Business Planning – how dynamic is your model?

Business Planning – how dynamic is your model?

One year on from self-financing for local authorities, and now with the new affordable housing framework including new rent policy, and the impact of welfare reform, there is a need for all social housing providers to review their long-term financial plan which underpins their business plan. The introduction of the under-occupancy rule (‘bedroom tax’) in April 2013, and the overall housing benefit cap in September 2013, brings many variables into play. There are numerous operational and strategic matters to consider, such as:

What will be the overall impact of welfare reform?
What’s happening to your arrears?
Have voids increased and acceptances by new tenants decreased, and will this continue?
What is the impact of the new social rent policy (increase of CPI + 1%)?
Can you afford to build? (through the new affordable housing framework)
What are your future plans? How does your housing stock fit into wider housing market supply and demand?
New guidance on stock transfer is now imminent following the short consultation: have you considered transferring or acquiring local authority housing stock?

Also, while the new rent policy of CPI + 1% for 10 years from 2015/16 does give some certainty, it also removes the additional allowance of £2 for rent convergence beyond 2014/15. Is this going to affect your housing and your financial planning assumptions? If so, please let us know as we are tracking what’s happening and its impact.

It can be difficult to control changes made and assumptions tested using Excel spreadsheets for long-term financial plans. The spreadsheets can become very large and cumbersome. There is an alternative available – a business plan in Brixx software.

Brixx is the business modelling software now favoured by over 400 registered providers, as it is a dynamic tool, which meets the needs of fast moving social businesses.

ThereforDesigned specifically for business modelling, Brixx software provides a more robust and flexible solution to business planning compared to traditional Excel spreadsheets:

Brixx is based on object technology, which models business behaviour and captures data
The HA solution contains objects specifically set up for registered providers and the HRA solution has objects for local Authorities and ALMOs
Brixx produces all reports required, including the FFR return for the regulator
The integrity of the plan is guaranteed as the objects are linked through a Chart of Accounts with inherent double-entry
Models can easily be flexed by shifting objects in time and business objects can be added, changed or removed to test assumptions and sensitivities
There is limitless ability to change structure and enable or disable parts of the plan to test various alternatives, e.g. development options
The history list provides a dynamic audit trail
You have the ability to copy data from Excel into Brixx and to export reports from Brixx to Excel
Its dynamic nature means that the model can be used for interactive planning sessions with staff or committee members – the impact of changes can be seen immediately.

So why not take a look at Brixx business planning software? We believe that it can provide you with a dynamic business planning tool, which will be an integral part of your strategy moving forward.

Altair is a certified Brixx partner, and can offer a total service including software implementation, hands-on training and construction of a new Brixx business plan based on your existing model. For a free demonstration of the Brixx software, please contact

Susan Kane, Partner at Altair on 07870 685891 or email: susan.kane@nullaltairltd.co.uk
Hugh Coll, Head of Financial Modelling on 07503 519633 or email: hugh.coll@nullaltairltd.co.uk
Liz Anderson, Senior Consultant on 07833 469476 or email: liz.anderson@nullaltairltd.co.uk

Alternatively if you prefer the more traditional Excel based model, we have considerable experience of modelling business plans for both registered providers and local authorities and would be happy to help you develop or update existing plans to reflect the current issues affecting social housing organisations.