A good plan helps you work around obstacles and hit goals.
The same applies to business and personal finance. Whether you’re looking to build wealth, protect assets, or devise investment strategies, you need the right tools to develop a winning strategy. Financial planning tools help you do just that.
Enterprises, individuals, and financial advisors use financial planning software to make money management decisions, retirement plans, and budget expenses. These tools offer custom solutions based on your goals, cash flow, and organization’s unique requirements.
In this article, explore the best financial planning tools that can be your ally in mapping out financial goals and making smarter money decisions.
What is financial planning?
Financial planning is the process of creating a roadmap for hitting short- and long-term financial goals. While doing so, it analyzes your current financial situation, including bank account statements, income, debts, expenses, taxes, and savings.
Businesses use financial planning to create capital estimates administration, investment, and procurement. These projected financials help CFOs develop robust monetary policies.
A financial plan also aids organizations in planning better for meeting fundamental needs and financial obligations. It also ensures financial well-being by tracking progress against the goals you set.
Now, let’s look at financial planning for organizations, advisors, and individuals.
Types of financial planning
You’ll usually come across three types — financial planning for enterprises, financial advisors, and individuals.
1. Financial planning for enterprises
Enterprise financial planning involves financial resource analysis for revenue opportunity spotting, cost management, and financial forecasting. It helps you to design financial strategies and make sound decisions backed by financial data analysis.
Companies often want to set aside funds for marketing, product development, or expansion. Financial planning helps them predict profit and loss, analyze future revenue, and forecast cash flow — all key to creating sound financial strategies.
2. Financial planning for advisors
Financial advisors are licensed finance professionals who advise businesses and individuals on financial planning. They combine the below finance management tools and software programs for this purpose.
- Financial planning software helps in tax strategy planning and cash flow analysis.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) tools consolidate client data and optimize repetitive workflows.
- Trading software eases portfolio transaction management.
- Portfolio management software offers a bird’s eye view of asset holdings.
- Risk tolerance software spots and analyzes known and hidden portfolio and financial risks.
3. Financial planning for individuals
Personal finance planning involves managing income, expenses, credit card payments, and investments for meeting short-term or long-term goals. Financial planner apps help you save for retirement planning, increase your net worth, and meet life insurance goals. You can also use these wealth management tools for retirement planning, investing in mutual funds, and saving tax.
What exactly are financial planning tools?
Financial planning tools analyze your current financial situation to create a plan for protecting and growing assets. Businesses of all sizes use these tools to gain insights into cash flows, forecasting, budgeting, and investments. These insights help you plan better for meeting short-term and long-term goals.
Below are the most popular types of financial planning tools.
- Budgeting software tracks income and expenses for efficient budget allocation.
- Forecasting software helps you with risk mitigation strategies and future performance prediction.
- Investment analysis software offers investment insights to help you put money in the right place.
- Reporting tools measure performance against KPIs and provide stakeholders with insightful financial data reports.
Where do financial planning tools play a role?
Financial planning tools help you plan for contingencies and create strategic plans for accomplishing goals. They analyze balance sheets, personnel plans, income statements, cash flow projections, and sales forecasts to set goals and create roadmaps.
Let’s explore how financial planning systems analyze key finance documents to help you make smarter decisions.
- Income statement analysis helps you compare operating expenses, revenue streams, cost of goods sold, and net profit.
- Cash flow statement review compares incoming and outgoing cash to project future cash flow.
- Balance sheet inspection reveals more about assets, liabilities, and shareholder equities.
- Personnel plan scrutiny aids you in forecasting employee costs and benefits.
- Business ratio analysis dives deep into the profit margin, total debt to total asset ratio, and return on equity — all key to getting bank loans or raising funds.
- Income projections look at the money you make and expenses to predict future income.
- Sales forecasting tracks sales to predict cash flow.
- Asset and liability analysis looks at current assets, long-term assets, debt, and other obligations to accurately predict future finances.
Now, let’s understand how financial planning tools help you throughout the process.
The significance of financial planning tools
Financial planning tools are vital for bringing together and analyzing all different parts of business finance. Check out how these financial products help analysts, managers, business leaders, and CFOs at every stage.
- Data consolidation: At this stage, business unit managers work with financial analysts to gather data, including budgets, forecasts, and finance models.
- Data analysis: This stage involves structuring the financial planning process and analyzing data for insights.
- Decision-making: CFOs and finance teams use those insights to create plans, protect business assets, and maintain stability.
Ready to dive deep into financial planning and analysis? We’ve gathered the top too
List of Best financial planning tools
- Workday Adaptive Planning
- Anaplan Finance
- Orion Portfolio Solutions
- Board International
- Vena Solutions
Best financial planning tools – An in-depth analysis
Workday Adaptive Planning is an easy-to-use enterprise planning software with sales, workforce, and financial planning capabilities. The financial planning module aids in driving organizational finance strategy with accurate forecasting.
Besides budgeting and forecasting, this tool eases the data-driven finance modeling and scenario planning workflows. The platform also offers advanced data analytics, so you can adapt to changes faster.
OneStream is a leading financial planning tool that unifies financial planning, reporting, consolidation, and analytics. The built-in strategic planning and modeling capabilities let you effortlessly analyze capital structure, test assumptions, and build strategies.
Enterprises can also use this platform for scenario analysis, driver-based planning, and rolling forecasting. The extended planning and analysis (XP&A) feature helps companies visualize how decisions affect profitability and margins. Moreover, you can access more than 10 built-in models for predictive analysis.
Anaplan Finance suits enterprises aiming to minimize financial planning risks and fuel growth. This software connects strategic, operational, and financial plans so you have the right data for smart decision-making.
