The QuickBooks SaaS Story: Can You Relate?

You’ve been there, right? Your QuickBooks instance was doing just fine in your company’s infancy. But now you’ve got hundreds of customers, and the FinOps debt is piling up.

While QuickBooks was initially a great option for your business, you now need to support more complex financial operations and reporting functions. QuickBooks wasn’t built for B2B SaaS or subscription-based businesses, so finance teams create complicated workarounds to make it viable. At some point, your team has to admit it’s just not a good option and begin looking at an ERP, which is a necessary move. That process often looks something like this:

We know exactly how disruptive moving to an ERP can be for a SaaS business. While it may be the best next step at some point, that doesn’t make it the best next step today.

In this post, we’ll help you understand if now is really the best time for you to transition to an ERP, and if it’s not, how Maxio can help you extend the life of your QuickBooks account instead.

5 Signs You’re Outgrowing QuickBooks

Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet for knowing exactly when to call it quits with QuickBooks. Some might say it’s after you reach a certain ARR or employee count threshold. But in reality, the life of QuickBooks has less to do with how much ARR you’re managing and more to do with how sophisticated your business operations are. 

For example, QuickBooks wasn’t built to manage subscription revenue and recurring billing, especially if you have sales-negotiated contracts. It also doesn’t provide all the essential SaaS metrics and analytics necessary to manage, grow, and retain customers or connect with customer relationship management (CRM) systems. All of these challenges add up to make life pretty difficult in the back office. 

While there’s not a single moment you can point to, here are a few signs that you may be reaching the end of your QuickBooks lifecycle.

Your board is pressuring you to switch to a subscription model.

Challenge

Once your company acquires enough customers to prove product-market fit, your board starts to pressure you to adopt a subscription model. Subscriptions mean recurring revenue streams for the business. This is good for you and good for the board, but it’s going to be a nightmare for invoicing in QuickBooks. 

QuickBooks wasn’t built for subscription businesses. “Recurring transactions” is the closest thing it has to a recurring billing function, but that’s like using a band-aid when you need stitches. 

To fill in the gaps, you rely on a spreadsheet for invoice scheduling and visibility into cash flow. However, invoicing is often missed, late, or incorrect. Additionally, late invoices tend to negatively impact cash flow.

Solution

Maxio simplifies your recurring billing so invoices are fully managed and scheduled when a contract is won. This ensures invoices go out on time and provides you with the visibility you need into your business’s health. 

With Maxio, you can: 

  • Process orders 
  • Manage renewals and invoices 
  • Manage upgrades, add-ons, and extensions 
  • Create custom invoice themes 
  • Include subscription dates in line-item descriptions 
  • Calculate sales tax 

With our complete dunning and collections function, you can also reduce Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) to maximize cash flow.

Investors are asking for metrics you can’t produce.

Challenge

You won’t find subscription metrics in QuickBooks. Without the ability to dig into MRR, ARR, churn and retention (logo and dollar), and customer lifetime value (CLV) within your billing/invoicing engine, SaaS businesses must use spreadsheets to compensate again. 

While QuickBooks does provide basic general ledger functionality, that alone isn’t enough for a SaaS business. Some businesses will try to force a CRM like Salesforce to provide SaaS metrics like MRR or ARR, but these quickly get out of sync with numbers tracked by the finance team. 

It’s one thing to go back and forth internally over how you arrived at a certain number. It’s another thing entirely to have the same discussion in front of potential investors or, worse, have a potential investor call out an inconsistency. Shaky SaaS metrics erode investor trust and call into question the integrity of your financial operations. If you have this problem, it’s not a matter of if but when you need to level up from operating in just QuickBooks alone.

Solution

The Maxio analytics engine is the most optimized subscription analytics engine in the market, delivering accurate and real-time insight into all of your key SaaS metrics, including MRR, ARR, dollar churn and retention, logo churn and retention, subscription momentum, cohorts, CLV, and more.

Because these metrics are built from the same financial transactions that generate your GAAP revenue and invoicing, they’re the most accurate subscription analytics you can get.

You’ve started color-coding your spreadsheets.

Challenge

You need contracts, invoices, and revenue recognition schedules to produce GAAP-compliant revenue reports and correct deferred revenue. But QuickBooks wasn’t built to handle recurring invoicing (at least not well). 

As a workaround, you’re likely augmenting the work in Excel. However, as you acquire more customers and introduce more complicated sales-negotiated contracts, the spreadsheet starts to take on a life of its own. You’re left with a color-coded mess filled with complex formulas and error messages.

Solution

Maxio manages your revenue and invoicing schedules, contracts, and transactions. It also reports the revenue and deferred revenue you need to stay GAAP compliant. Tightly integrated with QuickBooks, Maxio records and reports on all key revenue numbers, so you don’t waste time and energy wrangling with spreadsheets or worrying about data inaccuracies. Built-in revenue integrity checks ensure you won’t overreport or underreport. You’ll know immediately if numbers are out of balance.

Finance, sales, and customer success data are scattered across systems.

Challenge

QuickBooks doesn’t integrate well with Salesforce and other CRMs if at all, which forces your team to manage customers and orders in a separate system that isn’t connected to your financial systems. That means sales teams who work exclusively in a CRM will see ARR, MRR, churn, retention, and other metrics that don’t align with the accurate picture produced by the finance team. 

This causes you to spend too much time and energy trying to get your team on the same page with a shared understanding of performance against your key business metrics.

