Allow for "top-level" (aggregated) data link also for category-driven variables

Hi guys!

It would really be cool if a data link could be established on the aggregated “top-level” of the variable, even if the variable itself has a category breakdown assigned.

Where would this come in handy:

  • typically, several costs of different vendors end up on the same nominal account.
  • when planning, it is often best to explicitly plan out each vendor by itself
  • when pulling in actuals, though, it’s often barely possible to divvy them back out so that they fall back into the fully categorized schema
  • however, for a plan/actuals analysis, it would be totally sufficient to just have the actuals of the nominal account compared to the sum of the planned category-values within the variable.

Clearly, I could introduce another variable that aggregates the category-values and apply the data-link on that, but the models are already getting quite complex as also parameters still need to reside in separate variables.
For the sake of keeping the models clean I believe that would be a great feature (maybe with an option toggle to switch back and forth between category-import vs aggregated import so that things are clear).

Thank you & Best Regagrds

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Hello Fabian :wave: this is an interesting idea. The fix right now, as you correctly pointed out, is to add a variable that aggregates away the categories, and link that new aggregated variable to the historical data range/s. But I do see how that can be duplicative if you’re doing it for multiple variables in a model.

I’ll pass your suggestion onto the team to ponder. We’d have to make sure it isn’t visually confusing!

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Hey, everyone! I can’t +1 this enough! I tried adding my actuals for the first time today, and met this problem. This is close to a dealbreaker for me, as importing actuals on a categorised level is out of the question due to how accounting software works. It is a huge difference in time spent to bring the aggregated accounting account for salaries into Causal, compared to the per employee breakdown.

As you say, the workaround gets very duplicative. If I were to bring in actuals for what I consider most important, I would quickly end up duplicating half my model.

About the visual confusion and a potential fix: Just as you show dotted lines on the forecast, and a hard line on the actuals, you could make the cells of the subcategories that have been “overwritten” have a grey background as to say “they are not considered”. Just an idea!


Thank you for the feedback Sondre!