17 best budgeting and planning software

Prophix ImageProphix Jul 10, 2024, 8:00:00 AM

Budgeting and financial planning are some of the most crucial tasks finance and accounting teams perform for businesses. Choosing the right software to help you streamline these critical activities efficiently can be a daunting task with how many options there are on the market. Let's take a look at some of the best, and why you might choose one over the others.

What is budgeting and planning software?

Budgeting and financial planning software streamlines accounting, budgeting, financial planning, and reporting. The best examples of this software automatically pulls data from throughout your organization to eliminate the need to compile dozens of spreadsheets. Automation and AI-powered features can handle some of the more labor-intensive aspects of budgeting and planning, giving finance teams more time to dedicate to critical tasks.

Budget and planning software might include industry-specific tools, direct integration with data sources, or expanding outside of the FP&A niche to include other accounting and business processes.

Was ist Budgetierung?

Budgeting estimates expenses based on projected revenue, assigning amounts for expenses, revenue, and cash flow to each department. These are combined into one master budget which is generally created annually and maintained with quarterly updates.

Businesses may use a continuous or rolling forecast, which allows more flexibility than traditional budgeting. Some businesses may use a zero-based budget which avoids unnecessary spending by reassessing expenses from scratch for every new budget. 

What is planning?

Planning uses available data to determine business performance over a defined period. FP&A teams will generally model different scenarios to try and develop a flexible business strategy.

There are three broad types of financial planning:

  • Predictive planning: Analyzes past business data, often assisted with algorithms or machine learning, to forecast performance over a defined period.
  • Driver-based planning: Identifies key business drivers and describes how they are affected by different variables and establishes a plan around them.
  • Multi-scenario planning: Creates plans for multiple possible scenarios, anticipating consequences and preparing responses to events that may be outside of the business's control.

Consistent and accurate reporting and collaboration across departments is essential for planning and forecasting.

Budgeting software vs. planning software

While you’ll find multiple examples of software that handles both budgeting and planning, there are platforms that specialize in one or the other. Here’s how you can ensure you pick the right tool.

What to look for in budgeting software

Complexity and scale

Some organizations will be more complex than others, involving parents and subsidiaries. For larger companies, the software you choose may need to handle the budgeting requirements of multiple businesses. Aside from scale, certain industries may have specific requirements in their budgeting—like stringent compliance needs. Making sure your software has the available options to include these details is crucial.

Data compatibility and integration

Manual data imports are inefficient and at risk for errors, so making sure that your data sources are compatible with your software is essential. Take note of the style of integrations offered. No-code solutions can be deployed more quickly without technical help, but are limited to the options provided in the software. Low-code or API-based options are often more flexible and customizable but will need more work to deploy—unless you use a third-party consultant.

Methodik

Your organization likely already has standard practices for budgeting, and the software you choose to facilitate this should support those practices. You don’t want to spend time and money acquiring and deploying a budgeting solution only to discover it’s incompatible with your SOPs.

What to look for in planning software

Many of the same considerations should be made here as with budgeting. The tool must fit the scale of your organization, connect with your data sources, and support your existing accounting methods. Here are a few additional considerations when choosing a planning software:

Depth of forecasting and scenario analysis

The ability to simulate possibilities with existing financial data lets your organization prepare data-driven strategies and tactics for any scenario. Not all platforms provide as much depth in this sort of analysis, and you’ll want to closely review their capabilities before choosing one.

Zusammenarbeit

Your financial planning tool should strike a balance between being accessible enough for various teams to contribute to your planning and having robust control features that prevent mistakes like duplicate data and accidental deletion.

Vorteile von Budgetierungs- und Planungssoftware

Spreadsheets are still the tool of choice for managing budgets and financial planning for many organizations, but they aren’t sufficient at a certain scale. Using dedicated budgeting and planning software has many advantages over this traditional method.

Geschwindigkeit

Manual data entry or imports are slow and error-prone. Financial planning and budgeting software can pull data directly from the source, whether that’s another accounting tool or a spreadsheet. With all your data in one place, you’ll spend less time gathering financial data, and more time analyzing it.