Solution

Maxio bridges the gaps between finance, sales, and customer success teams with a single source of truth. This is critical for upgrades and expansion opportunities, renewals, ongoing account management, and updating sales teams on payment and invoice status for commission insights. Our direct integrations with CRMs such as Salesforce, HubSpot, and Pipedrive close the gap between sales, finance, and customer success teams by providing a standard view of each customer’s orders, contracts, transactions, invoices, payments, and renewals. 

With Maxio, you can close an opportunity in your CRM and book it in Maxio with complete revenue schedules, analytics data, and invoicing. In seconds, you can fully automate the process or insert a finance checkpoint to approve orders, from closed business to emailed invoices.

You’re overly protective of your spreadsheet.

Challenge

There are many things to take obsessive ownership of in a growing SaaS business: company culture, the go-to-market strategy, and even coffee. But only desperation and nightmares of broken formulas can drive you to slap the hand of anyone who dares touch your sacred spreadsheet. You know your energy is better spent elsewhere, but the headache of possibly breaking your spreadsheet has caused you to impose maximum-security permissions. 

With all these disconnected, moving parts, it’s easy to see how and why QuickBooks and spreadsheets get out of sync. When this happens, it’s often a “silent failure.” Silent failures are the scourge of finance teams because they often go undetected. When finally detected, they cost hours to track down, diagnose the root cause, and fix. Over a year, this adds up to a tremendous amount of wasted time and money. 

When uncovered during an audit or due diligence, your credibility can be damaged; worse, you may see adjustments to valuations and deal terms.

Solution

Maxio performs constant data checks to minimize risk and ensure: 

Contract Value = Revenues Scheduled = Invoices Scheduled 

These checks are in place to help you recognize all the revenue you’re entitled to recognize and invoice for all of the contract elements you are entitled to invoice. You receive an immediate alert if any of these values fall out of balance. 

Moving from manual processes to automation with Maxio means you won’t miss renewals/invoices or incorrectly recognize revenue, which could jeopardize your enterprise value.

Practical Reasons to Extend the Life of QuickBooks

With all these headaches, why do we suggest implementing a financial operations tool rather than moving to an ERP like Intacct or NetSuite? It’s not just because we’re big fans of Maxio. (Although, there is that.) There are many practical reasons to avoid adopting an ERP too early in your growth cycle.

It’s expensive.

The license fees for ERP solutions are costly and typically require a multi-year commitment. It wouldn’t be outlandish to estimate that a large ERP, like Intacct or Netsuite, will cost you upwards of $100,000 annually. If you can delay the adoption of an ERP for just 3 years, that’s $300,000 in cost savings.

There’s a lengthy implementation time.

Depending on your stage of growth, implementing an ERP can be time consuming, typically taking 4 – 12 months. It is often necessary to work with one of their third-party professional services partners.

It’s disruptive.

Implementing an ERP successfully requires a dedicated full-time employee to oversee the process and another to maintain day-to-day operations. However, for growing B2B SaaS businesses, resources are often prioritized for engineering, sales, and marketing over finance and administration. It’s unlikely your finance team has the extra capacity to manage the business and make all the necessary business process and configuration decisions in a timely manner.

Why Not Extend the Life of QuickBooks by Supplementing with Spreadsheets?

There are several challenges with managing your subscription SaaS business with QuickBooks. 

One challenge you’ll encounter is problems invoicing for subscriptions in QuickBooks. While QuickBooks has a recurring billing function, it can’t handle recurring invoices with variable amounts, a cornerstone of subscription SaaS businesses. Without managing this directly in QuickBooks, you’ll have to create a separate tab in your spreadsheet for invoicing schedules. 

If you have a complicated invoicing schedule, you’ll have to set calendar reminders so you don’t forget to send out invoices. If you miss one and forget to send an invoice, you’ll effectively “lose” ARR due to a simple, clerical error. 

Your system will be highly susceptible to human error once you augment your work in QuickBooks with spreadsheets. Because you’re manually completing journal entries in QuickBooks from rev rec schedules in your spreadsheet, a simple contract change can wreak serious havoc downstream when it comes time to close your books. 

Finally, you’ll still be accountable for producing SaaS metrics, even if those aren’t readily available in QuickBooks. Perhaps you can create yet another tab in your spreadsheet to calculate essential metrics like ARR, CAC, and CLV. 

The problem is that formulas aren’t always applied consistently. Since there’s no governing body for SaaS metrics like there is for GAAP financials, many of these terms are up for interpretation. 

As you can see, supplementing QuickBooks with spreadsheets alone is a largely error-prone process that ultimately opens you up to more risk than it is worth. It’s more of a stop-gap than anything; stop-gaps aren’t solutions.

Extend the Life of QuickBooks with a Subscription Management Platform

With a subscription management solution like Maxio, you can scale your financial operations significantly without the expense of an ERP or the headache of spreadsheets.

According to Jon Cochrane, VP of Strategy at Maxio, “If you want to extend the life of QuickBooks, you need an automated way to bill, collect, and report revenue.” That’s precisely what Maxio is. Maxio is a billing and financial operations platform designed to sit between your CRM and general ledger to streamline financial operations and reporting.”

Maxio’s bi-directional QuickBooks integration eliminates manually updating QuickBooks with Maxio transaction data and mitigates the risk of investors spotting errors in your spreadsheets. Maxio generates rev rec and invoicing schedules from transaction data pulled directly from your CRM. 

