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6 Best Business Budgeting Software for SaaS for 2024

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SaaS CFOs today now have some great options when the time comes to level up their budgeting practices with software tools designed specifically for different financial planning and analysis (FP&A).

3rd Generation FP&A software is delivered as a service and offers a user-centric design, low cost, shorter implementation times, many self-service features, native ERP integration, and a quick/high ROI. — The FP&A Market Guide

These tools promise to make budgeting faster and easier than ever before so CFOs can focus more of their time and attention on turning data into insights that drive results. 

In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into six of the best SaaS budgeting software platforms on the market in 2024. 

To cover the broadest range of possible needs (small startups, SMBs, and enterprises), we have reviewed a range of first, second, and third generation solutions to help you find the best fit for your unique business. For each one, you’ll find a summary of key features related to SaaS budgeting and some of the pros and cons you might want to consider as you evaluate your options.


The best SaaS budgeting software compared

Let’s start with a side-by-side comparison of the key features SaaS businesses need in a truly robust business budgeting software platform. Then we’ll jump into a bit more detail below.

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainDatarailsVenaWorkday Adaptive‍ PlanningAnaplanOracle Planning & Budgeting Cloud (EPBC)
Price
$$
$-$$
$$
$$-$$$
$$$
$$$
Market Sector
Small to Mid-Market
Small to Mid-Market
Small to Mid-Market
Mid-Market to Enterprise
Enterprise
Large Enterprise
Scalability
High
Moderate; Same limitations as MS Excel
High but requires extensive planning
Scalable but requires continual adjustments
Scalable with  upgrades
High
Type of FP&A solution
3rd
Generation
3rd
Generation
2nd
Generation
2nd
Generation
2nd Generation
1st Generation
Native
Integration
200+ OOTB integrations plus custom integration
70+ OOTB
Few
7 OOTB
Native integrations
Integrations available but complex
Predictive Forecasting
Variance analysis
Multidimensional modeling
Multiple scenarios and What-if analysis
Rolling budget/forecasts
Collaboration
Automated reporting
Dynamic Dashboards
In-house implementation
Yes
unknown
unknown
No
No
No

Drivetrain is a strategic finance software and one of the few budgeting software solutions on the market today that are purpose-built for SaaS. Powerful, yet simple to use, Drivetrain offers a comprehensive, third generation FP&A solution with the full range of features SaaS CFOs and their finance teams need to compare actuals with budget and forecasts.

Let’s start with data aggregation and consolidation. Most tools in the market today have limitations when it comes to data ingestion and handling — usually either in the number of integrations they support, or the ability to perform the unique, complex joins needed to make the data useful and accessible for budgeting. Such limitations are non-existent with Drivetrain. With a programmatic approach to data imports and transformations (ETL), Drivetrain can ingest data from any system or application, and in any format without limitations.

Further, Drivetrain’s scalable, multidimensional modeling architecture is quite powerful and intuitive, helping you build complex models at one-tenth the time compared to other tools. With Drivetrain, you can model at the speed and dimensionality at which your business operates—thanks to plain-English formulas, a moderate amount of Excel functions, and a shallow learning curve.

This mix of powerful computing and control in the hands of the end-user combined with ease of use for surfacing hard-to-reach insights is how Drivetrain helps improve decision-making at every level in your business.

Price: 

$$

Best for: 

Small and Mid-market

Pros:
  • Purpose-built for SaaS

  • Top-Down and Bottom-Up Budgeting

  • Driver-Based and Zero-Based Budgeting

  • Rolling budget and forecasts

  • 200+ native data connectors to popular systems

  • Advanced collaboration and access control features

  • Automated reporting with interactive dashboards

  • Highly intuitive UI

  • Extensive customization options

Cons:
  • Heavily focused on B2B companies

Key SaaS budgeting features in Drivetrain:
  • Predictive forecasting capabilities

  • Real-time budget and forecast vs. actuals

  • Scenario Planning and What-If Analysis

  • Subscription revenue modeling with multi-currency support

  • Best of breed vendor, headcount and sales planning templates

Datarails is a Microsoft Excel-based plugin that allows businesses to save their spreadsheet data into a database to extend Excel’s capabilities. While not purpose-built for SaaS, Datarails supports several FP&A use cases, including budgeting, and gives users the ability to continue using their existing financial models in Excel.