Skalierbarkeit

Your budgeting and planning software needs to scale with your organization. Some are only designed for small businesses and aren’t suited to enterprise organizations. Likewise, some enterprise solutions can’t support the needs of multinationals and other organizations with complex org charts.

Automatisierung

Rolling budgets, forecasts, reports, and more must be generated or updated regularly from constantly changing data. These repeat tasks are perfect for automation, allowing users to quickly and accurately generate the necessary reports and statements with up-to-date data, minimizing the risk of human error.

Einblicke

Advanced budgeting and planning platforms don’t just let you build budgets and forecasts, they actively scan your data for irregularities and spot problems before they can go on for too long. Not only that, but they should actively deliver useful insights you can rely on, essentially shortcutting the analysis process.

The 17 best budgeting and planning software in 2024


1. Prophix One™

Prophix One logo

Prophix One is a financial performance platform for CFOs, CIOs, analysts, accountants, controllers, and anyone else who works in or with the Office of the CFO. It integrates with your data sources to provide a clear and comprehensive view of an organization’s finances.

Powerful automation tools alleviate repetitive manual tasks and improve the reliability and accuracy of reports, budgets, forecasts, and more. Prophix One sets the bar for speed, accuracy, and security across an impressive range of requirements.

Best for: Breaking out of busy work with automation and centralizing financial data for better decision-making.

Features: Budgeting, planning, forecasting, financial reporting, consolidation, account reconciliation, workflow management, and personalized dashboards.

Pros: Accessible UI, diverse use cases, industry-specific support, powerful automation.

Cons: Overbuilt for small businesses, advanced features have a learning curve.

Integrations: Pre-built connectors for nearly every ERP system available

2. NetSuite Budgeting & Planning

Prophix Image

NetSuite budgeting and planning is a part of the larger NetSuite platform which covers finance, operations, human resources, and just about any aspect of managing an enterprise-sized organization. NetSuite’s Planning and Budgeting tools are robust and designed with a focus on control, collaboration, and visibility. One of the more straightforward tools on the list, it maintains a more traditional approach while also making use of automation.

Best for: Companies that are already using other NetSuite software and want to add budgeting and planning to their capabilities.

Features: Automation, forecasting, reporting and dashboards, budgeting and planning; integration with other NetSuite tools.

Pros: Easily integrates with other NetSuite tools and provides strong automation, analytics, and modeling.

Cons: Does not integrate outside NetSuite’s own tools, lacking advanced features, complex implementation.

Integrations: NetSuite ERP

Pricing: High-end, specifics available by reaching out to sales.

Did you know? Prophix and NetSuite

NetSuite is meant to work within its own environment, which is great if your organization uses other NetSuite tools, but doesn’t give many options for users who are not already invested in their software. Prophix One has no such limitations and has pre-built integrations for any existing ERP already in use, including NetSuite and Oracle.

3. QuickBooks

QuickBooks Logo

Quickbooks is cloud-based accounting software built to meet the needs of growing small businesses. It’s widely used, meaning there is a wealth of user-generated content and tutorials to lean on for new users. Intended for small to medium-sized businesses, offering financial management and accounting solutions that are geared for growth and accessibility.

Best for: Small businesses that need an accessible solution for financials that won't break the bank.

Features: Invoicing, expense tracking, payroll, financial reporting, tax management, and inventory management.

Pros: Easy to use, very affordable, and an excellent feature set for small businesses.

Cons: Limited scalability struggles to accommodate larger businesses, lacks in-depth reporting features.

Integrations: Excellent selection of integrations, including Point of Sale (POS) services like Square and PayPal, and marketing tools like MailChimp.

Pricing: Low, starting at $30/month, up to $200/month, with a free trial and occasional discounts.

Did you know? Prophix and QuickBooks

Prophix One integrates with QuickBooks, letting companies that are outgrowing QuickBooks smoothly transition into full-fledged FP&A software without leaving their data behind.