You can also automate invoicing directly from Maxio and even set specific parameters for email cadences for A/R management. In terms of reporting, Maxio’ SaaS metric reports use your real transaction data to generate metrics, standardizing the application of formulas and removing speculation about where specific numbers came from. 

Finally, you never have to worry about human-sync errors between your spreadsheets and QuickBooks. Maxio continually scans for discrepancies in your numbers and alerts you when out-of-balance accounts require your attention. 

All in all, adding a billing and financial operations solution to QuickBooks is a fraction of the cost of transitioning to an ERP, and it takes mere weeks to implement rather than months. Moreover, because Maxio integrates with ERPs and smaller ledgers like QuickBooks, you can continue to reap the benefits of Maxio even after you have outgrown QuickBooks once and for all.

When is it Time to Switch to an ERP?

Even though it may not be as soon as you think, there will come a time when you do need to switch to an ERP. More often than not, this has less to do with the size of your company and more to do with the sophistication of your business model. 

One of the most common reasons companies invest in an ERP is the decision to go international and operate that leg of the business as a subsidiary. Once you start introducing multiple entities, it can be challenging to keep everything straight without a more complex system. 

The other primary reason to switch to an ERP is in the event of a merger or acquisition. With multiple companies’ financials being consolidated, the ability to manage more complex data sets becomes crucial. 

These are not the only reasons to switch to an ERP, but they are by far the most common ones. Contrary to popular belief, the main takeaway is that ARR and headcount are not the primary catalysts for switching to an ERP. 

The nice thing about a billing and financial operations solution like Maxio is that it scales with you as you transition to an ERP. Maxio’ integrations with Intacct and NetSuite marries the best of an ERP to the flexibility and SaaS focus of Maxio.

For practical insights and strategies on ERP implementation, check out our blog post on How We Implemented NetSuite in 8 Weeks. This comprehensive case study highlights Maxio’s successful transition and offers valuable tips for your own ERP journey.

Closing Thoughts and Key Takeaways

While switching to an ERP sooner rather than later may be tempting, there’s a substantial financial upside to putting off the transition. Delaying the switch for even a couple of years could mean the difference in hundreds of thousands in cost savings. 

While managing this delay by augmenting key financial operations in spreadsheets has been the norm for most SaaS businesses, this is actually not sustainable due to its high susceptibility to human error. 

A billing and financial operations platform like Maxio can effectively extend the life of QuickBooks for your team without the headache of spreadsheets. Interested in learning more about how Maxio can help you extend the life of QuickBooks at your company? Talk to an expert today, or sign up for a free demo to learn how Maxio can help your business grow.

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Webinar On Demand

How to Avoid Order-to-Cash Mistakes

Join Maxio, the only billing and FinOps platform purpose-built for B2B SaaS, and Finvisor, the accounting, payroll, and CFO team, to learn about common order-to-cash mistakes and how to avoid them.

Originally aired: May 22, 2024

Featuring: Noah Hopton, Andrea Wunderlich

Is your order-to-cash process fragmented?

Then this webinar is for you.

With a combined 25 years of experience in catering to the back office needs of SMB B2B companies, Maxio and Finvisor are your trusted partners in order-to-cash success.

Watch this webinar to get:

  • Advice from industry expert and CEO of Finvisor Noah Hopton
  • A short demo of how Maxio automates the order-to-cash process
  • An order-to-cash SOP document you can start using today

Ready to level up your order-to-cash process?

What is order-to-cash and why does it matter?

Order-to-cash refers to the process of creating sales orders, processing them, billing customers, and collecting payments.

For B2B SaaS companies, it’s the lifeblood of not just the finance and accounting function, but business operations as a whole.

Most companies have some sort of infrastructure in place to support the order-to-cash process, but few have mastered it completely.

Order-to-cash mistakes lead to:

  • Revenue leakage
  • Loss of investor/board confidence
  • Failed M&A + valuation haircuts
  • Failed financial audits

Signs of a fragmented order-to-cash process include:

Heavy dependence on Excel

Missed invoices

Inaccurate invoices

Long Days Sales Outstanding or “DSO”

Speakers

Noah Hopton
CEO, Finvisor
LinkedIn
Andrea Wunderlich
Director, Product Marketing, Maxio
LinkedIn

“Measure what matters.” That’s one of our favorite sayings at Maxio.

Sure, your teams may say they care about their OKRs, KPIs, etc, but if you don’t have the right tools to track those metrics and report on them regularly, you have no way of knowing if your day-to-day work is contributing to those goals.

For starters, it’s incredibly difficult to gather real business insights when your data lives in disparate systems. Without visibility into key metrics like churn rate, customer lifetime value, and user retention, it’s impossible to understand what’s driving growth.

This is why tracking your team’s data on a centralized SaaS dashboard is so important. 

In this article, we’ll explore common challenges with gathering SaaS metrics and how purpose-built dashboards can help your teams provide real business impact. Let’s take a look.

What are SaaS dashboards?

A SaaS metrics dashboard is a visual display that centralizes subscription data and metrics for SaaS companies. Packaged in an easy-to-use interface, SaaS dashboards transform raw analytics into actionable business intelligence. 

