Incorrect forecast when transaction doesn't occur on same day as budget
Each account you manage in PocketSmith comes with a Primary Scenario that contains your scheduled budgets, and consequently, the account's forecast (its future closing balances).
By default, PocketSmith begins the Primary Scenario's forecast from the account's closing balance. This ensures that the account's future cash position is a constant reflection of its current position.
The budgets you have scheduled in the scenario will always apply to your cash projection regardless of whether or not its categorized transactions have occurred (pending, or no).
As such, a couple of situations could occur which would make your forecast inaccurate:
- You've made a payment ahead of schedule, but the budget remains in your forecast. Your payment is double-counted, and you're predicted to have less money than you actually will.
- You're making a payment behind schedule, or the payment hasn't cleared. Either way, your account balance doesn't take the payment into account. The scheduled budget passes into history, so you're predicted to have more money than you actually will.
We have 2 upcoming features that will fix this problem. The first is Safe Balance, which is available to beta users. With Safe Balance, if there are unspent/unearned amounts once the budget event has moved into the past, these amounts will still be included in the forecast balance. To find out more about Safe Balance, check out the article: Safe Balance beta: what it does and how it works
The other feature is called 'Bills and Income' and you can find out more details on our Roadmap at http://psmth.to/N4. This will allow you to differentiate between scheduled transactions (which are discrete) and scheduled budgets, and reconcile payments to bills.
At this stage for 'Bills & Income', we're intending for unreconciled bills to be automatically moved back until paid, ensuring that your forecast takes unpaid bills into account. Conversely, a reconciled payment will move a bill out of the projection into your history, ensuring that your cashflow balances are correct.
Workarounds for now
1. Shift the scheduled budgets to keep them in/out of your forecast
The best way to ensure that the budget doesn't affect your forecast is to shift the budget to the date of the payment.
2. Keep separate actual and forecast balances by choosing the 'Scenario balance' option for your account.
Select the 'Scenario balance' option allows you to work to your forecast. This means that if you pay your bills as you've scheduled them in your scenario, the scenario balance immediately reflects the change.
Learn more about the 'Scenario balance' option.
3. Maintain a separate scenario that is not linked to your account balance
This means that your cashflow is not linked to your account balance, giving you a bit more flexibility.
You do this by adding another scenario to an account. This allows you to turn scenarios on and off, and overlay multiple scenarios to sketch out a series of potential future outcomes. These Secondary Scenarios have independent cashflows and aren't linked to the account's balance.
Move the Primary Scenario for an account to a Secondary Scenario. This means that the primary scenario (with the auto-updated balance) is empty, and your current budgets and cashflows are in a secondary scenario. This gives you the flexibility of adjusting your forecast to suit by setting the balances you want.
To do this for an account, please follow these steps:
- Head to 'Account Summary > Organize Your Accounts & Scenarios'
- Hover over the 'Manage' link on the account > 'Add Scenario'.
- Give the scenario a name: "e.g. (Account name's) Primary Scenario" . Leave the interest and balance blank, and click 'Save'. This adds a secondary scenario to your account.
- Hover over the 'Manage' link on the account again > 'Edit'
- Change the primary scenario from what's there, to "(Account name's) Primary Scenario". Save.
- Click on 'Balance settings' on the left, and 'Update balance settings'. This resets the account's balance to the new primary scenario. As such, when you now head to the Calendar and click on the tab of your account, you'll see two scenarios in the sidebar. The account's balance is auto-updated to "Primary Scenario" and your other scenario containing your budgets is now an independent, secondary scenario with its own balances.
Some of our users use independent scenarios to keep tabs on their 'actuals' versus 'projected' balances.