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How automation helps Saas firms manage uncertainty (VB Live)

Presented by Sage Intaact

Automation is key to understanding the financial position of a SaaS company. It speeds up quote-to-cash and close cycles, frees up cash, improves forecasting, and more. Learn more about harnessing the power of automation for forecasting in this VB Live event.

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Once the final product-market fit is done and dusted, how can a new SaaS company chart its next steps? It requires always knowing your cash and financial position in real-time, says David Appel, head of software and SaaS at Sage Intacct. That demands a single view of the entire customer life cycle and contract life cycle.

The problem? The moving parts move quickly. The data streaming between sales and billing processes is dense and complex. When a company is looking for agility amidst change, it may find that Excel spreadsheets or QuickBooks can’t provide the right information when it is needed. That’s when it’s critical to automate.

“Automating the sales process and billing process empowers companies to forecast further into the future, and more rapidly respond to competitive threats,” Apple says. “When your top competitor makes a move, instead of guessing what to do, you can show your CEO and board your cash and financial positions. Then the team can respond strategically — making acquisitions, reallocating resources, or investing in customer success. It’s a matter of proving not just your financial value, but the value of your business model too.”

Automation has a number of concrete benefits right out of the gate, according to Appeal.

“Companies can get new billing models out in days instead of weeks, cut the time it takes to process a new order invoice down by up to 99 percent,” he explains. “We see them cut days-sales-outstanding (DSO) by half a month to a whole month, which creates a month of operating cash flow. By understanding an entire customer contractual obligation, it’s possible to double the customer lifetime value over time.”

All these new efficiencies help make the customer subscription forecast for the contract term — revenue, cash, and billings — much clearer. A clear customer forecast offers greater confidence in the fundamentals, which is the foundation of your business model when you’re navigating one day at a time.

Appel says the threshold for automation differs for every company. It could be at 200 invoices, 2,000 revenue schedules, needing to consolidate two or more entities, going international, making an acquisition, second and third subscription contract modifications, and many others. But the tipping point will always become clear, very quickly. That’s when it’s most important to be agile, leap into automation, and make sure the company can align and control its choices.

What does that look like in real life? Trying to prove-out the revenue model requires efficient quoting and billing tools. Developing a two-to three-year financial model means trying to understand the revenue, cash, and billing expectations over the customer subscription lifetime. Establishing promising initial unit economics requires SaaS and subscription metrics in a dashboard, and automating quote-to-cash, billing, and expense management in the financial reporting.

In the end, Appel says, all this is a combination of people, process, and technology. The tech stack can only automate a well thought-out process. Hierarchies need to be abolished. Because it’s the customer lifecycle that’s monetized, not one individual order, there’s so much more interdependence across departments.

“Sales has to work with sales ops, revenue ops has to work with finance, and everyone has to work with customer success,” he says. “Everybody involved needs to think about all of this from a single perspective – the customer journey.

Ask yourself: “How do I sense and respond to what my customers value?

Then ask yourself: “How do I drive data-based decision-making across the team?

Knowing the answers to these questions will enable you to deliver the best value in uncertain times.

Registration is free here.

Key takeaways:

  • Seven mistakes to avoid when building an agile B2B subscription billing model
  • Five steps required to align the team on your subscription financial processes
  • Three tips for choosing the technology stack that will help you grow

Speakers:

  • Mike Etheridge, VP Finance, Arena Solutions
  • David Appel, Head, Software and SaaS Vertical, Sage Intacct
  • Stewart Rogers, Analyst At Large, VentureBeat

Source: Read Full Article

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5 steps to scale your SaaS model from early to growth stage (VB Live)

Presented by Sage Intacct

How do SaaS companies scale? Automation is the key. To learn how automation can significantly speed up quote-to-cash cycles and shorten your close cycles, free up cash to make investments, and help increase your valuation with more accurate forecasting, join this VB Live event!

Register here for free.

Subscription models are changing the way most companies do business, bringing with them predictable, recurring revenue and a new way of engaging with customers over the long term. But transitioning your business to a SaaS model also brings with it a wide array of new challenges to tackle, because instead of processing orders, you’re now managing subscriptions, and a lifetime relationship with a customer.

Tracking that kind of data in spreadsheets or even basic accounting systems quickly gets unmanageable, unwieldy, and means you miss a great deal of opportunity, not just for individual customer upselling and cross-selling, but in understanding how all your customer data works together to build a whole picture of your business — and how it can grow over the lifetime of all your customers.

SaaS companies need to truly digitize their financial operations from start to finish, from how they track sales and revenue information for each subscription and subscription plan to how they manage revenue recognition and match invoices and payments, but most importantly, how they track and report performance data over time. That increasingly means automation.

But even just automating standard accounting tasks is a huge asset for any small to medium size business looking to grow and scale. It’s a huge leap from the QuickBooks style bookkeeping solutions that are a great fit for small order-centric businesses. But as you grow, you’ll see invoices and revenue schedules start to ramp up and those smaller solutions struggle to keep up.

It enables more strategic decision-making — to drive efficiencies, improve productivity, significantly lower cost, reduce errors, and improve regulatory compliance.

Automating your quote and contract data means it flows directly and seamlessly into your systems, such as your CRM, billing, and financials. It can also help keep you agile and flexible with your pricing, letting you scale recurring, usage-based, or complex billing without increasing cash consumption.

Automating a single revenue stream throughout the customer lifecycle is also a far simpler way to manage revenue recognition and expense amortization than spreadsheets. And with end-to-end revenue management automated, you are also delivering visibility and understanding of recognized revenue and cash positions to your investors, positively impacting your valuations. You have one source of truth — your financial system.

Real time metrics and reporting make you far more agile in your decision making, and help you reduce budget variances and improve your forecasting, because you always know what your cash position is — so you don’t overspend, invest when the time is right, and can outmaneuver your competition.

Automation brings a huge amount of value for a low investment, helping you improve your business now, and grow and scale into the future. Learn more about how automation can help your business now, position it for the future, and make it more valuable to investors when you register for this VB Live event!

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.

 Key takeaways:

  • 7 mistakes to avoid when automating your B2B subscription billing model
  • The 5 steps required to build your subscription financial processes
  • 3 tips on choosing the technology stack that will help you grow

Speakers:

  • David Appel, Head of Software & SaaS, Sage Intacct
  • Mike Etheridge, VP Finance, Arena Solutions
  • Stewart Rogers, Analyst At Large, VentureBeat

Source: Read Full Article