Rather than digging through spreadsheets, your executives can use these dashboards to visualize key SaaS metrics on demand through interactive charts and graphs. Some common dashboards provide insights into metrics like customer acquisition, account expansion, churn risk, recurring revenue forecasts, sales performance, and more.

For example, Maxio’s Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) dashboard helps Finance teams calculate DSO on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis to supplement the way they build their financial forecasts.

By consolidating all your SaaS data into a customized dashboard, your teams can get visibility into what’s really driving business growth. Whether it’s improving your net revenue retention rate or reducing subscriber churn, SaaS analytics dashboards help make progress more transparent so you can course correct based on real data (versus gut instinct).

Benefits of using SaaS dashboards: Better data, better decisions

SaaS companies that adopt data dashboards position themselves for smarter decision-making and streamlined operations. Plain and simple. Let’s explore some of the top reasons SaaS businesses should invest in analytics dashboards.

1. Centralized access to critical SaaS metrics

Rather than compiling readings from disparate sources, SaaS dashboards enable users to monitor their most important metrics from a unified analytics tool. This single source of truth helps growth companies make better business decisions as they navigate the SaaS maturity curve.

Important metrics like subscriber growth, churn rate, and recurring revenue get updated automatically instead of through manual data entry. Visualizations transform complex metrics into intuitive charts on role-based dashboards. Your executives can also use these dashboards to gain visibility into the health and trajectory of subscription sales and account expansion initiatives.

Centralized data access also surfaces unexpected or hidden correlations through cross-metric analysis. For example, linking support ticket volume to account churn may reveal opportunities to improve retention through superior customer service. Without integrating SaaS datasets, these types of actionable insights will just get lost in the gaps.

In short, having all the pieces of the subscription sales and account management puzzle in a centralized dashboard clarifies which knobs you should be turning to drive business growth.

2. Greater visibility into business performance

SaaS dashboards dismantle the departmental data silos that restrict leadership’s view into core operations. By consolidating analytics into interactive, visual reports, your teams will gain transparency into performance across the organization—not just what’s happening in their department.

Stakeholders ranging from the sales team to the C-suite can review insights into revenue growth, customer engagement, and account health on their own time. Not to mention the customized views that most dashboards are capable of producing that ensure each user sees the most relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) for their role.

For example, the sales dashboard tracks new customer acquisition rates alongside the net promoter score (NPS) from customer success. If NPS declines among recent cohorts, leadership can correlate sales practices to churn predictors and coach sales reps accordingly. Or, the finance dashboard reporting on profitability margins can help your sales team right-size pricing and identify expansion opportunities.

3. Deeper understanding of business needs

SaaS analytics dashboards deliver more than static snapshots of your subscription data—they also give teams a much deeper understanding of the overall health of a business.

Rather than deciphering abstract figures on a spreadsheet, stakeholders can generate custom dashboards showcasing the key performance indicators that are most relevant to them. Your team members can then use these interactive interfaces to take the SaaS metrics that are most relevant to their department and turn them into easy-to-understand visuals.

For example, an executive may notice churn creeping upward on their KPI dashboard. With just one click on that churn metric, they can filter the dashboard view to the customer segments that are driving churn.

The ability to drill down into your business’s most important metrics ultimately helps eliminate any gaps that may exist between your data and strategic decision-makers. And while you don’t have to be checking your metrics 24/7, SaaS companies that leverage these dashboards will always have a better pulse on subscription performance than their competitors.

4. More user-friendly than spreadsheets

While spreadsheets are fine for storing subscription data, SaaS dashboards ultimately transform your metrics into intuitive visualizations that your teams can easily refer back to. Charts, graphs, and gauges allow users across different skill levels to digest insights quicker as well.

Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to implement some simple dashboard design principles to make your dashboards more readable. And you don’t have to be an expert designer either. Many popular SaaS dashboard tools come pre-built with clean layouts, thoughtful color coding, and whitespace that helps users focus on what matters most.

On the other hand, spreadsheets often require manual number crunching and formula building to derive meaning. And once you’ve done all that, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be easy to read. Dashboards, meanwhile, take care of the heavy lifting behind the scenes so users can spend most of their time acting on insights instead of processing data and trying to build out reports.

What SaaS metrics and KPIs belong on your dashboard?

With endless data available, determining the most crucial SaaS KPIs to monitor can be challenging—but not if you have the right SaaS reporting tools. Once you’ve chosen an analytics platform to build your dashboard with, you just need to come up with a few key performance indicators (KPIs) that your team members can rally around.

Throughout this section, we’ll cover the essential SaaS subscription metrics across customer acquisition, account expansion, and retention that you should be tracking on your teams’ dashboards.

Here are the SaaS KPIs you should consider tracking:

MRR and ARR

Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and annual recurring revenue (ARR) are crucial SaaS metrics that quantify predictable revenue streams. MRR allows companies to monitor subscription performance month-over-month. Meanwhile, ARR projects future revenue based on the current subscriber base over the next 12 months. Tracking MRR and ARR over time provides visibility into growth and retention trends. Both metrics spotlight the overall health of the recurring revenue engine that sustains SaaS businesses.

Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) measures the average cost to acquire a new paying customer. By factoring sales and marketing expenses required to generate new business against net new customers, CAC spotlights spending efficiency. Monitoring CAC ensures customer growth remains profitable over the long term. No revenue metric on a SaaS dashboard offers more useful insights than keeping tabs on CAC to optimize and forecast budget needs per company growth objectives.

