It’s not often accounting folks get to wear a cape and be the hero of the story. There just aren’t many fairy tales where a Big 4 CPA turns business operator, revolutionizes the collection process, and gets a day named after them in their hometown. 

But make no mistake, if you see the cash conversion cycle in action – I mean truly RIPPING – it’s nothing short of magic.

Maybe I shouldn’t say “see.” The CCC is something you have to “feel” to truly understand. I experienced its wonders first hand last year. I’m the CFO at a company where we got our Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) down from 55 days to 37 days in the course of a year. That’s an 18 day improvement, or 33%.

And through some shrewd negotiating, we got our Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) up from 35 days to 47

And as a company that doesn’t produce physical widgets, we had no inventory. Our Cash Conversion Cycle was now negative 10 days.

From Tactical Changes to Real Results

What’s the net of it all? As a cash-burning company, this allowed us to hire three more people over the course of 12 months. Those three people happened to be developers, who helped us get new products to market faster, and increase revenues. 

OK, so let’s get tactical. How did we do it?

1. Adjusting Customer Agreements

First, we simply changed our “off the shelf” customer agreement. Every company has one. And it probably hasn’t been updated for… well, a long time.

Instead of 45 days, anyone new was handed a template that had 30-day payment terms penciled in. If they accepted the terms as they were, boom. We were already in the money by 15 days. 

We had long accepted that 45 days was industry standard. It sounds dumb – but we let inertia hold us back. We finally said, damn the torpedoes. Let’s just try it and see who pushes back.

The result: Only 5 out of 20 new customers said something.

The lesson: Change it and see who complains. It’s never as loud as you think. 

2. Encouraging ACH Payments

Next, we tried to convert customers who sent us physical checks each month to put down the pen and start paying us online via ACH.

This was a pain, I’ll admit it. It involved conversing directly with the payables teams of about 50 customers via email and phone. Just finding the right person was often difficult, especially when you are dealing with multinationals who have massive billing departments. I’d say half we sorted without picking up the phone, and the other half we had to have (SCARY) a real-life conversation. 

What I discovered was the person on the other side either kicked it up to their boss, causing a bit more back and forth, or really didn’t care to make a fuss and agreed. We did have to send over a few W-9 forms again (they seemingly always get lost. If you know, you know.) and sign a few papers. But hey, it was well worth it.

After that, we took inventory (no pun intended) of who was left paying us with paper checks (dinosaurs!). In the background, we set up a lockbox run by our bank in a central location in the US. This is a small thing, but we are located in MA and most of our customers were sending checks from their HQ in the Midwest or South. We were able to pick a lockbox closer to them to cut down on mailing “float” by a day.

We notified them that we had set up a lockbox with our bank, and provided them a new address to send the checks to going forward. This also meant we no longer had to go to reception at our shared office space each week, fish through the myriad of envelopes and junk mail, open the letters, and deposit any checks via mobile. This part of the process was a self-inflicted wound we were determined to rectify. 

The days of losing checks were over! I hate to admit it but it does happen. At the time we were receiving more than 50 checks a month, which was a headache to keep track of and scan. It gave back at least half a day per week to a member of our accounting team. 

As luck (or math) would have it, the interest we made on the account from deposits easily made up for the fees associated with the lockbox. Checks were getting deposited on average four days earlier, and cleared our bank account about a day faster than mobile, since it was the bank doing it on our behalf. 

So that’s how we systematically changed our collections.

The result: We dropped 18 days like a bad habit. 

The lesson: Never underestimate the power of small operation changes.

But we didn’t stop there. 

3. Renegotiating Payables for Better Terms

The next element of the cash conversion cycle we attacked was payables. The majority was tied up in software we paid other tech companies for, which we used to either build our product, market our product, or communicate with other employees internally. The good thing about software is that if you are on annual contracts, each year you have a built in chance to “play ball” and renegotiate terms. So upon renewal, I started asking for quarterly payments on every software contract I signed. Most of the reps I spoke to had a much easier time pulling this lever internally than price. We went from having 80% of our contracts billed annually and upfront, to more than half being quarterly… a few even in arrears!

The biggest contract I renegotiated was Salesforce, moving a massive up front annual payment to quarterly payments. This alone was a game changer. A big whack of cash no longer vanished from our account each year. It went in drips.

And remember, interest rates were also rising at the time. So the cash I kept on hand longer collected interest longer which helped pay off the lockbox fees and more. The interest that year helped pay for 4 more developer salaries. But that’s for another day… 

The result: We improved our DPO by 17 days by asking for quarterly payments at renewal.

The lesson: Payment terms are an easier lever to pull than pricing asks in a negotiation.

A Note on Inventory Management

There’s a conspicuous part missing from my CCC story: inventory. You can’t touch the products that my company builds – they’re bits, not bites (or whatever the saying is). But don’t forget that for the majority of companies in the world, managing inventory is a massive headache.

Much like the saying “planes don’t make money on the ground,” you could say that “clothes in a warehouse” or “car parts on a shelf” don’t make money either. I’ve taken some snapshots below of auto and apparel industry cash conversion cycles to give you a peak into who’s winning their CCC battle. The amount of cash tied up in inventory can seriously constrain growth.

I’ve anecdotally heard that some of the major auto suppliers don’t pay their suppliers until stuff has actually been purchased off the shelf. That’s the ultimate test of power in the relationship. 

The result: Growth can actually kill a company with inventory management problems.

The lesson: Inventory management terms are a true test of power in a vendor relationship.

Trust the Process

Overhauling my company’s cash conversion cycle was a journey – not a one time “event.” It was more tactics than strategy. And it wasn’t without its frustrations. For example, some suppliers continued sending paper checks to our old address for five more months. But if you trust the process and remain consistent in your communications and negotiations, it proves out in the numbers. 

My favorite email I sent all year was one to my CEO, congratulating my controller on this overhaul and explaining how it freed up resources for growth. And he agreed – our accounting team was nothing short of heroes.

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What is Quote-to-Cash?

Quote-to-cash refers to the entire end-to-end sales process, starting with product configuration and pricing, quoting, customer acceptance, order fulfillment, and managing revenue.

However, it also includes related functions such as account management, order fulfillment, billing, and accounts receivables. Quote to cash occurs after the early stages of the buyer’s journey (marketing activities, prospect outreach, follow-up calls) have all been completed and has a significant impact on the revenue generated from a sales deal. 

