NetSuite Planning and Budgeting Guide & Overview

January 14, 2023

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting helps organizations of any size plan, budget, and forecast. Spreadsheets can be useful, but they are inefficient, prone to mistakes, and can't be used to work together. Using NetSuite Planning and Budgeting gives businesses more financial management control, visibility, and collaboration.

In this blog post, we'll talk about how you can use your business and financial data to make better decisions, improve your visibility, and improve how well your business is doing.

What is NetSuite Planning and Budgeting?

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting is a critical element of sound business management. This NetSuite product was built for companies that require a quick and versatile solution for planning and budgeting.

With the NetSuite Planning and Budgeting solution, you can spread your financial planning across the business or to specific departments, use approval workflows, and do modeling and forecasting on the same platform. The solution is based on a powerful calculation engine and in-memory integration, which allow analysis and reporting to happen in real-time.

What's more, the solution integrates with existing tools like Excel. NetSuite Planning and Budgeting can become the central point for adding new users, editing records and data, and doing on-the-fly modeling. The all-in-one, collaborative nature of the solution means your financial staff needs to spend less time on data input and formula maintenance and more time on value-driven strategic analysis.

What problems does NetSuite Planning and Budgeting solve?

Traditional planning and budgeting setups are blighted by several issues. If you want your business to catch up with or surpass your competitors, you need the benefits of NetSuite Planning and Budgeting solution.

Using attachments and spreadsheets shared via email is not good enough when you need lean, transparent, and accurate financial reporting. Merging separate information sources can lead to outdated or inaccurate financial information and a glacial reporting process. Without streamlining your processes, your business can’t respond and adjust in a way that befits a modern organization.

Excel is a great tool. It’s flexible, robust, and perfect for personal productivity. But its limits become clear when you need to show upper management, lenders, or the board a detailed and accurate budget. NetSuite Planning and Budgeting offers businesses an intuitive tool that incorporates financial data from NetSuite financials, eliminating laborious and inefficient manual entry.

With NetSuite Planning and Budgeting, your financial staff can share data, assumptions, and predictions in one place. Using reliable data that portrays an accurate picture of your organization will make your planning and decision-making more streamlined and capable of providing insights that move the needle.

Here are some of the issues with the traditional spreadsheet approach to financial planning that NetSuite Planning and Budgeting solves.

Manual input

Manually inputting data is a drain on time that is better spent elsewhere. Additionally, human error can cause inaccuracies. You can cut out mistakes and reduce overhead by integrating with NetSuite financial data.

Organizational silos

Cloud-based planning and budgeting allow for more collaboration between departments. Your employees can leave comments or give you specific information that will give you a full picture of your business.

Bad decision-making

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting lets you compare your budgets to what actually happened, which gives you insights and helps you make good decisions based on data.

What can you do with NetSuite Planning and Budgeting?

Predictive analysis and financial modeling

Businesses have to deal with changing costs and demands because the business world is always changing. By using better modeling to understand volatility, companies can get better predictions that help them respond to changes in the market. With predictive analysis, forecasts, and "what-if" scenarios, NetSuite Planning and Budgeting helps you reduce risk. This means that no matter what happens, you have a plan.

Better reporting

Making the data clear and easy to understand is at the heart of good reporting. The NetSuite Planning and Budgeting solution is driven by a powerful and customizable user interface with dashboards and reports that are easy to make and understand.

Workforce planning

Deeper collaboration between finances and HR is required to execute efficient workforce planning. If headcount isn't tracked correctly, it can quickly get out of hand and hurt the efficiency of an organization. HR teams need to know who and when to hire; NetSuite Planning and Budgeting helps them utilize the budget in the best way possible.

Combining financial, HR, and payroll data helps you plan salary, headcount, taxes, bonuses, and more. When this data is compiled and easy to access, management can plan and model with more accuracy, leading to better resource utilization that aligns with how you run your business.

Microsoft Office integration

NetSuite is famed for its ability to integrate with your workflows, meaning you can benefit from increased time to value even when you implement a new solution. Industry-standard tools like Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint can easily connect with NetSuite Planning and Business, allowing your staff to use the tools they know but with enhanced financial planning capabilities.

Your organization can keep using Excel to enter and change data, assign users, and model data. Additionally, the NetSuite solution offers support for highly formatted grids within Excel.

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting Features

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting comes with a wide range of features that help modern businesses.

Budgeting and forecasting

The budgeting process is full of mundane, repetitive tasks. As such, it’s a great candidate for automation. NetSuite Planning and Budgeting has workflows that are already set up to track tasks like approvals and reviews while giving your staff time to do other things.

Best-in-class templates pull data from the general ledger, meaning your information is always up-to-date. By incorporating NetSuite financials, you can quickly create real-time forecasts based on trusted data. This process promotes data-driven decision-making, which can help your company advance to the next level.

Scenario modeling

Scenario modeling is an essential element of risk management and business planning. You can plan for any situation with NetSuite Planning and Budgeting, taking into account things like product, expense, location, and customers. You can confidently model complex calculations like spending, headcount, and operational costs.

