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When to Do Your Cash Forecast: Timing Strategies for Rural Hospitals

January 15, 2024    •    4 min read
Timing Strategies

Timing is everything when it comes to cash flow forecasting in rural hospitals. Deciding when to prepare your forecast can significantly impact its accuracy and usefulness. Some hospitals wait until Monday to prepare the current week’s forecast, using final data from the previous week to enhance their predictions. Others prepare the forecast on Thursday for the following week, leveraging the proactive planning advantage. This post explores the pros and cons of each approach and provides practical recommendations for rural hospitals.

The Role of Timing in Cash Forecasting

Timing plays a critical role in cash flow forecasting. Accurate and timely forecasts are essential for making informed financial decisions and ensuring the financial health of your hospital. Understanding the benefits and challenges of different forecasting schedules can help you choose the best approach for your organization.

Preparing the Forecast on Monday


  • Final Results from Prior Week: Preparing the forecast on Monday allows you to use complete data from the previous week. This access to final results enhances the accuracy of your predictions for the current week.
  • Immediate Feedback Loop: By incorporating lessons learned from the prior week, you can quickly adjust your strategies and improve the current week’s forecast.
  • Current Context: Using up-to-date information provides a clearer picture of the immediate future, allowing for more precise planning.


  • Tight Turnaround: The limited time to react to new information can create a rushed and stressful environment.
  • Weekend Interruptions: Potential delays due to weekend activities might impact the timely preparation of the forecast.

Preparing the Forecast on Thursday


  • Proactive Planning: Preparing the forecast on Thursday for the following week gives you more time to strategize and implement plans, enhancing your proactive planning capabilities.
  • Early Detection of Issues: Identifying potential cash flow issues in advance allows for more time to address them effectively.
  • Less Time Pressure: Reduced stress compared to the Monday rush, allowing for a more thoughtful and deliberate forecasting process.


  • Incomplete Data: Lack of final results from the current week requires making educated guesses about the remaining days.
  • Assumptions Required: Preparing the forecast on Thursday necessitates assumptions about the end of the current week, which can introduce uncertainty.

Comparing Both Approaches

When weighing the benefits of precise data against the advantages of early preparation, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of your hospital. Some hospitals may benefit more from the accuracy provided by Monday preparation, while others might find the proactive planning of Thursday preparation more valuable.

Hybrid Approaches

Combining elements of both strategies can provide the best of both worlds. For example, prepare a preliminary forecast on Thursday and finalize it on Monday, incorporating the latest data.

Recommendations for Rural Hospitals

Assessing Your Needs:

Consider factors such as the size of your hospital, staff availability, and historical volatility when choosing a timing strategy. Your unique circumstances will dictate the most effective approach.

Flexibility and Adaptability:

It’s crucial to remain flexible and adaptable, allowing you to switch strategies as needed based on changing conditions and new information.

Utilizing Tools:

Newbrier’s 26-week cash forecast Excel add-in can support both timing strategies effectively, offering features that streamline data input, analysis, and visualization.

Implementing Your Chosen Strategy

Step-by-Step Guide for Monday Preparation:

  1. Data Collection: Gather final results from the previous week.
  2. Analysis and Forecasting: Build the forecast based on the latest data.
  3. Review and Adjustments: Incorporate immediate feedback to refine the forecast.

Step-by-Step Guide for Thursday Preparation:

  1. Data Collection: Use available data and make necessary assumptions.
  2. Analysis and Forecasting: Prepare the forecast for the upcoming week.
  3. Review and Adjustments: Update the forecast as new information becomes available.


Timing is a crucial factor in cash flow forecasting for rural hospitals. By understanding the advantages and challenges of preparing forecasts on Monday versus Thursday, you can choose the strategy that best fits your hospital’s needs. Regularly evaluating and adapting your approach will ensure that your financial planning remains effective and responsive to changing conditions.

Gregory Brickner

Results Fanatic®


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