That’s the technical explanation. In layman’s terms, quote-to-cash is just the process in which products and services are packaged to meet a prospect’s needs, the package is given a price, and the total amount is delivered as a “quote” to the prospect. If the prospect accepts the quote, their order gets fulfilled, and the finance team handles all the invoicing, billing, and revenue recognition afterward. 

The word “quote” refers to the initial quote or offer made to a prospect by a member of your sales team, and “cash” refers to the revenue generated from that deal. It is crucial for everything in between those two points in the sales funnel to work like a well-oiled machine.

What is the Quote-to-Order Process?

Quote-to-order is the sale—it describes the initial series of steps that exist within the quote-to-cash process: product configuration and pricing, quoting, customer acceptance, and order fulfillment. Basically, it’s everything that occurs before the finance team gets involved.

An efficient quote-to-order process is critical for sales teams because it is tied directly to their quote turnaround times and potential win rates. 

What are the 3 Layers of Quote to Cash?

With so many moving parts, it’s easier to break up the quote-to-cash-process into three separate layers. Those three layers are as follows:

Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ)

Exactly as its name suggests, CPQ involves:

  • The configuration of a deal.
  • The pricing of its different components.
  • The final quote that a prospect receives.

Contract Management

This step involves drawing up, negotiating, and executing a contract that accurately reflects a proposed deal. A standard sales contract may go through several iterations where contract terms or clauses are redlined and changed. Then, it requires approvals and signatures from all parties before the order can be fulfilled.

Revenue Management

This is the final step in the quote to cash process that occurs after an order has been received, processed, and delivered. The rest of the process is executed by the finance department.

Revenue management can be broken down further into separate functions:

  • Billing: An itemized invoice is sent to the customer for payment.
  • Revenue Recognition: Once payment has been received, revenue must be recognized and recorded to stay GAAP compliant. Finance teams may need advanced FinOps tools to recognize complex and recurring revenue streams that are common in software-as-a-service.
  • Renewals: Revenue generated through customer renewals must be processed, and the renewal must be logged.

Streamlining the Revenue Management Process 

Because quote to cash is connected to the sales process, order data spans CRM, order management, and accounting systems. 

These data silos force finance teams to wait until they receive the correct order data before they can generate invoices. This process gap in “quote to cash” bottlenecks invoicing and collections and causes SaaS companies to fall behind on cash schedules.

However, with advanced FinOps tools, invoicing and other accounting functions are integrated along with sales, fulfillment, and analysis tasks. This means finance teams can access real-time data and generate accurate invoices when an order is modified and placed. By integrating their FinOps software with the rest of the tools involved in the QTC process, finance teams can minimize collection delays and improve forecasting.

How to Improve Your Quote-to-Cash Process

The quote-to-cash process occurs throughout the entire sales cycle, the revenue management process, and is then subject to an analysis afterward to identify improvements. With so much data getting passed around, several key software tools are needed to complete each step.

For proposal creation, CPQ (configure, price, quote) software is the way to go. It helps sales reps explain and price out the features that a client wants. CPQ software can also save a business money by calculating margins alongside calculating the price of a client package.

The same goes for fulfilling client orders correctly. Automated order management systems have records that reveal any changes in the order or agreement that were made during the QTC process.

As for revenue management, Maxio allows finance teams to:

  • Access real-time, integrated data from CRM, order management, and accounting systems.
  • Recognize recurring revenue to stay GAAP compliant.
  • Reference SaaS metrics and order histories to improve forecasting.

Key Quote-to-Cash Metrics to Track

Once you’ve ironed out your Q2C process, you’ll have access to a wealth of data that provides immense visibility into your overall business performance. But rather than getting overwhelmed by the volume of these key SaaS metrics, your company leaders should focus their analysis on three key segments of this data.

Monitoring the data points under these three buckets can quickly uncover operational bottlenecks impacting your company’s cash flow:

Sales Metrics

The first set of KPIs to track comes directly from the CPQ (configure, price, quote) part of the process. Key sales metrics to add to your QTC dashboards and reports include:

  • Quote volume: The number of quotes created over a given period indicates sales rep productivity and efficiency in the CPQ process. Tracking any downward trends helps address these issues proactively.
  • Quote conversion rates: Measures the percentage of quotes that convert into accepted orders. Lower conversion rates suggest product misconfiguration issues or unappealing pricing or discounts.
  • Average quote size: Monitors deal size trends to assess pricing optimization tactics and provide guidance for sales enablement.
  • Sales cycle time: Calculates the average number of days between quote creation to deal closure. Any delays here should warrant further investigation to streamline sales approval processes or contracts.

Order Metrics

The next layer of metrics focuses on order fulfillment and processing statistics:

  • Order fulfillment times: Measures order accuracy and on-time delivery. Higher fulfillment times can directly stall your invoicing volume and cash inflow.
  • Order modifications: Tracks changes to existing orders, which require additional processing time, affecting order accuracy. Too many modifications could indicate issues with your initial CPQ setup or signal that your sales teams are overpromising certain features to paying customers.

Revenue Metrics

Finally, KPIs managed by the finance team should be monitored:

  • Invoice frequency: Evaluates the average number of days from order delivery to invoice generation. Optimizing this metric will improve your visibility into cash flow for new customers.
  • Payment collection times: Highlights delays in converting your invoices to payment which hinders revenue recognition as a result.

Monitoring fluctuations across these sales, order, and revenue metrics derived from the quote-to-cash process serves as leading indicators of potential problems in your company’s underlying systems or workflows.

And while some business leaders may not think these are the most important metrics, creating a dedicated dashboard to monitor the data you gather from your Q2C process can help you uncover hidden revenue that may have gone previously unaccounted for.

For example, tracking and accounting for these metrics can have a massive ripple effect across all of your other key SaaS metrics, including your average revenue, average revenue per user (ARPU), how many new subscribers you’re earning each month, and the net new total revenue your company is bringing in each month.

The Importance of Data and Reporting in SaaS

After you’ve started building datasets based on your Q2C metrics, you’ll quickly learn that this data can’t all be housed in an Excel spreadsheet. Just like any other important set of metrics, you’ll want to house it in a dedicated SaaS reporting tool.

For example, Maxio users can leverage our integrations with Hubspot, Salesforce, and other CRM tools to automatically pull their data into a dedicated reporting dashboard. But there are so many other kinds of reports you build that aren’t related to your Q2C metrics.