4. Adaptive Workday-Planung

Workday logo

Workday Adaptive Planning is cloud-based enterprise planning software that supports budgeting, forecasting, and reporting. It’s designed to assist the planning processes and use adaptive insights to streamline the Office of the CFO’s work. Workday also keeps these plans up to date as new data is collected.

Best for: Streamlining and maintaining enterprise-level planning and budgeting.

Features: Financial planning, human resources and workforce planning, sales projecting, planning, and reporting, dashboards, and analytics.

Pros: Scalable, accessible and user-friendly, excellent analytics.

Cons: High cost, complex implementation.

Integrations: Salesforce, NetSuite, and other ERP and CRM systems.

Pricing: Mid to high pricing depending on the use case. A free 30-day trial is available.

Did you know? Prophix vs. Workday Adaptive Planning

While Workday Adaptive Planning is an excellent choice, it suffers from the same issues that other business platforms do: it is an FP&A add-on for a larger business platform and is lacking in advanced features. Prophix One is purpose-built for financial and accounting tasks, providing a level of depth and detail that outperforms software with larger scope.

5. Zoho Books

Zoho Books Logo

Zoho Books is cloud-based comprehensive accounting software, designed for small businesses to manage finances, automate workflows, collaborate, report, and manage sales. Zoho Books is primarily used for accounting like QuickBooks and is adaptable for a wide array of business types and needs. Notably, Zoho Books works great on mobile, making this an appealing option if working from an office or laptop might not always be possible.

Best for: Small businesses that need planning and budgeting software on-the-go.

Features: Time tracking, payroll, inventory tracking, reporting, document management, invoicing, expenses.

Pros: User-friendly UI, depth and flexibility across features, mobile apps, reports.

Cons: Some features are tied to others that might be less relevant (time tracking is project-dependent, for example). May be overly complicated for some use cases.

Integrations: Links natively to other Zoho tools, and pre-built connections for popular payment and workspace software.

Pricing: Free basic plan, scaling up to $240/month on a yearly plan.

6. Xero

Xero logo

Xero is another example of accounting software for small to mid-sized businesses. Beyond the expected tools and features from other tools in this range like automation, analysis, and ease of use, Xero includes tools useful for accountants and bookkeepers who manage clients and staff.

Best for: Small to medium-sized businesses and accountants and bookkeepers.

Features: Payments, invoices, bank integrations and reconciliations, expenses, bills, reports, quotes, inventory, data capture, analytics, and dashboards.

Pros: Excellent feature set for small businesses, great reports, good mobile app, accessible pricing, and features for accountants and bookkeepers.

Cons: Some UI quirks. Not as scalable as other options.

Integrations: Xero has an app store for external integrations with options for payment, invoicing, payroll, and more. Native integrations for bank data and transactions.

Pricing: Starts at $15/month and scales up to $78/month.

Did you know? Prophix vs Xero

Xero is primarily accounting software, though it does provide excellent additional features for small businesses and professionals. Prophix One is much larger in scope and scale addressing needs for larger organizations.

7. Causal

Causal logo

Causal is a modern, flexible financial planning and analysis tool designed specifically to address the needs of startups. Causal focuses on reporting, SaaS metrics, budgeting, forecasting, hiring plans, and consolidations. It has built-in dashboards and templates for various tasks.

Best for: Startups that need a financial tool that is as adaptable as the rest of their tech stack.

Features: Reports, SaaS metrics, budgets, forecasts, hiring plans, and consolidations.

Pros: Excellent feature set for startups.

Cons: Lacks scale and detail for non-startup companies.

Integrations: Strong selection of integrations with popular software for startups like QuickBooks, Xero, Stripe, BambooHR, Salesforce, AWS, Looker, HubSpot, and more.

Pricing: Two base plans at $99 and $250/month respectively, and custom pricing for larger organizations.

Did you know? Prophix vs. Causal
Causal makes a compelling option for startups, but that is also its biggest drawback. It doesn’t have the features needed by larger, more established companies that are past the startup stage. Prophix One is a fully featured midmarket solution for companies that need a deep, detailed, and streamlined platform.

