Helm vs spreadsheets

Are you creating cash flow forecasts using spreadsheets?

Do you know how much time it’s taking you to build and maintain each one?

What if there was an easier and quicker way…


Let’s start by looking at the different steps and how long each takes in spreadsheets and then in Helm:

1. Preparing and gathering data
2. Creation of initial forecast/model
3. Testing different scenarios

Data gathering and initial forecast


If you’re forecasting in spreadsheets you are going to need to pull data, likely from many sources. After all this exporting and importing data, you can actually start manually creating your initial forecast.

Depending on the complexity of your forecast and your experience level this could take anywhere from 30 minutes for an extremely simple forecast to hours, or days for a more complex one.


Let’s look at the same (but very different looking) steps in Helm:

Setting up your company in Helm and importing your accounting data from QuickBooks Online, Xero, or Sage takes just 60 seconds. No switching from tab to tab or manual import/exports here.

Watch what setting up and importing your data looks like in Helm:

Helm automatically analyzes your accounting data to see how you’ve been paid and have paid in the past to make predictions. In minutes you’re ready to start making adjustments like adding future events, and testing multiple scenarios.

Where would a couple minutes using spreadsheets get you?

Now that we have our data pulled in and our first forecast set let’s take a look at something you’ll likely be doing frequently for your business or clients:

Scenario Planning:


If you’re working on a forecast for your own business – typically you start with a base case and then build out your scenarios. A rough ballpark time to get your base case and a scenario set up would be ~8-10hrs – in a few working sessions – if you have good accounting information and a good understanding of your goals.

This doesn’t take into account other scenarios or adjustments you’ll have to make along the way, and you’ve already used up at least a day’s work simply creating a forecast – time you’d likely want to spend elsewhere in your business.

If you’re meeting with an advisor who is creating a forecast for you, you’ll likely spend:

– A couple of hours of meetings to understand the question ie: “What if I do X?”

– A couple of hours of identifying the variables and deciding if a calculator-type scenario tool is best, or just a simple best case/worst case with just one or two variables.

– A couple of hours reviewing the results and ensuring that all the variables are considered. For example, hiring – variables include wages, training, equipment/supplies, and productivity adjustments.


Helm makes it easy to test multiple scenarios side by side so you’re prepared no matter what happens. Again, with just a few clicks you can compare scenarios side by side and take advantage of features like Helm’s drag and drop interface to make adjustments and comparisons quick and easy.

Watch below as Kelvin tests scenarios in Helm for Ryan’s Design Agency if payment for a project is paid on time, late and early with a 10% price discount.

Let’s review how long it would take us to get here in spreadsheets and in Helm.

Data Gathering + Initial forecast:

Spreadsheets: 8+ Hours
Helm: 1 minute

Scenario Planning:

Spreadsheets: 2+ hours
Helm: 10 minutes

Total time::

Spreadsheets: 10+ Hours
Helm: 11 minutes

Time saved in Helm: X Hours: 9hrs 49mins. That’s at least over a day saved!

What could you do with an extra day each month in your business?

More than just forecasting:

Helm also streamlines planning and managing AP for clients. No more going in and out of several different systems (ledger, spreadsheet for due dates/timing, bill pay system/bank accounts). Everything in Helm is in one spot so you don’t need to “flip” from screen to screen!

What’s more, with Helm’s Veem integration you can manage AP and make payments directly from Helm. For businesses, this is a huge time-saver. For accountants, this is an opportunity to provide a new service for your clients that’s quick and easy!

Ready to forecast?

Don’t spend a day doing what you could do in 5 minutes. Start your free trial of Helm now and stop wasting time on spreadsheets!

You can also check out a case study where we walk through setting up Helm, getting your first forecast, tailoring your forecast, and testing different scenarios for Ryan’s Design Agency.