The platform accurately analyzes financial performance and forecasts multiple scenarios with real-time data. Plus, it lets you create pricing and profitability models for seamless planning. Anaplan connects sales, marketing, supply chain, and HR data, so CFOs can analyze rich financial data from a single dashboard before making key decisions.
Orion Portfolio Solutions is a comprehensive investment software with multiple solutions, including trading, billing, reporting, and financial planning. This platform connects financial plans with investment performance data to help you understand how strategies affect goals.
Workflow-driven goals make it easy for your finance team to set and track plans. Orion Portfolio Solutions also offer custom current and projected finance reports to help you make the right decisions.
Quick Read: 11 Best Billing Software for Businesses
Board International is an intelligent financial planning tool. It helps finance teams with budgeting, analysis, financial closing, and statutory reporting, all from a single platform.
Besides automating repetitive planning, forecasting, and budgeting activities, the platform helps companies visualize the impact of value driver changes. The built-in sophisticated analytical tools offer data-based insights for driving results. The workflow-driven environment also aids you with lease accounting, closing, and management reporting.
Quick Read: 10 Best Business Budgeting Software
Planful is a financial performance management platform. The power-built application uses native AI/ML and human inputs to help you budget, plan, and forecast better. The result is an improved ability to address complex financial planning and analysis challenges.
Businesses also leverage Planful to monitor deviations from the financial plan and adapt to change. The driver-based forecasting helps in optimizing cash flow on the go. Plus, you can access built-in models and real-time insights for quick decision-making.
Quick Read: 6 Best Cash Flow Management Software
Vena Solutions’ cloud-based simplifies financial planning with advanced modeling and intuitive workflows. This native Excel planning platform seamlessly handles finance planning processes, including budgeting, what-if analysis, and financial reporting.
It also offers deep insights by integrating operational, financial, and other business data. Businesses use Vena Solutions for tax provisioning, account reconciliation, and financial consolidation.
NaviPlan is a comprehensive financial planning tool for finance professionals. The product offers a wide range of financial services, from retirement income analysis to estate planning to goal-based assessments.
Other features include cash flow analysis for unlimited scenarios, client report libraries for resources, and data gathering for goal discovery. Clients can also access their plans from anywhere, at any time.
Cube is a spreadsheet-native financial planning and analysis tool. Besides offering financial planning and modeling, it helps you with data aggregation and analytics. Cube’s strength lies in its ability to analyze data, even on Excel or Google Sheets.
Companies use Cube to create a single source of truth, where they can also calculate, collaborate, and track changes. Robust API integration options let you connect the existing tech stack, including accounting tools, HR solutions, and business intelligence systems.
JustPerform is a cloud-based XP&A and financial close platform for modern enterprises. This solution features collaborative enterprise-wide planning capabilities for continuous improvement.
The in-built financial intelligence tools help you with planning revenue, operational expenses, and capital expenditure. Plus, the purpose-built Consolidation Pro app offers self-service reporting for streamlining financial consolidation processes.
How to choose the right financial planning tools?
Financial planning tools can make or break your finances, regardless of whether you are an advisor or run a company. The right financial planning tool helps you automate financial data analysis and make smarter decisions.
Check out the tips below to find the right tool for you.
1. Goal-based or cash flow-based
First, you must decide whether you want a goal- or cash-flow-based tool.
Goal-based solutions track investments to predict whether you’ll reach your financial goals. These tools don’t consider earnings, withdrawals, or expenses. Goal-based planning is ideal for prioritizing and funding financial dreams.
Cash flow-based tools thoroughly analyze how much you earn and spend on different things. These tools are best for investing based on your current financial situation.
2. Analyze business needs
The choice of your tool also depends on the nature and complexity of your business. For example, you may want a collaborative solution for analyzing finance data across the entire organization. However, smaller companies may prefer to focus more on accurate forecasting and testing what-if scenarios for better decision-making.
3. Physical copy or digital format
Companies may want to keep digital records or physical copies depending on trade complexity and compliance needs. Key stakeholders may prefer one over the other. So, it’s wise to choose financial planning tools that support the document type you need.
4. Ease of use
Businesses love user-friendly financial planning tools that work on all devices, including web and mobile. Also, consider choosing tools with open architecture. That way, you can create robust reports with inputs from different software packages.
You can’t compromise on security when it comes to financial data. It’s best to choose tools with security protocols, including two-factor authentication. Also, consider asking the vendor about how frequently they run security assessments. That will tell you a lot about the software company’s security policies.
Financial planning is the backbone of sustainable growth. Without it, you can’t manage resources efficiently or reach your goals. Whether you’re an in-house finance advisor or an enterprise looking for financial planning tools, figuring out your needs is the best place to start. Then, you can pick one that helps you manage assets, investments, and grow.
Some of the most essential tools used in financial planning include:
1. CRM software
2. Reporting tools
3. Trading software
4. Budgeting software
5. Forecasting software
6. Risk tolerance solutions
7. Investment analysis tools
8. Portfolio management software
Seven areas or components of financial planning are:
1. Tax planning
2. Estate planning
3. Investment planning
4. Debt management
5. Cash flow management
6. Risk management and insurance planning
7. Retirement savings and income planning
Four main types of financial planning are:
1. Retirement planning
2. Investment planning
3. Insurance planning
4. Tax and estate planning
Financial planning tools are vital to setting clear cash flow expectations, reducing costs, and achieving smart growth. The right tools also help you mitigate risks, manage crises, and raise funds. Plus, these solutions offer you a comprehensive roadmap to your next financial peak.