Some of the most essential SaaS reports, in our opinion, cover all aspects of running a software business, including your customer lifecycle, customer retention, revenue growth, churn rate, and more. For example, with customer lifecycle reports, you can identify adoption trends, monitor renewals, and build out a brand new startup retention strategy just by understanding your average customer’s usage patterns.

Likewise, you can create granular sales reports to empower your sales leaders to pinpoint high-performing customer segments, refine their outreach, and replicate winning playbooks faster. However, at Maxio, our bread and butter comes from building our robust financial reports—our customers are currently using these to get real-time insights into their monthly recurring revenue (MRR), annual recurring revenue (ARR), customer acquisition costs (CAC), customer lifetime value (LTV) and other mission-critical SaaS metrics.

Not only can these reports improve your company’s decision-making, but they’re crucial for improving your overall business intelligence and keeping key stakeholders informed. Then, once you have these reports built out and ready to go, you can easily turn them into templates, pull in new data sources, create stunning visualizations, and benchmark your company performance month-over-month

In summary, relying on guesswork to measure your SaaS company’s performance can severely limit your executive team’s ability to make the right decisions. They can use your new Q2C data to optimize the productivity of your sales team, streamline the contract approval process, or enable more accurate forecasting of the total number of bookings your company is bringing in each month.

However you look at it, building out dedicated SaaS reports based on your company’s Q2C metrics is a sure way to make better business decisions.

Managing the QTC process in product-led and sales-led SaaS

Your SaaS company’s quote-to-cash process will function differently depending on your go-to-market strategy. Because product-led and sales-led SaaS companies appeal to different market segments, the CPQ, contract management, and revenue management processes will vary drastically.

Not only that, but many SaaS businesses are now using a hybrid of these two GTM strategies to expand into new markets and earn more revenue—what does this mean for your quote-to-cash process?

To bring some clarity to your financial operations, we’ve put together this ebook, How Product-Led Growth is Changing B2B SaaS. In it, you’ll learn:

  • How shifting GTM strategies are impacting financial operations in SaaS
  • Why product-led growth is being adopted so rapidly
  • How to determine if product-led growth is right for you
  • Is Sales-led SaaS dying?
  • How PLG will affect your SaaS business
  • How to introduce a hybrid GTM strategy

Sound interesting? You can download the ebook here.

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How to Scale During a Recession: Winning Strategies from SaaS Leaders

In this playbook, our panel of pricing consultants, fractional CFOs, and SaaS veterans provide actionable strategies and tactics to keep all your teams aligned around a single goal: beating the market downturn.

Get the ebook

As we enter a period of great uncertainty in SaaS, companies are re-examining their payment terms in light of their strategic objectives. Some businesses will look to maximize cash flow by moving from monthly to annual payments, while others may wish to mitigate churn by renewing annual customers on monthly terms.

Regardless of the objective, changes in payment terms can have a significant impact on the business that will not appear on the income statement. For example, a $3.0 million ARR SaaS business growing at 40% and billing annually in advance will collect $4.2 million in the next twelve months, while a SaaS company growing at the same pace but billing monthly will only collect $3.6 million.

Changing payment terms for renewing customers can also significantly, although temporary, impact cash flow. The Billing Change Calculator is designed to easily quantify the cash flow impact of changing billing terms.

Balancing Cash, Retention, and Price

Adjusting payment terms is a balancing act between cash flow timing, customer acquisition, customer retention, and discounts. Annual payments improve cash flow but typically require discounts, while monthly offerings may serve to mitigate churn or streamline adoption but generate less near-term cash.

The downloadable Billing Change Calculator will help answer questions like; if I move 30% of my renewals from annual to monthly payments, and that reduces churn by two percentage points, how will that impact my cash flow? Or, if we shift all new bookings in the coming year to annual payments from only 50% today, and the pre-pay discount is 10%, how will that impact cash?

Payment Term Fundamentals

Payment terms only impact a company’s cash flow to the extent that it’s adding new customers or changing the terms. As such, the impact of payment terms is most pronounced in high-growth companies. Said differently, the annual cash flow from an installed base of customers is the same regardless of whether they pay monthly or annually, and cash flow from the installed base only changes if the terms change. And if you do change the payment terms for renewals, cash flow is only impacted in the first year of the change.

One number to keep in mind when changing payment terms is 46%. When new bookings are spread-out evenly throughout the year, a cohort of annually paying customers will generate 46% more cash than monthly paying customers. This math is also true for the first year after changing renewal payment terms from monthly to annual. 

Conversely, new monthly bookings, or renewals moved from annual to monthly payments, will generate 46% less cash in the first year than if they were annual in advance payments.

The model supporting these percentages is in the Supporting Schedules tab of the Billing Change Calculator.

Variability in Cash Flows

For most SaaS businesses, bookings tend to be lumpy. This may be due to seasonality, quarterly sales cycles, or simply due to large customers. For companies with annual billing, the lumpiness in bookings translates into a lumpiness in cash flow during the year. 

Monthly payment terms, while a disadvantage from a cash flow perspective, have the benefit of eliminating this variability. Cash collection variability, particularly seasonality, can create meaningful operational challenges, which I will discuss in a future post.

The Valuation Impact of Payment Terms

Most SaaS businesses offer a discount for annual payments over monthly ones, which makes intuitive sense to both sides. However, because SaaS businesses trade at a multiple of revenue, and discounts decrease revenue, they have an outsized impact on valuation. The decrease in valuation will equal the annual dollar amount of discounts times the valuation multiple. For a $5.0 million SaaS business offering a 10% discount for annual payments and trading at six times revenue, the valuation reduction is $3.0 million. 

In addition, heavy discounting will lower the company’s growth rate, which will then lower the valuation multiple. 

And one final point; annual payments create deferred revenue, which is deducted from the company’s value in a transaction. This offsets the working capital benefit of advance payments at the time of the transaction.

This is not to suggest that annual discounts are a bad idea. In fact, they may allow the company to avoid raising incremental equity (especially early on), thereby creating significant value for the founders and early investors. I know of one entrepreneur who secured fully paid-in-advance contracts from his first few customers. By doing so, he funded his business without raising a seed or Series A round of equity. 

