Which Are the Best FP&A Software Providers?
The best FP&A software is designed to reduce inefficiencies in your financial reporting and provide more comprehensive insights, saving time and money. Many are able to find hundreds of thousands in uncovered costs when using the top FP&A software, enabling them to control these costs, eliminate redundancies, identify sources of waste, etc. Almost all business owners are able to save thousands of hours with streamlined software.
With the right FP&A platform, your real-time financial data can be leveraged to more quickly and more comprehensively:
With the right financial FP&A platform, in other words, your business can be more productive and efficient.
To that end, let’s dive deeper into what separates the best FP&A software from the pack, the ways it can help your business thrive, and identify the leading financial planning and analysis solution providers.
But before we start, let’s cover the basics: what is FP&A software?
What Is Financial Planning and Analysis?
When your business engages in budgeting, forecasting, and planning, it’s engaging in financial planning and analysis. This analysis can then be leveraged to plan and forecast future goals/targets, give insight into your budget, and otherwise help your business be maximally efficient when allocating resources and planning for contingencies.
FP&A is primarily meant to support strategic decision-making and provide insights into the financial performance and future prospects of the business.
An FP&A team analyzes historical financial data, market trends, and other relevant information to forecast future financial outcomes and identify potential risks and opportunities, engaging in what-if scenario planning and other risk mitigation strategies.
The end goal is to project realistic financial targets and prepare your organization to meet any changes/challenges in the market.
Key responsibilities of your FP&A team will include:
- Budgeting and forecasting
- Conduct financial analysis to evaluate the performance of your organization, assess profitability of projects, analyze variances, and identify areas for improvement
- Create financial models and scenarios to simulate the impact of various decisions and help in strategic planning (what-if scenario planning)
- Prepare regular management reports, dashboards, and presentations to communicate financial performance, key metrics, and insights
- Develop long-term strategic plans informed by data and insights drawn from financial analyses
- Evaluate costs and cost drivers within the organization, identifying opportunities for cost optimization, and supporting decision-making related to pricing and profitability
- Identify and assess financial risks and uncertainties, such as market volatility, regulatory changes, and operational challenges, and developing mitigation strategies.
What Is FP&A Software and What Are the FP&A Workflow Pain Points?
As your business grows, it’s only natural that the amount of relevant financial data grows with it.
For many mid-size and larger businesses, this can translate into Excel sheets thousands of rows deep that can take hundreds or even thousands of hours for your financial teams to analyze and turn into actionable reports.
But with the best financial planning and analysis software you can reduce that time drain significantly by intuitively consolidating all relevant information in a single platform and have it updated in real-time.
This financial modeling for budgets and forecasts provides the necessary business intelligence that your business needs in order to determine hidden costs you may be missing, reduce budget reviews and the opportunity for human error, and otherwise optimize the crucial financial analysis and planning processes.
In sum, it’s next to impossible to make the right business decisions without a comprehensive look into your business’s financial health; the top FP&A software makes this process faster, more intuitive, and more complete, and mitigates the threat of human error through automation.
To that end, let’s examine what separates the best software solutions from those that are merely serviceable.
Some of the qualities of top FP&A software you should be on the lookout for include:
- Automation capabilities
- Strong UX/UI
- Strong tools for workforce planning
- Provides industry-specific financial planning and analysis services
What Separates the Top FP&A Software from Competitors
Automation Capabilities - Free Up Your Team by Automating Routine Tasks
Your FP&A team should be able to accomplish more in less time with the right analysis and planning platform supporting them. With FP&A taking more time than ever, that ability to cut down on mundane, repetitive tasks is crucial.
Your FP&A team can save over a thousand hours a year with the right software, enabling them to put more time into planning and other tasks that yield direct value for your business.
While all FP&A solutions offer some degree of automation, not all are created equal; the more time it can save your team, the more it benefits your business.
Your software will be able to collect and aggregate data across the business, making it simpler to understand and analyze. This detailed financial analysis will help guide business decisions made by the CEO and other executives. Making projections is also smoother and faster with automation, allowing for more accurate and up-to-date information for financial, sales, and performance forecasts.
