Budgeting software: The best ones for 2023 (2024)

Running a small business entails a myriad of challenges that necessitate careful planning and effective tools for optimised financial management. Budgeting software can strengthen the firm’s financial backbone by automating financial analysis and monitoring, improving process efficiencies, and putting them on the road to achieving long-term success.

Budgeting software: The best ones for 2023 (1)

Business budgeting software: Definition

Business budgeting software is a specialised tool that assists firms in designing, managing, and analysing their financial budgets. It enables businesses to plan their asset allocation, track their cash inflows and outflows, evaluate their financial performance, and make informed decisions.

Budgeting software offers several functionalities, including forecasting, financial reporting, cash flow management, and variance analysis. By streamlining the budgeting process, this software solutionimproves data accuracy and yields real-time insights that facilitate effective financial planning and better organisational control—a prized requirement for small and mid-sized firms.

Which software is best to use to create a budget?

Considering the various drawbacks of using Excel for budgeting, firms should explore dedicated budgeting software that provides a more streamlined and automated money-planning experience. Below is a quick rundown of the best budgeting software as per the specific needs of a company.

If you need to start making cash management in Excel : Download our free resource :

Budgeting software: The best ones for 2023 (2)

Best affordable budgeting apps: Quickbooks and Xero

By offering comprehensive financial management tools that can be easily integrated with other business functions, in conjunction with user-friendly interfaces and robust reporting capabilities, both Quickbooks and Xero make excellent budgeting software options.

Best budgeting tools for businesses scaling up: LucaNet, Cube, and Vena

With their sophisticated features ranging from budget creation, multi-dimensional forecasting, and scenario planning to analysis, these software options are known for their flexibility, scalability, and ability to handle complex budgeting requirements, making them suitable for growing organisations.

Best personal finance software: Quicken and Mint

Due to their ability to manage personal finances effectively, Quicken and Mint are both preferred choices for personal budgeting. Being easy to navigate, Mint enables individuals to connect financial accounts, track income and expenses effortlessly, set savings goals, and receive bill payment alerts. Quicken takes it a notch up with its comprehensive features, empowering individuals to better manage their capital.

Best budgeting software for small businesses

While some business owners prefer using spreadsheets or Google Sheets to plan their budgeting process, they can be prone to errors and offer limited functionality. Budgeting software minimises the need for manual effort and simplifies financial planning and management by automating budgeting functions. Below, we describe the top six budgeting software for small businesses.

Xero: best budget tracker for companies seeking more affordable solutions

Xero is an excellent accounting software that offers robust budgeting features. With its budget manager feature, companies can quickly create budgets, which can then be used to undertake a performance analysis across a specified period.

Its expense management feature allows companies to easily track and monitor all their expenses, spot patterns and trends, and create a forecast budget with personalised assumptions. Enterprises can also import their own budgets into this cloud-based platform.

Xero also provides a budget summary and budget variance reports. It comes with a 30-day free trial period, and you can later switch to any of its four price plans, ranging from £7 to £24.5 per month. While this budgeting software is easily scalable, its forecasting functionality is limited.

Intuit Quickbooks: overall best budget software solution

Quickbooks is another popular accounting software among small businesses that use it for budgeting, invoicing, and financial management. It helps its users create budgets on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis by automatically pre-filling data from the current/previous year.

Quickbooks provides for easy classification, where budgets can be split by location, customer, and class. Like Xero, it provides a simplified budget overview and a variance report that details and compares the actual performance to the budgeted amounts.

Hosted on the cloud, Quickbooks enables easy on-the-go access. Companies can try it out for free for 30 days and then choose from any of their three-tier plans based on their requirements.

LucaNet: best budget tracking tool

Lucanet’s budgeting software offers dynamic budget planning on an annual, quarterly, and monthly basis. Manufacturing businesses will find it suitable, as it even affords sub-planning on a cost unit and cost centre basis.

Other features include automatic, rules-that, integrated P&L, and liquidity planning. It seamlessly integrates with over 250 systems and even provides scenario-based forecasting.

It comes with a user-friendly interface that provides a holistic view of your financial position and can be easily scaled in sync with your operational needs. Businesses can try out its demo version before opting for full-scale implementation.

