Ditching Excel: A Guide to Fundraising and Business Modeling with Runway and Puzzle

Helen Chong

How Runway’s integration with Puzzle bridges the gap between real-time accounting data and FP&A, enhancing the superpower of financial insights

Planning. Preparing. Calculating. Projecting. Budgeting.

Whatever you call it, the premise is the same. Whether you are a first-time startup or a second-time founder, planning, forecasting, and analyzing your business are critical initiatives in setting your company for success.  

There’s a reason why Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."


This famous quote emphasizes the importance of thorough planning and preparation before taking action. Investing the time and effort in analyzing and forecasting can significantly improve the effectiveness and outcome of any business plan or growth campaign. FP&A (financial planning and analysis) plays a vital role in any company, whether you are a new startup, SMB, or enterprise organization. All companies must plan. 

Proper planning and analysis enable data-driven decision-making, especially for startups closely monitoring burn and runway. 

Budgeting, forecasting, and analysis bring fresh insights to the company and help startups navigate business complexities. Historically, most FP&A are done in spreadsheets or complex ERP systems like Tableau or Power BI (which still require exporting to spreadsheets). But complicated Excel models, macros, and linked cells have always been manual and problematic. 

The Pitfalls of Using Excel for Financial Modeling and Runway Calculations 

While spreadsheets are versatile tools, using them for critical financial tasks like calculating burn, running, and performing complicated financial modeling isn’t always the best idea for startups. 

Here's why.

Risk of Errors

Given financial models' complex formulas and links, one small mistake could ripple into significant inaccuracies, distorting the entire budget or model.


Managing financials in Excel is highly time-consuming due to all the manual updates. Cross-checking and auditing all your formulas is required even when cells are linked. Often operating in dynamic environments, startups need real-time, accurate data - something Excel doesn’t efficiently provide.

Lack of Collaboration

Excel doesn't provide a collaborative platform, making it hard for teams to work together simultaneously. This could lead to version control issues and increase the risk of using outdated data.

Lack of integration

Excel files are often isolated, meaning integrating financial models with real-world data from accounting platforms and payroll systems is challenging, which decreases efficiency.

Limited Scalability

As the business and transaction volume grows, the Excel sheets can become unwieldy and difficult to manage. Scaling operations and financial analysis in such a situation becomes increasingly difficult.

This is where Runway and Puzzle come in.

The Future of FP&A and Business Modeling: Runway and Puzzle 

Runway is a new user-friendly financial planning tool that makes modeling, reporting, and understanding business insights easy and beautiful. Puzzle is real-time generative accounting software with AI-powered capabilities. Accounting looks backward, and FP&A looks forward.

Integrating these two systems is a superpower that can map out a financial roadmap of success for any startup. 

With Runway, say goodbye to the days you'd scramble to pull together actuals from various sources every month. 

Runways bring your balance sheet, income statement, and cash activity report directly from Puzzle.

Since Puzzle is updated in real-time, you can feel confident in knowing that your actual numbers that go into any financial model are also real-time.

When you integrate your Puzzle account with Runway, your financials are synced to Runway’s platform in real-time. This integration automatically updates Runway with the most up-to-date accounting data, allowing for more efficient and streamlined financial planning, modeling, and analysis. This integration mitigates errors, saves time, and enhances decision-making.

Running Towards Fun Financial Planning with Runway

Budgeting, forecasting, and analysis become a breeze with Runway and Puzzle. Not only does Runway integrate with Puzzle, but you can also sync your HR system (Rippling), CRM (HubSpot), and other data warehouse tools. This ensures your forecasts and plans stay fresh and up-to-speed with the latest figures, all on autopilot. 

Here’s how Runway revolutionizes financial planning, forecasting, business modeling, scenario planning, fundraising, and reporting. 

Use business model formulas everybody will understand.

Can’t remember an Excel problem? No problem. Create formulas even mere mortals can understand. Runway models boast a simplicity typically 50x greater than Excel, making scalability and tracing values an absolute walk in the park.

Create reports in one source of truth.

Take things up a notch with Runway's exclusive feature, Plans. Get a crystal clear understanding of what's driving changes in your numbers, capturing essential business context that no spreadsheet could ever dream of - since everything is linked. With Plans, you can play around to your heart's content with assumptions, headcount, and timing using a super intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Say goodbye to pulling up different spreadsheets, fiddling with cell linking, or fixing broken macros errors.

Scenario plan with ease

With Runway, comparing scenarios is second nature—forget about cloning sheets and tabs. Effortlessly weigh different plans and results to zero in on the perfect strategy, propelling you toward those lofty targets. Runway Copilot has your back, too, whipping up scenarios at breakneck speed. Simply type a prompt and witness the magic as Runway cooks up potent plans fuelled by a rich mix of your model and real-time info from your go-to business apps.

Make numbers easy to understand

Are you getting ready for the big board meeting or need investor reporting? Instead of stealing away your product designer to help you design a report (their time is too precious!), use Runway to set up a live, beautiful report. Whip up dazzling charts, crisp tables, and engaging text in the blink of an eye. And don't worry; you're in the driver's seat when deciding who gets to see what. To make things even more exciting, you can embed videos and live content from around the web. Add a touch of drama, layer it with context, and create a captivating story for your stakeholders.

Data is important. The ability to get accurate data and put that data into flexible models, scenarios, and forecasts is essential.
Like Dasha Maggio, Partner and Head of Founder Success at Felicis, says, “Knowing your numbers is fundamental to figuring out how to turn strategy, capital, people, and inputs into something that will ultimately deliver your vision.”

Puzzle and Runway share a mission: making business insights easier to create and understand with real-time data. Using Puzzle as your accounting software and Runway as your FP&A platform simplifies your business operations, enables smarter decisions, and creates stronger teams without waiting weeks for the numbers to finalize. 

Want to build a real-time model without Excel? Sign up for Puzzle and sync your data to Runway

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Helen Chong
Growth @ Puzzle

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