Recurring billing is no longer confined to meal service kits or monthly subscriptions to newspapers in today’s world. Companies across a wide range of industries are turning to more flexible billing models, often finding that the transition can be tricky, requiring dedicated staff and the appropriate software to manage accounts.
Many of these companies end up in the market for subscription management software that can handle the smooth running of operations. However, few are equipped with a comprehensive checklist of features that their new software should include. Without an appropriate list of features, many find themselves investing in solutions that don’t fit the bill.
Subscription management software features can vary widely across platforms. It’s essential to fully understand which features your company needs if you intend to scale operations. This blog will fully explore the necessary features you should look for in your recurring billing software.
First, what is subscription management software?
Subscription management software (or recurring billing software) allows companies to implement complex subscription billing models effectively. This type of software has a wide range of features that enables companies to scale their subscription services through automating billing and invoicing, managing subscriber contracts, and facilitating comprehensive reporting and audits.
8 essential subscription management software features
1. Customizable reports and analytics in a centralized environment
Subscriber data is crucial for your company’s financial health. Any software you choose to invest in must be fully equipped with a wide range of recurring revenue and forecasting reports. You should look for cloud-based solutions that allow you to centralize these reports and analytics so that key decision-makers can access the information they need in real time from any device.
2. Built to manage revenue recognition and deferrals for subscriptions
One of the most complex aspects of subscription management is revenue recognition and deferrals. It’s essential to invest in software that can automate these processes across all contracts so that your team doesn’t sink time into managing these manually. For a comprehensive guide to revenue recognition for subscription billing, read this blog.
3. Comprehensive recurring billing and pricing management
Customers have come to expect options when paying for their subscriptions. To remain competitive, companies need to implement both annual and monthly billing options. You may also find yourself experimenting with different pricing models until you find the right fit for your product. The software you select should be flexible when it comes to managing recurring billing and pricing management.
4. Customizable billing options for unique customers and scenarios
Particularly when it comes to SaaS companies that may create custom bundling for their features, the software you choose must enable you to implement contracts and billing unique to your customer needs. Some software will only offer a few billing templates, so be sure to check that the platform allows for flexible pricing, whatever your subscription billing strategy might be.
Recommended read: Choosing the right subscription pricing strategy to grow your company
5. Subscription management software should enable compliance
Not all software is created equal, and one of the significant differentiators you should look out for is features that enable compliance. No solution can guarantee compliance with accounting standards like ASC 606, but they should provide the tools you need to facilitate compliance with accounting standards. It’s likely that the list of features will mention revenue recognition, ASC 606, or otherwise indicated awareness of tax and compliance requirements. If you do not see this mentioned in the list of features, it’s unlikely that the software will be audit-friendly.
6. Allows customers to change pricing plan or pause and resume subscriptions easily
Subscribers are used to changing their subscriptions regularly. They often require the ability to pause their billing or upgrade to a new tier on short notice. To provide a competitive service, you will need subscription management software that enables the smooth migration of subscription plans at the whim of your subscribers. If your software does not have this feature, you may find yourself inundated with manual tweaks to contracts and billing each month. Not only is this frustrating for your team, but it may result in a poor customer experience.
7. Seamlessly handles discounts, promotions and coupons
It’s quite common for subscription-based companies to offer promotions, discounts, or coupons, so software must manage price reductions effectively. Look for solutions that can quickly implement and monitor promotions like these so that you do not end up struggling to run time-sensitive marketing campaigns down the line.
8. Easy to make bulk updates to pricing
Price adjustments are an integral part of doing business, and occasionally you will need to make a bulk update to pricing. This feature is handy for usage-based billing, where rates may change across your customer base. In these situations, you need to effectively update contracts and billing and often in a short period of time. Doing this manually for a large customer base might prove impossible without recruiting a larger team, so it is wise to invest in software highlighting this particular feature.