Price: 

$-$$ 

Best for: 

Small and Mid-market

Pros:
  • Familiar Excel interface

  • Comprehensive collaboration tools

  • Uses AI to surface results from plain English queries

Cons:
  • Works only with Excel, not Google Sheets

  • Few customization options

  • Limited visualization capabilities, particularly for complex analyses

  • Lacks functionality needed for advanced modeling

  • Even simple models require 100s of formulas

  • Limited access controls

    Key SaaS budgeting features in Datarails:
    • Budgeting and forecasting

    • Scenario modeling

    • Financial reporting

    A heavily edited screenshot of the DataRails product showing the Collection Management feature with some workflows and commenting options.

    Like Datarails, Vena also uses MS Excel. It is a Microsoft Excel add-in that caters to users who prefer to use spreadsheets but whose FP&A needs are more complex than what they can easily manage with spreadsheets alone.

    Price: 

    $$ 

    Best for: 

    Mid-market

    Pros:
    • Familiar Excel-based UI

    • Tightly integrated with Microsoft 365 (a benefit if heavily invested in Microsoft ecosystem)

    • Very good reporting features

    Cons:
    • Steep learning curve, particularly with collaboration and reporting tools

    • Performance can suffer when running large or complex reports

    • Limited customization capabilities

    • Requires coding knowledge to make changes/additions

    Key SaaS budgeting features in Vena:
    • Financial forecasting

    • Scenario modeling

    • Automated workflows

    Vena product screenshot showing the status tracker for 2020 annual budget.

    Workday Adaptive Planning (formerly Adaptive Insights) is a robust enterprise performance management (EPM) tool that, while not purpose-built for SaaS, includes budgeting features suitable for SaaS businesses.

    Price: 

     $$-$$$

    Best for: 

    Mid-market

    Pros:
    • Not dependent on MS Excel but offers a familiar, Excel-like UI

    • Good customization capabilities

    • Self-service reporting with interactive dashboards

    Cons:
    • Limited integrations

    • Long implementation times (usually 6 months or more)

    • Heavy dependence on third party system integrators

    • Steep learning curve

    • Complex configuration required to build financial models

    Key SaaS budgeting features in Workday Adaptive Planning:
    • Scenario modeling, including what-if analyses

    • Driver-based expense planning

    • Financial forecasting

    Workday product screenshot showing a top down plan with the Revenue Targets tab highlighted. It contains a table for revenue targets by departments, a chart showing revenue targets by region, a pie chart of the revenue share by various regions and a scorecard showing the annual target

    While Anaplan is more accurately characterized as a second generation FP&A tool, we have included it here as an option that is particularly well-suited to enterprise-level SaaS businesses. Anaplan is not purpose-built for SaaS. However, it is designed specifically for connected business budgeting and planning and can accommodate most of the FP&A use cases SaaS businesses have.

    Price: 

    $$$ 

    Best for: 

    Enterprise

    Pros:
    • Granular analysis

    • Sophisticated what-if scenario modeling capabilities

    • Good customization capabilities

    Cons:
    • Long implementation times (Usually 6 months minimum)

    • Steep learning curve

    • Limited dashboard functionality

    • Complex pricing model; very expensive for small- to mid-sized businesses

    Key SaaS budgeting features in Anaplan:
    • Scenario modeling, including what-if analyses

    • Driver-based and assumption-based planning

    • Top-down and bottom-up budgeting

    Anaplan product screenshot showing a Top Line Revenue Summary with a stacked chart split by different revenue types, Group KPIs, P&L summary table and a line chart showing Total Revenue over some period

    Oracle’s Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) has been around since 2014. It has continued to evolve, and with the addition of frameworks for financials and strategic modeling became known as Oracle’s Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (EPBCS), a first generation FP&A solution.