Customer lifetime value (LTV)

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) represents the average revenue generated by a customer throughout the entire lifespan of their relationship with the SaaS company. Comparing LTV or CLTV to CAC helps determine overall business profitability. Monitoring LTV also assists with budgeting for customer acquisition and gauging whether accounts warrant additional investment for retention or expansion. Given its role in quantifying long-term subscriber value and sustainability, LTV deserves a top spot on any analytics dashboard.

Average revenue per user (ARPU)

Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) quantifies net revenue driven by the average customer account over time. An increase in ARPU signals successful upsells or add-on purchases. Meanwhile, declining ARPU could reflect lagging feature adoption or reveal an opportunity for optimized packaging and pricing strategies per customer segment. Monitoring ARPU benchmarks whether existing accounts expand meaningfully amid efforts to grow the customer base.

Customer churn

Customer churn represents the percentage of customers that discontinue subscriptions over a given timeframe. Because acquiring new customers costs more than retaining existing ones, managing churn is critical. Churn dashboards monitor cancellation trends, identify at-risk accounts, and inform retention programs. No metric better indicates growth troubles and renewal optimization opportunities than sudden or excessive customer churn.

Customer retention

Customer retention measures the percentage of subscription customers that continue service during a given timeframe. Retention ratios demonstrate the stickiness of a SaaS product suite and inform budget planning. Tracking retention over the lifetime of a customer cohort also spotlights opportunities to improve long-term engagement through initiatives like customer success programs or loyalty incentives. Much like churn, monitoring retention rate trends forms a health check on the most profitable growth lever – expanding within existing accounts.

SaaS dashboard examples

There are hundreds of software-as-a-service dashboards used at companies every day to track everything from product launches to marketing campaigns to employee headcount. In other words, if you can collect data around a business function, chances are you can visualize that data on a dashboard.

Here are some SaaS dashboard examples across sales, marketing, and finance that you can use as a reference.

Sales dashboard: Geckoboard example

A Sales dashboard offers insights into customer acquisition and pipeline performance to inform staffing, activities, and tools for driving growth. Tracking key metrics like lead generation, sales cycle analysis, conversion rates, and rep-based trends helps keep the focus on strategic priorities. 

These dashboards also help identify potential coaching opportunities to assist sales teams in meeting their revenue goals. With an analytical lens on sales operations via customized dashboards, SaaS leadership can foster data-driven decision making for sustainable business growth.

As an example, here’s a sales pipeline dashboard from Geckoboard. Using a dashboard like the one shown here, Sales teams would be able to view their quarterly performance, average deal value, sales cycle lengths, highest value opportunities, and more all in one place.

sales pipeline dashboard from Geckoboard

Marketing dashboard: Zoho example

A Marketing dashboard delivers visibility into campaign performance, lead generation, pipeline velocity, and the return on marketing investment. Monitoring these metrics enables data-driven decisions on budget allocation, channel mix, creative assets, and content strategy. 

Marketing dashboards also quantify the impact of specific programs on acquisition and retention. By linking campaign analytics to sales outcomes, teams can optimize activities for the highest yield at the lowest cost.

This Google Ads analytics dashboard from Zoho is a great example of the insights busy marketing teams can plug into one place. Within this specialized dashboard, performance marketers can study their ad conversion rates, average cost per click, and compare ad performance over a five-month period.

Google Ads analytics dashboard from Zoho

SaaS metrics and analytics dashboard: Maxio example

SaaS analytics platforms like Maxio consolidates key subscription data into customizable dashboards for comprehensive business visibility. 

Maxio’s centralized interface tracks revenue metrics like MRR and ARR in real time while monitoring customer health via churn, retention, and engagement scores. These financial views also assist with cash flow, billing analytics, and financial planning activities. 

With an out-of-the-box dashboard aligning to common SaaS KPIs, platforms like Maxio allow companies to focus on improving their SaaS product, user experience, and making better business decisions instead of report building.

Maxio dashboard

Why not use a spreadsheet instead?

While spreadsheets like Excel provide basic data tracking, they fail to deliver the automation, integrations, and customization that a growing SaaS business needs to stay agile.

For high-growth startups, spreadsheet templates quickly become inadequate when you factor in the rapid pace of growth, vertical shifts, and financial ups and downs that are common with these types of businesses.

Spreadsheets are also notoriously difficult to collaborate inside of. Dashboards, however, centralize important insights by pulling data from many different integrated data sources. This way your team doesn’t have to assign spreadsheet management and maintenance to one person. 

And finally, spreadsheets just weren’t built to turn your business’s KPIs into meaningful data visualizations. At the end of the day, choosing to upgrade to a SaaS dashboard will give your entire team an intuitive visual interface to uncover data patterns, track performance trends, and ultimately make better business decisions.

Using Maxio to monitor your SaaS metrics and analytics

So there you have it. Now you know the metrics you should be tracking, what makes central SaaS dashboards a must-have tool across teams, and you even have a few examples of dashboards to reference.

Now, all you need is a platform to help you build these dashboards to use across your own organization. This is exactly why we built Maxio. Our platform helps SaaS businesses master core metrics around customer acquisition, account expansion, billing, finance, and more.

Want to start making better decisions about the future of your business? Schedule a demo with our team to get started.

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Your Plug-and-Play SaaS Metrics Dashboard

In this template, you’ll find a comprehensive set of pre-built SaaS metrics (that you can trust) to wow investors and make key business decisions with confidence.