Security - Keeping Your Business Critical Data Safe
Your business-critical data needs to be protected at all times; businesses stand to lose millions in the event of a data breach. And with cybersecurity breaches becoming more frequent, security is more crucial than ever.
Your software must be secured with the latest cybersecurity solutions, ensuring that your business information is protected in all eventualities.
Your solutions provider should offer SOC-2 compliance and other security designations to demonstrate that their platform can protect your data.
Strong UX/UI - Seamless Onboarding, Rapid Mastery
Ditching endless Excel sheets isn’t valuable if your FP&A solution is more complicated or just as hard to use.
If the FP&A provider focused on their user experience and user interface (UX/UI) the software should be easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, uncluttered, and intuitive.
Learn more about FP&A:
Navigating the platform should be easy enough for newer users without sacrificing depth and functionality. What’s more, it should be customizable with filters and clear visibility of critical information only a click or two away.
Strong Tools for Workforce Planning - Uncover Hidden Costs and Automate Expense Management
As your workforce expands, managing each individual worker from a financial perspective also grows in complexity.
As your workforce incorporates full-time and part-time employees, freelancers, different pay scales, etc., you have to manage different benefits, taxation requirements, EI requirements, and more.
In other words, it can get very unwieldy very quickly without the right support.
Workforce planning is much more manageable with the right FP&A platform.
Provides Industry-Specific Financial Reporting, Planning and Forecasting Services
No two industries are alike - the same goes for individual businesses. Your software provider will tailor their services to directly meet your industry’s specific needs in addition to customizing the software to meet your business’s specific workflow, processes, size, etc.
One of the best ways to get a maximal yield ROI on your FP&A spend, therefore, is to search out the providers whose software offers financial planning and analysis services that are tailored for your industry.
You can find industry-specific finance solutions for:
- Insurance industry FP&A
- Financial industry FP&A
- Healthcare industry FP&A
- Manufacturing industry FP&A
- SaaS subscription industry FP&A
- Professional services industry FP&A
- Non-profit industry FP&A
- Higher education FP&A
- Energy industry FP&A
The Top Financial Planning and Analysis Consulting and Software Providers
There has been a recent increase in cloud-based FP&A solutions providers entering the market. But all these providers are not created equal; each offers distinct advantages and specializations. Where one excels, the other might have gaps, and vice versa.
That said, the following are some of the best available on the market:
- Workday Adaptive Planning
The Top FP&A Software Ranked and the Top FP&A Software Companies
See below for a comparison of the top FP&A software companies. Each provider is evaluated based on functionality, service quality, time to implement, price, and integration capabilities. The ranking represents a holistic evaluation of the above criteria.
While every industry and business is different, the ranking is meant to provide a clear picture of the overall best FP&A solutions available on the market today.
1. Limelight Cloud FP&A Software
One of the leaders in cloud FP&A software. With Limelight you can leverage real-time data to inform your business critical decisions, empowering your financial team to more effectively plan your business’s future.
Limelight excels at:
- Reducing budget cycle times
- Ending excel bloat
- Enabling effective workforce planning
- Enabling What If Scenario planning
- Being fully scalable
- Uncovering hidden costs
- Having a variety of integration opportunities (Sage integration, NetSuite integration, other ERPs)
- Suitable for a wide variety of industries
How Limelight Compares to Competitors
Limelight offers industry-leading customer service, often with a more personalized approach compared to rivals. This allows you to leverage the benefits faster so your business’s growth won’t be constrained by inadequate and/or inefficient financial planning and analysis software.
It is best suited for medium-sized companies with over 200 employees, allowing businesses to make the leap from SME to enterprise-level functionality.
Limelight also has an outstanding UI/UX that leads to higher adoption rates, increased collaboration, and budget contribution for a superior and more comprehensive financial analysis.
Cube excels at eliminating rote data inputs and allows for automation to speed up your FP&A reporting. It also features strong customer service support and is built for mid-market companies.