    Today, EPBCS as well as a number of other Oracle tools have been combined into what is now marketed as Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud, which offers a comprehensive solution for strategic budgeting, particularly for enterprise-level customers with complex requirements.

    Price: 

    $$$ 

    Best for: 

    Large Enterprise

    Pros:
    • Robust features for enterprises with complex business models

    • Good for financial structures that combine financial and operational planning

    • Well suited for companies with existing investments in Oracle solutions

    Cons:
    • Integrations can be difficult to mange

    • Importing and exporting data manually is complicated

    • Performance can suffer with large or complex reports

    • Lengthy implementation times with heavy dependence on third-party systems integrators

    • Complex pricing model; expensive solution for small- to mid-sized businesses

    Key SaaS budgeting features in Oracle PBCS:
    • Scenario modeling, including what-if analyses

    • Driver-based expense planning

    • Financial forecasting

    Oracle PBCS product screenshot showing Driver Based Revenue Planning

    Drivetrain vs. the field: Why Drivetrain is the best SaaS budgeting software solution

    The information we have compiled here should provide you with a better understanding of the kinds of features you might want to look for in a SaaS budgeting software based on your company’s unique needs. 

    Generally, the SaaS budgeting software we’ve compared here fall into one of two main categories: 

    1. Custom-built calculation engines that provide advanced capabilities for large-scale, complex financial modeling.
    2. Tools that use Excel as the calculation engine, extending its capabilities to provide the features their customers need. These solutions cater to users that prefer the familiarity and flexibility of spreadsheets.

    Drivetrain is a standout when considered in the context of these somewhat simplified categories. This is because while it provides a powerful, in-memory calculation engine, its spreadsheet-inspired UI combined with plain-English formulas and budgeting templates makes it easy and intuitive for users to get up and running fast. 

    Drivetrain makes your data from various sources business-ready, accessible to finance teams and other stakeholders so they can directly perform the different types of analysis they need to surface hidden insights quickly and easily. 

    With Drivetrain, you get the best of both worlds – a powerful, yet simple SaaS budgeting software solution empowering finance teams with the ability to do more high-value analyses that support faster, better, proactive decision-making to deliver real business impacts.

    See how Drivetrain can accelerate your budgeting process

    Book a Demo

    How to choose the right SaaS budgeting software for your business

    What is the best budgeting software for your business?

    The ideal SaaS budgeting software solution is the one that best aligns with the unique needs of your business. However, there are a number of specific features you‘ll want to look for that combined will facilitate accurate financial planning, effective collaboration, and more strategic decision-making.

    5 benefits of using a budgeting and planning software

    Choosing the right business budget software for your company is a big decision. Having an accurate, reliable budget to guide your business is critical because you likely have some pretty big decisions riding on it.  

    Choosing a third generation FP&A platform – a strategic finance platform purpose-built for SaaS businesses – will provide powerful, value-added benefits:

    1. Better cost optimization

    The right budgeting and forecasting software will support a variety of business budgeting methods, including those that focus on optimizing costs, such as zero based budgeting and activity based budgeting. These methods are typically very time consuming due to the depth of analysis they require, especially when using spreadsheets for budgeting. However, in Drivetrain, you can quickly drill down into your budget to a very granular level to gain valuable insights, such as areas in your business that offer cost savings opportunities and hidden expenses that should be eliminated altogether.

    2. More accurate forecasting

    Revenue forecasting can be challenging for SaaS companies based on the complexity inherent in the subscription business model. The right business budgeting and planning software brings all your historical data and assumptions together in one place to help you build financial plans and what-if scenarios for more accurate forecasting of expenses and revenue.

    3. Strategic resource allocations

    The financial visibility and clarity that budgeting and planning software like Drivetrain can provide will also allow you to be more strategic in your allocations. You’ll know what areas of your business are driving growth and where your “money pits” are, enabling you to make data-driven investment decisions in the activities that will produce the biggest ROI.

