Business Budgeting

18 Small Business Budgeting Software & Tools: A Buyer's Guide

Jun 3, 2022

Budgeting, like dieting, sucks — it requires both emotional commitment and self-restraint. But to run a successful business, you need to plan, forecast and manage a budget. 📝

Luckily, these days, you don’t have to do it by yourself — there are plenty of business budgeting software tools 🛠 available to save you time and administrative work. Here at Relay 🏦 , we help small businesses manage their finances through better banking. And after seeing all the issues that can arise with small business budgeting first-hand, we decided to put together this guide.

First things first, before we dive into our recommendations for the best business budgeting software, we need to understand what it is. 👇

What is business budgeting software?

Business budgeting software are tools that help businesses to plan, forecast and manage their finances. Budgeting tools range from simple spreadsheets and dashboards to highly sophisticated planning tools that auto-generate financial statements (for example, profit and loss statements, balance sheets and cash flow reports). 

Whether your budgeting tool is jam-packed with features or just the basics, its most important job is to actually help you save time ⏰ and stick to your business budget.   

And here’s what you can expect when you implement a proper budgeting tool in your business. 👇

Benefits of budgeting software

Businesses create budgets to eliminate wasteful spending and save money. An effective business budgeting software will help you:  

  • Plan and forecast budgets throughout your business 

  • Integrate your planning and budgeting with reporting dashboards 

  • Manage cash flow and operations 

  • Improve transparency and collaboration of financial planning with your team 

  • Inform business strategy and decision-making with financial data 

  • Stay on track of financial goals

According to data from a report by Clutch, 50% of small businesses did not create an official budget in 2020, which suggests that some business owners see budgets as unnecessary or cumbersome. 😓 But one way to make budgeting easier is by using business budgeting software to help ease your workflow. 

Business budgeting tools at a glance 

Here are all the platforms and categories you’ll find in this guide: 

🏦 Best business budgeting software integrated with banking

💻 Best budgeting spreadsheet tools

🧮 Best accounting software with budgeting features

📊 Best for small business financial planning & analysis (FP&A)

🔮 Best for cash flow management and forecasting

🏢 Best enterprise budgeting software 

Best business budgeting software & tools

We’ve organized this guide into six different categories based on use-cases to compare and contrast all the budgeting tools available.

Let’s dive in! 👇

🏦 Best business budgeting integrated into banking 

First up, we have some banking solutions with budgeting features. Not all banking platforms are built with budgeting in mind, but when they are, you get greater clarity into your cashflow and finances. 🔍

1.  Relay: Best business banking with built-in budget management 

Relay - Small Business Budgeting Software

Relay is the best solution for actually sticking to your budget once you've figured out what you want it to be. You’ll first want to use one of the other tools on our list to actually create your business budget — and then you can carry out your plan inside Relay.

It’s also the best bank for envelope budgeting, with up to 20 free, no-fee checking accounts to help you compartmentalize your cash into multiple categories. This budgeting method gives you clarity into your spending, helps identify when you’re overspending, and keeps you accountable to the budget you’ve set. 

Pros

  • Compartmentalize your money with up to 20 free, no-fee checking accounts, each with its own unique account and routing numbers

  • See how much money you have remaining in each expense category at a glance 

  • Automate payments by scheduling transactions between accounts via internal transfers, ACH payments or wires

  • Track employee or departmental spending with up to 50 virtual or physical debit Mastercards 

  • Direct bank feed integration with your accounting software, QuickBooks Online and Xero

Cons

  • No built-in reporting dashboards 

  • You’ll still need another budgeting software to create your budget 

Pricing 

  • Relay Standard: Free

  • Relay Pro: $30 per business per month

2. Spendesk: Best for card expense management 

Spendesk - Small Business Budgeting Software

 Spendesk may seem like a bank, but they’re actually a spend management software that partners with an FDIC-insured state bank to deliver debit and credit card services. 

Spendesk offers seven built-in solutions: company cards, employee expense management, invoice management, spend control and reporting, accounting automation and budget planning.