Chart your path to profitability with metrics like:

  • Subscription Momentum (ARR, customer count, average ARR)
  • Churn & Retention (churn rate, renewal rate, net revenue retention)
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

I knew Maxio needed to move to an ERP system just a few months after I joined as VP of Finance. 

Having integrated various ERPs over my past 7 years in fast-growth companies, I knew an improvement was needed. Pressure from our investors and internal leadership was intensifying daily as Maxio rapidly expanded, demanding more robust financial tracking capabilities. 

With five total entities, including two international entities, to consolidate; I faced serious headaches without a unified system tying everything together seamlessly. It also became clear to me that our lean accounting team needed tighter controls and separation of duties. I was also managing an inefficient, error-prone process of relying on Excel for financial consolidation and reporting.

If we wanted to scale, we needed to switch from QuickBooks to an integrated ERP platform like NetSuite. 

My hope is that by the end of this article, you’ll understand exactly how we were able to implement NetSuite in just 8 weeks keeping Maxio, our own product, as our order to cash and revenue subledger.  Having Maxio in place through the transition from QuickBooks to NetSuite allowed us to streamline the implementation and saved us hundreds of hours (and even more dollars).

Here’s what the process looked like.

The challenges of switching to an ERP

First, we had to take into account all of the challenges we would face if we wanted to switch to an ERP platform like NetSuite. After all, transitioning to something as comprehensive as an ERP platform certainly doesn’t come without growing pains. 

Implementing an enterprise-level system like NetSuite requires cash, surpassing the costs of our previous QuickBooks setup. The financial investment of implementing was not as high as it could have been since we of course kept Maxio. An ERP migration would also demand substantial time before we went live so we had to wait until we were out of audit season to free up our team. We chose to utilize standard NS functionality vs customizing, saving additional time .

With NetSuite touching so many critical business functions in one integrated system, our accounting team grappled with the unknown at times. Since we chose to keep Maxio, our team only had a learning curve as it related to the NetSuite application. We did not have to plan for revenue recognition configuration because it was already in Maxio. We only had to consider reporting changes and training our people on a handful of processes in NetSuite. 

An ERP doesn’t bend easily to your existing workflows; it asks you to transform processes to fit the software’s design. We had an expert guiding us, but we chose to not customize and keep NS and Maxio standard functionality. Keeping standard functionality helped us go-live faster and more efficiently. We also faced some initial data migration headaches getting historical information structured properly within NetSuite, and mapping our QuickBooks data into a new GL structure to assist with our reporting designs. 

Once we laid out all of the challenges, we were ready to get to work. But we needed to figure out the right order of operations when it came to building our tech stack – this meant implementing an ERP before an FP&A solution. 

Why we implemented an ERP before an FP&A solution

With pressures mounting from leadership and investors, I had to be pragmatic about our order of operations. As much as I valued adding a full-fledged FP&A tool for financial planning and analysis, getting our underlying financial actuals in order took priority. 

Relying on Excel projections and models wasn’t sustainable from accuracy and productivity standpoints as Maxio grew. However, the lack of reliable, consolidated actuals and reporting from our disjointed QuickBooks/Excel setup posed a bigger impediment day-to-day. We couldn’t confidently forecast anything without real-time visibility across our business units. 

Moving to NetSuite provided that missing foundation, giving me the confidence that our reporting was audit-ready and scalable before layering on an FP&A tool.

The best practices that enabled our 8-week ERP launch

Given Maxio’s relative speed in transitioning to NetSuite, I’m often asked how we made it happen without derailing normal business operations. While it wasn’t an easy process by any means, it really boiled down to these four steps:

Securing executive sponsorship

Securing executive alignment early in the process was by far the most vital to our ERP success. 

Unlike other software rollouts that just impact one department, transitioning our financial system would affect almost everyone, and I knew that getting leadership support from heads of Customer Success, Sales, and Product was integral before we even selected NetSuite. Their teams would bear the burden of integrations and process changes too. Rather than going at it alone, I actively solicited executive input during vendor selection.

Once we kicked off the implementation, our executive steering committee met bi-weekly to align on the timeline, resources, and milestones. Having regular touchpoints for guidance, oversight, and course corrections helped us avoid any potential roadblocks we might face during the implementation.

Creating a detailed project plan

Once all our executives were on the same page, our next vital step was creating a comprehensive project plan. Our plan considered key players from Finance, Customer Success, Product, IT, and our expert implementation consultant.

We defined guiding requirements, mapped existing workflows, and identified improvement areas. We also partnered on visualizing our ideal future solution before setting firm milestones. Getting granular on which modules would take priority, our desired configuration, which integrations were essential from the start, and what could get phased in later kept everyone grounded in reality over the 8 weeks.

The Finance & Accounting team developed our full project timeline encompassing risk/dependency management, resourcing/budget, test scenarios, contingency protocols, etc. With my past experience, we were able to develop an aggressive but attainable timeline in line with Maxio’s culture, capabilities, and bandwidth.

This kind of meticulous scoping and project orientation we pursued ultimately helped us prevent scope creep down the line. It also granted us the flexibility to adapt since all teams participated in plotting the course. If you plan on pursuing any kind of cross-functional software rollout, this step is a must.

