Forward looking Cash Flow

Does anyone know how to generate a forward looking cash flow report?
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Best Answers

  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 11 Accepted Answer
    @mbpatterson - The Cash Flow report is a historical looking report only.  There is no way to get a future projection with it.  But as others have mentioned, there are various ways to get cash flow projections in various formats.  A couple of other ways to get cash flow projections that you might want to look into:
    • The Budgets tool does provide a view of future cash flow.  It shows the monthly budgeted amounts by category, the actual amounts spent for each and for the future it shows what the spends will be based upon the Reminders you have set up, as well as the amount of the budget that is left over for each month.
    • Set up your checking account(s) and other desired spending accounts to Show Reminders in the account registers.  Then the amounts of the reminders will credit/debit the future balance in the account registers.  You can set the accounts up to show Reminders out to as far as 12 months out but I prefer to show no more than 1 month out.  I use it for my checking account to help me plan for when I might need to transfer cash (and how much) in or out of it.
    You may have noticed that there is a common thread to most of these options:  Reminders need to be set up.  How well and extensively you make use of and maintain Reminders will define how well and accurate the cash flow projections will be.
    (QW Premier Subscription: R33.24 on Windows 10)
  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 11 Accepted Answer
    artg said:
    @Boatnmaniac
    Good morning. I was referring to the Cash Flow tool (as an option) on the Home tab.  On my Q it's to the right of the Main View and it is forward looking, or at least mine is.  I set it to project forward for 12 months and set it to my primary checking account.  As of this morning I'm projected out to 5/11/2022.  But most importantly, your emphasis how well Reminders are maintained is the key to this entire discussion (thread.) 
    Good morning to you, too.  Your last sentence captured it very accurately.
    Also, I agree with @Jim_Harman that you are probably referring to the Projected Balances view.  A great tool and very helpful when set up properly.
    (QW Premier Subscription: R33.24 on Windows 10)

Answers

  • Sherlock
    Sherlock SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    If you haven't already, you may want to consider using the In/Out/What's Left item on a Home view.
  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    If you have set up Reminders for your bills and income, you can click on Projected Balances on the Bills & Income tab.

    This shows the projected balances in each of your spending accounts for selected future time periods. Of course this is only as good as the data you provide, so if you have significant income or expenses that do not have corresponding Reminders, the projections will be off. 
    QWin Premier subscription
  • mshiggins
    mshiggins SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    For a longer term forward looking cash flow report, have you tried the Lifetime Planner?

    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • artg
    artg Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 11
    I use the Cash Flow tool for a single "spending" account which is our main checking account.  Like Jim said (above) you must set up reminders for your bills and income.  In my case, all income and bills go (literally) in and out of this main checking account on a monthly basis. 

    The Cash Flow tool provides a very useful projection for a moving twelve month period going forward. Back to Jim's point, you must be pretty diligent in managing your bill and income reminders for the projection to have any real value.  This diligence includes, for example, making a guess at your monthly electric bill and then (like yesterday for me) getting the exact bill that will be automatically withdrawn from my account on the 25th of May.  I went in and clicked "Edit this Instance" and entered this months' electric bill.

    I personally view the Cash Flow tool as our short term plan and I view the Lifetime Planner as our long term plan.  That's probably more than you wanted to know but I hope this was helpful.    
    [edited to add paragraphs - JH]
  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    To build on @artg's comment, when setting up Reminders for periodic bills and income, there are several options for how Quicken calculates the proposed amount.

    You can specify a fixed amount, which is good when the payment is fixed like insurance premiums or you have no payment history for a biller.

    You can have it average the past n payments, which is good for bills that vary but are usually about the same.

    You can have it use last year's payment, which is good for bills that vary seasonally, like some utilities.