Cube excels at:
- Automating data consolidation
- Creating shareable templates
- Creating audit trails
- Leveraging effective KPIs
- Excel and Google Sheets integration
How Cube Compares to Competitors
Cube is built to support mid-market companies that are ready to take advantage of automation opportunities to reduce their overall reporting time. While not the most robust FP&A solution in terms of functionality, it is an effective tool for a variety of companies across several industries.
A cloud-based solution that focuses on automation, Datarails is an effective FP&A platform. It is effective at integrating with your preexisting internal systems like your CRM, GL, ERP, and HR data.
Datarails excels at:
- Performing real-time analysis of your data
- Accessing variance analyses
- Version histories are a click away
- Revealing actionable insights via data
How Datarails Compares to Competitors
While Datarails does feature a lot of strong assets, it does have a few drawbacks. It’s only compatible with PC and Excel and works on older tech meaning fewer integration opportunities. It also has a relatively steep learning curve. Aside from that, it is a very strong option for companies seeking high-end FP&A support.
Built more for large-scale transformation projects and larger enterprises, Anaplan is a solid FP&A solutions provider. It is built to focus on connectivity and collaboration across teams. It also features the Hyperblock calculation engine which is designed to ream out calculations at high speeds.
Anaplan excels at:
- Speedy calculations involving large data sets
- Automating updating downstream of these calculations
- Featuring a variety of customizable applications to supplement the platform
- Servicing larger enterprises
How Anaplan Compares to Competitors
Anaplan features a lot of strong technology at the heart of its platform. That said, it is designed primarily to support larger businesses and therefore is not ideal for smaller companies. It also features some of the drawbacks of a larger company (potentially impersonal customer service, for instance).
5. Workday Adaptive Planning
Another enterprise-level solutions provider, Workday prides itself on its augmentation of modeling, planning, budgeting, and forecasting capabilities. The models it provides are among the most sophisticated in the industry.
Workday Adaptive Planning excels at:
- Creating sophisticated models that can provide troves of data
- Being intuitive for end users
- Working seamlessly with a variety of data storage configurations (on-premise, hybrid, cloud)
- Providing a variety of APIs that the user can then leverage
How Workday Adaptive Planning Compares to Competitors
Workday Adaptive Planning is a robust software provider that can help many businesses reduce their FP&A reporting burdens. It is relatively easy to use despite its wealth of features. It also is a great choice for heading FP&A transformations among larger enterprises.
Planful, as the name suggests, is hyper-fixated on helping the end user leverage in-depth planning capabilities. Both structured and dynamic planning are covered, as are data consolidation and reporting. It seeks to provide the data necessary to ensure that these plans can be crafted accurately and with purpose.
Planful excels at:
- Managing your cash flows and tracking them
- Supporting existing FP&A teams
- Leveraging dynamic planning to inform long-term business decisions
- Providing workforce planning insights
How Planful Compares to Competitors
Planful is ideal when used as additional support for your existing FP&A teams. It is looking to target mid-market and larger companies and is best suited to help these businesses get the most out of their extant data.
Vena is designed to maximize collaboration capabilities across financial planning teams. It is able to synthesize efforts across said teams and support people, processes, and systems in the production of actionable data. It also features regulatory compliance reporting - a key asset for specific industries.
Vena excels at:
- Are looking to improve their processes
- Want to create fixed, long-term processes
- Want to make use of highly customized services (requiring the resources to maintain them)
- Providing template-driven standardization
How Vena Compares to Competitors
Vena is a lover of process and the honing of processes to make them more efficient and effective. That said, for businesses that aren’t interested in creating more rigid processes that can have difficult scaling, more dynamic providers may be the better option. As such, Vena is better as a baseline software provider for businesses with smaller or less experienced FP&A teams.
Prophix provides Corporate Performance Management (CPM) that can help generate higher profitability and control for risk via automation of repetitive FP&A tasks. It is ideal for those looking for support with budgeting, planning, consolidating data, and generating automatic reports.