8. Jirav

Jirav logo

Jirav is a driver-based financial planning and analysis platform that offers budgeting, forecasting, and reporting solutions for businesses or accounting/CFO advisory firms. Jirav stands out as a refined platform with excellent features, ease of use, and support. Even with its high-end pricing, Jirav delivers value.

Best for: Medium businesses looking to drive growth, or accounting and advisory firms.

Features: Reports, dashboards, budgets, forecasts, scenario plans.

Pros: Robust and refined tools and features.

Cons: Inaccessible to smaller businesses, high cost.

Integrations: Fast to set up and easy to use, with an impressive selection.

Pricing: Starts at $20,000 and offers custom quotes.

Did you know? Prophix vs. Jirav
Jirav is an accounting solution at its core. Prophix One is more than just accounting software, providing deep and customizable automations that streamline all financial and accounting activities.

9. Vena Solutions

Vena logo

Vena Solutions is an Excel-based FP&A solution that automates budgeting, planning, and reporting processes for businesses of all sizes.

Best for: Organizations that prefer working within the Excel environment for their financial planning and analysis.

Features: Budgeting, forecasting, financial reporting, workflow management, and scenario modeling.

Pros: Uses the familiar Excel environment and expands on its capability with integrations and automations, user-friendly, reporting.

Cons: Steep learning curve for new users, higher cost for advanced features.

Integrations: Excel, NetSuite, Salesforce, Various Microsoft tools, QuickBooks, and more.

Pricing: Pricing is not available online, but reviews indicate it is on the high-end.

Wussten Sie schon? Prophix vs. Vena Solutions
For companies that are reluctant to move away from Excel, Vena expands the capabilities of your spreadsheets. Prophix One goes beyond the spreadsheet, allowing you to use dedicated tools that are a better fit for the task at hand.

10. Datarails

Datarails logo on black background: a sleek, modern design featuring the word "Datarails" in bold white letters.

Datarails is a financial planning and analysis platform that streamlines budgeting, forecasting, and reporting processes in Excel spreadsheets with AI. Similar to Vena, Datarails lets you remain in familiar spreadsheets while expanding beyond its native capabilities.

Features: Consolidation, reporting, budget and forecasting, analysis and scenarios, ERP to Excel connectivity.

Pros: Ease of use, Excel integration, reports.

Cons: Steep learning curve,

Integrations: 200+ integrations beyond Excel

Pricing: Custom pricing per use case.

Did you know? Prophix vs. DatarailsDatarails falls into a similar category as Vena Solutions, a way to expand the tools available in Excel. Datarails has more emphasis on automation and AI integration, which does offer some advantages. Prophix One isn’t limited by your spreadsheets, giving you a single platform to house all the financial data your teams need.

11. Mosaic.tech

Mosaic logo

Mosaic is an agile strategic finance platform that offers real-time data, analytics, and planning, meaning faster data decisions for teams throughout the company. Mosaic was created specifically to avoid the inefficient methods of older financial tools.

Best for: Companies where agility is paramount and who don't want to be bogged down by extraneous features.

Features: Integrations, planning, analytics.

Pros: Agile, great support, good selection of integrations.

Cons: Data Management is not quite as strong as other options, and there is a bit of a learning curve.

Integrations: Good selection across ERP, CRM, HRIS, billing, and data warehouses.

Pricing: Exact pricing is only available through sales.

Did you know? Prophix vs. Mosaic.tech
Mosaic is a lean platform; it offers three core functions and does them well. The focus on efficiency does mean that there is a lack of scope outside of these functions. If those are the only tools you’re missing, Mosaic is a strong choice. However, this comes at the cost of depth and scope when compared to a more fully-featured platform like Prophix One.

12. Centage Planning Maestro

Centage Logo

Centage covers several core financial tasks in a familiar spreadsheet format, without the need for complex formulas. They also offer on-call support from FP&A experts to help guide teams that may need to fill some knowledge gaps. Automated safeguards also help identify errors before they become complex issues.

Best for: Complex budgeting and reporting segmentation.