    4. Faster alignment across teams

    Using spreadsheets for budgeting not only takes an enormous amount of time, it can make achieving alignment on the final budget very difficult. Every team is pulling data from siloed source systems and using their own models and assumptions in their budgeting. This can lead to disagreements about whose data is correct, leaving finance teams to sort it all out. In Drivetrain, all your data and plans is aggregated and accessible across all teams creating a single source of truth for the entire organization and facilitating collaborative planning. With this kind of visibility, teams are better able to understand and accept the rationale behind sometimes difficult budgeting decisions to align more quickly.

    5. Flexible, adaptive planning

    The ability to monitor financial performance, especially cash flows (see cash flow forecasting software) on an ongoing basis allows you to easily implement your budget as a rolling budget, comparing actuals vs the budget every month. This, combined with variance analysis capabilities that Drivetrain provides, gives you the flexibility you need to identify and respond quickly to emerging problems and new opportunities.


    What are the different types of business budgeting software for SaaS?

    Budgeting is a core function of SaaS finance teams, and most are still using spreadsheets to create their annual budgets. However, spreadsheets have some pretty big limitations in terms of using them for budgeting. Accuracy is a big one. Everything, data and formulas, have to be entered into a spreadsheet manually, which makes them inherently error-prone.

    And of course, when every department has its own budget and uses its own methods and spreadsheets for forecasting costs and revenue, reconciling them all to create a budget everyone can agree on can take weeks. By the time you’re done, there is also no easy way to be certain that none of those numbers have changed in the meantime.

    These fundamental issues are what gave birth to the category of what we now know as modern FP&A software (aka strategic finance software) and have driven its continued evolution. Our feature comparisons indicate the maturity of each of these tools in terms of their FP&A features. Here we’ll take a look at the degree to which each solution relies on spreadsheets.

    Note: We've adapted the table below from FP&A software classifications developed by Paul Barnhurst (The FP&A Guy).

    Software/
    Platform
    DrivetrainDatarailsVenaWorkday Adaptive‍ PlanningAnaplanOracle Planning & Budgeting Cloud (EPBC)
    Web application that replaces spreadsheets
    Web application that integrates with spreadsheets
    Application uses a spreadsheet for calculations
    Add-in for spreadsheet applications

    We didn’t have to wrestle with spreadsheets anymore, says Abhishek. With a single source of truth and a familiar Excel-like interface, Drivetrain instantly clicked with department heads. They didn’t need to rely on us (finance team) for budgets or variance reports which were completely automated now.— Abhishek Bajaj, Whatfix Finance Lead

    Real-world use cases for a budgeting and planning software like Drivetrain

    While variances are a natural occurrence in every business, frequent or large budget variances can disrupt cash flow and signal underlying problems in the business. The ability to quickly and easily compare your budget to actuals is essential to pinpointing where those problems are so you can fix them sooner rather than later.

    This was one of the reasons Whatfix, a digital adoption platform, decided to go with Drivetrain. The company was growing fast, and the finance team was struggling with data silos and spreadsheets that made tracking their budget vs. actuals a tedious, time-consuming, and error-prone exercise in frustration.

    With automated consolidation and centralization of actuals in Drivetrain, the Whatfix finance team was able to eliminate days of manual work to create their variance reports.

    Of course, uncertainty is a fact of life for any business. Given this, effective SaaS budgeting requires the ability to conduct scenario planning and what-if analysis to evaluate the impact of different scenarios on their budgets and enables more informed and proactive decision-making.

    I think the key is for executives to be able to see the impact of changes to variables in real time so they can get an understanding of the risks and opportunities around the range of potential inputs.— Paul Barnhurst, The FP&A Guy

    Drivetrain makes this possible. The platform not only provides all the robust planning and modeling capabilities needed for strategic budgeting, it also makes your data available in real-time.

    With the ability to bring all of their data into the Drivetrain platform and work with it in real time, Whatfix was able to drill down deeper into their data much faster than ever before to generate key insights.

    See how Drivetrain can accelerate your budgeting process

    Book a Demo

    Features

    1. Native Integrations

    Fast and seamless integrations with all the systems containing source data for your budgeting process tops our list of core features you should look for in any budget software for business.

    Integration with source systems will save an enormous amount of time by eliminating the need for manual entry of data and the errors that come with it.