Prophix excels at:
- Taking slow and arduous processes and streamlining them
- Automating your most frustrating and repetitive FP&A tasks
- Detecting unusual transactions
- Offering structured automation tools that are relatively easy to use
How Prophix Compares to Competitors
A lover of automation, Prophix is best for businesses that have a large number of repetitive and time-consuming tasks that can be better offloaded to a machine. That said, Prophix also offers strong data insights, but these insights are not as robust as those offered by the other listed FP&A solutions providers.
9. Oracle Hyperion Planning
Oracle Hyperion Planning is an FP&A solution that works to support enterprise-wide planning, budgeting, and forecasting across a variety of devices and interfaces. The FP&A platforms also helps with FP&A modeling and planning, allowing users to forecast across cost centers and lines of business that in turn speeds up decision-making. It's worth noting that this FP&A solution is a component of Oracle’s more comprehensive solution for Enterprise Business Planning.
Prophix excels at:
- Functionality across devices and interfaces (desktop, mobile, Microsoft Office, etc.)
- Developing accurate financial forecasts
- Granting access to real-time data to empower decisions making
- Aligning departments
How Oracle Hyperion Planning Compares to Competitors
Planning, budgeting, and forecasting are all supported by Oracle Hyperion Planning, with a particular focus on building accurate and reliable financial forecasts; data is leveraged directly from the sales and operations side of a business, so you can guarantee alignment across your enterprise. That said, you have to adopt the entire Oracle solution to get full functionality.
Limelight - the Best FP&A Software
While your options are plentiful, we believe that there is no better cloud FP&A software than Limelight.
We may be biased, but we confidently stand by our platform; if you want to leverage all of the above benefits and more, then you’re ready for Limelight.
Our FP&A platform excels at ensuring all your budgeting, forecasting, planning, and analysis needs are addressed and completed faster - and more accurately - than ever. With our powerful platform backing your business, you can save thousands of hours and uncover hundreds of thousands in hidden costs, reduce budget reviews, and otherwise give you your time back.
Save money, get a more comprehensive picture of your business’s financial health, plan and forecast easier - do it all with Limelight. Book a demo to see the platform in action and learn how it can help your business thrive.
More Information on FP&A
We have our list of the best FP&A solutions available on the market - and how to differentiate a top provider of financial planning and analysis services from a lesser alternative.
But there's a lot more to FP&A than we've covered above. We're always happy to chat about how the right FP&A solution can revolutionize the way your team accomplishes its FP&A tasks - saving you time, providing deeper insights, ensuring data integrity across departments, etc.
For now, feel free to see our section below on the FP&A best practices and tips to help you maximize the value of your FP&A spend.
What Are the FP&A Best Practices?
Having the software is only the first part of the equation; following FP&A best practices will help you maximize the productivity and insights unlocked by the right FP&A tool.
But what are some FP&A practices you can implement right away to help empower your team to support your organization’s growth?
Let’s explore just a few of the FP&A best practices below.
Get the Right FP&A Solution for Your Team
In our piece above, we highlighted just nine of the best solutions available on the market today. And while some have clear advantages over others, ultimately, specific FP&A solutions are better suited for some businesses over others.
Determining the differences among the best software for FP&A (which we hope we’ve helped with above) is a strong first step. But you also have to consider that your organization’s specific ERP, FP&A team’s background, current FP&A process, etc. may predispose it to function better with particular features that are only available with some FP&A platforms.
For instance, many, many organizations use Excel as their primary FP&A tool before transitioning to a more specialized and dedicated resource (like the best software listed above).
While Excel is an effective FP&A tool for smaller organizations, it can quickly grow unwieldy as the business develops. Each new stream of revenue, department, etc., can lead to hundreds or even thousands of new sheets being created, which in turn leads to a mess of disparate data strewn across the organization.
Consolidating this data, ensuring data integrity (see below), and making it easy to draw insights from is one of the key benefits of your new FP&A tool.
So the benefits of moving on from Excel are obvious. But the transition to an entirely new system (and it’s worth noting that not all FP&A platforms are particularly user-friendly) can be difficult, complicated, and take up a lot of your team’s time as they adjust to a new way of doing things.