Pros

  • Unlimited company cards with built in spending controls to track employee expenses 

  • Automate payments and approvals for business expenses 

Cons

  • Need to upgrade to Essentials for multi-step approval flows, expenses categories tracking and advanced control rules on cards

  • Need to upgrade to Scale plan for Spending dashboard reporting

Pricing 

  • Available upon request, but there are three tiers: Starter, Essentials and Scale

💻 Best budgeting spreadsheets tools

Spreadsheets have been a staple in the finance industry way before business budgeting software came into existence. In fact, the first financial spreadsheet was created by Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston back in 1979. 

The simplicity and number of available free spreadsheets make them a popular choice for business owners. Here are some of our favorites. 

3. Microsoft Excel:  Most widely used business budgeting software 

Microsoft Excel - Small Business Budgeting Software

We can’t have a business budgeting software guide without talking about the gold standard of the financial industry — Microsoft Excel. It’s so popular that 59% of businesses reported using Excel as their primary budgeting tool in 2019. Though the number has declined since, it still remains essential to many businesses. And for good reason — it’s extremely flexible.

Pros

  • Highly customizable budgeting templates and charts

  • Large number of functions available for data analysis, planning and financial modeling

  • Integrates seamlessly with the rest of Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 suite of tools 

  • Wide selection of budgeting templates available 

  • Collaboration with team members through mobile, desktop and web

Cons

  • Steep learning curve 

  • Easy to make mistakes in the spreadsheet or for formulas to break  

Pricing 

  • $159.99 for one device OR

  • $6.99/month for up to 6 users  

4. Google Sheets: Best FREE business budgeting software for businesses of any size 

Google Sheets - Small Business Budgeting Software

Google Sheets is undoubtedly one of the most popular tools for budgeting. Not only is it free, but it is incredibly flexible, powerful and collaborative, making it a good tool for businesses of all sizes. 

Pros

  • FREE, no software needed 

  • Built for collaboration with team members

  • Wide selection of budgeting templates available 

  • Seamlessly connects with other Google apps 

  • Can export as raw data and import into any other system 

Cons

  • Fewer functions than Microsoft Excel 

Pricing 

  • Free, but if you want to buy Google Workspace, plans start as low as $7.80 per user per month 

5. Tiller: Best enhanced spreadsheet

Tiller - Small Business Budgeting Software

If you love Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets but want something more advanced, there’s Tiller. It takes all of your information — your bank accounts, credit cards and investment accounts — and feeds them directly into a Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets file. From there, you can design your own spreadsheets or use their pre-made budgeting templates. 

Pros

  • Auto-pulls and categorizes transactions from the bank and syncs them to Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel 

  • Prebuilt templates for budgeting, expense tracking

  • Create custom auto-categorization rules 

  • Set up daily emails summarizing your transactions 

  • Bank-grade encryption  

Cons

  • No advanced financial planning features  

Pricing

  • 30-day free trial, then $79/year

🧮 Best accounting software with budgeting bundled in

If you’re already using an accounting software with robust features and don’t want to adopt a new tool, then chances are you don’t need to expand your tech stack. Many of today’s industry standard accounting softwares have budgeting features already bundled in. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones.

6. Xero: Best starter budgeting software

Xero - Small Business Budgeting Software

While Xero is better known as a cloud accounting software, it comes with some built-in budgeting features suitable for small businesses. If you already use Xero as your accounting software of choice and are just looking for some basic budgeting functionality without having to adopt anything new, then Xero is a great option. 

Pros

  • Generate budget reports 

  • Track your finances with accurate accounting reports

  • Robust integration partners 

  • Unlimited users 

Cons

  • Not ideal for larger businesses 

  • Limited reporting features

Pricing 

  • Early: $12

  • Growing: $34

  • Established: $65

7.  QuickBooks Online: Most robust all-in-one accounting and budgeting tool 

QuickBooks Online - Small Business Budgeting Software

QuickBooks Online (QBO) is a small business accounting and budgeting tool used by small business owners and their accountants all over the world. QBO is one of the most robust accounting tools in the market and comes packed with budgeting features including: expense tracking, budget plans and custom reporting. 

