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What's the Best Software for Financial Planning and Analysis?

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Navigating the complex world of financial planning and analysis can be daunting for entrepreneurs, which is why we've gathered insights from CEOs and Founders to share their top software recommendations. From the comprehensive features of Oracle NetSuite to the integrated tools of LivePlan, explore the diverse opinions and top 18 tools that seasoned professionals swear by for effective financial management.

Oracle NetSuite

I would recommend Oracle NetSuite to any entrepreneur looking for software for financial planning and analysis. Although I may be slightly biased, NetSuite has the most comprehensive functionality on the market and has been classified as the best ERP software by G2, Forbes, and Capterra.

In terms of planning, NetSuite has a module called PBCS, which stands for Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service. It uses a company's historical data to predict periods of high demand and allows you to plan for this. The platform's what-if scenario capabilities also enable users to explore and prepare for various business situations, assessing the potential impacts of strategic decisions before they are made. This is vital for making informed decisions on things like regional and product expansion.

In terms of analysis, NetSuite has extensive reporting capabilities. Whether it's mid- or end-of-month, you get real-time access to your financial situation, and this allows for timely decision-making. For businesses that operate across multiple entities, the advanced financial consolidation combined with the reporting means you can see the total picture of your business at any point in time, without having to go through the painful month-end processes.

NetSuite doesn't just provide financial planning and analysis, but it also provides you with a solid CRM function, e-commerce capabilities, supply chain, and inventory management, so you can create the perfect solution for your business.

Karl Threadgold, Managing Director, Threadgold Consulting


Making the transition from software to e-commerce created new challenges on the bookkeeping front. I discovered that most providers were not familiar with the nuances required for physical products. Finaloop proved to be invaluable—a true evolution over the old, stodgy tools like QuickBooks and the agencies that prefer them.

Will Roman, Founder, Chisos Boot Company

Workday Adaptive Planning

I recommend Workday's Adaptive Planning. The key elements here are flexibility, control, and pushing past boundaries. You can customize the dimensions according to your preference, incorporating different levels of analysis and ultimately giving a deeper understanding. Workday has it all in one space. I love the speed at which you can change your budget by taking into consideration different scenarios within one time period. We've reduced our forecasting time significantly.

Ronald Osborne, Founder, Ronald Osborne Business Consultancy and Coaching


I strongly advise aspiring entrepreneurs to adopt cloud-based bookkeeping software such as FreshBooks. These programs come with a user-friendly interface that simplifies financial tasks like recording expenses and generating financial statements through invoices.

What makes them beneficial? Fundera states that a staggering 82% of businesses fail due to poor management of cash flow. Cloud accounting takes care of many procedures, thereby giving you a chance to know how you are faring financially at any given moment. You can track your expenses against specific areas where cuts can be made while at the same time ensuring that enough money is set aside for future use on anticipated costs.

These utilities seamlessly integrate with popular business tools and payment processors, saving valuable time by streamlining financial processes within an organization. It's like having a personal accountant in the palm of your hand but at a fraction of the cost of traditional accounting services.

Arifful Islam, Finance Expert, Sterlinx Global LTD


For the busy entrepreneur, it can be tough trying to shift from the creative nature of running a business to the more methodical task of spreadsheets. It may be tedious, but diligent accounting and financial planning are vital to the success of any business. Utilizing a tool like Wave for bookkeeping and financial planning can help you track transactions, create estimates and invoices, and generate receipts. This suite of apps also allows you to manage payroll. Unlike QuickBooks, Wave is free and well-suited for small businesses that need to better manage day-to-day operations but have not yet scaled to the point of managing hundreds of employees.

Blair Thomas, Co-founder, eMerchantBroker


In 2024, the one technology I recommend entrepreneurs learn and use for financial planning and analysis is Python programming.

It's easier than ever to learn; you do not have to install anything if you use Google Colab, for example. You can use ChatGPT or another LLM to help you learn it and create sample code for you, and if you master Python, it opens a new world for FP&A.

You can do better forecasts, improve your budgets, and overall, your financial analysis capabilities multiply by 10x!

And it is open-source and free to use.

Christian Martinez, Finance Analytics Manager, Kraft Heinz


As an entrepreneur myself, I know how important it is to have a solid handle on your finances. One tool that I always recommend to other business owners is Xero. It's an online accounting software that's really user-friendly and intuitive, even if you don't have a background in finance.

What I love about Xero is that it gives you a real-time view of your cash flow and financial performance. You can easily track your income and expenses, create invoices and purchase orders, and reconcile your bank transactions all in one place. It also has some great reporting features that help you make sense of your numbers and spot trends over time.

