Pros & Cons of Vena: Analysis of a Leading Budgeting Software

What are the pros and cons of Vena?
The pros and cons of Vena lie in its powerful native integration with Excel while providing a compact set of solutions for overall financial planning and analysis. You can seamlessly forecast useful insights integral for business strategy, implement a system for efficient and transparent data consolidation, approval, and reporting, as well as roll out efficient process and project management. However, there is room for improvement in terms of shortening learning curves for users and offering mobile support. Nevertheless, Vena offers a competitive budgeting solution for businesses of any size.

How efficient and organized your company can be gleaned from the way your teams handle the budgeting and reporting season. Is there an apparent state of panic among them during these times? Or is it a picture of harmony where teams share, collaborate and generate data on demand?

No company can ever realize its fullest potential without sound, efficient, and organized financial planning and analysis. While traditionally a time-consuming, highly manual and risky process that lends itself to common budget forecasting mistakes, budget analysis need not be rigorous. A budgeting software offers a comprehensive array of tools for automation, process management, budget processing, reporting, and more to tide your teams over until the next budgeting period.

In this article, we will take a look at Vena, one of the well-acclaimed budgeting software in the market, particularly its strengths and weaknesses. Instead of sifting through various reviews pinpointing the ups and downs of the software, you can simply read this guide; we have laid down all the most important things about this budgeting solution. After reading this article, you will have a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of Vena, specifically its native Excel integration, automation and version control tools, compact reporting module and some room for improvement.

Getting the right software is, after all, one of the primary benefits of budgeting software, so this article aims to point you to that direction.

Many organizations still adopt manual accounting tools to review their financial health. However, there is an increasing trend in the number of businesses using accounting software. A report by Intuit tells us that around 65% of small businesses in the U.S. are already using cloud accounting and bookkeeping while only 58% of large business use cloud accounting software.  The report also hints that by 2020, more or less, 78% of all U.S.-based companies will have been fully cloud-operational.

Given such a trend, it becomes a necessity for any business of any size to tap the power of this type of software. Not the least, companies are known to use budgeting software for tax management. This is because it provides support in the entire FP&A cycle, from collecting and planning down to modeling and executing. It takes a company-wide effort to strategically reposition the business, greatly improve the bottom line and hit revenue targets. Silos build up in any growing business, and these may hinder the business’ many departments to coordinate and collaborate effectively. Poor team communication and coordination, after all, can lead to compromised data quality, which according to Harvard Business Review, costs the United States $3 trillion a year.  

When choosing an FP&A software for your business, it is important to look at what needs are to be met as well as how it can streamline your workflows. Perhaps, you may need an enterprise-wide software that can handle the complexity of your large business. You might even opt for an industry-specific budgeting software if you are seeking for a solution that can easily monitor and report your business’ health.

Regardless, some functionalities that you may consider when selecting a solution are: usability and user-friendliness, basic and advanced tools for reporting, forecasting, and planning, as well as scalability and storytelling modules.

It is worth noting that while traditional, manual tools can help an organization accomplish its operational and financial requirements, such manualized procedures are prone to human errors. And when it comes to budgeting and planning, you need those numbers true, precise, and error-free.

If you’re scrimping on budget, you may opt to get a small business bookkeeping software that has a basic budget forecasting feature. But if you want to fully realize your company’s financial potential, a budgeting solution should help you out.

Can Vena help fulfill your vision of streamlining and centralizing your budgeting processes and workflows? First, let’s get the big picture of this solution.

What is Vena?

Vena helps redefine how companies across all industry verticals manage their businesses more effectively and efficiently. It offers a compact, user-friendly, and competitive solution composed of a centralized database, basic and advance tools for planning, forecasting, and financial modeling, quick reports on your business’ net worth and other significant indicators, as well as functionalities to automate your workflows and budget processes. It helps break down organizational silos by ensuring that there is a centralized workflow among your various departments, a mechanism for consolidating sheer amounts of data and minimizing multiple versions of truth through controlling modules.

The vendor offers a comprehensive demo at no cost. You can sign up for Vena free demo here.

One thing that sets Vena apart is its native integration with Microsoft Excel. Recognizing the gap that around 84% of companies regress to using Excel after experiencing other similar spreadsheet solutions, it has fully integrated the killer app into Vena’s primary modules. Excel integration gives you a seamless experience to manage books and consolidate reports from various departments. It also helps you spot duplicates and simplify Excel formulas and functionalities. Your FP&A team will be delighted as to how easy it is to navigate around Vena. You get the best of both worlds too: the powerful capabilities of Excel, as well as well-processed data to generate quality insights.

What’s more, Vena promises an intuitive workflow dashboard that makes for streamlined processes and faster cycle times. With its analytical database, native Excel integration, and a flexible and easy-to-use dashboard, you can conveniently and efficiently process, manage, and report your data minus the rigorous procedures.

Here’s a list of some of Vena’s most notable features:

  1. What-if modeling, statistical analysis
  2. Graphical data presentation, modeling, simulation
  3. Performance metrics, Sales trend analysis
  4. Forecasting, Balance Sheet, General Ledger
  5. Income Statements, Profit/Loss Statement
  6. Capital asset planning, Cash management
  7. Consolidation/Roll-up
  8. Project Budgeting
  9. Run Rate Tracking, Version Control
  10. Multi-Company, Multi-Department/Project

Vena Pros & Cons

Data-driven strategic planning

Data from the other departments generate crucial data for you to effectively deploy your resources more efficiently and in a way that drives higher revenues and maximum profitability. Vena features several dashboards consolidating data from CRM, General Ledger, and ERPs to determine conversion rates, profitability, among others.