    For example, the 200+ native integrations that Drivetrain offers pull in financial and business data from various business systems with ETL processes that make the data useful and accessible in real time. An important part of the ETL is mapping and classification. Drivetrain helps with automatic data mapping across ERP, CRM, HRIS, and billing systems, including custom fields.

    This creates a single source of truth with reliable, business-ready data that users can sync on demand –every hour or once a day – to directly manipulate, analyze, and surface timely insights. And it also ensures your budget is always based on the most current financial information.

    Software/
    Platform
    DrivetrainDatarailsVenaWorkday Adaptive‍ PlanningAnaplanOracle Planning & Budgeting Cloud (EPBC)
    Native integrations with top 6 ERPs
    Native integrations with top CRM, HRIS, Billing & BI tools
    Integration with Excel and Google Sheets
    Excel/CSV
    upload
    download

    2. Predictive Forecasting

    Forecasting capabilities are essential to the budgeting process because they allow a business to predict future revenues, expenses, and cash flows. With the right financial forecasting tool, SaaS businesses can make more data-driven decisions both in terms of their resource allocations in the short term as well as their long term strategic planning.

    For example, in Drivetrain, users can access historical data in real time, pick from a variety of predefined forecasting methods, and change their assumptions all on the same screen to create forward-looking forecasts.

    Software/
    Platform
    DrivetrainDatarailsVenaWorkday Adaptive‍ PlanningAnaplanOracle Planning & Budgeting Cloud (EPBC)
    Rolling forecast
    Driver based forecasting
    Pre-configured forecast methods

    3. Variance analysis

    Variance analysis and variance reporting capabilities are essential because a budget is only as accurate as the forecast it’s based on. The ability to do a variance analysis quickly, easily, and at any time by comparing actuals vs. budget and actuals vs. forecast can be a super-power for SaaS businesses that know how to leverage the insights hiding in their variances.

    Software/
    Platform
    DrivetrainDatarailsVenaWorkday Adaptive‍ PlanningAnaplanOracle Planning & Budgeting Cloud (EPBC)
    Budget variance analysis
    Real-time view of Budget vs. Actuals
    Real-time view
    of Forecast vs. Actuals

    4. Scenario planning, modeling, and simulation and what-if analysis

    Uncertainty is a fact of life for any business. The ability to conduct scenario planning and what-if analysis in real time is critical for SaaS CFOs to evaluate the impact of different scenarios on their budgets and enables more informed and proactive decision-making.

    Software/
    Platform
    DrivetrainDatarailsVenaWorkday Adaptive‍ PlanningAnaplanOracle Planning & Budgeting Cloud (EPBC)
    In-memory multidimensional calculation engine
    Rolling budget
    Driver-based budgeting and forecasting
    Custom data modeling
    Multiple scenario planning
    Unlimited planning window (long range planning)
    Customizable templates
    unknown
    unknown

    5. Subscription or SaaS revenue modeling

    This might seem like a no-brainer since subscription revenue is a defining feature of SaaS businesses. We mention it here, though, because not all FP&A software is purpose-built specifically for budgeting and planning in SaaS. Any tool you choose should enable you to model subscription-based income in a detailed way, incorporating factors such as churn rates, customer acquisition costs (CAC), your pricing model, and other factors that can significantly impact SaaS budgets.

    Software/
    Platform
    DrivetrainDatarailsVenaWorkday Adaptive‍ PlanningAnaplanOracle Planning & Budgeting Cloud (EPBC)
    OOTB SaaS metrics
    (ARR, Runway, NRR, Burn Multiple, Payback Period, and 40 more)
    Best of breed revenue model templates
    (Sales capacity planning, territory planning, incentive and compensation management model, and 80 more)

    6. Collaboration with Role Based Access Control

    Whether you’re using a top-down or bottom-up approach to budgeting for your business, creating a budget is an inherently collaborative pursuit that requires information from multiple stakeholders. Given this, any SaaS budgeting software you choose should provide a single source of truth – a centralized database that unifies all data – and include features that facilitate seamless collaboration across all teams.

