How important is forecasting to the cost accounting function at your company?

Most people associate cost accounting with analyzing past events – calculating actual costs, analyzing yields and variances, and creating reports. More and more, companies are looking for ways to grow their cost accounting function to include predictive analysis to help with decision-making throughout the organization.

How has the cost accounting function changed in your company? Is there a bigger emphasis on forecasting future performance? And, what tools are you using to implement this new approach?