Every business has two main aims: to make money and grow. To achieve both, you need to have a good handle on what funds are coming into and going out of your agency – better known as cash flow.

There’s more to it than simply knowing how much is in the company kitty. Understanding your cash flow also enables you to plan for the future and better serve your clients.

Cash flow prediction should be a fundamental part of your business strategy, and in this blog we’ll take a look at some of the accounting software out there that can do this for you, and compare two of the market leading apps: Float and Fluidly.


Direct and indirect cash flow forecasting

There are two ways your agency can determine its cash flow: direct and indirect forecasting. Let’s take a quick look at each.

Direct cash flow

This forecast method takes in all types of business transactions including credit and cash, as well as clients’ bills, invoices and tax.


Direct forecasting aims to assess when cash will be coming into and going out of the agency on a particular date in a week or month. Although it’s more accurate in the short term, it becomes less so for longer-term business forecasting.

Indirect cash flow

Indirect cash flow forecasting uses balance sheet and accounts tools such as company profit and loss statements to accurately estimate long-term agency growth.

Because it relies on existing data, it’s a simpler system for businesses and consequently widely used. Although not as accurate over the short term, insights generated by indirect forecasting can be very useful for long-term company growth strategies.

Cash flow forecasting software options

We’ve all become used to the phrase “there’s an app for that”, but when it comes to cash flow forecasting, never was a truer word spoken.

The Xero Marketplace has become a crowded place, with over  1000 apps covering every aspect of your business needs.


Among them are two award-winning, market-leading cash flow forecasting software: Float and Fluidly. Let’s put them head-to-head and see how they compare.


This award-winning cash flow forecasting, budgeting and management tool is exclusively for use with Xero.

It allows you to view your business cash flow on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, and you can forecast up to three years into the future with its scenario planning tool.

In our view:

Float is very flexible, so agencies can use average historic data that is in Xero to look forward. If your business has less obvious trends, you can copy or type in different predictions for future invoices and bills.

We really like the scenario planning function. It enables you to model events such as the impact of a new client or team member on cash flow, with increased wages and (hopefully) more client sales.

Easy to use

Float’s services also include drilling down to invoice and bill level, including Xero drafts. You can adjust expected payment dates in Float or Xero and the forecast will update in seconds.

It replaces budgets with actual cash movements when they occur so you don’t double count and generally it is easy to use and understand.


Described as an “intuitive cash flow forecasting system powered by artificial intelligence (AI)”, Fluidly takes transaction data from an agency’s accounting system and uses it to automatically forecast your financial future in minutes and down to invoice-level detail.”

In our view:

AI for cash flow may sound a bit sci-fi but we think the automation is quite impressive.

Based on historic invoices and bills in Xero, Fluidly will predict what cash flow scenarios will happen next month, next quarter, even out to a year.

Enabling offline thinking

Float’s services also include drilling down to invoice and bill level, including Xero drafts. You can adjust expected payment dates in Float or Xero and the forecast will update in seconds.

It replaces budgets with actual cash movements when they occur so you don’t double count and generally it is easy to use and understand.

Key similarities and differences

Let’s examine what Float and Fluidly have in common to start with. They both:

  • use the direct cash flow forecasting method.
  • offer insights into invoices due and bills to be paid
  • enable agencies to create a budget using an average of historical financial data
  • allow agencies to plan scenarios
  • enable the inclusion of spreadsheet data in forecasting

Now let’s look at some of the differences when comparing Fluidly and Float software packages.

Flexibility over budgets

Fluidly tries to automatically predict what an agency will spend, based on historical averages and other information.


In contrast, Float software allows agencies to set their own budgets, a flexibility that can be useful in the management of scaling businesses, where cash flow can perhaps vary from month to month.

Budget reporting

Float’s service includes a budget vs actuals report, enabling agencies to determine if they’re on track with their finances.

Scenario plans

Fluidly software offers predetermined scenario planning, such as moving premises or hiring new staff.

Float’s scenario planning is a more flexible and customisable service, enabling agencies to create and control their own scenarios.

Funding options

One of the biggest differences between the two: Float focuses on forecasting and understanding your cash flow. Our comparison reveals Fluidly software provides funding options.

Customisable cash flow tables

Float software enables agencies to lay out their cash flow tables in a way that suits them, undoubtedly offering more flexibility.

Which software is better:

Both cash flow forecasting tools offer lots of insight and do great things for agencies, but which software comes out on top?

As accountants, we like the Float app‘s capacity to build scenarios, updating from Xero on demand and how simple it is to understand and use. Agencies are likely to be very interested in the longer forecast horizon.

That said, it is missing reporting on and chasing clients who are late paying their invoices, so if your agency needs it, we recommend using an accounting app such as Chaser for this.

Clever but not always

For Fluidly, although the AI is clever, many agencies have lumpy and non-trending cash flows, meaning you have to individually turn off all the calculations Fluidly has already done.

There can be delays, waiting for it to sync from Xero but it does offer the credit control function which Float doesn’t.

Are other cash flow accounting apps out there?

There are indeed. Let’s take a quick look at a couple of them.


This company’s solution eliminates the need for spreadsheets, and features easy-to-use drag and drop building blocks for modelling.

Like Float, Brixx offers add-on options for the Xero accounting system and is set to integrate with Quickbooks. It offers:

  • 10 year cash flow projections and cash flow tracking
  • professional reports with automated double entry accounting (P&L and Balance Sheet)
  • forecast calculators
  • multiple scenario testing
  • forecast vs actuals comparison
  • move any part of the plan on a drag and drop Timeline


Sage-owned Futrli integrates with Quickbooks and Xero, and will forecast live, daily cash flow to generate short, medium and long-term projections for businesses.

It offers simple editing, as well as clever Google Sheet live Hotlink templates for payroll and loans, among others.

Futrli offers three products:

  • Futrli Predict: live, accurate, daily cash flow forecasting
  • Futrli Advisor: aimed at businesses who need regular reporting
  • Futrli Portfolio: for accounting practice clients

Final thoughts on accounting software

There can be a big difference in the cash flow apps available to businesses, from scenario plan flexibility to chasing clients.

On balance, whilst AI is smart, Float gets our vote for agencies. However, in the fast-moving world of Xero apps, it will need to keep developing its functionality and listen to user feedback on its website.

We can help with your cash flow app set up

Our team of accountants has supported clients through the whole process of completing cash flow app set up, turning historic cash patterns into future forecasts and training their teams.

We also provide ongoing support running regular cashflow forecasts and can help with getting the best out of the information as part of the overall management of businesses.

Contact us for help with all the calculations and more

We’re passionate about accounting technology, but we also understand the importance of the human touch and offer a bespoke service to all our clients.

Whether you’re a start-up just taking flight or an established agency looking for a better way to predict cash flow, our team can help.

Give us a call on 01372 708090 or use this contact form on our website and we’ll get back to you straight away.