What are the 10 tools used by CFOs?

NetSuite and Workday top the list, but which tools are on the rise?

Matt Parsloe | MAY 16, 2024

4 min read

Every CFO needs a suite of financial tools to get the job done. With so many options out there, choosing the right platforms is becoming more and more difficult. 

A lot of CFOs using a certain tool is a good sign. It usually means the product is reliable, has the features CFOs need, and is constantly improving.

To help you out, we’ve analyzed the top CFO tools from 2023 by popularity, and compared them to their position in 2022.

This should give you some clues about what today’s CFOs are looking for in their technology stack.

Multi-feature platforms are the most appealing

Given that the top 3 of NetSuite, Workday and SAP Concur haven’t shifted from their 2022 positions, we can see that CFOs prefer to use platforms that offer multiple features under one roof. And especially ones that provide tech for various disciplines – as NetSuite and Workday also offer HR and CRM capabilities. 

The popularity of NetSuite, Workday and SAP Concur could be down to multiple factors – such as having a large, dedicated support network behind them, and/or robust dedicated financial features.

But, as we predicted in our recent SaaS Purchasing Insights, the appeal of tech consolidation is becoming stronger – with a 10% growth in multi-feature platforms between Q4 2023 and Q1 2024.

Big backing means big gains… is this true?

Perhaps not surprising. More funding from large backers means more resources to improve the product.

Take SAP Concur for example, being a mid-price option and the third most popular product. As a subsidiary of SAP, it gets access to their enormous resources in technical knowledge, marketing and global reach.

This may be why it holds such sway over competitors like Expensify, Navan and TravelPerk, despite being a pricier option than most.

It might also benefit from ‘bundle’ deals when companies bring in the larger SAP suite, as well as being sold separately, to boost its growth.

However, Certinia is backed by the power of Salesforce and they’ve significantly slipped. There are likely to be a few reasons, but the fact they appointed a new CEO in October 2023 is as an indication of a change in direction, which can temporarily slow growth until their new ideas embed.

Cloud solutions are entering the conscious of the CFO

As cloud computing becomes the key pillar of business growth, associated considerations also surface. We’ve talked a lot about how cloud spend optimization can benefit a business, and the 2023 rankings reflect this.

Significant jumps by Tableau and Infor highlight this. Infor – a dedicated cloud solutions platform, and Tableau – a data analytics software offering that is commonly used to crunch cloud data, show that CFOs are increasingly trying to find ways of translating cloud data into their own terminology. And as finance experts, this is likely down to a need to reduce costs.

Data-driven financial planning is a new must-have

Tools like Anaplan and Planful are climbing the charts rapidly (they’ve both jumped 3 spots in the rankings). This indicates an increasing desire to invest in more data-driven financial planning.

These technologies help integrate areas like sales strategies, supply chain management and business-wide finances under one roof, to create a holistic financial planning management system. 

Driving finances away from the traditional siloed spreadsheets and into a consolidated ecosystem helps connect the dots between different and disparate areas of cost and financial management.

In an age of data and cost-consciousness, having every piece of information you need to conduct financial planning robustly and successfully is crucial to keep pace.

Innovations take time to bed in for large-scale companies

Sage has slipped one place from its 2022 ranking, but it is still a major player and big brand in the financial business cloud software space. 

One reason could be that it has just launched a significant new product in Sage AI. Its creation and shipping will have taken time, effort and focus away from other areas, perhaps letting competitors catch up in core areas that are BAU. 

We should see Sage gain in popularity again if Sage AI proves its worth. But, as with any new innovation, this will take time to trickle down the marketplace.

Keep your SaaS spend under control

SaaS costs are rising by an average of 35% year-on-year – thanks to a cocktail of opaque pricing models, rushed renewal processes and vendor pricing increases that are above the line of inflation.

But they don’t have to. With Vertice, you can regain control of your SaaS spend.

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