Financial planning has long been an integral component of business life. The ability to access the risks and opportunities that an organization faces is crucial for senior managers, not to mention breakdowns of individual departments at the most granular level. In some ways, it is not unlike being able to look into a crystal ball when weighing up the next steps for the firm.
Given its worth, it is no surprise that an entire industry has emerged to support the people charged with providing such insights. The Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) software market was valued at $3.7 billion in 2021 and is predicted to reach $16.9 billion by 20311 as executives strive to dig deeper into the financial operations of their businesses. FP&A tools and solutions provide valuable assistance with financial planning, forecasting and budgeting processes that can help leadership teams make important business decisions.
FP&A tools are no longer a ‘value-add’ but a ‘must-have’ for organizations wanting to maintain fiscal health and stay on track to achieve their financial goals. Making data-driven decisions can significantly impact one’s bottom line and FP&A solutions not only tap into such data but present it in a manner that allows businesses to create more accurate financial forecasts, mitigate risks and pinpoint growth opportunities.
Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) refers to the processes designed to help businesses accurately plan, forecast and budget to support their major business decisions and future financial health. At a more specific level, global consulting firm Gartner breaks the field into a set of four activities – planning and budgeting, integrated financial planning, management and performance reporting, forecasting and modeling.
FP&A staff or teams are required to coordinate and collaborate with department heads across an entire organization to ensure they access and maintain an accurate reflection of the financial data on offer. Along with analyzing fiscal performance, they run models of potential plans to influence decisions, create periodic financial reports and deliver strategic recommendations. Where this was historically done via manual processes, the tech revolution has seen a proliferation of digital solutions that allow FP&A teams to work faster, more efficiently and with greater accuracy than ever before.
FP&A tools are software solutions that help finance professionals manage and analyze financial data. Such work was traditionally executed via a series of complex and connected spreadsheets2 but modern FP&A tools are designed to automate many repetitive tasks such as data entry, data consolidation and report generation. In turn, this allows finance teams to dedicate more time and focus to strategic activities such as data analysis and forecasting.
Crucially, FP&A tools have been designed to cater for different needs. Some suit small businesses, while others are targeted directly at large enterprises. There are those that operate in the cloud and many that are installed on-premises. Some are designed for specific industries, while others are more for general use. The key is that with tools coming in many different shapes and sizes, there is every opportunity to find the FP&A solution that works best for your organization.
Between an increasingly complex business landscape3 and uncertain economic outlook4, it has never been more important to have a clear picture of one’s financial position and opportunities. With that in mind, there has never been more reason to invest in FP&A tools.
Like so many aspects of the digital world, navigating the wide range of FP&A tools on offer can be a challenge. Between changing needs, increasing complexities and emerging innovations, it is essential to consider various factors when choosing an FP&A solution.
Now that you have a better understanding of what to look for in an FP&A tool, here is a selection of the best options to help your business in 2023.
A flexible business planning platform with a dynamic modeling engine, Causal has established itself as one of the top choices for FP&A software. It is an intuitive platform built for modern companies, ranging from start-ups to IPO, and allows business leaders to plan with accuracy and confidence. Key features include one of the most powerful modeling engines in the industry and the ability to write and run multiple scenarios in three clicks to effectively compare different hiring, growth and revenue plans. Oh, and don’t forget users can automate and distribute models and reports within an hour of signing up.
A single, web-based solution, Vena leverages users’ existing Excel spreadsheets and the company-specific models within them. With pre-built solutions designed to automate time-consuming tasks, the easy-to-deploy solution offers a range of capabilities including FP&A, integrated business planning, financial reporting and regulatory compliance reporting. With a strong focus on supporting growth, Vena is often called a ‘growth engine’ for businesses seeking expansion and provides valuable insights and actionable information. Keep in mind that it is not compatible with Mac and better suited to established organizations that want to keep using Excel’s familiar UI with the power of a supporting database.
In the modern world, a Financial Planning and Analysis team is only as strong as the automation and cloud-based solutions they have at their disposal. Choosing which FP&A tools to invest in is a big decision but a little research can go a long way and deliver your business the technology it needs to maximize its potential.
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 Outlook on the Financial Planning Software Global Market to (globenewswire.com)
 Traditional FP&A is Failing. What's Next? - Anders CPAs + Advisors
 Operating In A Complex World Does Not Have To Be Complicated (forbes.com)
 World Economic Outlook Shows Economies Facing High Uncertainty (imf.org)
 Multi-Factor Authentication: Who Has It and How to Set It Up (pcmag.com)
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