Top Financial Planning Software For SaaS Startups


So you have finally hit the limit of excel/google sheet for planning and are ready to move on to a system ー but which is the right one for you?

These are some key pain points a system can solve:

As your business increases in complexity, managing a financial model in Gsheets/Excel is untenable. Some of key pain points a system can solve are:
Versioning is difficult to maintain especially if multiple finance folks are involved in planning and forecasting
Excel/Gsheet is error prone due to user error or cell link integrity
Multiple data bases are not fully integrated → Headcount planning might be disjointed if it’s not neatly integrated
Actualizing the model is a pain if it’s not deeply integrated with an ERP
Scenario / Casing is difficult to do
Models change over time and do not have a repeatable structure


What to look for in financial planning software tools?

Here are some key evaluation criteria for the tool - use this as a framework during your initial search and also during the demo with each vendor. The basic evaluation considerations boil down to the platform, the implementation process, the training required, and of course, the cost. I've assigned a sample scoring system to help make a decision.

Evaluation Criteria
0
Category
Questions
Weight
Tool #1 Rating (1-10)
Tool #1 Score
Tool #1 (Comment)
Tool #2 Rating (1-10)
Tool #2 Score
Tool #2 (Comment)
Platform
18
Is the solution easy to use?
35%
10
3.5
5
1.8
Is there out of the box financial logic?
5%
6
0.3
6
0.3
Is there an overall model size limit?
5%
6
0.3
6
0.3
Are there dimensional limitations?
5%
6
0.3
6
0.3
Can we add on a HR/Sales use case to the model?
5%
6
0.3
6
0.3
Will the solution scale with our company over time?
5%
6
0.3
6
0.3
Does the product have its own native reporting tool or does it rely on 3rd party products?
5%
6
0.3
6
0.3
Does the product require batch updates of data across cubes?
5%
4
0.2
4
0.2
Do you provide the ability to explore and audit data in a cell?
5%
4
0.2
4
0.2
Does everything link to a single underlying version of the data, or is the data replicated across databases?
5%
3
0.2
3
0.2
What is the average time to actualize each month & create a rolling forecast?
5%
4
0.2
4
0.2
What level of access & input can operators have?
10%
4
0.4
4
0.4
Ability to comment in cell/module?
5%
4
0.2
4
0.2
What comes out of box vs. what do I need to build from the ground up?
0%
0
0.0
0
0.0
How many dimensions do your largest customers have?
0%
0
0.0
0
0.0
How large are the models of your largest customers?
0%
0
0.0
0
0.0
How many active versions can I maintain at any given time for comparison analysis?
0%
0
0.0
0
0.0
Where are the downsides of the platform? Where are competitors better?
0%
0
0.0
0
0.0
100%
Sum
69
Sum
6.7
Sum
64
Sum
4.9
Sum
Implementation
5
What is the average implementation speed for a company our size with our use case?
50%
5
2.5
6
3.0
How many hrs per FTE and how many partner hrs?
30%
5
1.5
6
1.8
How seamless is your integration with ERPS (Netsuite etc.)?
10%
5
0.5
6
0.6
Does the solution provide integrated reporting with Microsoft Office / Gsheets?
5%
5
0.3
6
0.3
Does the solution integrate with HR tool? (Gusto/Workday etc)
5%
5
0.3
6
0.3
100%
Sum
25
Sum
5.0
Sum
30
Sum
6.0
Sum
Training
4
What resources are required for ongoing management and maintenance? Do I need to hire a technical team? How much training is required?
50%
7
3.5
8
4.0
What is the skill level required to utilize the solution?
25%
8
2.0
9
2.3
Does the product provide any process management to guide end users through a budgeting or forecasting process?
15%
4
0.6
5
0.8
Will you give us a hands-on workshop?
10%
2
0.2
3
0.3
100%
Sum
21
Sum
6.3
Sum
25
Sum
7.3
Sum
Cost
3
How is the pricing structured?
40%
5
2.0
2
0.8
Are there storage or data costs associated with use of the product?
40%
6
2.4
3
1.2
What’s the average subscription cost across your customers?
20%
7
1.4
5
1.0
100%
Sum
18
Sum
5.8
Sum
10
Sum
3.0
Sum
Other
4
How many software customers? (SaaS)
25%
5
1.3
5
1.3
How many ERP (Netsuite) customers?
25%
6
1.5
6
1.5
What’s your market focus? How many customers in each market segment? How many customers our size?
25%
7
1.8
9
2.3
How many similar customers churn? Why?
25%
1
0.3
2
0.5
100%
Sum
19
Sum
4.8
Sum
22
Sum
5.5
Sum
500%
Sum
152
Sum
28.5
Sum
151
Sum
26.7
Sum
Financial Planning Software
0
Item
Note
Stage/Complexity
Link
Modified on
1
Trace
Integrated with purchasing & HC planning + powerful budget vs. actual
SMB
3/9/2021, 10:28 AM
2
Cube
GSheets + Analplan like detail. Very flexible
SMB
3/17/2021, 4:31 PM
3
Adaptive
Popular for growing companies, but limited flexibility & visualization is poor
Mid-Market
3/17/2021, 12:30 PM
4
Anaplan
Flexible, but requires a lot of configuration
Enterprise
3/9/2021, 10:29 AM
5
Google Sheets
Flexible - but requires detailed build
SMB
3/17/2021, 12:30 PM
6
Excel
Flexible - but requires detailed build
SMB
3/17/2021, 12:30 PM
7
Jirav
Easy to use - great for accounting firms
SMB
3/17/2021, 12:28 PM
8
Planful
Host analytics rebrand
Mid-Market
3/9/2021, 10:17 AM
9
Jedox
Enterprise tool, requires configuration and maintenance
Enterprise
3/9/2021, 10:30 AM
10
Pigment
Not yet launched - large funding
Pre-Launch
3/17/2021, 12:29 PM
11
Finicast
Not yet launched
Pre-Launch
3/17/2021, 12:29 PM
There are no rows in this table

Conclusion & Favorites:

The best tool for you depends on the complexity of your financials, company stage and and the resources you have available in headcount & dollars to maintain a system, and your ARR growth rate. Here are my favorites for a SaaS finance team by stage.

$0m - $10m ARR ー GSheet / Excel, Trace, Jirav
$10m - $100m ARR ーAdaptive, Cube, Trace, Jirav
$100m - $300m ARR ー Anaplan, Adaptive, Trace
> $300m ARR ー Requires deeper analysis by company


About Me:

Rohit has 10+ years in Full-Stack Finance. Raised >$500M in multiple rounds, responsible for comprehensive projects spanning fundraising, strategy, headcount planning, traditional FP&A, operational planning, and financial analytics.

Rohit is currently at Gusto as Head of Corporate Finance.

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