Features: Forecasting, scenario planning, consolidated reporting, dashboards, workforce planning.

Pros: User-friendly, good support, excellent options for budgeting and reporting.

Cons: Some integrations may be slow to set up and deploy.

Integrations: Centage offers a small selection of integrations, including NetSuite, Sage, Microsoft Dynamics, and QuickBooks.

Pricing: Quotes by request only.

Did you know? Prophix vs. Centage Planning Maestro

Centage is a great choice for smaller companies that still need a powerful budgeting and planning tool, but a full-fledged platform like Prophix One is better suited for organizations that need a more robust solution.

13. PlanGuru

PlanGuru logo with the word PlanGuru. A simple and sleek design representing the brand identity.

Planguru is a flexible financial platform for small to medium businesses and nonprofits. They offer a simple and intuitive user interface and a streamlined implementation process.

Best for: Small to medium businesses looking for focused and easy-to-use financial software.

Features: Budgeting and strategic planning, financial analytics, rolling forecast.

Pros: Ease of use, efficient budgeting and forecasting, great support.

Cons: Lacks robust automation so manual data entry may occasionally be necessary. Limited integrations.

Integrations: QuickBooks, Xero, and Excel.

Pricing: $83/month base plan, $250/month premium plan.

Did you know? Prophix vs. PlanGuru
Planguru is much like Mosaic: a lean, no-frills small to medium business platform. It does fall a little short on the financial tools side, making it closer to business planning software with a focus on finances than a dedicated budgeting and planning tool. Prophix One is a comprehensive financial platform for mid-market businesses and up. Planguru will be far more accessible for smaller organizations but lacks the features needed for larger more complex companies.

14. Planful

The Planful logo, featuring a stylized letter 'P' in blue and green, representing financial planning and analysis software.

One of the biggest names in end-to-end FP&A software, Planful streamlines business and financial planning, budgeting, consolidations, reporting, analytics, and financial close. Planful has diverse integrations, robust security, and AI-powered insights that accelerate financial activities.

Best for: Enterprise-sized businesses looking for an all-in-one platform.

Features: Planful is a fully featured business platform with solutions for finance, accounting, sales, operations, marketing, human resources, and IT.

Pros: Ease of use, robust features, reporting, and support.

Cons: Dated interface results in occasionally confusing user experience.

Integrations: 1400+ integrations, SFTP, Direct Load, and API support.

Pricing: Available by contacting Planful.

Wussten Sie schon? Prophix vs. Planful
Planful is a powerhouse, with tools for nearly every aspect of a business. This generalist approach can often lead to a lack of specific tools for specific tasks or niche needs. Prophix One is a financial platform first and foremost and provides deep and detailed features for that purpose. You can read more about this comparison here.

15. Pigment

Prophix Image

Pigment is a platform for centralizing business planning without sacrificing flexibility. It covers finances, sales and revenue, and workforce management. It’s designed to be scalable for growing companies that need adaptive plans that can be updated and modified in stride with new data and opportunities.

Best for: Industry agnostic agile business planning.

Features: Real-time reporting, data syncing, what-if scenario planning, smooth collaboration.

Pros: Agile, easy to use, great customer support, and robust features.

Cons: Limited integrations and overly complex in places.

Integrations: Integrates several categories of software, though only a few platforms in each.

Pricing: Quotes available by request.

Did you know? Prophix vs. Pigment
Pigment falls into the same category as Mosaic and PlanGuru: an agile business platform that includes financial tools. For organizations that need a little bit of everything, this is an excellent choice. If your company needs robust and in-depth financial and accounting tools, a fully featured platform like Prophix One is going to perform far better.


16. Sage Intacct

Sage Intacct - the leading cloud accounting solution for businesses. Simplify financial management with ease and efficiency.

Sage Intacct is a financial management platform that leverages automation to accelerate various financial processes. Data integrations power real-time reporting, keeping financial teams up-to-date automatically. Automated consolidations alleviate repetitive menial tasks. It offers an array of core accounting tools and supports multiple entities.

