Budgeting and CPM solutions are crucial for companies that want to forecast, plan, and manage finance and accounting processes. Planful and Vena Solutions are two popular midmarket financial planning and analysis platforms that can help businesses make faster and more strategic decisions.
Each platform has its own distinctive features, advantages, and cons. For example, while Planful can connect multiple systems in the cloud and consolidate reports more robustly, Vena is one of the few native Excel planning platforms.
So what are the differences between Planful vs Vena Solutions, and which might fit your business better? Let’s go through each of these in detail. You might find that neither Planful nor Vena are ideal for your small to midsized company, and a third alternative, OnPlan, is a better fit.
Planful, formerly known as Host Analytics, is a financial planning and analysis cloud platform. Its capabilities include financial consolidations, dynamic operational planning, budgeting, visual analytics, and reporting. The platform uses pre-built templates and allows users to create their own to meet their specific financial, capital, and workforce planning needs. The tool can also connect data from multiple systems and automate labor-intensive activities in a cloud environment. Planful was founded in 2000 in the United States and acquired by Private Equity firm Vector Capital in 2019.
Vena is a planning software solution that allows users to track, measure, and analyze data from different accounts. Vena has one distinctive characteristic: it connects to Excel to track, plan, and analyze information, which makes this platform a popular choice for many users transitioning from spreadsheets. Vena was founded in 2011 in Canada.
Both Planful and Vena aim to reduce manual processes. Both platforms use templates and analytics to help users make smarter financial decisions and are popular with businesses of different sizes. Vena and Planful can accelerate expense reporting, track execution performance, reduce errors, run automated update requests, and visualize data and performance metrics. Let’s look closer at the different features of Planful and Vena Solutions and how they stack up against one another.
Both Planful and Vena target their services toward mid-sized and larger companies. Looking at publicly available data on customer size, Planful has more enterprise users while Vena has more mid-size customers as a fraction of its customer base. Overall, medium to large businesses can benefit more from the platforms’ features to measure, learn from their performance, and plan for the future.
Planful is suitable for a variety of financial and planning activities, including forecasting, budgeting, and cash management. In addition, users can use Planful for entity consolidation and reporting, incorporating multiple entities and currencies. It’s essential, however, to set the solution up properly straight from implementation to automate reporting and make all modules run more effectively.
Although both platforms can help businesses reduce their time closing month-end cycles and creating reports, clients depend less on legacy solutions when using Vena. Vena has one significant advantage over Planful: Because it’s Excel-based, business users can benefit from the familiar interface and functionalities of the latter.
Both Vena and Planful offer good business Intelligence tools and functionality. While Planful has good consolidation options and allows for complex capacity planning, budgeting, and marketing reports, Vena has an easy-to-use and familiar interface integrated with Excel. Planful rates are slightly better for turning data into actionable insights.
Both solutions provide cloud-based access. Reporting in Planful is aided by its “slice and dice” tools for data. However, its UI can sometimes feel inconsistent across different modules, and dynamic planning has a slightly steeper learning curve.
Vena users like its interface: Microsoft Excel. New users feel comfortable. As long as your dataset isn’t too big, you don’t have too many integrations, multiple monitors, and you’re not running on a Mac or mobile device — users report usability issues with each of these, which are unfortunately quite common.
Modeling, data, and user management are all essential components when it comes to any performance management system.
Planful has robust reporting capabilities, automated dashboards, and several options for outputting information. For example, report collections and scheduled distribution can help users easily visualize progress. In addition, Planful planning templates can be combined with rolling forecasts and time tracking to make reporting more powerful. Planful is also more appropriate when you need to consolidate and report on various companies or currencies. Monthly forecasts and budget vs forecasting analysis are also accessible with Planful, especially if you want to look at data from different dimensions such as companies, locations, and departments.
One of Vena’s advantages over Planful is that reporting is very easy to use and allows for interesting discoveries. Vena also facilitates distributing monthly reports to staff using the same dashboard for workflows and Report Books. You only need to set these up once to get good project insight, and the system automatically processes them. Vena can also display data organized by region, division, period, etc. The reporting and consolidation modules are straightforward to use, provided users have set things up correctly during implementation. However, Vena is not as powerful when it comes to showing customer data in the client interface. For example, having a large number of customers can hinder the ability to sort them in the interface. Individual invoices also require a separate search.
Planful can aggregate financial and non-financial information using a single platform. This can help organizations centralize their data while using the program as a single ‘source of truth.’ The platform is suitable for consolidating a large number of financial entities.