Operational Expense

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting allows you to connect operating expenses to your financial outcomes. This connectivity makes it possible to get real-time reports based on accurate data. This gives your team the ability to plan based on a good understanding of how expenses relate to results.

Revenue planning

Predicting revenue is possible with the right data, understanding, and modeling. The NetSuite Planning and Budgeting solution helps your business make sure that its sales and income projections are in line with its overall goals and objectives.

Consolidating this information into easy-to-understand dashboards allows you to monitor organizational performance against your assumptions and track its impact on cash flow and balance sheets.

Workforce planning

Employee overheads are the most significant outlay for most organizations. Careful management of these resources is crucial for a lean, efficient business. NetSuite Planning and Budgeting helps to streamline and simplify the process so that you can plan headcount, salary, and other costs.

Creating a better fit between the needs of the workforce and the goals of the company makes sure that the company runs well and frees up resources to invest in other areas.

Trended financial statements

One of the best things about NetSuite Planning and Budgeting is that it makes it easy to see how all of your organization's finances are doing. You can connect your income, balance sheets, and cash flow to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) by integrating and automating your financial planning and statements.

With more accurate financial statements, you can access continuous actual-to-budget trending. This integration is flexible and can be changed to fit your business or industry. It works with both direct and indirect cash flow methods.


Dashboards are the most important tool for helping you see, track, and talk about your planning and budgeting. NetSuite dashboards are simple to build and can be customized to meet your organization's needs. With the drag-and-drop builder, you can make custom web-based reports without having to know much about programming.

Building, authoring, reviewing, and sharing financial reporting has never been easier. Additionally, the system is robust and secure, with excellent collaboration capabilities.

Finally, NetSuite allows management and financial professionals to take a granular approach and drill down to find the information that matters. Having constant intelligence about how your budget and actual finances are aligned means you are prepared to meet changing conditions and adjust where necessary.

Synchronized data

NetSuite ERP data can be synchronized with your Planning and Budgeting solution. By automating this data, you save time and boost accuracy and visibility. As new information about income, finances, and operations is added, they automatically update your budget and forecasts, giving you up-to-the-minute overviews of your business.


As was already said, Excel is still a popular business tool because it is easy to use and very well known. Microsoft’s Smart View for Office allows you to integrate Budgeting and Planning with Excel and other Microsoft Office properties, like Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word.

With these integrations, users can use all of Excel's power and even add formulas and formats by making complex data grids.

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting benefits

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting offers several outstanding benefits that boost financial reporting and productivity.

Boost organizational alignment

By centralizing planning and budgeting, each stakeholder is linked together, reducing reliance on data shared over email or via spreadsheet.

More control

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting gives your organization more control over financial planning. With more connections and real-time information, you can see and know more about how your finances are doing.

Saves time

With NetSuite Planning and Budgeting's built-in templates and workflows, you can cut your planning cycle times by a large amount. In fact, you can reduce your budget cycles by up to 71% compared to spreadsheets. By leveraging the solutions' automation capabilities, you can free up your financial staff and allow them to contribute to value-driven and fulfilling tasks.

Stronger data

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting syncs directly with NetSuite ERP. As a result, your budgets and reports will be populated with real-time data, ensuring better accuracy.

More transparency

Standardized processes and superior collaboration mean shared ownership and responsibility over inputted data.

Better forecasts

As you make forecasts, you can easily compare them to actual results, helping you fine-tune your models for greater accuracy.

Is Planning and Budgeting the right tool for your organization?

Financial Planning and Budgeting has become an essential element of a well-run organization. The demand for quick and accurate reporting has never been greater, but many businesses are stuck using outdated software, disconnected data sources, and manual inputs.

As businesses and markets change, it's not enough to just look at data from the past to predict future growth. Planning, predicting, and setting financial goals requires solid data and modeling to make reliable forecasts. NetSuite Planning and Budgeting makes sense for companies that are growing quickly and don't have good planning, budgeting, and forecasting tools, or for companies that already use NetSuite ERP.

While most businesses start out using spreadsheets, the limitations of this approach become obvious as you scale and grow. Making sound, independent decisions on which to rely becomes more difficult in the absence of genuine business oversight.

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting could be the right fit if your business is still:

  • Exporting data from NetSuite for reports and modeling
  • Manually collecting and inputting revenue data into Excel
  • Spending excessive amounts of time gathering and reporting financial information

Implementing this financial budgeting solution allows you to use past data to make more accurate predictions. With a lot of pre-built reports, dashboard layouts, and other useful templates, you can unlock the power of better forecasting for revenue, expenses, and capital, which makes your business run more smoothly and predictably.

Having the right information means you can make confident decisions that affect the bottom line, outwork your competitors, and improve your overall productivity.

How Seller Universe Can Help

Our experienced NetSuite consultants have helped our clients bring together different departments around a single source of truth over the years. Financial planning and forecasting require up-to-the-minute, robust data. NetSuite Planning helps organizations collect, share, and collaborate on the data that matters to drive better visibility and decisions.

If you feel that your business could benefit from a more accurate picture of the current and future state of its finances, get in touch today to discuss how we can help.

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