Neely Sachal, Marketing, Synthesis Systems
Selecting the Billing Management Solution for your Subscription Business – Seven Factors to Consider
Selecting a Billing Management System is perhaps one of the most critical decisions one must make for a subscription business. Irrespective of the products or services you offer, billing and invoicing undoubtedly make for a massive chunk of your daily operations as a business. Issuing invoices, accepting payments, and keeping a track of your revenue can be a task. Moreover, the bigger complexity is in managing the customer experience—so this means accurate billing is a must.
So, what is it that makes billing management solutions outrightly indispensable? For starters, they save your money. Secondly, they completely transform your financial operations, streamlining them to a great degree so that you can focus entirely on your product/service quality, delivery, and other core aspects of its management.
Now, as you ask yourself, “How do I select the best billing management solution for my subscription business?” note, that opting for a billing tool without deliberation will not only be detrimental to your everyday workflow but may also bring monetary losses.
Hence, when choosing a billing management solution, there are certain factors that you must consider:
#1 Made for Subscription Business
When we type the keyword “Billing Management System” in Capterra or Gartner Digital Markets, a list of over 300 billing systems appears. But remember—not all of them are for the subscription business. You need to look for a system that is compatible and compliant with the subscription rules. E.g. Can it automate your subscription billing, set billing frequencies, automate proration, retry involuntary failed payments, etc.? Ideally, a subscription billing system should provide you with additional ideas to make your subscription offers even more attractive to the customers.
#2 Data Sharing & Security Compliances
GDPR and the other regulations haven’t made it any easier for subscription businesses to operate. Besides creating invoices, an effective billing management system also stores data (customer names, tax information, contract details, websites and so on) to create client profiles for future use. There might be instances where you need to share this data with others within your organization. Hence, you will need a platform that integrates with your infrastructure and allows real-time data sharing. Since you are working with sensitive information such as the financial details of your clients, the system should safeguard this data using high-level security features while simultaneously ensuring compliance with global regulations.
#3 Customization & Flexibility
The whole point of automating your billing process is to simplify and centralize the process as much as possible. Some platforms offer a variety of tools that can be modified to suit your preferences. Depending upon your priorities, here are a few features worth looking into, and they can be customized as per your requirements:
Invoicing Methods: Recurring subscriptions, annual payments or charging by usage; the platform should be flexible with different billing methods.
Currency Options: If you deal with international clients currently or plan to do so in the future, be sure your billing software supports multiple currencies.
Different Forms of Payment: Not every client prefers credit/debit card payments; keep your options flexible by including other online methods as well.
Financial Reports: If the platform can generate reports or provide an overview, it can save you the hassle of needing to calculate this information yourself; detailed information on pending bills, expenses and income means more transparency.
#4 Put a Tab on Leakages
Smart billing systems must help identify revenue leakage areas and provide you insights to plug them. Maintaining a track of multiple clients and payments is extremely laborious, so the new solution should automatically identify bills past their due date and notify you through alerts accordingly, enabling you to follow up with clients. Some tools are even equipped to send reminders directly to the clients through email or text messaging.
#5 Search Features
When dealing with a client, you might need to fish out a specific invoice pertaining to a particular year or month. How tedious would that be if you had search through your entire database to locate a single invoice? A worthy billing platform will offer advanced search capabilities that enable retrieval of old invoices with ease.
#6 Customer & Software Support
We might not think too much about the importance of support until we actually need it—such as when your billing system goes offline, for example. Adapting to a new billing platform may require some additional efforts initially, as there may be technical snags or trouble with invoicing. Your billing software should offer efficient support services, such as online support and help centers, so that any issues can be resolved swiftly.
#7 Extensible and future proof
Subscription businesses are never stagnant; they change as consumer expectations change. Perhaps that is the reason why subscription businesses are formed. Now, billing systems need to be progress equally as fast to give you an edge in the market. This means that their feature roadmap needs to be ahead of the curve. You will find this out only during a conversation. The point is – do not simple select the billing system for the features offered today. The system needs to be based on the product company’s understanding of subscription businesses along with readiness to invest R&D dollars for progression.
Sounds overwhelming? It is and it is not. The key is understanding your business goals and finding a system that meets your requirements for today and tomorrow. Easier said than done, we know. But, we can help. Talk to our billing system experts and we can guide you to select the right billing system for your business.