Another big selling point for me is that Xero integrates seamlessly with a lot of other business tools that I use, like my CRM and payment processors. This saves me a ton of time and hassle when it comes to data entry and reconciliation.

I think Xero is a fantastic choice for entrepreneurs who want to stay on top of their finances without getting bogged down in complicated spreadsheets or accounting jargon. It's affordable, easy to use, and gives you the insights you need to make smart business decisions.

Sam Kadel, Founder, KBA Web


I recommend Cube as a robust FP&A solution for businesses aiming to enhance the efficiency and precision of their financial forecasting, budgeting, and accounting processes.

It's a platform that integrates seamlessly with spreadsheets, enabling finance teams to make more informed business decisions by automating time-consuming manual tasks and minimizing errors.

With Cube, complex and tedious FP&A and accounting activities, like financial consolidation, are automated, allowing finance teams to concentrate more on strategy, planning, and overall corporate performance. Financial professionals can continue to work within the familiar environment of spreadsheets while benefiting from the advanced features of a contemporary FP&A tool. Since it is based on Excel, it allows for easy adjustments and quick data analysis or changes in forecast drivers. Implementing it required external assistance to become fully operational.

Eric Croak, CFP, President, Croak Capital


One tool I'd recommend for financial planning and analysis is Harvest. It's incredibly user-friendly and effective for tracking time and expenses, helping you maintain control over your project budgets. With Harvest, you can easily determine if your projects are profitable or if they're draining resources. Harvest offers more than just tracking; it integrates time logging, invoicing, and project management in a seamless interface. This can simplify how you handle your financials, allowing you to focus more on growing your business. While Harvest provides the necessary data and tools for making informed financial decisions, leveraging its full potential still depends on you. It streamlines the process, making it easier and more efficient to manage your operations. Give it a try, and see how it can help elevate your business management game.

Travis Schreiber, Director of Operations, Erase Technologies


One tool I highly recommend for financial planning and analysis is eMoney. While it would be nice if this were a paid endorsement, I'm not a representative of the software—but it's still been a valuable asset for my team and clients. It offers a secure website and document vault, making it easy for clients to access their financial information in one place. The platform generates custom reports and analyses tailored to each client's needs, and its integration abilities with other software providers streamline data management for a seamless experience. For entrepreneurial clients, eMoney makes information easily accessible, allowing them to focus on their business while ensuring we have everything needed to plan effectively on their behalf. This streamlined approach enables us to provide informed, personalized guidance that leads to long-term growth.

Delante Greer, Financial Planner, Opulentia LLC


For entrepreneurs who are serious about improving their financial planning and analytical skills, especially in revenue and profit forecasts, PlanGuru is a great tool. As someone who works extensively in the financial industry, I understand how important precise forecasting is to attract investors as well as to guide prudent spending and liquidity management. PlanGuru's strong functionality elevates this process.

The software's ability to integrate revenue and expense modeling into comprehensive forecasts of the balance sheet and cash flow statement is particularly valuable. It also automatically generates key financial ratios and break-even analyses, which are essential for making informed business decisions. These features provide a level of depth and precision that can transform financial planning from a daunting challenge into a manageable and even strategic asset.

While PlanGuru does come with a higher upfront cost, especially if multiple-user access is required, its unique tools and extensive customer support justify the investment for businesses focused on growth and scalability. One big plus is that it offers a free 30-day trial, which lets business owners check out the features and assess how valuable it is for their particular needs without having to commit to anything right away.

In my opinion, a company's capacity to properly plan for the future and react to market dynamics can be significantly impacted by its investment in the appropriate financial management tools. As part of their strategy toolkit, PlanGuru is ideal for individuals who require accurate and comprehensive financial forecasts.

Jocarl Zaide, Chief Financial Officer, SAFC


QuickBooks is my recommended tool for entrepreneurs who need some assistance in financial planning and analysis.

As an entrepreneur, it's important to utilize user-friendly software like QuickBooks to manage finances and make well-informed decisions. Tracking income and expenses, generating financial reports, handling invoices and payments, and simplifying tax preparation are all made easy with QuickBooks. Whether I'm working solo or leading a team, QuickBooks is flexible enough to meet my business requirements, providing scalability and flexibility. The software offers in-depth financial strategies that are crucial for optimizing business operations.

QuickBooks also promotes collaboration by enabling me to share financial information with important stakeholders, such as advisors and team members. This fosters financial literacy and accountability within my organization, empowering individuals to contribute to our financial health and strategic direction.

With QuickBooks integrated into my financial planning and analysis processes, I can confidently navigate business hurdles, ensuring sustainable growth and long-term success.

