Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 127 / MARCH 1991 / PAGE 89

Up your Cash Flow 3.0. (computer software ) (evaluation)
by Charles Idol

It's sad but true; many small businesses fail. According to financial experts, two principal causes of failure are insufficient capital and poor management. Careful attention to fiscal matters is essential to good management, and Up Your Cash Flow was created to ease this task and help you maintain the health of your small business.

The developers of the program believe that many managers of small businesses make little or no use of computer programs for financial planning because they're confronted with formidable manuals, massive in size and difficult to use. UYCF is designed to avoid this barrier; it has no manual and requires no training.

Menu-driven, the program helps you, the manager of a small business, prepare a forecast of the fiscal position of your operation and analyze the results.

The opening screen, or main menu, contains 34 items, and as you scroll down the list, you see an explanation of each item. Most of the items lead you through the input of the data for your forecast. As you proceed through the menu items, you are prompted to forecast the separate components of your bookkeeping. These include such matters as your starting balances, sales, expenses, cost of goods sold, payroll, depreciation, loans/interest, proprietary draws, and taxes.

Many of the main menu items have further menus, and one of the attractive features of the program is the options it offers for level of detail of the forecast. You can make off-the-cuff estimates based upon percentage changes from last year or fixed changes. You can make an estimate of annual costs and spread them uniformly over the year or adjust by month. If you prefer, you can go into detail, and the program suggests that you consult your accountant in this option.

In the major categories of sales, cost of goods sold, and payroll, you may deal with overall costs, or you may choose to use spreadsheets for sales and costs by product line and for payroll by employee. The spreadsheets accept detail by month if you choose to provide it.

When you've completed your forecast, you can turn to the very valuable program features offering analysis of your data. These include profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheets, and six significant ratios: the ratios of assets to liabilities, debt to equity, net income to equity, inventory turnover, accounts receivable turnover, and net income to sales. Each ratio screen carries an explanation of the significance of the ratio. Finally, you can see and print graphic presentations of sales, net income/ loss, gross profit, cash flow, and sales/ expenses for each month.

I found the program easy to use (even for someone with little accounting background), prompt in its execution, and illuminating in its analysis. I would fault only its lack of mouse support. A bonus item included in UYCF is a 170-page text that discusses the items of the forecast.

UYCF is marketed by Granville Publications, which maintains a tollfree technical support line. The personnel are most cooperative and competent. The program would be a very valuable addition to the library of any manager of a small business.