top of page

Planful Reviews

Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) is important in automating all of the manual tasks in the finance department and giving everyone greater insights into the data.


FP&A not only supports business and financial decision-making but also provides management with insights into the organization’s strategic plans and investments. Essentially, FP&A is about optimizing financial management, aiding executives in making informed decisions, and establishing a strategy based on reliable and objective data.


Planful is one of these top FP&A software solutions, and this article will review their features, reviews, and customer feedback.


Planful Software Overview


Planful is a cloud-based software designed to empower finance, accounting, and business users with a range of financial applications. These applications, which include modeling, planning, consolidation, reporting, and analytics, aim to streamline operations across the organization.


With over 1,300 customers, including renowned companies such as Bose, 23andMe, and Five Guys, Planful is relied upon to improve its planning, budgeting, consolidation, reporting, and analytics processes. By leveraging Planful, these organizations can speed up cycle times, improve productivity, and ensure accurate reporting.


Central to Planful's offerings is Planful Predict, its AI-powered solution. The integrated artificial intelligence engine within Planful Predict checks for errors, identifies patterns, and provides intelligent forecast recommendations. It enhances automation, eliminates errors, and improves decision-making through sub-features like Predict: Signals and Predict: Projections.


Planful is a private company supported by Vector Capital, a leading global private equity firm, and its platform is used worldwide to achieve more efficient and confident business outcomes.


Planful’s AI- Powered Key Features


Predict Signals

As part of the Planful Predict suite of AI capabilities, this tool uses AI-driven anomaly detection to identify suspect differences and unusual data. It allows you to catch errors early on by highlighting potential mistakes, broken formulas, and financial discrepancies. If something appears off, Predict: Signals will flag it for you to review with your team.


  • AI-driven Anomaly Detection – Recognizes risks, errors, and outliers, giving you the chance to collaborate, take corrective actions, and move forward.

  • Focus on What Matters – This takes care of tedious, manual error-checking, enabling your discussions to focus on more critical issues.

  • Your Always-on Intelligent Assistant – Analyzes millions of data points and flags potential errors, working continuously to help you accomplish more.


Predict Projections

Part of the Planful Predict suite, Projections leverages AI to examine historical data, creating budgets and forecasts that effectively kickstart your planning cycles with more precision than simple averages. It establishes upper and lower limits to help teams stay on course, minimizing assumptions and avoiding repetitive, copy-paste budgets.


  • ML-Driven Planning Projections – It examine historical data to provide an accurate starting point for planning and budgeting cycles.

  • Speed and Confidence – Projections utilize advanced, proprietary algorithms specifically designed for financial data, enabling quicker and more confident decision-making.

  • Easy Functionality – Projections integrate data science into your financial forecasting and budgeting processes without the need for hiring a data scientist.


AI Integrations


At Planful, their vision lies in delivering a complete, off-the-shelf AI solution for structured and dynamic planning use cases. This vision is being realized by augmenting everything within Planful with AI, enabling customers to make more informed business decisions. Current Planful customers already leverage AI/ML through the Planful Predict suite, a collection of native, purpose-built solutions for finance AI products.


Planful's approach to harnessing AI distinguishes them in the financial performance management space. Their in-house experts possess a deep understanding of the frustrations finance teams face, resulting in a tool specifically designed with AI to address complex technical needs. However, creating a credible AI-powered solution for finance presents several challenges:


  • Data Insufficiency – Accurate AI-driven predictions require more than just a few years of data.

  • One Size Does Not Fit All – Generic AI technology solutions often fail to meet the specific needs of finance.

  • Productization – Many AI solutions are add-ons or outsourced components rather than being embedded into a purpose-built finance platform using proprietary technology and expertise.


Planful addresses these challenges with Predict. It automates the discovery of anomalies and missing data, projects sales and budgets, pressure-tests assumptions, and drastically simplifies and accelerates planning processes while improving accuracy. It enhances financial data understanding to improve seasonality assumptions, spot potential errors early, and reduce review cycles.


Integrations


Planful offers various built-in integrations to easily connect data streams into the system, some of which are as follows:


  • Google Drive and Ads

  • Quickbooks

  • Oracle

  • Workday

  • Sage Intacct

  • Workiva

  • Salesforce

  • Acumatica


Pros and Cons Based on Users’ Reviews


G2 Reviews of Planful

Planful has a 4.3 out of 5-star review on G2.


Planful was named a leader in multiple reports targeting financial performance management and marketing performance management solutions for large companies.


Planful ranked well within many reports targeting enterprise-level companies, being named a Leader in the Enterprise Grid Report for Budgeting and Forecasting and a High Performer in the Enterprise Grid Report for Corporate Performance Management.


Planful G2 Pros


A standout feature of Planful is its ability to break down data in various ways. Users can customize Planful to fit their specific business needs by creating relevant dimensions. Adding new users and tailoring their accounts to their unique use cases is also straightforward. The integration with Excel through the Spotlight plugin is particularly appreciated, as it offers a sense of familiarity to the end-users, making the transition seamless.


Planful has revolutionized the forecasting process from an Excel-based task into a seamless, real-time operation with greater accuracy. It has significantly sped up forecasting timelines, provided transactional-level comparisons of actuals versus forecasts, and reduced manual report creation and distribution.


Key highlights include:

  • Quick response time for help

  • Above average customer service

  • Seamless integration with ERPs and other platforms

  • Easily understood row sets and column sets within reporting

  • Helpful out-of-the-box AI functionality

  • Comprehensive customer education on new releases

  • Developments aimed at addressing customer dislikes directly


Planful has significantly improved financial awareness among money managers, making them more budget-conscious. This tool has led to unprecedented accuracy in budget forecasts. The daily, weekly, and monthly use of Planful by money managers has solved numerous issues, especially in reporting.