Cube: best budgeting tool for companies looking to scale

Cube offers an intuitive, spreadsheet-native platform that effortlessly integrates with Google Sheets and Excel. Its budgeting software automates the consolidation of data from multiple sources.

Cube’s software offering includes customisable dashboards, audit trails, and user-based controls. It allows for multi-scenario analysis, where you can model your budget based on different assumptions.

Cube supports multiple currencies, making financial reporting in different currencies easier. It provides actionable, real-time insights that your finance teams can use for better forecasting. The only downside is that it is prohibitively priced.

You may also like the article Cash flow forecasting software: The 3 best ones for 2023

Vena: best forecasting software for large-scale enterprises

Vena is another Excel-based budgeting software option for mid-sized businesses. It includes a central database that pulls in data from multiple sources and automates workflow processes with its intuitive, visual tools.

Vena offers standardised Excel templates for planning operating expenses, revenues, and other accounting items. It has a very flexible approach to budgeting, allowing for bottom-up and top-down budgeting. Companies can also perform zero-based and driver-based budgeting.

Its cutting-edge scenario modelling feature empowers companies to take an agile approach to the budget, evaluating how a particular driver change impacts their forecasts on a rolling basis. Vena assures high data security, and firms can experience a free guided tour of Vena’s platform.

AccountsIQ: best budgeting tool for companies looking for customisation

AccountsIQ is a cloud-based business budgeting software in the UK thatincorporates your budgets into your accounting software, including Xero, Quickbooks, Sage 200, and more, for budget checking. It aims to help companies minimise their spending by providing operational insights and variance reporting.

Firms can check for existing fund balances before raising commitments and unduly impacting their budgets. AccountsIQ provides a group reporting feature where it tracks and highlights variances at the group level by comparing rolled-up actuals to their budgeted numbers.

Businesses can also design budgets at GL and BI code levels for better insights into sub-level budgeting of cost centres, departments, projects, and more. AccountsIQ has a provision for custom pricing in the case of specific requirements.

Factors to consider before choosing a business budgeting software

Below, we outline a few factors to bear in mind before you select budgeting software for your business.

  • Business needs:Your choice is largely determined by your needs: how complex is your business model? Are you looking for extensive scenario analysis? Do you have plans for scaling up? This plays a big role in whether you can work with simple budgeting software like Xero and Quickbooks or more elaborate ones like Vena and Cube.

  • Features: Basic budgeting software automates expense management, cash flow forecasting,and financial reporting. If your needs are complex, look for additional features, such as multi-user collaborative tools and seamless integration into several ERP platforms. Also, explore their customer support services.

  • Ease of use:You must look for software that has a user-friendly interface and is easily navigable. While demo versions and free trials are a good place to start, you must also look at user reviews for long-term user experience.

  • Cost:While it may be tempting to choose free budgeting software, it may not be an ideal choice. Instead, make a cost-benefit analysis, comparing software providers on their subscription charges and additional add-on costs with their features.

Is Excel good for budgeting?

With over 69% and 92% of finance teams using spreadsheets on a daily and monthly basis, respectively, Excel continues to be a popular budgeting tool among small organisations. Below we list some of the versatile features that make it a good choice for budgeting.

  • Customisable: Excel empowers finance teams to tailor their budget layout and structure per their needs by splitting data across spreadsheets, tabs, or budget categories.
  • Built-in formulas: Excel affords complex calculation capabilities through its wide range of formulas and functions, including financial projections.
  • Data visualisation: By providing visual representations, such as graphs and charts, of your budget data, Excel helps companies gain actionable insights into their operations, especially with regard to performance tracking.
  • Scenario planning: Excel enables organisations to explore different financial scenarios and the impact of their decisions on their financial budgets, aiding further adjustments, and realignment.