Defining the target chart of accounts architecture

With finance leading the charge on our ERP selection and rollout, we knew upfront that aligning on foundational elements like our chart of accounts (COA) framework was non-negotiable. Given Maxio’s growth trajectory, we needed our chart of accounts and accounting structural decisions to scale all the way from the early stage to future IPO readiness.

Our CFO had already done a lot of research and analysis to design Maxio’s future state COA before I joined. I did have an opportunity to review this based on my past experience and made a few minor adjustments. One thing to consider is to ensure each segment of your COA has one purpose. For example, do not mix departmental use or location within a natural account. We got granular on new segments and reporting needs from FP&A while ensuring historical continuity for trend analysis. We also sized up ancillary accounting needs around billing, fixed assets, planning modules, etc. to shape the scope. Ultimately, we realigned our COA to balance sophisticated enterprise scalability with intuitive usability for our current needs.

Resourcing accordingly with internal talent and external experts

Once we had our COA structure figured out, we could pursue the rest of the implementation – this meant finding the right blend of internal and external talent to assist with the implementation. As eager as my team was to tackle the NetSuite implementation themselves, the platform’s technical intricacy surpassed our current skill levels. Rather than attempting to upskill them on the fly amidst an aggressive rollout, we took a blended staffing approach.

From a resourcing lens, I relied heavily on a NetSuite implementation expert our CFO had partnered with previously. Her breadth of platform expertise and implementation experience proved invaluable from the planning through the testing stages. Leaning on a seasoned consultant also allowed my accounting managers to focus wholly on data migration, configuration reviews, and training.

Once our consultant was onboarded and ready, we formed a team that was cross-trained across integrated modules like Maxio billing, Salesforce data syncs, and other core Maxio components. Keep in mind, our consultant had not used Maxio in the past and we had to partner up with a Maxio implementation manager. Our team worked through issues together during working sessions so the could fast track the learning curve. 

Ultimately, combining the skills of an experienced consultant and the knowledge of our in-house team is what allowed us to roll out an ERP like NetSuite at such a rapid pace.

Our 8-week NetSuite implementation playbook

Our highly accelerated 8-week NetSuite rollout could seem improbable to some. However, our success actually stemmed from diligent governance, resourcing, and upfront vision setting.

Here is the playbook I would use if I had to implement NetSuite all over again:

1. Garner executive alignment

We gained executive sponsorship across Finance, Customer Success, and Product during our initial software selection. 

Getting leadership support from department heads who would be impacted by this implementation was essential for ensuring a smooth rollout. We actively shared with executives a vision of what our business would like after implementing NetSuite. 

Once the project was agreed upon, our executive steering committee met bi-weekly to align on the implementation’s timeline, resources, and milestones.

2. Conduct rigorous pre-planning

Before we started, we scoped an aggressive 8-week project timeline encompassing milestones, risks/dependencies, and modules in focus for the phase 1 launch. 

I assembled key players within Finance and Implementation to complete scoping and envisioning workshops that would help us determine which modules needed to be prioritized during our launch.  Together we defined guiding requirements, mapped existing workflows, and identified improvement areas while visualizing the ideal future solution.

3. Migrate general ledger data

We had to convert around 24 months of general ledger history from QuickBooks into NetSuite for continuity. 

We chose two styles of converted data.  For one year, we converted balances only. For the most recent year of conversion, since we converted mid-year, we converted transactions. While reconfiguring our chart of accounts for growth, we considered future analytics needs and added new reporting segments. However, we ensured that our key accounts tied to historical trend data remained intact through the migration. Converting historical transactions into this new COA framework helped us prevent any disruptive gaps in our GL data.

4. Allot 4 weeks to testing

We allocated a full month to running transaction testing for standard workflows between the Maxio and NetSuite systems. Resolving workflow kinks prior to launch enabled us to focus wholly on adoption. As you plot out your own implementation plan, allotting additional time to test your workflows is crucial if you want to ensure your data syncs are reliable and to prevent any disruptions down the line.

Within this testing was another conversion of Maxio data into NetSuite. Once we converted our open transitions into NetSuite, we had to compare this against QuickBooks to ensure all our data came over in the conversion.

5. QBO cutover and go-live

Once we were about two months into our implementation, we transitioned all finance transactions from QuickBooks directly into our new NetSuite modules. While the first month-end close was challenging, as typical for ERPs, our systems were now unified. While we are still making ongoing improvements, we were able to reach operational continuity faster by addressing all our systems’ critical workflows prior to full utilization.

Streamline your NetSuite implementation with Maxio

At Maxio, we like to use the phrase, “we drink our own champagne,” when talking about how our own product helps us manage critical finance and accounting tasks – and that includes implementing an ERP like NetSuite. By leveraging our own integration with NetSuite, we were able to save countless hours and dollars to make the transition as smooth as possible.

There are multiple other ways our Maxio + NetSuite integration can help your finance team stop chasing dollars and focus on what’s next:

  • GAAP-compliant revenue recognition
  • Invoice scheduling and highly customizable e-invoicing
  • Milestone-based revenue and invoice management
  • Out-of-the-box subscription metrics and analytics
  • Accounts receivables and collections management

Click here to learn more about the Maxio + NetSuite integration.

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Ready to automate sales tax compliance?

For subscription companies, billing is an essential part of the overall customer experience. That’s why choosing the right billing and subscription management platform can be the difference between delighting your customers or losing them altogether. 

