Linking variables to data items

What is a data item?

You can think of Data Items as the items within a Data Source.
In the example below, the 'Revenue/Cost' tab of the 'Causal Template' Google Sheet is the Data Source, and New Prospects is one example of a Data Item.
Go to Supported Data Sources for instructions specific to each data source, such as how to create categories.

Linking variables to data items

Existing variables

Here's how to connect an existing variable to a Data Item:
  1. 1.
    Hover over the variable name.
  2. 2.
    Click on the data icon
  3. 3.
    Search for your Data Item, and select it from the dropdown.

Connecting multiple data items to one variable

Often your Chart of Accounts is more detailed than your forecast, so you will want to connect multiple Data Items to one variable.
  1. 1.
    Hover over the variable name, and click on the data icon.
  2. 2.
    In the data popup, click the expand button ("See more options").
  3. 3.
    Tick all of the data items you wish to connect to this variable.
  4. 4.
    Hit Use ranges. Causal will sum the Data Items.

New variables

To create a new variable in your model, directly from a data item, head to the Data Tables section.

Generate a model from a data source in 1 click

If you want to build a model based on underlying data, you can now generate the model structure in 1 click. Head to the Data page, click into your Data Source, and hit Create model.
  • Each variable is automatically named according to the line items, and is automatically connected to the line item in the data source.
  • Use this to quickly generate a skeleton for a model, e.g. a P&L model based on a P&L in Xero/QuickBooks.

Transforming data items

If your data item is broken down by a category you can transform the Data Item by aggregating the category items (if you don't care to see the breakdown), filtering category items (if you just want to pull in particular items), or grouping by another category.
Note: If you Group by another category, Causal will have to know how these two categories relate, i.e. they must be linked together already.
For example, if your Operating Expenses line item from your accounting system is broken down by Region, then you can
  • Filter it to only pull in Operating Expenses for a single region
  • Group it by a different category, e.g. Country (note: this category link must already exist in your Causal model)
  • Aggregate it to pull in the total Operating Expenses as a single line

Unlinking data items

To unlink data items, hit the x or the - if there is only one Data Item linked.

Viewing linked data items

On a variable level, you can click the data icon to see which Data Items are being used at a glance.
You can also go into the Data Source modal within a model, and view this on a Data Item basis, by hovering over the data icon next to each linked Data Item. If you click the data icon you can see which variable/s it is linked to.

Data Aggregation

The Data Aggregation function on a variable connected to data determines how Causal aggregates items in a data source, to return the values that you see for the variable. This is usually always going to be Sum (which is our default), but there are examples where you might want it to be Average, Initial, or Final instead.
For example: If you have daily cumulative data in your data source, and are pulling that into a weekly or monthly model in Causal, Sum wouldn't make sense (as that would be adding multiple cumulative numbers together), so you might choose Final instead.
  • e.g. 2022-12-20 Cumulative User Count 33, 2022-12-21 Cumulative User Count 35. Sum would return 68 whereas Final would return 35 (the true ending users for the week/month).