecast start date. It is displayed as the orange line throughout your model and determines the months of available actuals since your Forecast Start. Updating the Last Close will not impact your forecast but enable you to compare new actuals against forecasts.

Once you've updated the Last Close, you can leverage the built-in variance analysis features:

  1. Use Follow-up and Compare features to perform budget-variance analysis directly in your model.

  2. Compare actuals against budget for the LM, YTD, and full FY using our built-in variance reporting.

Update the Last Close every month following your month-end closing process to pull in your latest actuals, allowing you to run budget-variance analysis against your forecast versions.

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