Scenario Planning Changes in Billing Terms

While billing terms are a powerful operating lever, most SaaS businesses will want to avoid making wholesale changes. There are likely good reasons why the terms were established the way they are now. That said, some businesses will want to increase the flexibility they offer their customers, or they may want to model changes in customer preferences amongst their current payment offerings. 

In addition, some companies may wish to layer usage-based pricing (UBP) models on top of their annual subscription models. UBP is predominately billed monthly and has different cash flow implications.

The Billing Change Calculator is a quick way to model the high-level impact of changes in payment terms on cash flow over the next year. It should be used as a starting point to work through different scenarios and their overall impact on cash. Changes may have a larger or smaller impact than you imagined. Once the billing terms for the upcoming year have been determined, and full cash flow forecast should be built.

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Estimate your cashflow with the SaaS Billing Change Calculator

Quantify the cashflow impact of changing billing terms with this SaaS billing change calculator created by Todd Gardner with SaaS Advisors.

Get the calculator

As we enter a period of great uncertainty in SaaS, companies are re-examining their payment terms.

Some businesses will look to maximize cashflow by moving from monthly to annual payments, while others may wish to mitigate churn by renewing annual customers onto monthly terms. Regardless of your objective, changes in payment terms can have a significant impact on your business that will not appear on the income statement.

The SaaS Billing Change Calculator is designed to easily quantify the cashflow impact of changing billing terms.

In this video, watch Todd Gardner explain how to use this powerful tool to streamline your financial strategy.

Discover the subscription management software your company won’t outgrow.

Subscription payments have become increasingly popular across a wide range of industries, catering to both B2B and B2C markets.

 From streaming services and software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms to membership-based businesses, the subscription model offers convenience for customers and a steady revenue stream for businesses. However, ensuring a seamless subscription payment process requires the right subscription payment service. 

Let’s take a look at how subscription payment services work and provide guidance on selecting the best ones for your business.

What are subscription payments?

Subscription payments are a type of recurring payment that customers make on a regular basis to access a product or service. This payment model has become increasingly popular in the digital age, with the rise of online services and products.

Subscription payments are particularly popular in service-based industries such as SaaS, online courses, and streaming services. In these industries, customers are often looking for ongoing access to a product or service, rather than a one-time purchase. For example, a customer who is learning a new skill through an online course may want ongoing access to the course materials and updates.

Benefits of a subscription payment model

The subscription payment model is becoming increasingly popular among businesses and customers alike. Here’s an overview of how the subscription payment model provides value to both parties.

Streamlining Recurring Payments

One of the main benefits of using a subscription payment service is the ability to streamline the billing and invoicing process for recurring payments. This can save businesses time and money, while also improving customer satisfaction. Here are some ways in which subscription payment services streamline the payment process.

Automated Billing and Invoicing

Subscription payment services automate the process of billing and invoicing, sending out recurring bills and invoices to customers at the appropriate intervals. This eliminates the need for manual billing and invoicing, freeing up time for businesses to focus on other aspects of their operations. Automated billing and invoicing also reduce errors and ensures that payments are processed in a timely manner.

For example, a SaaS company can use a billing platform like Maxio to automate their billing and invoicing and customize the entire process from beginning to end. This would help the company in question save countless hours that would otherwise be spent manually tracking and processing payments.

Reducing Late or Missed Payments

By automating billing and invoicing, a subscription payment service can reduce the likelihood of late or missed payments. Then, with the addition of payment reminders, a business can ensure that their customers have sufficient time to make their payments before they’re due. 

For example, a software company that offers annual subscriptions can use a dunning and collections feature within their subscription payment service to send out payment reminders to their customers a few weeks before their subscription is set to renew. This helps ensure that customers renew their subscriptions on time, avoiding any disruptions to their service.

Customizable Payment Plans

Subscription payment services allow businesses to create customizable payment plans for their customers, offering different subscription options, payment frequencies, and payment methods. 

For example, a SaaS customer may decide they want to switch from monthly billing to annual billing and conduct all transactions via ACH. Using a subscription payment service, the SaaS company can easily fulfill their customers’ requests without any limitations.

Improving the Customer Experience

A subscription payment service enhances the customer experience by providing convenience and flexibility to both customers and companies alike. It allows customers to set up recurring payments, eliminating the need for manual transactions and ensuring uninterrupted access to the desired products or services. Additionally, these services often offer multiple payment options, secure payment processing, and automated billing notifications, creating a seamless and hassle-free experience for customers.

Simplified Payment Process

One of the biggest advantages of subscription payment services is that they simplify the payment process for customers. Instead of having to manually enter their payment details each time they make a payment, customers can store their payment information securely with the subscription service. This eliminates the need for customers to repeatedly enter their payment details, saving time and reducing the likelihood of errors.

Flexible Subscription Options

Subscription payment services allow businesses to offer flexible subscription options to their customers. For example, customers may be able to pause, downgrade, or upgrade their subscription at any time, depending on their needs. This flexibility can help retain customers and increase customer loyalty, as customers are more likely to stick with a service that meets their changing needs over time. Additionally, businesses can use subscription payment services to offer different subscription tiers, each with its own set of features and benefits, to further tailor their offerings to different customer segments.

Easy Subscription Management

Subscription payment services provide businesses with tools for easy subscription management. For example, businesses can view and manage all of their subscriptions in one place, making it easy to add or remove subscriptions, change subscription details, and monitor subscription revenue. This can save businesses time and resources, as they no longer need to manually manage each subscription individually. Additionally, certain subscription payment services like Maxio offer analytics and reporting tools that businesses can use to gain insights into their subscriber base and make data-driven decisions about their offerings.

Consistent Cash Flow Over Time

A subscription payment service improves a business’s cash flow by establishing a predictable and recurring revenue stream. Instead of relying on one-time purchases, businesses can rely on regular subscription payments on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Furthermore, automated billing and payment processing reduces the risk of late or missed payments, ensuring timely and consistent revenue collection.

Predictable Revenue Streams

A subscription payment service provides businesses with a predictable revenue stream through recurring billing. Instead of relying solely on one-time purchases, businesses can secure ongoing revenue by offering subscriptions and recurring payment plans. Customers are billed at regular intervals, such as monthly or annually, ensuring a consistent inflow of revenue. 

This predictability allows businesses to forecast and plan their finances more effectively, improving budgeting, investment decisions, and overall financial stability. By establishing a reliable revenue stream, businesses can better manage cash flow, invest in growth initiatives, and maintain a sustainable operation.

