Oracle is a giant in the tech space, and for good reason. They have been in operation since 1977 and have a vast suite of business solutions that can be tailored to organizations across different verticals and company sizes. Well-known in the finance and accounting world, is Oracle’s popular and robust ERP offering, NetSuite.
Organizations who migrate to NetSuite can expect a powerful offering that centralizes core business processes, can be flexibly tailored to your requirements, scale with your growing organization as well as automate core accounting functionalities to provide a quick time to value.
Organizations that are using NetSuite, however, can often find themselves resorting to manual and tedious methods when it comes to financial planning, forecasting revenue, and analyzing financial data. Typically, when it comes to planning for operational expenses, finance team members make use of Excel spreadsheets to collect inputs from budget users, which involves manual inputs, back-and-forth emails, and manual consolidation of multiple Excel files. With this, teams deal with a multitude of emerging pain points, with little time to analyze data, reforecast, and understand the story behind their numbers. Here are a few common issues:
Versioning issues: “Opex Budget Template Version 7 final”. Does that sound familiar? Most organizations require multiple iterations before a budget is finalized, which can leave room for confusion, and team members working off old budgets
Broken formulas: The dreaded #REF Errors may have you pulling your hair out, but this is a common issue with Excel, particularly when multiple people are working on a sheet, formulas, and templates
Human Errors: Easy to make and hard to track in Excel, manual input errors can be found in 88% of all business spreadsheets Labor intensive workflows: Oftentimes, consolidation processes of multiple spreadsheets that can be automated with FP&A technology land on the desk of a Controller, or finance manager. Instead of in real-time, it can take days, or weeks, which eats into the time teams can spend analyzing
No context behind the data: With no central repository for financial data, audit trail, or cell commentary, oftentimes numbers look more like raw data dumps as opposed to informative
Introducing the Concept of Cloud FP&A solutions
Fortunately, for NetSuite users and finance teams, SaaS providers have tailored solutions with these pain points in mind. Cloud FP&A solutions are designed for the office of finance to create a collaborative environment for financial planning, analysis, forecasting, and reporting.
Cloud FP&A solutions integrate directly with source systems, such as NetSuite, as well as additional systems that house information pertaining to financial planning, modeling, and forecasting, allowing teams to centralize planning, budget collaboratively, and view in real-time how their organization is trending.
Teams can move away from Excel and the time-intensive processes involved, allowing them to spend time performing value-added tasks.
If your organization is outgrowing spreadsheets and looking for an intuitive and modern alternative, Limelight could be the tool for you. Limelight has direct integration with NetSuite, making setup quick and providing access to real-time insights. This removes the risks of working with incorrect information and outdated reports, budgets, or forecasts which can cost the company time, opportunities, and money.
Limelight automatically syncs with NetSuite so that you always have the latest version of your chart of accounts and financial data. Having real-time access to this source data means you can analyze and collaborate on planning and budgeting in record time, as well as accurately forecast using actuals, historical data, and drivers. Management dashboards allow for a clear and modern view of organizational performance.
Limelight gives employees the experience of Excel, using a web-based platform that is fast and intuitive, keeping them in a world they are familiar with. Being a cloud-secured platform also allows users to log in from different devices, allowing teams that have a hybrid work model to stay connected.
Limelight takes what NetSuite does with its core accounting features and provides a comprehensive suite of FP&A capabilities that addresses your business challenges and scales with your growing business.
Oracle PBCS is Oracle’s proprietary planning, budgeting, and forecasting solution that helps organizations to implement better planning practices and improve forecasting. Oracle PBCS was built from the on-premises Hyperion Planning solution and allows users to customize templates & reports to suit business requirements.
PBCS stays under the Oracle umbrella, providing an end-to-end alternative to Excel for planning and analysis. Oracle has garnered a large community of partners that provide top-of-the-line implementation and support services for PBCS. PBCS has a higher learning curve to get the most out of the tool, but once teams are enabled and required modules are purchased, they can start reaping the benefits of this technology and move away from Excel to more centralized planning and reporting out of NetSuite.
Vena was incorporated in 2011 and provides an FP&A solution that differs from some of the web-based tools in the market. Vena, unlike Limelight and PBCS, is not a separate interface from Excel, but rather an add-on that teams can utilize to centralize data from different source systems while staying within the Excel application.
Though many departments and organizations are moving all business tools to the cloud, certain teams enjoy the familiarity of staying in the same application that they have been planning and reporting in for much of their careers. With Vena, or any Excel add-in, having a strong IT team to help maintain the environment is crucial, as well as ensuring that users are accessing the most up-to-date version of Excel.
Vena services organizations from SMBs to Mid-Market enterprises, providing rich functionality and a familiar setting for Excel users.
Which one is right for you?
Organizations researching FP&A solutions for Oracle NetSuite should undergo a thorough evaluation of each vendor. Some common questions organizations should be thinking about are:
Are we looking for add-ins or Cloud Based?
Will my users adopt the solution quickly?
Can it be tailored to my unique requirements?
As FP&A providers, we understand the requirements of our prospective clients through the experience and feedback we have with our customers. Here is a terrific resource to help guide your search preliminarily, and the best way to know whether Limelight would be a fit for your team is by scheduling a live demonstration.