of the Month: Financial Wonder
Susan B. Anders
offers free online access to corporate budgeting calculations.
To provide anonymity, no user registration is required for
the basic forecasting functions, and data is not stored on
the website. Although designed to assist in the budgeting
process, the website’s projection functions are adaptable
for other purposes. It is a quick and easy- to-use “what-if”
tool, and could also be incorporated into accounting course
assignments. Additionally, the website can be used by people
with no prior spreadsheet training.
Wonder allows users to project individual income statement
or balance sheet accounts over a 12-month period. The website’s
variety of preprogrammed options allows for quick changes
of input assumptions. The output spreadsheet formats can
be saved as Excel files, permitting further manipulation.
website is well organized. The main functions (financial
statement, formula method, enter financials, and display
results) appear in a horizontal menu bar at the top of all
main webpages. Navigation between function pages is smooth
and can be accomplished via the main menu bar.
outstanding feature of the website is the obvious care taken
to provide new users with easy-to-follow information about
the website, organized in a second horizontal menu bar.
“Why” provides a brief overview of the website’s
purpose. “What” describes the Financial Wonder
formulas, which were developed from a predecessor commercial
software package. “How” walks the user through
the forecasting steps. “Tutorials” provides
access to five short videos that demonstrate the choices,
functions, calculations, and results, and should leave users
ready to start performing their own projections.
projections. Financial Wonder provides free
preformatted spreadsheet formulas that allow users to project
monthly income statement accounts and balance sheet accounts
over a 12-month period. Users can create forecasts using
the formulas on the website and estimate individual income
statement or balance sheet accounts. The projection results
can be saved using in the user’s spreadsheet or word
input uses a straightforward question-and-answer approach,
similar to that used by many tax return software products.
The first step is to click on the “financial statement”
button, which appears at the top of all main pages. The
user begins to create a projection by selecting the type
of account. The user then selects either a standard- method
projection formula or a progression- method projection formula.
The monthly projection amounts can be spread evenly over
12 months, distributed using a seasonal history, distributed
using a geometric progression, or distributed using a geometric
progression and a seasonal history.
user must then input financial data. The formula requires
an input amount for last year’s ending balance, income,
or expense for the account to be projected. Then, only one
of the following must be entered: 1) projected ending balance,
income, or expense; 2) projected dollar increase in the
account; or 3) projected percentage increase in the account.
The final entry is a historical (or projected) seasonality
for each month, expressed as a percentage of the total account
for the 12-month period.
website will present an HTML table of the projection results.
These results can be transferred to an Excel file, which
can then be used to create charts and graphs.
projections. Although most of the website’s
functions are free, users who need more complex calculations
or integration of the formulas with their own software can
subscribe to those services at annual rates of $475 or $975,
or a one-month rate of $175. The fee-based subscription
service integrates Microsoft Excel with the Financial Wonder
functions and allows subscribers to save the Financial Wonder
spreadsheet formulas in their own Excel files and perform
projections for performed for quarterly and annual periods.
Subscribers can integrate the Financial Wonder functions
with third-party applications and custom applications utilizing
B. Anders, PhD, CPA, is an associate professor at
St. Bonaventure University, N.Y.