Improved Customer Retention

Offering customers multiple payment methods and options contributes to increased customer retention through convenience and flexibility. By providing a variety of payment options such as credit cards, debit cards, and alternative payment methods, businesses cater to individual customer preferences and make the payment process more convenient. 

This reduces friction during the purchase or renewal process, leading to higher customer satisfaction, decreased churn, and a greater likelihood of customer retention. Additionally, accommodating diverse payment methods ensures that customers can continue using a SaaS product without disruptions, even if their preferred payment method changes or expires.

Improved Financial Planning

Finally, subscription payment services can help improve your financial planning. By providing a predictable revenue stream, you can better forecast your cash flow and plan for future expenses or investments. This can help you make more informed decisions and position your business for long-term success.

How to Choose the Best Recurring Billing Service for Your Company

When it comes to selecting the ideal recurring billing service for your SaaS company, several key attributes should be taken into consideration. These factors will significantly impact your decision-making process, ensuring that you choose the right subscription payment service that aligns with your business needs. 

Let’s explore these considerations to make your selection process easier:

Company size

The size of your company plays a crucial role in determining the most suitable subscription billing service. Small businesses often have specific budget constraints and may require a pricing structure that aligns with their financial capabilities. On the other hand, larger enterprises may have more complex requirements, necessitating a billing solution that can handle higher transaction volumes, provide robust payment processing, and support scalable billing models.

Monthly fees 

The cost associated with the recurring billing service is a vital consideration. Different providers offer various pricing models, including flat monthly fees or a percentage of the transaction value. Small businesses, particularly those with limited revenue streams, may prefer a provider with lower monthly fees to ensure cost-effectiveness. However, it’s important to strike a balance between pricing and the features and integrations offered by the billing service to ensure it meets your specific needs.

Geographic markets

If your SaaS company operates in multiple geographic markets, it’s essential to select a subscription payment service that supports the regions where you do business. Consider whether the billing service provider can process payments in the currencies and payment methods relevant to your target markets. Additionally, ensure they comply with the regulatory requirements of those regions, such as data protection and privacy laws, to avoid any legal complications.

Revenue targets

Your revenue targets and growth plans should influence your choice of a recurring billing service. If you have ambitious revenue goals, you may require a provider that offers advanced features like automated dunning management to minimize churn and maximize revenue recovery. Additionally, consider whether the billing service integrates seamlessly with your e-commerce platform, CRM system, or other business tools that contribute to revenue generation and customer management.

By considering these attributes—company size, monthly fees, geographic markets, and revenue targets—you can make an informed decision when choosing the right recurring billing service for your SaaS company. Take the time to evaluate different providers, their pricing structures, available integrations, and merchant account capabilities, ensuring that the solution aligns with your business objectives and supports your long-term growth.

Best subscription payment services in 2023

Subscription payment services have become increasingly popular in recent years, with businesses of all sizes opting for this model to provide a more predictable revenue stream. However, choosing the right subscription payment service can be a daunting task, given the plethora of options available in the market. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the best subscription payment services available in 2023.

  1. Maxio
  2. Stripe
  3. Paypal
  4. Zuora
  5. Zoho Subscriptions
  6. Chargebee

Each of these subscription payment services has its own unique features and benefits that make them stand out from the crowd.


Maxio, formerly known as Chargify and SaaSOptics, is a financial operations platform built specifically for B2B SaaS companies. With Maxio, you can efficiently manage subscription payments and leverage seamless integrations with your general ledger, CRM, payment providers, and more. Maxio also offers real-time SaaS metrics and analytics reporting so you can benchmark the performance of your individual customer cohorts and business segments.


Stripe is not only a popular payment gateway but can also function as a subscription payment service directly. It offers a user-friendly interface, and extensive payment options (including Apple Pay), and supports recurring billing. Integration with other billing platforms, such as Maxio, allows you to harness the power of both services. While Stripe isn’t built exclusively for the B2B SaaS vertical, it’s a reliable platform that can be used to invoice customers and process payment transactions.


PayPal offers the option to use it directly as a subscription payment service through Braintree Direct, or you can integrate it as a payment gateway with other FinOps platforms, including Maxio, via Braintree. PayPal provides a trusted and widely recognized payment solution, supporting various payment methods like ACH, debit cards, and credit cards. While PayPal’s pricing structure can vary, it offers flexibility and convenience for businesses seeking a versatile billing platform.


Zuora is a common recurring billing option that provides a comprehensive billing platform for businesses. While it may not have the standout features of other services, Zuora offers robust functionality, PCI compliance, and the ability to handle usage-based billing models. However, it’s worth noting that Zuora isn’t custom-built for B2B SaaS, and is mostly an industry-agnostic solution.

Zoho Subscriptions

Zoho Subscriptions is another common recurring billing option suitable for startups and small businesses. It offers a user-friendly interface, CRM integration, and dunning management to minimize revenue leakage. However, some users may find limitations in certain areas, such as the availability of specific payment options or the level of customization.


Chargebee is a widely used recurring billing service that caters to businesses of all sizes. It offers features such as dunning, automated retry logic, and multiple payment options. While Chargebee provides a solid billing solution, it has some limitations in its metrics and reporting capabilities.

Remember that choosing the right subscription payment service depends on your business needs, preferences, and growth goals. You should also take into account factors such as pricing, available integrations, API capabilities, PCI compliance, and the specific features that align with your industry or product type.

Choosing a Subscription Payment Service

Truth be told, there are several solid options on the market for subscription payment service providers. 

What it all comes down to is your business’s needs—are you a D2C company? Do you need ample integrations? Do you need a standalone payments solutions provider or a larger platform that can handle billing, invoicing, and subscription management?

Whatever your needs are, there’s a solution out there for you. At Maxio, we built our platform to serve the needs of B2B SaaS companies that want to simplify their billing, invoicing, payments, reporting, and accounting processes.

Want to see how other B2B SaaS leaders are using Maxio to handle their subscriptions? Schedule a demo to learn more.

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Data-driven Pricing Strategies—Your Guide to B2B SaaS Growth

In this guide, we’ll teach you how to optimize your pricing strategy based on customer insights and analytics. Learn what to measure, how to interpret it, and how to implement changes quickly.

You’ll learn

  • How to select the most relevant metrics to inform your pricing strategy
  • How industry titans like AWS use data-driven pricing to maximize their value capture and build a sustainable competitive advantage
  • Why conducting regular pricing experiments has a long-lasting, positive impact on revenue growth

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Ever been to IKEA?

