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Best Budgeting and Reporting Software: Best Options to Upgrade from Excel?

Best Budgeting Software & Best Reporting SoftwareWe are in the process of evaluating and deciding on which Budgeting and Software solution to use to replace our current process of managing our Budget via a large Spreadsheet. I've looked around and utilized this forum to gain greater insight on the options that are out there. I would like to have some of the Reports and Reporting Features to be available on an Ipad or other Mobile Device and I was wondering if there was a specific Budgeting and Reporting Solution that excelled in this area. I'm going back and forth between a SaaS solution such as Host Analytics or Adaptive Planning and an On Premise Solution such as Prophix, Planning Maestro, anaplan, and SolverUSA's BI360.

We currently use GreatPlains as our GL Software and FRx as a Reporting Tool, but not sure if that is really the best reporting software. We use a proprietary SQL Server 2008 R2 Based Software to manage our overall business and gather our other operational data. 

We are obviously wanting to keep our costs down and the total amount of users would top out @ 50 or so. This would include Administrators through Read-Only User Level Access, but in the future we look to expand this number. 

 Thanks for any input.

Answers

Kerisa Armstrong
Title: CPA, Sr. Accountant
Company: New West Health Services
(CPA, Sr. Accountant, New West Health Services) |

Thomas,

My company was also using a spreadsheet to manage our budget, which was very time consuming and frustrating. We decided on Host Analytics for our budget solution and have been very happy. Our managers have access to make changes to their portions of the budget during the budget season. Once the budget is finalized, we restrict access to read only.

The best part about Host Analytics is their phenomenal customer service. Once you "Go Live" with your budget, any questions or problems that you encounter can be submitted through Support and are addressed almost immediately.

Good luck with your decision.

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

You might also want to take a look at these free items from Proformative, including this free white paper on budgeting and planning I found we have here:

https://www.proformative.com/whitepapers/best-practices-planning-budgeting

and....

The CFO Guide to Budgeting Software: 10 Key Elements Companies Should Look For

https://www.proformative.com/whitepapers/cfo-guide-budgeting-software-10-key-elements-companies-should-look

and...

Free Accounting Spreadsheets
https://www.proformative.com/resources/free-accounting-spreadsheets-valuation-budgeting-waterfalls-more

Enjoy!

Best... Sarah

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Thomas
Who are the types of users who would connect to the software via a mobile device and what kind of interaction do they need to do from that device?

In one dimension, reporting/queries may be just a simple case of pushing completed reports to the device to allow the user to view and slice/dice. One technical issue relative to the mobile device may be the size of the data supporting the reports that you want to access from the mobile device.

If you are evaluating software, SaaS solutions are accessible via browsers, which are pretty standard on a tablet. If you are looking at on premise software, do they have a browser interface with easy connection to the application on your server or do you have to connect via VPN and are there any limits on what you can do?

The best way to find the best fit solution is to:
1. define your requirements in this area
2. create scripted scenarios, including use of a tablet
3. ask the vendors to actually demonstrate how their solution performs the scenarios

If they cannot SHOW use of a tablet in a live demo, then you probably have a vendor who lacks what you need.

Regards
Len

Shawn DeBoer
Title: Business Technology and Planning Directo..
Company: American Family Insurance
(Business Technology and Planning Director, American Family Insurance) |

We did a pretty comprehensive review of Hyperion EPM (already an Essbase shop), Host Analytics and Adaptive Planning. All three have their relative strengths, weaknesses, and costs. Hyperion was too cost prohibitive ($, people, I/S resources, etc) and Host Analytics was the more expensive (by far) of the SaaS options based on our user count. Adaptive Planning was chosen and we couldn't be happier. A great solution with lots of flexibility, functionality, and ease of use.

Betty Stoddard
Title: Mgr Financial Analysis
Company: Hortin Inc
(Mgr Financial Analysis, Hortin Inc) |

Our company is currently evaluating Adaptive Planning for forecasting and budgeting. We are looking at it mainly for revenue planning/sales forecasting. What are the greatest strengths in using Adaptive Planning?