But the best solutions providers are aware of this potential transition stumbling block – and have worked to circumvent it by creating FP&A solutions that look and feel like Excel to smooth over and accelerate the transition.
That way, your team can work with a system that looks and feels familiar but offers a far higher degree of functionality.
Ensure Data Integrity
One of the most common difficulties faced by the teams who perform your financial planning and analysis services and tasks is that ensuring data integrity is incredibly troublesome as your business grows.
If, for instance, you’re using Excel (sorry to dip back into that well, but it’s the most common financial planning and analysis tool before organizations opt to upgrade to a dedicated FP&A solution) it can be extraordinarily difficult to validate your data over multiple versions as excel sheets are passed between teams and departments.
The result is that you end up having to go back and forth between versions, comparing figures to validate data, and when inconsistencies are discovered it necessarily means going in and redoing the final version or even reverting back to an earlier version, leading to hours of losses.
Working with inaccurate data, on the flip side, can lead to incomplete or misleading planning and reporting, which in turn can greatly diminish the value of your FP&A activities.
In other words, ensuring data integrity is a time-consuming but necessary process. The good news is that the top FP&A software tools are able to fix these issues by centralizing data and having it stored on the cloud, so any changes made will be reflected across all versions. No more combing through a dozen versions of the same Excel sheet, in other words.
Get the Right FP&A Software for Your Industry
Each industry has specific needs and demands. From specialized FP&A for casinos to healthcare to non-profits, the best FP&A platform is able to tailor its approach to meet your specific needs, and it’s an FP&A best practice to seek out solutions that are designed to meet industry-specific demands.
I know we mentioned this earlier in the piece, but it’s worth reiterating how important it is to really try and identify the right financial planning and analysis tool that will help you maximize the value of your FP&A activities.
Consider Your ERP Integrations
Imagine being able to pull data directly from your ERP. In fact, that data can be automatically updated into your reports, cutting away hours of time sifting through ERP data to add to your financial reports.
Aside from the time savings, this also helps ensure that the data is accurate as there is far less room for error when an automated algorithm pulls the exact numbers from the sources, rather than having a person manually transfer data over hundreds if not thousands of times.
While some tools and platforms have an easier time integrating with certain ERPs, the best FP&A software will offer a high degree of interoperability with a wide variety of ERPs. And it’s a best practice to - FP&A solution or not - to leverage your ERP data when performing FP&A tasks.
The same could be said for HR management systems or any other system that features troves of data regarding your organization that can be leveraged when reporting and planning.
Don’t Forget Risk Management
Risk management is one of the critical benefits of effective and accurate planning - especially what-if scenario planning.
When done right, your FP&A can help you avoid disastrous outcomes by identifying vulnerabilities. Once identified, you can take the appropriate actions to mitigate these risks.
Risk management is achievable once you have accurate data, but it is far easier with the best FP&A solutions. That’s because you can get deeper insights, the process is automated and faster (and less prone to inaccuracies), and you can perform very specific and thorough what-if planning, allowing you to account for all manner of potential future risks.
Get the Most Out of Your FP&A with Limelight FP&A Software
Work with Limelight Cloud FP&A software to totally eliminate legacy issues that have plagued your FP&A teams while unlocking a host of FP&A benefits you may not have even been aware of.
Work with an FP&A platform that supports your budgeting, forecasting, planning, and analysis activities so they are carried out faster - and more accurately - than ever. With our sophisticated FP&A platform supporting your business, you can reduce budgeting and reporting times by 50% while uncovering hundreds of thousands in hidden costs, reduce budget reviews, and give your team its time back.
As our technology catches up with our ambition, we’re able to accomplish more in less time. The same goes for financial planning and analysis services. Over time, the process has been honed so that with the right combination of qualified professionals, FP&A solutions, and FP&A best practices, you can get more effective planning and analysis done. This in turn increases the ROI of your FP&A activities. And that's the precise aim of Limelight.
Book a demo to see our FP&A platform in action.