Heidi Cortez, Founder, Heidi Cortez


Fathom stands out as a particularly powerful tool for financial planning and analysis. It's designed with advanced features for analytics, benchmarking, and tracking key performance indicators. Entrepreneurs can gain deep insights into their business's financial performance, making it easier to identify trends, opportunities, and areas for improvement.

One of Fathom's strengths lies in its ability to simplify complex financial data. It provides clear, visual reports that are easy to understand, even for those who may not have a strong background in finance. This makes it an excellent choice for entrepreneurs who need to make informed decisions quickly.

In addition to its visualization capabilities, Fathom allows for sophisticated benchmarking. Entrepreneurs can compare their business's performance against industry standards or competitors, offering a clear perspective on where they stand and what improvements might be necessary.

Also, Fathom's KPI tracking can be customized to focus on the metrics that matter most to your business. Whether it's profitability, cash flow, or other critical financial indicators, Fathom enables you to monitor these in real-time, ensuring that you stay on top of your financial health.

Mary Tung, Founder & CEO, Lido.app

Microsoft Excel

For entrepreneurs delivering FP&A services, there is no tool more practical for our work than Microsoft Excel. Excel may not be the best software for all planning and data-analysis capabilities at scale, but it's the most universally understood across companies and industries. Nearly all accounting and FP&A software can export to .xlsx or .csv, and Excel can provide a customized blueprint for further analytics and process development.

Carl Seidman, Principal, Seidman Financial


For entrepreneurs who need to integrate payroll, benefits administration, and financial management, Gusto is an excellent choice. This cloud-based platform simplifies payroll processing and automatically handles all tax filings and payments, ensuring compliance and accuracy.

Gusto also offers tools for managing employee benefits and building compensation packages, which can be directly linked to financial forecasting and budgeting within the same tool. The advantage here is the seamless integration of payroll and other HR functions with financial planning, providing a holistic view of the company's financial health.

David Ciccarelli, CEO, Lake


One unique tool that I recommend to entrepreneurs for financial planning and analysis is Float. Float is a cash-flow forecasting software that helps businesses predict their future cash position with accuracy.

What sets Float apart is its intuitive interface and powerful forecasting capabilities. It allows entrepreneurs to create detailed cash-flow projections based on historical data and future expectations. Float also offers scenario planning, which enables entrepreneurs to assess the impact of different business decisions on their cash flow.

One of the unique features of Float is its integration with accounting software like Xero, QuickBooks Online, and FreeAgent. This integration allows entrepreneurs to streamline their financial data and make more informed decisions based on real-time information.

Aqeel Abbas, CEO, WorkStaff360


As an entrepreneur seeking effective financial planning and analysis tools, I recommend Anaplan. This platform dynamically connects financial, strategic, and operational plans in real time. By integrating these aspects, Anaplan empowers businesses to anticipate change, address complexity, and move at market speed. It offers flexibility and allows for quick and structured modeling, which surpasses traditional spreadsheets.

Anaplan's Connected Planning Platform stands out for its ability to view and contextualize current performance while forecasting future outcomes. This functionality helps fuel growth and mitigate risk. For instance, we used Anaplan to optimize our budget allocation, leading to a 15% reduction in operational costs. This streamlined decision-making and improved our strategic initiatives.

However, it's essential to note that Anaplan is not without its challenges. Hosting high volumes of granular data can be problematic. Despite these issues, the platform's benefits outweigh the drawbacks, making it a valuable tool for financial planning and analysis.

Elmo Taddeo, CEO, Parachute


One favorite software program for financial planning and analysis, especially for startups and new businesses, is LivePlan.

I love LivePlan as it makes all the essential first steps for a business easier and faster. You can create a business plan with it (it even has an AI assistant you can try out for this) and then use it to help forecast your business's financials. I think it's a brilliant tool that can really help out new founders who have a great business idea but don't have much experience with the financial side of starting a business.

I find that its integration with QuickBooks (and Xero, if you use that program) is really helpful—this makes getting access to LivePlan's forecasting tools so much easier! It provides very clear and easy-to-understand charts and graphs that help us better visualize our financial situation. Getting revenue forecasts with LivePlan helps companies like ours make better day-to-day decisions. It also allows us to change some of the financial assumptions manually and see what happens to the financial projections as a result.

LivePlan is a very helpful tool for getting new small businesses and startups off the ground! It's also not prohibitively expensive, as it costs $30 a month if you pay yearly.

Ali Azimi, Co-Founder, Cheyn 3D Clothing Design Software, Cheyn