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NetSuite Planning and Budgeting: A Complete Guide 2024

June 7, 2024

For finance teams, annual budgeting can feel like an exercise in futility. As soon as the books are closed, the budgets are out of date. Disruptions throw plans off course, teams get misaligned, and leaders are left guessing how to adjust.

But what if budgeting could move at the pace of business change?

Navigating Financial Precision in an Agile World: The Symbiosis of Agile  Planning and Accurate Budgeting

What if your organization could continuously model the future, pivot plans on a dime, and have teams across departments working in sync?

With NetSuite Planning and Budgeting (NSPB), this agile approach to planning is now possible. NSPB breaks down disconnected planning processes plagued by stale spreadsheets and static cycles.

This post unveils how NSPB transforms planning into a unified, living process that evolves with your business. We’ll explore how NSPB upgrades budgeting from an annual chore to a strategic advantage for finance leaders.

The Need for Agile Planning and Budgeting

Traditional budgeting methodologies often fail to meet the planning needs of today's evolving and dynamic business environment. Annual budgets become outdated, stockpiled departmental plans fall out of sync, and inflexible systems constrain modeling. Some key factors emphasize the need for an agile planning and budgeting solution:

  • Disruptive Forces: Industries are being disrupted by new technologies, competitors, regulations, and changing consumer preferences – planning cycles must accelerate to keep pace.
  • Data Proliferation: More data from more sources provides an opportunity to enhance planning insights if they can be consolidated and analyzed.
  • Rolling Forecasts: Annual budgets are no longer enough – rolling forecasts are needed to adjust plans frequently based on trends.
  • Modeling Scenarios: Leaders need the ability to quickly and flexibly model different scenarios and assess potential impacts.
  • Cross-functional Alignment: Finance, sales, HR, and other teams need shared visibility into integrated plans to align their strategies and operations.

NetSuite is designed from the ground up to support these new dynamics of planning and budgeting.

What is NetSuite Planning and Budgeting?

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting is a cloud-based financial planning and analysis solution natively integrated with NetSuite ERP. It aims to transform organizations' approaches to budgeting, forecasting, and scenario modeling.

Some key capabilities include:

  • Automation of routine planning and consolidation processes to eliminate tedious manual work.
  • Driver-based modeling that allows dynamic plans based on business levers.
  • Flexible modeling of different versions for scenario analysis.
  • Rolling forecasts in addition to annual budgets for continuous planning.
  • Detailed workforce planning and Capex planning.
  • Unified data and processes from NetSuite ERP ensure a single source of truth.
  • Collaborative workflows to engage all stakeholders in the process.
  • Powerful reporting and analytics for insights into performance.

Key Features of NetSuite Planning and Budgeting

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting (NSPB) offers a wide range of capabilities to meet the needs of modern planning. The solution is designed around key pillars:

Unified Planning

NSPB provides a single platform to consolidate all planning activities. By integrating with NetSuite ERP, it ensures a unified data foundation and seamless processes.

  • Tight integration with NetSuite data
  • Unified web interface for all modules
  • Common reporting and analytics

Flexible Modeling

NSPB enables agile planning with driver-based models and scenario analysis. Planning is continuous with rolling forecasts supplementing budgets.

  • Driver-based projections
  • Scenario modeling with versions
  • Rolling forecasts and annual budgets
  • Top-down and bottom-up planning

Financial Planning

Comprehensive financial planning capabilities are provided for P&L, balance sheet, cash flow and more.

  • Detailed financial statement planning
  • Revenue, expense, capital planning
  • Cash management, profitability modeling
  • Workforce planning

Operational Planning

Operational plans across sales, marketing, projects and other areas can be integrated into the financial plan.

  • Sales, marketing, supply chain modules
  • Project and capacity planning
  • Demand planning, inventory optimization
  • Workforce modeling

Reporting and Analytics

Visualize plans and generate insights with reporting and analytics.

