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Financial forecasting software: what you need to know (and 5 leading vendors)

9th April 2024
Joe Brennan
Content and Communications Lead
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Financial forecasting and planning has never been so fraught for executives. Companies have had to deal with several swings in market sentiment in recent years, with consequences for revenue, headcount and other critical financial metrics. Furthermore, with the IPO market showing signs of life, more companies may be refocusing on engineering liquidity events in the coming months and years.

So with so much on people’s plates, how can companies turn financial reporting and planning into a competitive advantage? We’ll take you through the most important aspects of financial planning and forecasting, listing some of the market-leading financial planning services and software products that help companies with these workstreams today. 


What is financial forecasting software?

Financial forecasting software helps financial planning and analysis (FP&A) teams to create company budgets and predict future financial performance. This is crucial work: the predictions made by the finance team as part of a budgeting cycle often dictate strategic decisions like the investments companies choose to make in that period. If predictions are wrong, trust with stakeholders like investors, lenders and employees can be badly damaged.

FP&A teams lean on spreadsheets to do lots of the heavy lifting when it comes to budgeting and forecasting. But there are a couple of reasons why FP&A teams need custom finance planning software sitting alongside spreadsheets. Financial planning and budgeting uses lots of sensitive data, making spreadsheets a suboptimal choice to house this information. This extends to principles like user access management and version control, which is harder to track on spreadsheets that are shared and duplicated by different individuals and teams. 

Additionally, regulatory compliance is a core consideration for finance leaders, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that bakes in templates and guides for reporting into regular processes can help companies stay compliant in less time and with fewer headaches. Lastly, integrations with other software, from accounting to cap table management, mean that financial planning software can deliver smoother, faster processes than spreadsheets.

Key features of great financial forecasting software

Some features of financial planning software are nice-to-haves, while others are essential. These are the core components of any great financial planning software: 

  • Budgeting functionality

Regular budgeting cycles use data from different internal and external sources to set monthly, quarterly or annual budgets. 

  • Scenario planning and forecasting

Establishing robust predictions of future business performance allows companies to plan better. This includes modelling exit events and waterfall distributions.

  • Reporting and dashboards

Increasingly standard in financial planning software programs is the ability to distill financial data into simple, intuitive visualisations. 

  • Regulatory reporting templates

Financial planning tools increasingly help senior leaders comply with national or international regulations, such as adhering to IFRS or US GAAP principles, depending on which accounting framework is in use. Other regular reporting requirements might include disclosures to the SEC (in the US) or HMRC (in the UK). 

  • Data privacy and security

Comprehensive financial planning software should comply with the latest information security standards, such as ISO 27001. Look for other security best practices like 2FA and single sign-on (SSO) functionality.


5 leading financial forecasting tools: which one’s best for you?

Different financial planning tools offer different value propositions depending on the financial strategies and broader context of the business. Our overview of 5 leading financial planning software vendors will benefit senior leaders searching for the top financial planning software. 



“Enterprise success starts with agile, accurate finance decisions”

Works well for

Companies seeking a real-time insight into business performance. “Anaplan’s ‘HyperBlock’ calculation engine allows thousands of concurrent users to access centralized data pools to create models and plans for collaborative planning across all departments. Data is processed in real-time.”

Need to know

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting


“Reduce planning and budgeting cycle times, improve forecast accuracy”

Works well for

Companies who need a full-service ERP system that goes beyond purely financial forecasting. Netsuite’s applications include warehouse management, ecommerce, inventory management and more.

Need to know

Sage Intacct


“The future of finance starts right now.”

Works well for

Businesses looking for maximum compliance with HMRC, the UK’s tax authority. Sage Intacct is compliant with Making Tax Digital, HMRC’s latest scheme to help companies manage VAT accounting.

Need to know

  • Named ‘Best for Enterprise Businesses’ in Gartner’s Fall 2023 Mid-Market Grid for Accounting Software 
  • Publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange



"The best place to build, approve, and adapt integrated business plans."

Works well for

Teams who need to collaborate in real time. Pigment's platform lets team members comment, tag colleagues and assign tasks in-app.

Need to know

  • Recognised as a Representative Vendor in Gartner’s 2024 Cloud Extended Planning and Analysis Solutions category
  • Raised $145 million Series D funding round in April 2024

Workday Adaptive Planning


"Enterprise planning software that moves you forwards."

Works well for

Companies looking for a full suite of integrations with software in other categories and verticals. Workday Adaptive Planning integrates with more than 300 other software platforms.

Need to know

Why equity matters in your financial forecasting 

Wages and other compensation are often the largest expense for a business, so it’s unsurprising that compensation is at the heart of financial planning, budgeting and forecasting. For companies that offer equity to employees, incorporating equity into financial planning poses some important challenges. 

First, there is the need to accurately report your equity-related expenses in your regular accounting. The way you do this can change subtly depending on whether you’re reporting under IFRS 2 or US GAAP, for example, and it’s important that your financial forecasting can take your share-based payment expensing into account.

Additionally, equity can make a big difference to the distribution of capital in a liquidity event. Anti-dilution provisions, accelerated vesting and other clauses can significantly change the amounts of equity distributed to employees in an acquisition, sale or IPO. Being able to model base-case, pessimistic and optimistic scenarios, visualising distributions in an intuitive way, can enhance the effectiveness of the FP&A team’s work.

Finding the right financial planning software: making a critical decision with confidence

When set up and done well, solid financial planning and forecasting can build credibility with investors, employees and other stakeholders, setting you up for success. On the other hand, poorly executed financial planning can have negative ramifications on any number of business areas, from cash flow to fundraising. 

When searching for the best financial planning software tools, it’s imperative to review the key vendors in the sector and how their products map to your business needs. A full-service platform to help with everything from financial plans to accounting is often desirable, and many companies are also selecting vertically-native tools that help with specific aspects of the work of an FP&A team. Equity is a core component of financial planning, but few ERP products build the full feature set to help companies account for and report on equity plans. To speak to a Ledgy expert about your needs, book a demo today.


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Joe is Ledgy’s Content and Communications Lead. He has over a decade's experience working in marketing and communications for scaling tech companies and global professional services firms.

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