Vena uses structured planning templates, which can be combined with rolling forecasts to cut down the time required to make tweaks. It also has a good embedded analytics platform. As a result, the tool is suitable for budgeting, salary planning, and forecasting processes. Administrators don’t need to keep track of things manually, which is a significant advantage.
Planful gives users a good level of privacy, although you might need to navigate multiple screens to make sure you are granting access to specific users. Vena allows businesses to restrict user permissions. Both tools allow for uncomplicated collaboration between different functional and operational teams. In terms of flexibility in Planful vs Vena, both tools show an adequate level of adaptability and cloud connectivity for budgeting software.
Planful provides data rules and translation tables to work with, for example, payroll software, Microsoft Access, CRM, and other software. These have enough flexibility to let users load data from multiple systems. In addition, Planful has direct integration with some ERP systems. The platform also provides an add-in to transition from Excel. This particular feature makes the solution a viable option for people who want to get out of Excel.
Vena lets you upload data directly from your accounting system. In some cases, it’s as simple as downloading a file and re-uploading it to the platform, which analyzes and manipulates the data automatically. Vena has good data load rules and translation tables, allowing the system to work flexibly with various software integrations. On the other hand, Vena restricts Spotlight in Powerpoint to direct queries. For example, users can’t run variance calculations. There is limited integration and support for BI tools, particularly beyond Power BI. In addition, there aren’t that many API integrations to do real-time data transfer, either. In short, the tool lacks some backend integrations and is more focused on different, independent modules that developers probably worked on separately.
Users have reported that Planful has a dedicated and knowledgeable customer support team. They have good follow-up and tend to incorporate user feedback into improving their products. Many users have mentioned Vena has a good customer user experience too, with well-informed representatives.
If your company or business is looking for a robust financial planning and reporting system, it’s worth considering the trade-offs and benefits of Planful vs Vena. However, if you’re looking for a powerful platform that unifies data collection for all financial data points and metrics, OnPlan might be better suited to your business than either Vena or Planful.
OnPlan is a fast and flexible FP&A platform. It has powerful financial planning, budgeting, and forecasting capabilities, in addition to several integrations, execution processes, and collaboration features. Spreadsheet-based solutions like Vena can be familiar and flexible but also slow. And apps like Planful can be a little limited in what they can offer. OnPlan delivers the best of both.
One of OnPlan’s most significant advantages over the two analyzed competitors is that you can access powerful visualization, integration, and collaboration tools for quantitative analysis without sacrificing flexibility. For example, you can use the Excel formulas and syntax you are familiar with while creating new what-if scenarios, drilling into variances, and instantly generating meaningful reports. Collaboration is also made easier with OnPlan thanks to its granular permission control and care for sensitive data.
While Vena solutions are integrated with Excel, OnPlan can also work with tools like Google Sheets, NetSuite, SalesForce, Bamboo HR, BigQuery, Quickbook, Xero, Sage, and many other applications (here’s the full list). And while Planful’s reporting and consolidation tools are capable, OnPlan simplifies the interface and modularity to provide a consistent, powerful experience.
If your business has a financial system that does not include reporting tools, Vena is a well-suited budgeting software to transition from Excel. Vena solutions can also consolidate multiple entities from different ERP platforms and is good at driving collaboration between various departments to align teams and creating good financial reports. Although a step above spreadsheets for project planning, and overall stable and performant, Vena is limited in what it can do. Users have also reported low ratings for implementation, training documentation webinars, and usability.
Planful supports more complicated formulas and can produce more complex reports, forecasts, and budgets. Consolidation can take a fraction of the time it would take to do it manually, and ad-hoc reporting is easy. However, the platform’s multiple modules can sometimes feel disconnected, and their functionality is uneven. User security control is also not precisely centralized, with users having to go through multiple screens to ensure they can grant the correct access. Users have registered lower ratings for Planful’s mobile capabilities, BI standard reporting, and analytics.
OnPlan is an all in one solution. It has all the simplicity of an app with a spreadsheet’s familiarity, making complex weekly processes much easier to manage. As a result, OnPlan’s customers have reported improved accuracy in their reporting and better decision-making than those using Vera solutions or Planful. That’s why both medium-sized and large enterprises have chosen OnPlan for their financial planning and analysis.
To make a decision between Planful vs Vena, you should weigh the pros and cons and trade-offs of both platforms for your spend management. It’s worth considering other options that may be an even better fit, like OnPlan.