Pros

  • All-in-one accounting and budgeting tool 

  • Multiple users for ease of collaboration 

  • Robust integration partners 

  • As an industry standard tool, there are a lot of resources available online and experts who can advise on QBO

Cons 

  • Steep learning curve for people without formal training in finance 

  • Requires additional time to set up 

Pricing

  • Simple Start plan: $15/month

  • Essentials plan: $30/month

  • Plus plan (unlimited features): $40/month 

8.  Freshbooks: Best for project-based budget tracking 

Freshbooks - Small Business Budgeting Software

Freshbooks is a relatively newer player in the cloud accounting space, but like many of its direct competitors, the platform also offers basic business budgeting tools for small businesses. With FreshBooks, you can create and view estimates and manage your budget efficiently with their expense tracking system.  

Freshbooks is ideal for businesses that conduct project-based work. Not only can you create customized budgets for each project, but you can also track time, project performance and profitability within the software.  

Pros

  • Track expenses and generate income statements, balance sheets and other financial statements easily 

  • Sophisticated project-based reporting and time tracking 

  • Easy to use 

Cons

  • Limited features for complex enterprise budgeting 

Pricing 

  • Lite Plan: $15

  • Plus Plan: $25

  • Premium Plan: $50  

9. GnuCash: Best open-source tool  

GnuCash - Small Business Budgeting Software

If you’re just looking for a free, open source tool and don’t care about the aesthetics of the program, then GnuCash’s financial management solution is for you. 

Pros

  • Wide range of financial planning tools: budgeting, financial statements and accounting features

  • Open-source 

  • Fully customizable

  • FREE 

Cons

  • Steep learning curve

  • Unintuitive, not user friendly 

Pricing 

  • Free 

📊 Best Small business financial planning & analysis (FP&A) software 

Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) tools help companies perform planning, forecasting, reporting and analysis that support key business decisions. FP&A relies heavily on data and reporting, which is exactly what these next few tools specialize in. 

10. Budgeto: Best basic business budgeting software

Budgeto - Small Business Budgeting Software

Budgeto is a financial management platform used by small businesses to create annual budgets, financial projections and reports and manage cash flow.  

Pros

  • Budgeting features include: financial reporting and analysis, forecasting and projections 

  • Can import data from QuickBooks Online or Xero

Cons

  • No CSV import of data available or auto-save feature 

  • Lack of more advanced features as tool is still relatively new 

Pricing 

  • 14-day free trial

  • Basic plan: $25/month and options to a max of $45/month 

11. You Need a Budget: Best beginner tool for financial planning  

You Need A Budget (YNAB) - Small Business Budgeting Software

If you’re creating your first budget and have no idea where to start, then You Need A Budget (YNAB) is the app for you. YNAB is easy to set up, syncs with all your bank and credit card accounts and will guide you through the process of creating your first budget.

Pros

  • Create financial data reports based on real-time data 

  • Track, manage and pay off business-related credit card debt

  • Budget anytime, anywhere with the mobile app  

  • Intuitive and easy to use app  

Cons

  • YNAB was initially built with personal budgeting in mind, so business features may be limited

Pricing 

  • Free 34 day trial 

  • $84/year for full version 

12. LivePlan: Best for automatic financial reports  

LivePlan - Small Business Budgeting Software

Not confident with your financial knowledge? Do you hate spreadsheets? If so, then LivePlan may be the perfect budgeting software for you.  

LivePlan takes you step-by-step through the process of creating the powerful financial reports you need for your business plan — simply fill out all the questions they ask you and their system will do the rest. 

Pros

  • Automatic financial statements

  • Full financial forecast 

  • Database of over 500+ sample financial reports

Cons

  • Need to upgrade to sync to QBO or Xero

Pricing 

  • Standard: $15/month

  • Premium: $30/month 

🔮 Small business cash flow and forecasting 

Cash flow and forecasting software is used to plan financial resources that are needed to support business activities in the future. This type of software allows companies to estimate future expenses and revenues across different departments. 

13. Float: Best for visual forecasting and scenario planning  

Float - Small Business Budgeting Software

Float is a visual forecasting and budget management software that helps to provide more clarity to your company’s budgets and cash flow. 