Among it is a Finance Dashboard where you can readily see various indicators, including Gross Margins by percentage, Cash on Hand, Combined ARR, Customer Acquisition Cost, Months to Recover CAC, and more.

Vena consolidates your financial statements in a snap.

Its Marketing Dashboard helps you predict how every marketing intervention will impact your revenue targets. It generates real-time insights on conversion rates of every marketing channel, tactic, or campaign. Vena gives marketing teams all the data requirements for strategic decision-making and resource allocation. It also features a Sales dashboard that consolidates marketing, financial, and CRM data to provide guidance on forecasted opportunities. Vena lays down how several factors such as pricing, marketing, product line, and more impact your top and bottomline, so you can manage your business better and achieve your sales targets.

Centralized data and version control

Working in the FP&A team of your company, you may have experienced some difficulties with the sheer amount of data that you need to coordinate and consolidate with other teams. With Vena’s centralized database and capability for integrating with any ERP or G/L system, you can ensure integrity in your data by eliminating risk keying errors. Any database can integrate with any data source. A single version of truth is readily available and updated on the cloud. Data is automatically updated from one data entry and ensures that what you have on hand is the latest data, even if you are bombarded with dozens of spreadsheets. Truly, Vena completely automates the process of aggregating, organizing, and consolidating your numbers, lessening human errors and unwanted discrepancies.

Another thing to evaluate is its powerful version control module , which also ensures that you and your team members are looking at the same budget documents. A detailed audit trail helps you track document changes cell-by-cell and revert to previous document versions in a snap. You can also ensure data integrity by controlling permissions and administrators of particular documents.

Native Excel integration

With its strong integration with Excel, you can deliver budget calculations and consolidation without the need for immense training. The interface feels familiar and you will have no difficulties navigating your way to deliver, considering everyone is familiar with MS Excel. Automation, scalability, and user adoption has never been easier with Vena. Of course, there is still a bit of room to grow in terms of providing supplementary training for personnel as to the mastery of this tool.

Visual data storytelling

The solution also gives you various dashboards to harvest powerful data and facilitate sound business strategy.

Vena readily gives you all the insights you need for business strategy. With decision-ready reports, you have access to crucial insights and financial models consolidated from all your data entries. Built-in financial intelligence lets you see data come to life and use it for decision-making. It features a KPI and Executive dashboard that summarizes all insights that top management needs to drive the business forward.

Another powerful tool is its what-if modeling module, which lets you create sandbox environments for top-down and bottom-up modeling. You can select financial and operational drivers and determine its impact on your bottom line while immediately providing a visualized presentation for decision-makers.

Decision-ready reports such as Income Statements and Cash Flow breaking down total expenses and gross margins as well as net income are also quickly generated. Reports are readily-exportable into Excel, PDF, Powerpoint, and Word formats, so you can distribute these on the go.

Automated workflows

Gone are the days when you have to single-handedly delegate tasks to your team. With Vena, you can focus on value-added analysis and accurate data reporting. Vena offers you a process mapping and management tool to take care of all the bottlenecks and workflow issues. Use its process designer module to create process maps and automate all the processes for the entire budget cycle. You can also assign and monitor tasks and utilize automated emails to notify stakeholders you need for particular tasks.

You are also provided with a dashboard that gives you real-time updates on the completion rate of every process step and alerts concerned stakeholders as necessary.

With Vena, you can create process maps to manage the budget processes.

With Vena, you can also automate currency conversion and reconciliations. Generate journal entries without having to regress to previous data.

Future mobile support

Vena fully operates on a web-based platform. All of its key modules and exclusive functionalities are navigated and used on a web interface. While there is no announcement from the vendor as to when it might include mobile support, it would make a remarkable addition to the solution. There is also a strong clamor for better support in Mac devices. This can help top-level management view insights, build financial models, and manage the entire budgeting cycle anytime and anywhere. 

Training support 

Not everyone can fully understand how a tool works the first time around, especially those less tech or web-savvy, which is why it would make a great supporting offer if Vena can produce or offer training support in the form of consultancy or multimedia so users have full capacity to operate Vena.

Does a Vena purchase make sense for your business right now?

Vena offers a powerful set of features for overall budget process management and analysis. If your business has not deployed any cloud-based solution for your FP&A needs, now would be the perfect time to try Vena. Given its premium native integration with Microsoft Excel, you get a tool that is powerful, flexible, and user-friendly.

While it lacks mobile support and supplementary materials and support for learning its more advanced capabilities, it makes up for it through a full-capacity database, polished user interfaces and main dashboards for reporting and insights, and advanced capabilities for streamlining and automating your budget workflows and processes. If you want to try the features at no cost, you can easily do so. Just sign up for Vena free demo here.

Daniel Epstein

By Daniel Epstein

Daniel Epstein is a senior financial research analyst at FinancesOnline and the architect behind our Fintech and ERP content division. His main areas of expertise are blockchain technologies, cryptocurrencies, and the use of biometrics in fintech solutions. His work has been frequently quoted by such publications as Forbes, USA Today, Entrepreneur, and LA Times. With more than 1,800 solutions scrutinized in the last 5 years spent on our team he always prioritized offering readers an unbiased perspective on modern financial technologies.

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