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Alternatives to Foresight

Here's a few alternatives to Foresight to help you select the best financial modeling tool for your needs, and how you can combine any template with a Foresight model.

Let’s be honest, I’m not the only person building financial model templates, and Foresight is not the only way to create and manage your financial projections. I’ve been building financial models since 1998 and template products since 2008, and while I think I’ve built a set of tools that are robust, easy to use, well thought out, well-documented, and just really practical for entrepreneurs and investors, I wanted to provide you with information about a few other sources for financial modeling tools and templates.

Here’s a few template alternatives to Foresight:

  • Eloquens is a good place to start to find financial models and business planning tools. They have a wide selection of free and paid tools submitted by multiple authors, and you can search by topic and find a range of tools that could fit what you need.
  • Christoph Janz has a solid and well-liked financial model for SaaS businesses that he’s evolved over the years, and informed by his experience as an entrepreneur and VC. Here’s the latest version: SaaS Financial Plan 2.0. I see this model used a fair amount, and it’s a solid start to SaaS modeling.
  • Alexander Jarvis has very detailed models for SaaS and ecommerce. I haven’t personally used them, but the models appear to be detailed and well thought-out.
  • Ben Murray has a SaaS Financial Model that is targeted for startups and SMBs and appears to be well-designed for SaaS. He also offers a course on understanding key SaaS concepts at The SaaS Academy.
  • FISY is a financial model commonly used in the French startup ecosystem
  • Lightspeed has a free standardized ecommerce financial model and appears to be well designed for ecommerce businesses.
  • Jaakko Piipponen of Baremetrics has a SaaS Financial Model that appears to fit a variety of SaaS businesses. He also launched Flight Path Financce, focused on modeling and advice for SaaS businesses.

There are also a number of web-based software apps that can help you build financial projections:

  • Causal is a browser-based modeling tool that allows connect to live data, create visual diagrams and write formulas using simple variable names, and create probabalistic forecasts that help you understand the potential ranges in your results, using a card-based or spreadsheet-based user experience (See an example Causal model at Foresight, Ecommerce Forecasting Tool › 1
  • Summit is a web app for financial forecasting focused on SaaS companies.
  • OnPlan is a web app built to help you forecast, budget, and collaborate with your team. OnPlan integrates with your existing Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets financial model, and you can provide them with your existing model and their customer success team will convert it into our platform and extend its functionality with dashboards, charts, and more. Foresight is compatible with OnPlan; the Runway and Cash Budget Tool is preloaded and available as a model to all OnPlan users, and you can upload your Foresight Starter or Standard Model into OnPlan if you want to upgrade to a collaborative software platform for financial modeling.
  • Finmark is a web app for financial modeling for growing companies. Skip the waitlist by signing up here.
  • Startup Runway is a nice, visual, free cash planning tool to help startups understand, manage and extend their cash runway. (Their main chart is nice, and I built a similar chart into the Key Reports section in all of my models.) Great for early-stage founders. Part of LTSE, which also offers tools for creating hiring plans, 409a valuations, and managing captables, at LTSE Bridge.
  • Jirav is a web app that helps you connect to Quickbooks, Xero, Stripe, Gusto, and a range of other data sources, and create financial forecasts and budgets, compare to actual results, and create detailed consolidated financial statements.
  • Flight Path Finance offers financial forecasting and services for SaaS companies (starting at $2mm ARR)
  • Opstarts is a web app planning and forecasting tool for subscription businesses.
  • Budgeto is a web app for creating budgets and financial projections.

To learn the essentials of financial modeling:

  • Gridlines, a financial modeling consultancy focused on project and infrastructure finance, offers a free Essential Financial Modeling video course to help teach the financial modelling skills that every analyst should know.

In addition, there are a number of apps that are built to help you monitor and forecast your business performance:

  • Divvy is a corporate card and expense management platform 2
  • Ramp is a corporate card and spend management platform to automate accounting and find cost savings. 2
  • Float is an online cash management and forecasting tool that helps you manage your business and keep on top of your cash flow. It connects to Quickbooks, Xero, and FreeAgent and automatically updates your cash forecast using data from your accounting platform.
  • Cube is a platform for financial, planning, and analysis (FP&A) professionals to link spreadsheet models with accounting software and internal systems.
  • Runway is a emerging service to help companies run their financial operations (not publicly launched)
  • Pry is for manaing your financials and creating forecasts, by synching to Quickbooks and Xero, and allowing you to use those to build forecasts. Now open for anyone to sign up.
  • Digits is a platform for managing and understanding financial data (early access only).
  • Mosaic is a platform for strategic finance for growing companies.
  • Pigment looks like an interesting product for larger companies to do business forecasting.
  • Adaptive Insights is an enterprise-level FP&A and business budgeting software that is targeted to large companies and midsize organizations that want to go beyond Excel.
  • Anaplan is an enterprise-level FP&A software targeted to large companies that goes beyond the capabilities of Excel and spreadsheets.
  • Jedox is less of a modeling platform, but more of a cloud-based data platform for enterprises to store data from Excel models in the cloud, integrated with other data sources, and create dashboards and reports.
  • Baremetrics has a set of metrics, forecasting and engagement tools for teams using Stripe, Braintree, Chargify and Recurly.
  • Tiller links your bank and financial accounts to one of their Google Sheet templates to help you understand your personal and business financial performance. More targeted for personal finance, but interesting to use nonetheless.
  • ChartMogul is a subscription analytics and revenue recognition software built for SaaS companies that has a wide variety of integrations to automatically import your customer data.
  • Brex offers a cash management account, credit card, expense controls and reporting for a wide variety of growing companies. 2

There are also a couple services aimed at providing bookkeeping, tax, and CFO-level services:

  • Pilot offers bookkeeping, tax and CFO services for growing companies.
  • Bench offers bookkeeping and tax services for small businesses. 2

More templates and apps detailed at Best Practices and Resources for Financial Modeling, and check out this Hacker News post on Startup financial models - Templates compared for SaaS

So, why choose Foresight?

I’ve been building templates and working with entrepreneurs to build financial models since 2004, so I have a lot of experience - across a wide variety of companies - in thinking through how to build solid financial models that entrepreneurs can maintain and use throughout the lifecycle of their companies.

I don’t strive to build tools that have the most details, the most charts, the most features. I work to build the most practical, accessible, usable tools for people to get done what they need to get done - create financial projections to help them make key business decisions and (likely) convince investors that they have a solid financial plan for their business.

I’ve worked as a VC so I know what VCs want; I’ve built custom models for hundreds of companies so I know what entrepreneurs need; I’ve worked to distill all of that into models that can provide people what they need.

I also recognize that you, the user of a financial model, may want to make changes or do some things differently in their models. All of my models are completely unlocked - all cells, sheets, and formulas can be completely edited - and they are extensively noted, so that you can use, understand, and modify the model to fit your needs.

Foresight works with other models

I’ve also built the Bring Your Own Model functionality to help use Foresight’s models with other models. The financial core of the Standard Model - the consolidated financial statements, operating costs, cash forecast, cap table, valuation, actuals reporting, summary, key reports, and funnel reporting - is separated from the revenue forecast so that you can bring or build your own revenue forecasts into the model with a minimum of integration effort.

What does that mean? Let’s say you already have a revenue forecast you like, whether you built it or you’re using a non-Foresight template. And let’s say you like the revenue forecast, but don’t think it does cash forecasting, or funding forecasts, or the cap table, or LTV, CAC, or other metrics reporting as well as Foresight. That’s fine: simply duplicate the revenue forecast sheets from the non-Foresight model into the Standard Model, use your existing model for the revenue forecast, and link it into the financial core through the Forecast and Hooks functionality built into the Standard Model. You can still fully use all the financial components of the Standard Model, but you don’t have to use my revenue forecast. And the integration - in most cases - will take minutes, not hours, because you won’t have to hunt and find where to link the models together: the functionality makes it easy to do and keep clean and consistent.

The problem with financial model templates has always been that they do some things you need, but not everything, and it can be incredibly hard to modify them to do what you want. One of the reasons for that is because modeling the revenues for a business - the sales methodologies, the growth engine, what is sold and how it’s sold, etc. - can be incredibly specific to each business, and it’s very hard to build a model that can work for a wide variety of businesses. I’ve worked to build a common growth and revenue structure that works for a wide variety of businesses, but having worked with thousands of businesses, I know that it’s simply not possible to do everything.

That’s why I’ve worked to build a modular model - a standardized financial core with an easy methodology to integrate with any revenue forecast - to help solve the problem with financial model templates, and to make it as easy as possible for you to use a template and minimize the amount of time you have to spend to make it work for you.

Compare and find the right Foresight template here ›

  1. Disclosure: Taylor Davidson, founder of Foresight, is a personal investor in Causal. 

  2. Referral links.