The IKEA effect is a cognitive bias in which consumers place a disproportionately high value on products they partially created. This helps explain why an early-stage SaaS company might believe that their homegrown billing solution is more effective than it really is. 

Whether you’re succumbing to the IKEA effect or not, as your SaaS company starts to scale, you’ll need to decide whether or not it makes sense to:

1. Develop, maintain, and optimize a SaaS billing solution in-house


2. Invest in a dedicated SaaS billing solution that is built for scale

There are no right or wrong answers here.

In this post, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of building vs. buying a SaaS billing solution, and which option makes the most sense for your company. Let’s taks a look.

The Case for Building a SaaS Billing Platform:

Customization and Control

One of the main advantages of building your own billing platform is the ability to tailor it to your unique business requirements. You have full control over the features, functionality, and user experience. With a custom solution, you can create a billing system that perfectly aligns with your SaaS company’s workflows and branding.

Cost Considerations

Building a billing platform from scratch can potentially be cost-effective, especially if you have a team of skilled developers at your disposal. In the long run, you may save on recurring subscription fees associated with a third-party solution. Additionally, you have the opportunity to scale your platform alongside your business, reducing the risk of outgrowing a pre-existing solution.

The Case for Buying a SaaS Billing Solution:

Time and Speed to Market

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, time is of the essence. Buying a ready-made SaaS billing solution enables you to accelerate your time to market significantly. SaaS billing solutions like Maxio are designed to be implemented quickly, allowing you to focus on other key business initiatives and give time back to your busy development teams.

Expertise and Industry Best Practices

Building a billing platform requires extensive domain knowledge, not only in software development but also in compliance, security, and financial regulations. By purchasing a reputable SaaS billing solution, you gain access to a team of experts who have already navigated these complexities. You can leverage their expertise and industry best practices to ensure compliance, minimize errors, and reduce potential risks.

Seamless Integrations

SaaS billing solutions often come equipped with integrations to popular payment gateways, accounting software, customer relationship management (CRM) tools, and other essential systems. These integrations can save you significant time and effort, as they are typically pre-built and thoroughly tested. You can seamlessly connect your billing processes with other business-critical applications, enhancing your overall efficiency and streamlining your operations.

Ongoing Maintenance and Support

Building your own billing platform becomes more complicated as your business starts to scale. Over time, you’ll need to invest in ongoing maintenance, bug fixes, security updates, and feature enhancements. By purchasing a SaaS billing solution, you transfer the responsibility of maintaining the platform to the vendor. This allows you to focus on your core business activities while benefiting from the regular updates and support from your provider.

To Build or To Buy? How Limble Solutions Transformed Their Billing and Collections With Maxio

Before Maxio, Gabrielle Lucero, Revenue Manager at Limble Solutions Inc., was stuck manually billing and collecting customers—a huge burden on her time and her company’s ability to scale.

“Maxio has been a huge help in how we evaluate and view our product catalog. There is a lot of flexibility in terms of user plans and the features that users may need and the costs associated with those. Maxio’s product catalog is a great way to keep all of those products and components clearly organized, the unit prices, and dive down into which exact subscriptions are using each price point.” says Lucero.

Beyond billing and invoicing, Maxio has also completely transformed the way Gabrielle and her team collect outstanding revenue:

“Prior to Maxio, [collections] was a very manual process. It was a lot of Excel spreadsheets. It’s hard to get a hold of customers, keep track of who is paying, what they’re paying, reasons for a delay, etc. Ever since implementing Maxio, our ability to collect on outstanding invoices has improved significantly.” says Lucero.

Streamlining your billing and invoicing efforts with Maxio

While building a custom SaaS billing platform offers the novelty of customization and control, buying a ready-made solution ultimately proves to be a more efficient and cost-effective choice. The speed of implementation, access to industry expertise, seamless integrations, and ongoing support are all compelling reasons to opt for a SaaS billing solution.

Curious how other SaaS leaders are tackling their billing and invoicing at scale?

Schedule a demo to see how Maxio can help you go-to-market any way you want.

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Imagine you’re getting ready to sign a 20K annual contract for a new SaaS tool.

 You’ve done the research, championed the product, and all you have to do now is pay the invoice and you’re up and running. Now imagine that the billing portal takes you to a third-party application with horrible UX/UI and the only way to get the support you need is to reach out to Sales or Customer Success—that’s not exactly a great first impression.

Unless you’re willing to invest the time and resources to develop a custom billing portal, this is what the payments experience looks like at most SaaS companies. Fortunately, there’s a better way to collect payments—headless commerce allows SaaS companies to offer a self-service billing portal that can easily be changed and customized (without wasting additional dev time).

Here’s what you need to know about this new technology and how it can help you offer a seamless payment experience.

What is headless commerce?

Headless commerce is a relatively new concept in the world of SaaS and eCommerce that has been gaining a lot of popularity in recent years. Essentially, headless commerce refers to the separation of the front-end (i.e themes, layouts, etc) and back-end (the tools operating behind the curtain) of an eCommerce platform, allowing SaaS businesses to have greater flexibility and control over their customer experience.

Headless commerce vs. traditional eCommerce

The key difference between headless and monolithic platforms is that headless solutions are decoupled whereas the latter are not.

Headless eCommerce platforms create a consistent content experience for customers and allows their shopping journey to be carried out across multiple digital devices seamlessly. A monolithic commerce platform, on the other hand, comes packaged with only one front end and prevents you from changing the front end without impacting the back end layer.

Headless commerce vs. traditional eCommerce

What are the benefits of headless commerce?

For SaaS companies, headless commerce offers a number of unique benefits over traditional eCommerce solutions. Here are some of the key advantages:

Agility and speed of adoption

Headless commerces lessens the technical resources needed to embed a subscription management experience by providing a plug-and-play solution. Instead of having to custom-build a billing portal in-house, headless commerce allows you to get up and running right away.

A headless commerce solution also offers increased scalability over traditional eCommerce solutions. For example, by separating the front-end and back-end, you can scale each component independently, allowing you to handle more traffic and transactions as your business grows.

Rapid UX experimentation

With headless commerce, you have the ability to customize your platform in a way that’s simply not possible with traditional eCommerce solutions. Because you’re not tied to a specific design, you can build your own custom front end to match your brand’s unique look and feel. With a library of reusable UI components, sellers can build their desired type of user interface from scratch.