Topic Expert
Doug Thompson
Title: Director of Revenue
Company: Castlight Health
(Director of Revenue, Castlight Health) |

I have been at two companies that used OutlookSoft. It has an Excel interface to access the data so you have total control over designing/formatting and later modifying reports just like in Excel. You basically get new Excel formulas where the parameters make the data call (by account, department, time period, actual/budget etc). At that time their web capability was limited though. Maybe that has changed.
Hard to argue with SaaS solution which it is not.

Anonymous
(Director, Finance and Accounting) |

My client just implemented Microsoft Forecaster, part of Microsoft Dynamics / GP business license - integrates with GP and FRx. It has a web component so operating groups have easy access to data input and reporting.

Shelee Swayda
Title: Controller
Company: Fox Restaurant Concepts
(Controller, Fox Restaurant Concepts) |

We are currently operating in GP 2010 and using FRx as our reporting tool (not for much longer). We are looking to upgrade from FRx and have looked at Management Reporter as a potential solution. Ideally, we would like to get to a financial reporting and budgeting combined solution and the SaaS solutions are very intriguing. Does anyone have an estimation of implementation cost? Licenses are one thing but getting the data set up and stored in a way to maximize the functionality of the tool is another. If anyone has any insight there I would love to hear!

John Conlee
Title: President & CEO
Company: Vertical Edge Consulting Group
(President & CEO, Vertical Edge Consulting Group) |

You can implement Hyperion and make it cost effective if done correctly. Most people think it is cost prohibitive. Licensing cost does depend on the size of the customer, but there are firms out there that help SMB customers implement Hyperion for the right price.

Ben Lamorte
Title: President
Company: OKRs.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President, OKRs.com) |

Great question! And in fact, Rand Heer, the father of budgeting software movement, just launched a new buyer's guide for planning and reporting software featured right here on Proformative:

https://www.proformative.com/articles/fpa-buyers-guide-planning-reporting-systems

Jean Dane
Title: Manager Financial Planning & Reporting
Company: Room and Board
(Manager Financial Planning & Reporting, Room and Board) |

We are in the final stages of our analysis of a budgeting software solution to replace our current array of excel spreadsheets. We also researched several of the software vendors you have noted (Adaptive, Host, Prophix). Our objectives were to not only pick a cost effective solution, but also an easy to use and implement solution that would not be IT intensive to implement or support. These goals helped us quickly eliminate several of the larger options (Hyperion, SAP etc.). Our team is recommending the Host Analytics Software solution for our company. Our goal is to utilize the software for planning, forecasting and reporting/dashboard capabilities. We plan to implement early next year.

Andrew Rosenberg
Title: Financial Analyst
Company: NorthStar Financial Services Group, LLC
(Financial Analyst, NorthStar Financial Services Group, LLC) |

We transitioned from Forecaster to Adaptive Planning, using Great Plains and FRx for reporting as well. Looked at the same vendors, Prophix for on-premises ($$ install/no upgrades), and Host and Adaptive for SaaS. UI with Adaptive is a little simpler for end-users, in my opinion, when planning things like headcount, capital, etc. Forecaster has had some bugs in the past (esp related to payroll tax calculations that will not function properly, and no Microsoft support). Really like Adaptive, we have the ability to design reports out of FRx to import actuals without the need to connect GP to the system. Easy for end-users to input and add data, great ad hoc reporting, dashboarding, consolidating, version creation/control, what-ifs, etc. Couldn't be happier, plus 2-3 software builds/yr, great value prop for what you pay.

Bill Aiken
Title: Principal & CEO
Company: Abacist Group
(Principal & CEO, Abacist Group) |

I wanted to direct this thread to the marketplace area of Proformative's website that compares various Budgeting, Planning & Forecasting applications. I helped Proformative develop this portion of their website, and it has a lot of details that can help answer the questions posed above:

https://www.proformative.com/budgeting-planning-forecasting-systems

I have worked with and implemented various applications (although deepest expertise is Adaptive Planning having worked on ~100 AP projects) and so would be happy to answer questions directly that anyone has on the topic if additional detail is desired beyond what is outlined in marketplace above.

Contact me within Proformative by sending a private message.

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