Planful's reporting capabilities allow for hierarchical breakdowns across various sites, saving hours in repetitive task management. Its drill-down capabilities help identify issues at specific accounts or locations, and the automated report generation is a major time-saver during budget processes.


The platform has streamlined information gathering and maintenance, particularly for HRIS system data integration. While this can be challenging, the extra data supports more complex forecasting and reporting tasks. The collaboration feature, despite some limitations, is enhanced by an effective commenting system, provided rules of use are well-established.


Planful G2 Cons


  • Efficiently integrating ERP data into Planful remains challenging in comparison to other FP&A software. Recent announcements about developing solutions to connect external data sources more seamlessly are promising and have been well-received by the team.

  • Some elements of Planful still seem unintuitive, according to a G2 user. For instance, in Workforce Planning, filters and sorts reset when fields are clicked and then returned. Additionally, every process appears to require updates in several areas of Planful; updating the hierarchy and adding a department requires running another process for the changes to be reflected in Workforce Planning. Such issues result in frustration, as too many features do not automate communication with each other. The ability to easily archive old scenarios for future access is another area needing improvement. While annual cleanup processes exist, a folder storage system within Planful would simplify archiving significantly. Moreover, there should be a method allowing all users to view dashboards at a higher entity level without enabling drill-through access. This feature would help users see departmental budget trends versus actuals, irrespective of their hierarchy level.

  • Drop-down menus also present inefficiencies. When a new location is added to the hierarchy, drop-downs in every report must be updated. A global drop-down menu update would ensure all reports using that menu are updated accordingly. Additionally, drop-downs should interconnect, allowing for faster and easier report filtering.

  • The task manager lacks complexity and a recurring option, and trainers sometimes struggle to address questions adequately. Data connection requires middleware transformation before absorption into Planful. Despite these challenges, Spotlight XL EBR remains an invaluable part of Host Analytics, complementing the online reporting tool. Surprisingly, its potential appears underutilized by many.

  • Workforce planning lacks custom formula capabilities, forcing the use of prebuilt logic, which complicates complex calculations like union tiers and renegotiations. The platform proves less versatile for planning by vendor or dimensions with numerous individual lines. Complicated revenue streams requiring many pieces are difficult to manage, as there is no efficient tool to import current Excel setups into Planful, leading to lengthy setup times spent on replication instead of feature learning or report improvement.


Trustradius Reviews of Planful


Planful Trustradius Pros


Based on Trustradius reviews, the Planful Cloud EPM Suite excels at consolidating actual, forecast, and budget data into a single platform. Loading new data into the application is straightforward, enabling the timely generation of reports and analyses for senior leadership on a monthly or quarterly basis. 


The Planful Spotlight Excel-Add In Tool is particularly beneficial for users who prefer building and creating reports in Excel, although the core application's reporting module is user-friendly and easy to navigate. The team frequently utilizes the Excel add-in tool to develop more complex reports, leveraging their familiarity with Excel-based reporting.


Planful has significantly reduced the time required to close each month. Data is quickly loaded using the data load rule, and the consolidations module is used to input any adjusting journal entries. This streamlined process allows an immediate transition to financial reporting and analysis.


During the month-end close process, Planful proves to be indispensable by facilitating the consolidation of financials. The financial reporting feature is intuitive, and once users understand the column and row sets, creating custom reports becomes effortless.


Forecasting via the Structured Planning module is easy to set up, with the added advantage that once templates are completed, they can be updated very easily.


Planful Trustradius Cons


Some users wished for more ease of use with creating reports, noting at times it seemed more practical to export data to Excel for modifications due to certain frustrating formatting nuances. Additionally, they felt that the dashboards could benefit from more functionality, as limitations like the inability to copy more than one report or an entire folder were particularly frustrating. 


The setup and security attributes were described as confusing and tricky to get right, while the password reset feature was ineffective; however, this issue was mitigated by the recent setup of single sign-on. The application's speed sometimes lagged, especially around year-end. 


Users also pointed out a need for better integration of workforce planning with the financial planning environment and for more straightforward methods to plan or load Capex projections. They appreciated ongoing efforts to address these areas through dynamic planning training and product developments, which had mitigated several areas of concern.


Moreover, it was noted that the support for multiple currency calculations and IFRS accounting but desired enhancements like the ability to inactivate old data dimensions and improve certain reporting functions, such as the ability to expand or collapse all lines easily and update formula exceptions automatically when information is revised.


Concerns were raised about automatic sandbox refreshes initiated by Planful, which also copied any Boomi/integration connections. Lastly, the User mentioned a desire for additional API connectors to facilitate data integration and the ability to transfer sandbox tests to the production environment effectively.


Planful Pricing


Planful does not have pricing on its website and does customized quotes only. Customers reviewed it as more cost friendly than other similar FP&A software like Anaplan or Workday Adaptive Planning, but more than software such as Datarails or Vena.


Planful also tends to require multi year pricing.


Planful competitors


After analyzing many customer reviews, Planful appears to be the best fit for enterprise businesses with an established finance team. While some small and midsize businesses do have success with Planful, there are better FP&A software options for small businesses.

Planful has a 4.3 out of 5 star rating on G2, which is quite good, but slightly lower than similar competitors Vena (4.6) and Datarails (4.7).



294 views

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page