Working with Driver elements

Drivers are simple elements with a powerful purpose. They are an easy way of introducing non-financial data into a Castaway forecast, but can also be used flexibly for many advanced modelling tasks.

Driver elements can be used in 3 main ways:

  1. to calculate forecast data in each element
  2. to add powerful insights to reporting
  3. to enable variance analysis of non-financial data

Driver elements are added to Castaway from the Driver folder at the bottom of the Chart of Accounts. Use the Chart of Accounts or the Forecast Designer to add a Driver element.

Once a Driver element is created, you can tailor the element properties:

  • set the Driver Input method (manual entry, etc)
  • set rounding treatment
  • set constraints (maximum, minimum, max & min)

 

Using Drivers to calculate Forecast Data

Most types of Castaway elements offer several Driver-based calculation methods:

  1. Driver x Rate
    eg: Use a Driver to record the Headcount of salespeople and set the rate as the expected monthly sales per salesperson

  2. % of Drivers
    eg: Use a Driver to record the total Funds Under Management for an investment advisory firm and set the rate as the % administration fee collected by the firm

  3. Formula (to create long-chain calculations including Drivers, constants and/or other elements)
    eg: calculate revenue for a coffee shop by multiplying 3 Drivers (# Trading Days per Month, # Coffees Served per Month, Selling Price per Cup)

Beyond these simple examples, there are many more powerful ways of using Driver elements in element calculations. For example, Drivers can be used as inflation indices, as control switches for scenario modelling or for calculating complex constraint-based production volumes. Like other Castaway elements, Driver data can also be Data-Linked from Excel, which opens up even more possibilities.

 

Using Drivers in Reporting

There are many ways to use Drivers to add powerful insights to your reporting.

  1. The Drivers Report
    Found under the Reports > Other Reports menu, the Drivers Report displays the values of each of the Drivers in your forecast. This can be an effective way of reporting the assumptions underlying the forecast

  2. Using Driver Elements in Report Formulas
    Driver elements can be used to calculate custom Report Formulas, which can then be displayed on any of Castaway's key financial reports. And because Report Formulas are flexible, they are ideal for reporting KPIs and other key metrics, bank covenant ratios, or operations numbers

  3. Adding Drivers to Dashboards
    Driver elements and Report Formulas based on Drivers can be added into any widgets on Dashboards. Simply choose the Driver elements from the Drivers Report list on the Add Data screen, or select Report Formulas from the report they were originally added to.

 

Using Drivers in Variance Analysis

One of our favourite features of Driver elements is that Actuals data can be entered for them. This means that the Drivers Variance Report will display variances for the Drivers you have created. It also means that variances will be displayed for any Report Formulas in other reports that were created based on Driver elements.

To add Actuals data for Driver elements (assuming that Actuals are enabled in the forecast), go to Data > Actuals Data > Enter Drivers. Actuals data for Drivers can also be imported from Excel via the Actuals Import Template.

 

 

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