Best for: Mid-size businesses.

Features: Core financials, accounts and ledgers, cash tracking, reports and dashboards, SaaS metrics, order management, billing. Advanced functionality is also available in addition to core features.

Pros: Reporting features and intuitive user experience.

Cons: Some limits on functionality.

Integrations: Marketplace with 350+ integrations.

Pricing: Medium to high, pricing available by request.

17. Anaplan

An image of the Anaplan logo, featuring blue letters.

Anaplan is another business planning and management platform that covers finance, sales and marketing, supply chain logistics, and workforce management. Their supply chain management and industry-specific tools differentiate them from others on this list, making this an excellent option for manufacturing and retail companies.

Best for: Businesses and enterprises in need of supply chain management tools on top of standard business tools.

Features: AI functionality, planning and modeling, integrations and API, security.

Pros: Enterprise connectivity, scalability, unified UX.

Cons: Large scale is oversized for smaller operations.

Integrations: Excellent selection and also supports API for custom integrations.

Pricing: Available on request.
Did you know? Prophix vs. Anaplan
Anaplan is a goliath meant for enterprises dealing with complicated supply chains and finances. For the companies that need these tools, it’s invaluable. But if that sounds like more than you need, Prophix One is a better choice.

How to choose the best budgeting and planning software for you

There are four primary elements to evaluate when picking budgeting and planning software:

  1. Identify your needs: Once your business needs are identified, you can narrow down any list to just a few options.
  2. Integration compatibility: Ensure the software integrates with the necessary existing tools like ERPs, CRMs, or data warehouses.
  3. Usability: Don’t underestimate the value of a smooth user experience. Software with an intuitive interface and reliable customer support and onboarding can make or break the adoption of new software.
  4. Scalability: Keep your organization’s long-term goals in mind. Software that can grow with your business and accommodate increasing data volumes and complexity without compromising performance may be more valuable over the long term than a cheaper short-term fix.

FAQs about budgeting and planning software

What is budgeting and planning software?

Budgeting and financial planning software helps financial teams create, automate, and analyze plans and budgets, streamlining accounting and reporting with automation while reducing errors.

What's the difference between budgeting vs. planning vs. forecasting software?

Here’s a full blog post on the difference between budgeting vs. planning vs. forecasting.

Budgeting software focuses on allocating financial resources for specific periods, often annually. It helps set financial limits and goals, ensuring departments stay within allocated funds.

Planning software provides a broader view of financial strategy, including long-term goals and objectives. It is used to develop comprehensive plans that align financial activities with business objectives.

Forecasting software predicts future financial performance based on historical data and current trends. It’s used to anticipate financial outcomes and adjust strategies dynamically in response to changing conditions.

What is a budget management tool?

Budgets are not static; they must be adapted and updated frequently to ensure the company can accommodate changes and take advantage of opportunities. Budget management tools ensure these changes and updates are made quickly and concisely and are readily available to stakeholders.

How do you track finances and budgets?

Tracking finances and budgets requires clear goals and a detailed methodology. Financial software can automate tracking, streamline updating records of income and expenses, monitor cash flow, and compare actual spending against a budget. Visual dashboards provide better clarity for non-finance stakeholders.

What software does a budget analyst use?

A budget analyst typically has a toolbox of software for different tasks. This will generally include:

  • Spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.
  • Accounting software such as QuickBooks or Zoho Books.
  • ERP software like NetSuite or Sage.
  • BI and data visualization software like Power BI.

Or a financial performance platform like Prophix One that is designed to address the full breadth of tasks and processes in the Office of the CFO, from budgeting and planning to financial close.

Conclusion: Choose the best budgeting and planning software

Choosing the right tool for the right job starts with identifying your organization’s core needs and determining which solutions fit those needs best. Whether you need industry-specific features, a broad-scope business management platform with solutions for all your FP&A tasks, or a streamlined agile tool that can keep up with your growth, there is a tool that will meet and likely exceed your needs.

Learn more about choosing the right solution in the Financial Performance Platform Buyer’s Guide.

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Prophix

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