    Of course the Reminders and Projected Balances can't predict unexpected expenses like home or auto repairs. The Reminders are also useful for flagging any monthly bills that I have not received when expected.
    QWin Premier subscription
  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 11 Accepted Answer
    @mbpatterson - The Cash Flow report is a historical looking report only.  There is no way to get a future projection with it.  But as others have mentioned, there are various ways to get cash flow projections in various formats.  A couple of other ways to get cash flow projections that you might want to look into:
    • The Budgets tool does provide a view of future cash flow.  It shows the monthly budgeted amounts by category, the actual amounts spent for each and for the future it shows what the spends will be based upon the Reminders you have set up, as well as the amount of the budget that is left over for each month.
    • Set up your checking account(s) and other desired spending accounts to Show Reminders in the account registers.  Then the amounts of the reminders will credit/debit the future balance in the account registers.  You can set the accounts up to show Reminders out to as far as 12 months out but I prefer to show no more than 1 month out.  I use it for my checking account to help me plan for when I might need to transfer cash (and how much) in or out of it.
    You may have noticed that there is a common thread to most of these options:  Reminders need to be set up.  How well and extensively you make use of and maintain Reminders will define how well and accurate the cash flow projections will be.
    (QW Premier Subscription: R33.24 on Windows 10)
  • artg
    artg Member ✭✭✭
    @Boatnmaniac
    Good morning. I was referring to the Cash Flow tool (as an option) on the Home tab.  On my Q it's to the right of the Main View and it is forward looking, or at least mine is.  I set it to project forward for 12 months and set it to my primary checking account.  As of this morning I'm projected out to 5/11/2022.  But most importantly, your emphasis how well Reminders are maintained is the key to this entire discussion (thread.) 
  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    @artg,
    The actual title of the Home tab widget is "Projected Balances," right? If so it is essentially the same as the Projected Balances on the Bills and Income tab (maybe identical?). 
    QWin Premier subscription
  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 11 Accepted Answer
    artg said:
    @Boatnmaniac
    Good morning. I was referring to the Cash Flow tool (as an option) on the Home tab.  On my Q it's to the right of the Main View and it is forward looking, or at least mine is.  I set it to project forward for 12 months and set it to my primary checking account.  As of this morning I'm projected out to 5/11/2022.  But most importantly, your emphasis how well Reminders are maintained is the key to this entire discussion (thread.) 
    Good morning to you, too.  Your last sentence captured it very accurately.
    Also, I agree with @Jim_Harman that you are probably referring to the Projected Balances view.  A great tool and very helpful when set up properly.
    (QW Premier Subscription: R33.24 on Windows 10)
  • artg
    artg Member ✭✭✭
    @Boatnmaniac
    Good afternoon. Yes, you're correct about the Projected Balances view.  However, on MY Home tab I have four sub-tabs as well.  They are as follows: Main View, Cash Flow, In/Out/What's Left and Calendar. When I click on Cash Flow I get the same exact picture I see in Projected Balances.  So, I think we're all talking about the same thing. Whether you use the Projected Balances or the Cash Flow it really doesn't matter; on the other hand, religiously maintaining the Reminders will provide an excellent 12 month running projection. 
  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 11
    artg said:
    @Boatnmaniac
    Good afternoon. Yes, you're correct about the Projected Balances view.  However, on MY Home tab I have four sub-tabs as well.  They are as follows: Main View, Cash Flow, In/Out/What's Left and Calendar. When I click on Cash Flow I get the same exact picture I see in Projected Balances.  So, I think we're all talking about the same thing. Whether you use the Projected Balances or the Cash Flow it really doesn't matter; on the other hand, religiously maintaining the Reminders will provide an excellent 12 month running projection. 
    That's interesting.  When I do Add View or Customize for an already existing view, I see no option for Cash Flow.  Being that your Cash Flow and Projected Balances pictures are identical I'm guess that at some point you added a view that you titled "Cash Flow" then selected Projected Balances for it.  Then you would have two views titled differently but they would show the same thing.  (If you later become convinced that my guess about this is correct and that you really don't need both views you can Customize one of them where you can delete it so your Home tab is less cluttered.)
    Have a great day.  I'm glad the dialog of this thread has helped you.
    (QW Premier Subscription: R33.24 on Windows 10)
  • artg
    artg Member ✭✭✭
    @Boatnmaniac
    Thank you for your thoughtful response.  My answer to you is: I don't know how I got "Cash Flow." I'll also tell you that you're right about clutter but I'm not getting rid of it for a simple reason...I don't trust myself or the application.  In other words, it's working for me and I just don't want to mess with it.  And I think this dialogue (thread) has been fantastic.  I think Cash Flow/Projected Balances is a fantastic tool if used properly and Reminders are diligently maintained.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    I personally use the Projected Balance graph for my "cash flow".  I have it on my Home tab.
    But I will say I'm not very diligent on having lots of reminders and such, and that is really "by design".
    (The only other thing on my main Home tab view is "See Where Your Money Goes".)