    You should also look at how users are able to collaborate, too. It’s not enough just to be able to communicate within the application. While some vendors offer the ability to comment within the application, without granular role-based access, there’s no way to keep those conversations private. It’s easy to see how this might be a problem during the budgeting process when finance teams are trying to verify numbers and assumptions with different teams with potentially competing priorities.

    Software/
    Platform
    DrivetrainDatarailsVenaWorkday Adaptive‍ PlanningAnaplanOracle Planning & Budgeting Cloud (EPBC)
    Commenting Threads
    Fine-Grained
    Role Based Access Control
    Slack Notifications

    7. Automated reporting and dynamic dashboards

    A robust financial reporting platform enables automation of reporting processes saves time and helps to ensure that reports are generated consistently and accurately. Look for SaaS budgeting software that offers interactive dashboards with enriched reporting features for presenting financial data, including budgets, variances, scenarios, etc. for faster, more informed decision-making.

    Software/
    Platform
    DrivetrainDatarailsVenaWorkday Adaptive‍ PlanningAnaplanOracle Planning & Budgeting Cloud (EPBC)
    Drill down to transaction-level
    Drill down by any dimension
    Global- and chart-level filters
    Automated
    3-Way financial statements
    Text callouts/
    notes in dashboards
    Reporting templates

    8. Implementation, training and customer success

    Look for a vendor that provides quick onboarding and implementation as it improves your time to value and helps you realize ROI a lot faster. A key to achieving this is a shallow learning curve and a self-service interface to manage data and user access controls. Also, look for training, support and success resources to help you get the most out of the software.

    Software/
    Platform
    DrivetrainDatarailsVenaWorkday Adaptive‍ PlanningAnaplanOracle Planning & Budgeting Cloud (EPBC)
    Implementation time
    4-6 weeks
    unknown
    > 2 months
    >4 months
    >6 months
    > 6months
    In-house implementation
    Yes
    unknown
    unknown
    No
    No
    No
    White-glove onboarding
    Self-service management (learning curve)
    Dedicated customer support/success

    FAQ

    How do you budget for SaaS?

    Some SaaS businesses still use a traditional budgeting approach (i.e. incremental budgeting). However, many are now discovering that strategic budgeting methods give them far more flexibility and align better with their strategic goals. There are four methods that, when implemented on a rolling basis, are considered strategic:

    1. Value proposition budgeting
    2. Activity based budgeting
    3. Zero based budgeting
    4. Driver based budgeting

    Creating and implementing a strategic, rolling budget is easy in Drivetrain and helps to eliminate the opportunity costs associated with static, incremental budgeting.

    What technology do you use to manage a SaaS budget?

    There are a number of different technologies that SaaS companies can use to help them manage different aspects of creating a budget and managing it day-to-day. These might include expense management software, ERPs systems, revenue forecasting software and of course, the ubiquitous spreadsheets. There are also modern FP&A platforms like Drivetrain, which is purpose-built for SaaS businesses and encompasses a wide range of capabilities that go well beyond business budget management, offering a more comprehensive budgeting solution.

    How do you create a budget forecast?

    At a high level, creating a budget forecast involves:

    1. Gathering and analyzing historical revenue and expense data and key SaaS metrics
    2. Evaluating how the competitive landscape, market dynamics and industry trends might impact your financial performance
    3. Defining the key assumptions you will use in your estimations
    4. Forecasting future revenue and estimating expenses factoring in day-to-day expenses and any growth initiatives
    5. Model different scenarios based on different assumptions and potential outcomes
    6. Monitoring actual performance against the budget and making adjustments if needed
    7. Review your forecast to ensure it is realistic and aligned with your strategic goals, making adjustments where necessary.

    SaaS strategic finance goes far beyond just budgeting…

    A modern FP&A software platform purpose-built for SaaS strategic finance can set the stage for predictable, accelerated growth. Here are a few resources to help you learn more about how to do that through budgeting and other important FP&A processes.

    See how Drivetrain is revolutionizing SaaS budgeting

    Talk to an Expert