The Top 5 AI FP&A Tools in 2024

AI FP&A tools are changing everything.

Financial Planning and Analysis has come a long way. The earliest finance professionals spent their days toiling away with a pencil and paper, painstakingly recounting every single debit and credit by hand. A single recording mistake could mean days of backtracking. 

Everything changed in the early eighties, when digital spreadsheets revolutionized the way financial departments operated. In particular, Microsoft Excel gave FP&A professionals the ability to create truly dynamic models, providing an incalculable improvement to their analysis.

Now, as we witness the emergence of AI, FP&A is facing a revolution on par with the move from pencil and paper to Excel. In the words of one finance leader and influencer, Nicolas Boucher: “AI is here to stay and ignoring it would be like ignoring Excel when it was released 38 years ago.”

AI FP&A tools have limitless potential to transform the way finance departments analyze their data:

  • Enhanced forecasting accuracy – By identifying patterns, trends, and correlations, these tools can generate more reliable and precise forecasts, enabling companies to make better-informed decisions.
  • Real-time insights and decision-making AI-Powered tools can automatically update the data in their reports, allowing businesses to monitor their performance and market trends instantly. This empowers workers to make agile decisions and react faster than competitors. 
  • Efficiency – Automated data-processing frees up finance professionals to spend less time on manual, repetitive tasks and focus more on strategic analysis and value-adding work. 

Top 5 AI-based FP&A tools for 2024

Datarails FP&A Genius

Signature Feature: Chat GPT-style chatbot

Since 2015, Datarails software has allowed FP&A departments to keep using the Excel spreadsheets they’ve been working with for years, empowering them with all the features modern financial professionals need, from automation to dynamic dashboards. In March 2023, Datarails announced their breakthrough into the world of AI with FP&A Genius. 

Like Chat GPT, this new tool responds directly to text inputs. It returns accurate and trustworthy answers supported by custom-made graphs from the data.

Benefits of FP&A Genius:

  • Conversational interface – FP&A Genius’s ability to directly interpret questions means the CFO can get answers faster than ever before – no manual manipulation required.
  • Security – Data used by FP&A Genius is always secure and external data is pulled strictly from trusted sources.
  • Custom Visuals – In addition to a text-based answer, FP&A Genius has the ability to create its own dashboards and graphs using the relevant data. 

Planful Predict

Signature Feature: Error detection

Planful is a cloud-based FP&A platform designed to help organizations streamline their financial processes and drive better decision-making. In 2021, they announced the first tool in their Predict suite of AI programs: Predict: Signals. In 2022, they augmented their AI offerings with the introduction of Predict: Projections.

  • Predict: Signals – Planful’s first AI program is intended to spot mistakes in data, formulas, and financial predictions. It flags these errors for FP&A team members to check and fix, helping to eliminate the possibility of human error in projections and reports. 
  • Predict: ProjectionsProjections is the next step in Planful’s adoption of AI. It takes Predict’s functionality a step further by creating forecasts informed by historical data. This allows the projections to be unbiased and informed solely by the data and the AI’s understanding of the variables affecting a firm.

Workday Adaptive Planning

Signature Feature: AI is embedded into the core of the platform

Workday has been serving the business world since 2005. The business and technology landscape today is almost unrecognizable compared to what it was in 2005, so it’s no surprise that Workday prioritizes adaptation. In their effort to evolve alongside the market, Workday emerged as an early adopter of AI functionality, and given the space’s current popularity, they only plan to grow their offerings. 

In addition to the standard modeling and error detection, Workday’s AI and machine learning offers some unique benefits to its users.

Features of Workday’s AI Program:

  • Anonymous Neural Network Analysis  – Workday offers an opt-in program that analyzes users’ actions. Millions of users have signed on, which means Workday AI gets to train and grow using lots of real-world data points. 
  • Built-In Machine Learning – Most other companies keep their data storage and machine learning models separate, requiring an occasionally lengthy data transfer. Workday, however, embeds machine learning into the data store itself, providing for faster and more adaptive modeling.

Anaplan PlanIQ

Signature feature: Forecasting

Anaplan is an enterprise data platform that specializes in business planning. Their recent venture into AI comes in the form of their PlanIQ, which is a paid add-on to the basic Anaplan software. As is their expertise, PlanIQ is designed to help alleviate some of the pain points that come with traditional forecasting, like difficulties in adapting to rapidly changing market data.

Abilities of PlanIQ:

  • Data flexibility: PlanIQ can analyze up to three types of data at once, improving its forecast accuracy and relevance.
  • Amazon Integration: PlanIQ uses Amazon’s intelligent forecasting engine which is backed by their vast machine learning capabilities.
  • Adjusting forecasts: The intelligent engine continuously updates users’ forecasts, helping them keep up with market trends without a long re-forecasting process. 

Cube

Signature Feature: Automatically syncs financial data to spreadsheets

Finally, we have Cube, an FP&A software that automatically syncs your financial data to your spreadsheets. It also offers features like customizable dashboards, one-click drill-down, report templates, source systems integrations, and automated workflows.

Abilities of Cube:

  • Can cut planning cycle time in half  – Save time on this task so you can devote it to other tasks that can’t be automated.
  • Automates repetitive tasks  –  Again, this gives you more time to focus on tasks that AI has yet to master.
  • Unifies all your data in one place on the Cube dashboard

Conclusion

As AI becomes more ubiquitous in the business world, 2024 is shaping up to be the most exciting time to work in FP&A since the advent of spreadsheet software. The five AI FP&A tools listed here represent the best of this new movement, and can help FP&A departments of any size or industry work smarter and more efficiently.