    All my bills that aren't some kind of "one off" are setup for automatic payment on the biller's site (I log into the biller's account and set this up) and whenever possible they are paid from one of my credit cards that pays me cash back.  What that means is for the most part I really don't have to track these individual bills.  They go on the credit card and I have something like 20 to 30 days before the credit card bill comes in. So these bills aren't really part of my "cash flow".  There are a few bills like my water (every two months), Gas & Electric, and my HOA that are paid directly from the checking account.  So I have reminders for the credit cards and for these few bills that come directly out of the checking account.

    Cash Flow for me is "keep enough in the checking account" to pay the bills.  I aid this process by also keeping a "buffer amount" in the checking account.  And it fact at times that amount might much more than I might have kept in the past given that the interest rates are so low, and there isn't a big advantage of moving money off to a saving account.
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  • markus1957
    markus1957 SuperUser, Windows Beta Beta
    Similar to @Chris_QPW, credit card expenses provide a challenge to my cash flow projections. For me, monthly credit card transactions don't normally vary too widely. I created a report that tracks expenses for the last 12 months not otherwise accounted for by scheduled reminders; it includes credit card transactions other than payments.  I use the report to estimate a monthly amount for a credit card payment monthly reminder.  I also customize the Projected Balances date out to 3 years to take a longer view of projected cash flow.
  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 11
    I think perhaps the value of cash flow projections is diminished greatly when viewing them from the perspective of all Bill, Income and Transfer Reminders for all accounts.  A properly set up cash flow projection only looks at the impact of those Reminders on the spending account(s) balances that are important to track.  For instance, I am not the least bit interested in the bills that get paid by credit cards or on savings accounts because they have no direct bearing on my checking account cash flow.  In my Projected Balances report I select only the spending account that I am interested in tracking...my checking account.  Everything else is just background noise and clutter.  By doing it this way the only Reminders that are picked up in the cash flow projections are those that debit and credit my checking account and then cash flow projections have real value.
    That all being said, I do also have Reminders set up to be shown in my credit card accounts.  That allows me to estimate the credit card bill amounts to be paid from my checking account.  I can then update the credit card bill Reminders accordingly so they then show up more accurately in my Projected Balances and Register views of my checking account.  I'm constantly making such adjustments where appropriate to Reminders about 1 month in advance.
    Maybe it wouldn't be so important to manage it this way if I kept a large sum of money in checking at all times and if I simply budgeted a specific amount of money to be transferred into my checking account each month.  But I don't want to lose the benefit of having excess cash actually invested so I don't move cash to checking unless and until it is actually needed.  So I work to make sure I have only enough money in checking to cover about 2-3 wks of bill expenses plus another $1000-$2000 to cover the what-if surprises.  Anything more than that and I probably will move the excess to one of my investment accounts.  And it also helps me to know when and how much I need to move from other accounts to checking.
    (QW Premier Subscription: R33.24 on Windows 10)
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