What is a Forecast by Client and Consultant?

Consultant Forecasting and Budgeting Models are considered revenue estimate- and resource planning tools and are used by Budgeting Managers and project leaders to enter forecasted hours by client and consultant for the remainder of the year. Some of the main functionality in this type of input form is that it gives consulting managers a online, database-driven template to input hourly estimates. Information seen in the example below includes: Client, Project Manager (PM) and Employee (consultant), Actual data year-to-date figures (this is read only and comes from the ERP system), data entry cells for the remaining months of the year with a grant total on the far right. At the bottom of the form (not visible in the screenshot) hours are aggregated to totals by employee and then multiplied with average hourly rates to show the grant total estimated service revenues for the year. You find an example of this type of input form below.

Purpose of a Forecast by Client and Consultant Input Forms

Professional Services organizations use Forecast by Client and Consultant Input Forms to create detailed forecasts or annual budgets using bottom-up input of hour estimates. The captured estimates can of course also be reused in actual vs estimate status reports and in higher level summary reports and dashboards. When used as part of good business practices in PMO and Consulting departments, a company can improve its internal forecasting and can maximize revenues with improved resource planning. It will also reduce the chances that inaccurate- or lack of hourly estimates leads to under- or overstaffing with resulting negative impact on the bottom line.

Example of a Forecast by Client and Consultant Input Form

Here is an example of a Client Project Estimate Form with input of hourly forecasts by client, PM and consultant.

Example of a Forecast by Client and Consultant for Professional Services Companies

Example of a Forecast by Client and Consultant for Professional Services Companies

You can find hundreds of additional examples here

Who Uses This Type of Input form?

The typical users of this type of input form are: Service Leaders, Project Managers, Budget Managers.

Other Reports Often Used in Conjunction with Forecast by Client and Consultant Input Forms

Progressive PMO and Consulting departments sometimes use several different Forecast by Client and Consultant Input Forms, along with KPI dashboards, consultant billing reports, client dashboards, project detailed and summary reports, project forecast models, annual budget models and other management and control tools.

Where Does the Data for Analysis Originate From?

The Actual (historical transactions) data typically comes from enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems like: Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) Finance, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365 BC), Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, Sage Intacct, Sage 100, Sage 300, Sage 500, Sage X3, SAP Business One, SAP ByDesign, Acumatica, Netsuite and others.

In analyses where budgets or forecasts are used, the planning data most often originates from in-house Excel spreadsheet models or from professional corporate performance management (CPM/EPM) solutions.

What Tools are Typically used for Reporting, Planning and Dashboards?

Examples of business software used with the data and ERPs mentioned above are:

  • Native ERP report writers and query tools
  • Spreadsheets (for example Microsoft Excel)
  • Corporate Performance Management (CPM) tools (for example Solver)
  • Dashboards (for example Microsoft Power BI and Tableau)

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