This customization enables:

– Greater control over what actions and functions become available to your subscribers/customers

– Endless customization without worrying about costs or upkeep

– Faster brand launches and white-labeled domains

For marketers and product designers, this easy customization is a great way to run A/B tests and see how different billing pages positively or negatively affect conversion rates.  

While this may be less relevant for sales-led SaaS companies that have long sales cycles and contract negotiations, it’s a valuable asset for hybrid and product-led SaaS companies that need to quickly adapt to market changes.

Reduce the need for additional developer resources

One of the most overlooked aspects of a headless commerce platform is that it can significantly reduce the developer resources required by SaaS companies. Here are some ways a headless commerce platform can give time back to your busy devs:

1. Pre-built eCommerce functionality: A headless commerce platform provides pre-built eCommerce functionality that can be integrated with a custom front-end application. This means that developers don’t need to spend time building features like payment processing, inventory management, or order fulfillment from scratch.

2. Separation of front-end and back-end: With a headless commerce platform, the front-end and back-end are separated, allowing front-end developers to focus on your applications user interface, design, and user experience, while back-end developers can focus on building the eCommerce functionality.

3. Reusability of code: By using a headless commerce platform, developers can create reusable code that can be used across multiple projects.

4. Fewer compatibility issues: A headless commerce platform is designed to be compatible with a wide range of front-end technologies, including popular JavaScript frameworks like React, Vue, and Angular. This means that developers can choose the technology that best fits their needs and skill set, without worrying about compatibility issues with the back-end eCommerce platform.

Faster time to market

Another advantage of headless commerce is the ability to bring new products and features to market faster and at much lower costs than traditional systems can. 

Let’s consider a hypothetical example of a SaaS company that provides a subscription-based project management tool. The company in question is planning to launch a new feature that allows users to collaborate in real-time on tasks, and they want to get this feature to market as quickly as possible.

If this company were using a traditional eCommerce platform, they would need to go through a lengthy development process of building the new feature and then integrating it with the existing platform. This process could take weeks (or even months), and it would require a significant amount of development time and resources.

However, with a headless commerce solution, they can develop the feature as a separate front-end application, using a modern JavaScript framework (like React or Vue). Once the new feature is complete, they can simply integrate it with the back-end eCommerce platform using an API, and voila!

Build a better payments experience with headless commerce

Your billing portal is one of the last things your users see before they decide to invest in your SaaS. So why would want to be stucking using monolithic architecture?

Headless commerce gives you greater GTM flexibility, gives time back to your devs, and lets you adapt to your users needs at rapid pace. Contact us to see how Maxio can help you build a better buying and payments experience with headless commerce.

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B2B SaaS and subscription billing cycles are complex (to say the least).

Unlike one-time purchases, the complexities of subscription billing can quickly create bottlenecks if you don’t have the right controls in place to ensure a seamless handoff from your sales and finance teams.

Too often, new customers get off to a rocky start if their billing experience isn’t up to par. Delays, billing issues, and data discrepancies all impact the customer experience for the worst. Without a billing and financial operations platform in place, finance and billing teams can’t coordinate with sales reps throughout the order-to-cash process (account management, order fulfillment, billing, and accounts receivables)

However, with integrated platforms like Maxio and HubSpot, your Sales, Finance, and Billing teams can all access the same data, so they can stay aligned and provide a better customer experience — from the initial quote to final billing. 

Hubspot x Maxio

3 Ways to Use Maxio and HubSpot 

1. Ensure every deal is billed correctly and on time

By using Maxio to manage contracts, billing, collections, and reporting, finance teams can save hours of time spent on manual processes and reduce billing errors. There’s no more need for messy spreadsheets and manual data entry — with the Maxio and Hubspot integration, your team can access a customer’s entire financial history within the friendly HubSpot UI. Timeline Events within HubSpot are updated in real-time, so sales and finance teams never miss a beat on what’s going on with a customer’s subscriptions. 

Connecting Maxio HubSpot also improves accuracy throughout your sales-to-finance handoff, ensuring new sales orders and renewals never slip through the cracks. Every action taken by the sales team within HubSpot will be reflected automatically in Maxio, so finance teams will never be left waiting for the information they need to start billing new customers. This also ensures that every billed amount is always correct, down to the penny.

2. Close the books faster 

Using Maxio with HubSpot allows SaaS companies to reduce bottlenecks and speed up month-end close, bringing in cash sooner. Because sales teams and finance departments won’t have to manually enter newly-sold subscription information into their billing system to close or renew a deal, customer information is always accurate, and invoices go out on time, every time. 

With the Maxio HubSpot integration, sales orders are automatically pushed to Maxio when a deal closes in HubSpot. From there, billing schedules and associated revenue waterfalls are generated, and then Maxio automatically generates a consolidated journal entry for you, which you can sync to your general ledger. Whether you’re working in Maxio or HubSpot, you’ll always have access to a single source of truth for your subscription and billing data.

3. Use customer cohort metrics to improve your marketing efforts

Connecting Maxio and HubSpot also provides multiple benefits for your marketing team. 

Through the integration, your marketing team can leverage the bi-directional data synced and maintained in HubSpot to segment/filter customers and prospects — whether they want to create lists based on subscription activity, plans, interests, and more. Marketing teams can then use this data to improve targeting for all their campaigns, like email newsletters and nurtures, social media ads, and more.

For example, when planning email nurtures, you could create hyper-targeted nurtures for various customer groups based on the data imported from Maxio that shows exactly which products they’re using and how much they spend each month. These efforts will likely lead to better open rates on marketing emails and higher conversions from prospects to customers.

Maxio and Hubspot Simplify the Sales-to-Finance Handoff

Maxio is a complete financial operations platform that simplifies the order-to-cash process and provides deep financial and SaaS metrics reporting capabilities. HubSpot is an all-in-one CRM system that powers all sales, marketing, and customer care efforts by collecting and organizing all prospect and customer data in one place. 

Learn more about how Maxio and HubSpot integrate to improve accuracy between your Sales, Finance, and Billing teams.

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If you’ve worked in finance and accounting in any capacity, you’ve probably heard of a little company called NetSuite (they’re only one of the most popular ERP systems that have been around since 1998).

NetSuite has been the tried-and-true accounting solution for enterprise companies for years, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best choice for growing SaaS companies.