  • Custom reports and dashboards
  • Drill-down analysis
  • Variance analysis, contribution analysis

Workforce Planning Capabilities in NSPB

Workforce planning is a key component of NetSuite Planning and Budgeting (NSPB) to align talent strategy with financial and operational plans. The workforce module provides robust technical capabilities for data-driven workforce analytics and planning.

Demand Forecasting

  • Statistical models and algorithms to predict workforce demand based on growth plans, budgets, business drivers
  • API integration with HR systems for current workforce data
  • Customizable modeling of workforce costs, salaries, headcount in financial plans

Supply Analysis

  • Database of employee records to analyze skills, performance, compensation, diversity metrics
  • Succession planning analytics to identify critical roles and internal pipeline
  • Forecasting of attrition, retirements, turnover using predictive analytics

Gap Analysis

  • Automated identification of gaps between projected workforce supply and demand
  • Ability to model talent acquisition scenarios to address gaps
  • Insights on hiring, development needs to meet growth and budget targets

Continuous Planning

  • Rolling forecasts of workforce metrics integrated into financial plans
  • Version control and collaboration for iterative workforce planning
  • Notifications and alerts when key workforce metrics deviate from plans

Benefits of NetSuite Planning

NetSuite provides a unified cloud platform that brings together all elements of enterprise planning, including financials, workforce, projects, and operational planning. Some of the key advantages of NetSuite planning include:

  • Unified Data: As a single source of truth for all business data, NetSuite eliminates fragmented systems and manual assembly of data for planning.
  • Driver-Based Modeling: Planning models can be built based on operational or financial drivers to accurately reflect how the business works.
  • Flexible Scenario Modeling: Leaders can model and compare multiple what-if scenarios to test assumptions across interconnected plans.
  • Rolling Forecasts: Plans can be continually monitored and updated to provide rolling forecasts that supplement annual budgets.
  • Collaboration: Stakeholders across the business can seamlessly collaborate within NetSuite to align their plans.
  • Real-Time Insights: Since NetSuite houses transactional data, plans and reports are always current for rapid insights.
  • Automated Processes: Planning workflows, notifications, approvals and integration can be automated for efficiency.
  • Unified Reporting: Custom reports provide visibility into budgets, forecasts, trends and variances across departments.

NSPB's Flexible Planning Capabilities

NetSuite Planning and Budgeting (NSPB) supports traditional and agile planning methodologies, enabling organizations to choose the approach that best aligns to their business needs and cycles:

Waterfall Budgeting

For sequential annual planning, NSPB facilitates top-down centralized budgeting with fixed time horizons. Finance leaders can set departmental budgets based on historical data and prior assumptions.

Continuous Agile Planning

NSPB empowers driver-based modeling, rolling forecasts, and scenario planning for rapidly evolving plans. Granular short-term projections from business units can be updated iteratively based on emerging trends.

Strategic to Operational

Top leadership strategy cascades down while bottom-up forecasts bubble up. NSPB provides unified planning where executive targets are aligned with department/unit projections in the financial statement.

Cross-functional Insights

While allowing independent functional plans for sales, marketing, HR and more, NSPB interconnects them through a unified financial model showing holistic P&L, balance sheet and cash flow impacts across the organization.

Long-term to Short-term

NSPB consolidates long-term multi-year strategic plans along with quarterly budgets and weekly forecasts in a single system. Long-term goals can be translated into granular short-term projections.

Spreadsheets vs NetSuite

There are many businesses which still rely on spreadsheets for planning and budgeting. However, these manual processes can be very tedious, error-prone, and lack collaboration. Spreadsheets were not designed for the complex, planning that is needed in today’s evolving business landscape.

On the other hand, purpose-built solutions like NetSuite Planning and Budgeting provide superior capabilities for the budgeting process. Here's a look at some of the key differences between spreadsheets and NetSuite:

Conclusion

As a NetSuite partner, we at Seller Universe can guide you on leveraging NetSuite Planning and Budgeting (NSPB) for next-level sales planning. By unifying territory, quota, pipeline and commission planning into NetSuite ERP, NSPB gives your teams the insights they need to drive growth. See how to unlock the full potential of unified sales planning with NSPB. Contact Seller Universe today for more information.

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