However, despite being an effective budgeting solution, Excel has some drawbacks, making it unsuitable for certain companies:

  • High error rate: Excel’s lack of full automation requires companies to manually undertake certain tasks, such as importing bank account transactions, which are prone to human error. Moreover, budgeting using Excel is inefficient when a large amount of data is involved.
  • Steep learning curve: Excel can be complex for users unfamiliar with spreadsheets, as creating and customising budget templates, writing formulas and macros, and utilising other advanced features require some practice.
  • Limited collaboration: Excel does not allow for simultaneous collaboration with multiple users, making it a poor choice for enterprises, as they often rely on several departments to combine and reconcile financial data.
  • Data security concerns: While Excel files can be password protected, they only enable a single password shared across users and are generally stored on a local network, making them more susceptible to data loss and security breaches.
  • Analysis limitations: Excel’s data visualisation tools lack advanced reporting and analysis features, which may be important to mid to large-sized businesses.

Key Takeaway

Budgeting software equips businesses with all the necessary tools to automate their forecasting, monitor and minimise their expenses, and streamline their cash flows, thus, improving efficiency and optimising financial management.

Budgeting software: The best ones for 2023 (3)

Agicap is the perfect tool to anticipate payment difficulties!

Test it for free 🚀

As an expert in financial management and budgeting software, my extensive knowledge in this field allows me to provide a comprehensive understanding of the concepts discussed in the article.

The article emphasizes the importance of running a small business with careful planning and effective tools for optimized financial management. It introduces budgeting software as a specialized tool that assists firms in designing, managing, and analyzing their financial budgets.

Let's break down the key concepts discussed in the article:

  1. Business Budgeting Software: Definition

    • Business budgeting software is described as a specialized tool that helps firms design, manage, and analyze their financial budgets.
    • It enables businesses to plan asset allocation, track cash inflows and outflows, evaluate financial performance, and make informed decisions.
  2. Functionalities of Budgeting Software

    • The article mentions several functionalities of budgeting software, including forecasting, financial reporting, cash flow management, and variance analysis.
    • Streamlining the budgeting process with this software improves data accuracy and provides real-time insights for effective financial planning and organizational control.
  3. Drawbacks of Using Excel for Budgeting

    • The article suggests exploring dedicated budgeting software instead of using Excel for budgeting due to various drawbacks.
    • Excel is prone to errors and offers limited functionality, prompting the need for more streamlined and automated budgeting solutions.
  4. Best Budgeting Software Options for Different Needs

    • The article categorizes budgeting software options based on specific needs:
      • Best Affordable Budgeting Apps: Quickbooks and Xero
      • Budgeting Tools for Businesses Scaling Up: LucaNet, Cube, and Vena
      • Best Personal Finance Software: Quicken and Mint
      • Best Budgeting Software for Small Businesses: Xero, Intuit Quickbooks, LucaNet, Cube, Vena, and AccountsIQ
  5. Detailed Information on Selected Budgeting Software

    • Each recommended budgeting software (Xero, Intuit Quickbooks, LucaNet, Cube, Vena, and AccountsIQ) is described with its features, functionality, and suitability for different business needs.
  6. Factors to Consider Before Choosing Budgeting Software

    • The article provides guidance on factors to consider when selecting budgeting software, such as business needs, features, ease of use, and cost.
  7. Analysis of Excel for Budgeting

    • Excel is acknowledged as a popular budgeting tool, but the article highlights its drawbacks, including a high error rate, a steep learning curve, limited collaboration, data security concerns, and analysis limitations.
  8. Key Takeaway

    • Budgeting software is presented as a crucial tool for businesses to automate forecasting, monitor and minimize expenses, streamline cash flows, and optimize financial management.

By combining my expertise with the information provided in the article, I can offer valuable insights and guidance on choosing the most suitable budgeting software based on individual business requirements.

Budgeting software: The best ones for 2023 (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Merrill Bechtelar CPA

Last Updated:

Views: 5833

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Merrill Bechtelar CPA

Birthday: 1996-05-19

Address: Apt. 114 873 White Lodge, Libbyfurt, CA 93006

Phone: +5983010455207

Job: Legacy Representative

Hobby: Blacksmithing, Urban exploration, Sudoku, Slacklining, Creative writing, Community, Letterboxing

Introduction: My name is Merrill Bechtelar CPA, I am a clean, agreeable, glorious, magnificent, witty, enchanting, comfortable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.