Most growing SaaS businesses start with a smaller general ledger (QuickBooks, Xero) to manage their finance and accounting. Then, after inevitably outgrowing these solutions, they’re tempted to migrate entirely to NetSuite. However, migrating to NetSuite can introduce a lot of complexity to their operations due to the sheer depth and breadth of the platform. 

By supplementing an ERP platform with a SaaS-specific tool like Maxio, you get the best of both worlds: you get the full functionality of an ERP, without the pains of having to manage complex financial operations in NetSuite. 

With our NetSuite integration, Maxio makes it easy for finance and accounting teams to recognize complex revenue, generate financial reports, and view SaaS metric and analytics dashboards all in one place.

Here’s a closer look at when to use these tools, and why the Maxio/NetSuite integration is a logical choice for busy finance and accounting teams.

Common reasons for implementing NetSuite

NetSuite comes equipped with hundreds of use cases out-of-the-box, but force-fitting an ERP solution to a growing SaaS company is like trying to wear a shoe that’s several sizes too big. Despite that, several early-stage and mid-market companies implement it anyway. Here are the most common reasons business leaders make the move to NetSuite.

Their company is getting bigger 

A tool like NetSuite was built for the enterprise. It only makes sense that companies who are approaching enterprise-level headcounts and annual revenues would make the move to a dedicated suite solution to manage their financial operations.

They need multi-entity workflows 

If you’re a multi-entity or group company that manages multiple subsidiaries, you’ll need an ERP solution to produce consolidated group accounts while also keeping track of individual subsidiaries’ financial performance. If your company has grown up to the point where multi-entity is a “must have,” you’re probably ready to adopt an ERP. Otherwise, you’ll face accounting challenges, such as:

  • Setting up different general ledger accounts for individual subsidiaries
  • Working in multiple currencies, with a fluctuating exchange rate
  • Complex ownership arrangements, in groups where ownership of a subsidiary is less than 100%
  • The complexity of viewing and tracking financial performance across multiple entities

Tech stack bias 

Tech stack bias is real. You may choose to implement NetSuite simply because your VC firm prefers all their portfolio companies to use it. While this keeps things simple for investors, it can cause headaches for business leaders who are trying to force-fit an enterprise solution into their existing workflow. For small-but-mighty finance and accounting teams, working out of an enterprise solution can create serious tech debt and introduce complexities that aren’t adding value to the business.

(It’s also worth mentioning that NetSuite comes with a steep learning curve. If you’re required to adopt the platform, you’ll need to allocate a considerable amount of time and resources to train new and existing hires on how to use its core features and modules.)

A new executive enters the fold

Every software tool has a power user—NetSuite included. The adoption of ERP tools like Netsuite can be ushered in by new executives who have grown accustomed to working within the platform. So, unless you can make a legitimate business case to move away from an ERP, you may have no choice but to make it work.

Why partner with Maxio

The thing about NetSuite is in most cases, it drastically complicates your financial operations. Migrating your existing financial data is difficult, and can result in data errors during implementation. However, if you’re required to switch to NetSuite, you don’t have to move everything.

By integrating NetSuite and Maxio, you can easily toggle between Netsuite and Maxio to see the records you need to see, without having to manage your financial processes within NetSuite.

Within Maxio Advanced Billing, you can sync financial records between Maxio and NetSuite, including:

  • Product catalog
  • Customer details
  • Invoices
  • Payments

How does it work?

Maxio and NetSuite sync bidirectionally, updating records automatically between platforms. What does that mean, exactly?

Whether you’re working in Maxio or NetSuite, you don’t have to worry about manually migrating data or toggling back and forth between platforms to find the data you need. With bidirectional data syncs between Maxio and NetSuite, you can access up-to-date information wherever you are.

How does this help you?

Easier product catalog management

Maxio Advanced Billing also allows you to create items within your product catalog rather than creating them in NetSuite. This helps reduce duplicative efforts when managing your product catalog.

Work where you want

Operate out of either Maxio or NetSuite. Financial data is synced bidirectionally, so you’re not tied down to a single tool. This means you can work out of Maxio, and your VC, the board, and executive leadership team can view all relevant information within NetSuite, without having to perform any manual data migration. 

Apply payments directly in your general ledger

If you’re a complex B2B SaaS business dealing with remittance customers, you need to be able to apply payments coming in from a variety of sources (credit card, ACH, e-checks, wire transfers). The ability to collect and process different payment types saves you and your finance team the pains of manually completing each and every payment within your general ledger.

Reduce troubleshooting time

With Maxio Advanced Billing, you have a powerful system of record right at your fingertips. Don’t want to spend hours troubleshooting data migration errors and discrepancies? Not a problem. With Maxio, you can automate the whole process:

  • Link backs allow you to easily see what data has (or hasn’t) been synced
  • Easy auditing tells you why your data syncs are failing, so you can quickly find a solution
  • Robust error logging lets you document any data errors, and the reason they occurred, so you can avoid data sync problems in the future
Maxio   NetSuite Integration

SaaS-specific accounting made easy

If you’re determined to stick it out with an ERP solution, you can still do all your core accounting in NetSuite. But at the end of the day, NetSuite just isn’t built to support a SaaS-specific workflow. 

With the Maxio NetSuite integration, you can get the best of both platforms and keep all your financial data synced—no matter where you want to work.

Want to see how Maxio and NetSuite work together to make subscription billing and GAAP-compliant accounting easier than ever? Schedule a demo with our team to learn more.

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SaaS Accounts Receivable

Your SaaS A/R Management Playbook

Are you still having to chase down late or missing customer invoices? The AR Management Playbook is a must-read for anyone struggling to manage AR in their SaaS business efficiently.

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Getting paid shouldn’t be a problem

In a brick and mortar store, you sell an item to a customer, and they pay you at the time of the transaction. Easy. But in B2B SaaS, sales-negotiated term subscriptions are the norm, which means sometimes getting paid is difficult.

In this guide, we’ll break down the different components of effective A/R management and show you how Maxio automates the entire process so you can get cash in the door faster.

What you’ll learn

  • Best practices for collections and dunning
  • How to measure the effectiveness of your collections processes
  • How to automate your AR management process and get cash in the door faster
  • How to use Maxio to reduce AR Aging and days sales outstanding (DSO)


Ready to achieve sustainable growth in today’s market?