Pros

  • Visual reporting helps bring clarity to financial reporting 

  • Budgeting features include: cash flow forecasting, expense tracking and business budgeting 

  • Integrates seamlessly with QBO and Xero

  • Float expert available for consultation  

Cons

  • Not ideal for day-to-day or week-to-week forecasting

  • Pricing can get expensive 

Pricing

  • 14 day free trial 

  • Essential: $59

  • Premium: $99

  • Enterprise: $199  

14.  PlanGuru: Best for forecasting 

PlanGuru - Small Business Budgeting Software

PlanGuru is a business budgeting tool focused on budgeting, forecasting and strategic planning. With features such as cash flow projections, debt modeling and financial ratios, you can easily budget and plan a decade into the future.

Pros

  • Budget and forecast up to 10 years

  • Automatically create financial statements including cash flow statements, balance sheets and financial ratios 

  • Compatible with QB, QBO, Xero or Excel  

Cons

  • Imports only 5 years of data 

Pricing 

  • $99/month + $29/ additional user 

15.  Scoro: Best for agencies and professional service firms 

Scoro - Small Business Budgeting Software

Scoro combines budgeting features with other tools to manage your entire company in one system. You can also manage expenses and resources, analyze financial data, and manage project budgets all in one dashboard. This, combined with its project management tools, makes Scoro perfect for agencies and professional service firms that work on a project-based model.

Pros

  • Combines tools for budgeting, CRM and project management into an all in one business solution to access financial information 

  • Budgeting features include: budget planning and forecasting, financial reports and analysis, KPI dashboard and project-based budgets 

Cons

  • Built for agencies and consultancies, so may not be ideal for other business types 

  • Limitations with sales pipeline forecasting 

Pricing 

  • 14-days free trial

  • $26 to $37 per user per month depending on requirements  

🏢 Best enterprise budgeting solutions

If your business is growing and you need budgeting software that has a bit more customization, then these enterprise solutions may be what you’re looking for.

16.  Workday Adaptive Planning: Best tool for comprehensive financial planning and management 

Workday Adaptive Planning - Small Business Budgeting Software

Workday Adaptive Planning is an enterprise planning software solution designed for businesses of all sizes.

This software makes consolidating any number of spreadsheets and other sources of data a breeze. You can organize, plan, model, budget, and easily analyze your financial data once it’s in Workday.

Pros

  • Comprehensive budgeting and forecasting tools including revenue management, capital management, expense management and financial statements 

  • Easy to produce balance sheet and cash flow data with a few clicks

  • Visual spreadsheets and presentation dashboards 

  • Syncs with excel  

Cons

  • Extremely robust features, so there may be a bit of a learning curve

  • Ideal for larger businesses

  • Can be very costly 

Pricing 

  • Pricing available upon request 

17. Cube: Best budgeting software with ERP integration 

Cube Software - Small Business Budgeting Software

Cube provides a 360-degree view of business finances with tools for data management, reporting, analysis, planning and modeling. For companies that have a CRM and an ERP, Cube can be that tech stack connecter that provides a single source of truth for all your data.   

Pros

  • Pull data from CRM, ERP and other tech stacks into an intelligent spreadsheet reader

  • Features include: financial planning, analysis and reporting, performance management 

  • Provides an auto trail of data so you can see who, when and why a change was made

  • Collaborate seamlessly across departments  

Cons

  • Can be very costly 

  • Ideal for larger businesses with an ERP  

Pricing 

  • Essential: $850/month

  • Premium: $1850/month

  • Custom: available upon request 

18. Prophix: Best for corporate performance management

Prophix - Small Business Budgeting Software

Prophix is a corporate performance management (CPM) software that provides organizations with tools to gather, analyze and report their financial data. Prophix automates data collection, providing businesses with consistent, accurate and real-time information that can be used for daily, monthly or long-term financial planning.

Pros

  • Capable of complex financial reporting and analytics

  • Clean interface with clear visuals in the form of graphs and charts

  • Can drill down into data to a fine granular level

  • Provides financial workflow automation 

  • In-house implementation team supports onboarding 

  • Seamless data integration with Microsoft 365  

  • Strong encryption

Cons

  • Can be very costly 

  • Ideal for larger businesses

  • Robust features that can be overwhelming at times 

Pricing 

  • Available upon request 

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And there you have it, a full buyer’s guide for the best small business budgeting software! You should now have a much better understanding of your available options and be one step closer to making the best decision for your business. 

And if you’re looking for an online banking solution with built-in budgeting features, make sure to check out Relay — you can sign up here in just 10 minutes!