Atlas Enterprise Options Final Enterprise Planner 5.zero; Palo Alto Software program LivePlan

Atlas Enterprise Options (ABS) Final Enterprise Planner 5.zero will begin you off utilizing a reasonably intuitive-looking wizard that takes you thru the method of constructing a marketing strategy in addition to a monetary projection. The nice half right here is that it accommodates superior performance, although the software program remains to be able to serving to starting entrepreneurs as effectively. Final Enterprise Planner begins at $99.00 per yr for a single-user license. That value decreases barely the extra customers you add, so for 10 customers, for instance, the fee is just $549. That is stable worth, however you may additionally want a third-party spreadsheet device as a result of ABS requires you to do most of your spreadsheet work exterior the app. The software program additionally wanted extra guide knowledge enter than different contenders on this roundup, actually greater than both of our Editors’ Alternative winners, Tarkenton GoSmallBiz and Palo Alto Software LivePlan).

To start using ABS Ultimate Business Planner 5.0, get set for a lengthy interview process and some smart decision making. The software asks you to enter information about your company; answer questions about your assets, liabilities, and equity; enter your projected monthly income and expenses; and then write and assemble the business plan. In the company section, you’re asked a series of questions about the company name, contact information, income tax form, customer credit policy, and the start date of the plan.

Big Decisions

For income tax purposes, ABS Ultimate Business Planner 5.0 asks you to make a decision right away on whether your company should be set up as a C corporation, S corporation, partnership, exempt organization, private foundation, sole proprietorship, or “other.” That can be a difficult decision to make right off the bat, and the program rightly advises users to consult a tax professional to make sure they have chosen the right type of entity.

The next question is about what percentage of your company’s sales will be on credit. Again, that can be a difficult question up front. However, the program again gives you some advice on what to do about how to set up a credit policy for your business and how that differs from credit card sales.

Next, you are asked about your customer payment terms and credit terms, such as requiring less than 30 days for payment. That too can be a tough question to answer right away especially if your product or service plans aren’t fully baked, so it’s a good idea to come to Ultimate Business Planner having already established in your mind some of the basic fundamentals of how you intend to run the business, build your product or service, and market them. At the very least, the questions should provide some food for thought as you go about setting up your business plan.

The next question may also present a quandary: What percent of your credit sales will be uncollectible? ABS Ultimate Business Planner 5.0 defaults to two percent as a bad debt allocation, which as the on-screen advice warns may be too high or low depending on your business and credit terms. You can always go back later, of course, and change that.

Finally, you’re asked when you want your business plan and financial projection to start. Mine suggested January 2018, but ABS Ultimate Business Planner 5.0 is capable of projecting up to 60 months of financial information for a company.

Manual Data Entry

Once you complete the setup section for the company, you move on to the income section. Unfortunately, even though you’re using a wizard, much of this part has to be entered manually. You’re given a spreadsheet table showing income category on one side and each month up top. As the on-screen instructions explain, you’re supposed to double-click the row header and enter a description for the project or service you wish to project. Then you have to define your cost of goods sold, in terms of material, labor or some other type of costs. Then once you define your income categories, you manually enter your monthly projections. To project them automatically, the program advises you to use QuickBooks and then import the data.

The next step is the expenses section, which has a similar setup and limitations. You have to double-click the row header and enter a description of each product or service whose expenses you want to forecast. Once you define your expense categories, you double-click on the row headers to project them manually. Or you can use QuickBooks if you want to do it automatically, and then use Ultimate Business Planner’s Import Wizard to import the projections into the program. You can define up to 20 income and expense categories.

As the interview process continues, ABS takes you through a more granular financial questionnaire. You’re asked about your company’s beginning account balances, the minimum bank balance your business needs in order to operate, inventory and supplier terms, amortization and depreciation, the assets you either own or need to buy, the cash available to invest in your business, and any loans you need to secure funds.

Next, you’re on to the assets of your business. This is designated by filling out a spreadsheet, manually entering the assets your company will need to purchase at the start of your projection, along with a description, the category those assets are in, and the total cost. For the category field, you can choose options from a pick list, such as land, building, equipment, supplies, along with more specifics such as automobiles and signage.

ABS Ultimate Business Planner 5.0 then asks if you will be using any vendor financing to pay for the new assets. If so, you’ll fill out information about the vendor loan in another spreadsheet, including a description of the loan, and the loan type. It can be either a standard type of loan with fixed monthly principal and interest payments, or a one-pay loan where you only make interest payments until the principal is due. On the next screen is another spreadsheet where you enter the beginning balances for liability accounts such as credit cards and accounts payable. The next screen asks for the limit on your line of credit.

ABS Ultimate Business Planner - Expenses by Category

Compiling the Plan

Once you’ve completed the interview section, you can finally move on to compiling the actual plan. The input screen is divided into three windows: an outline window that lists each major section of the plan, a topic guide/example window that explains how to fill out each topic, along with sample wording that you can use as a guide. The third window is a text editor where you actually write the plan.

Sections of the plan include an executive summary, company background, products, services, the industry competition and market, your marketing plan, operating plan, management organization and ownership, goals and strategies, and financial assumptions. The text editor window includes the standard kinds of icons you would find in a word processor or text editor.

Once you’re finished filling out the plan, you can preview it and then choose to print it, export it to Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel, or save it as a PDF file. The program is able to compile pie charts and bar charts and other graphs to illustrate trends such as income and expenses by category. It includes a variety of sample business plans for a wide array of businesses.

Overall, I found there to be a lot of manual input required with ABS Ultimate Business Planner 5.0 and a lot of outside-the-app spreadsheet work, too. Still, the tool is very thorough and accessible, and the result is a competent, workable business plan. But be aware that you’ll need to know what you want from the business, as well as much of how it’s going to operate, well before using this tool.

ABS Ultimate Business Planner - Income by Category

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