At Maxio, we believe the developers tasked with creating a seamless digital billing experience for their customers should enjoy the same white-glove treatment their customers do. That’s why we’re excited to announce a series of improvements we’ve rolled out to radically improve the developer experience.  

From the early days, prior to Chargify and SaaSOptics merging to become Maxio, developer experience has been a core part of our DNA. Because of this, we’re pumped to share our recent improvements to Maxio’s developer experience with the market. 

Self-provisioned sandbox 

Users can now test-drive Maxio Advanced Billing through a self-provisioned sandbox.

According to Noah, a Founder and CTO at a mid-size software company, “Our biggest challenge when evaluating a billing solution is integration within our platform and within our other billing and operational tools. I like to evaluate the tool from a technical standpoint to make sure it has a robust offering. Then I like to evaluate the long-term partnership aspect of the tool and company, then consider the price.”

With that in mind, we’re delighted to announce our new sandbox experience, which allows potential Maxio customers to trial our Advanced Billing solution at their own pace.

Explore the sandbox here

Software development kits (SDKs) 

Software development kits (SDKs) are one-stop-shops offering developers essential tools and pre-made code components to work in their preferred coding language. 

Maxio’s SDKs make it easier than ever to interact with Maxio’s Advanced Billing API. Currently, we support SDKs in the following code languages: 

  • HTTP 
  • Java
  • .net
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • Typescript
  • Go (Alpha)

Explore SDK code libraries here. 

Enhanced API documentation 

An API is only as good as the documentation supporting it. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce improvements to Maxio’s Advanced Billing API documentation. These improvements include: 

  • Data validation
  • Search and navigational improvements

Check out the full API documentation here.

Embeddable components (in beta) 

One of the key features of Maxio’s Advanced Billing product is the billing portal. Now, with embeddable components, Advanced Billing users can self-host, white-label, and fully customize their digital experience, allowing them to offer in-app self-service actions to their end-customers that match the seller’s brand identity. 

Interested in learning more about embeddable components? Get a demo.

Improved developer portal (in beta) 

Big news! We’re in the process of rolling out a new and improved developer portal in partnership with APIMatic, an industry leading developer experience platform.

Not only does the new developer portal provide a modern digital experience, it allows developers to facilitate the discovery and exploration phases of their implementation by testing our API in real-time. Additionally, it extends our developer experience to other popular API solutions like Postman, Insomnia, and more. 

Interested in early access? Reach out to support@maxio.com to beta test our new developer portal.

Blog Image_DevEx Announcement (1)

Blog Image_DevEx Announcement (2)

Ready to level up your customers’ billing experience? 

Launching a new self-service motion, exploring new pricing, or looking to level up your customers’ billing experience in general? 

Take a Maxio product tour or get a custom demo from our sales team.

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Explore the #1 billing and finance platform for B2B SaaS

Get a customized demo to see how Maxio will help you:

  • Streamline your order-to-cash process
  • Reduce churn and stop revenue leakage
  • Get cash in the door faster
  • Drive strategic decisions with real-time SaaS metrics and analytics

Request a Demo

Off balance sheets, cash flow tracking, financial risk management… it’s like playing a high-stakes game of chess, isn’t it?

Each year, chief financial officers oversee fiscal health equivalent to trillions of dollars, dissecting financial intricacies with the precision of a surgeon. This is akin to managing the US GDP, not once or twice, but four times over—all meticulously run from behind an office desk.

Yet, it’s the unsung heroes—the tech stack of the modern CFO—that weave this fiscal tapestry. Like the smartphone to a millennial, CFO software becomes the vital extension of a CFO’s analytical prowess, streamlining complex financial operations with unrivaled efficiency.

In other words, you can’t rely on a cup of coffee and a sprawling Google Sheet to scale your business any longer. In this blog, we’ll dissect the star players and their features, masterfully distilling your search down to the top contenders of 2024.

Understanding CFO software features: a comprehensive guide

You don’t need all the bells and whistles of an ERP to serve your finance teams. Here are the key features that matter for finance leaders in 2024.

Key features of CFO software

For executives looking to streamline their financial management processes, the CFO software stack delivers an array of essential features set to elevate your operations.

Firstly, most CFO-level finance tools come equipped with comprehensive financial reporting capabilities. This means the software can automatically generate detailed financial reports and dashboards, offering real-time insights into the organization’s financial health. This function typically includes profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow projections. In the hands of an experienced finance leader, this functionality can be used to conduct FP&A for an upcoming month, quarter, or year.

Another crucial feature is integrations with existing systems and software applications. From accounting tools to HRMS, the integration capabilities of CFO-level finance software should enhance data exchange and coordination across various departments.

A third essential feature to be found in CFO software is data security. With sensitive financial data at stake, robust encryption processes are a necessity to ensure the safeguarding of financial data from cyber threats.

Advanced features in 2024’s CFO software

For tech-savvy finance teams who always have an eye on what’s next, 2024’s CFO software is bringing an array of advanced features to the table.

One such feature of particular interest is the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in financial management. AI offers predictive analytics, using historical data to forecast future financial trends and patterns. It can aid CFOs in anticipating market changes, detecting anomalies, and making data-driven decisions with added confidence and precision.

Another novelty to look forward to is enhanced automation capabilities. This goes beyond automating financial reports and simple tasks. With advanced automation, CFO software can manage complex workflows and processes, essentially reducing manual errors and saving valuable time for your finance function.

Moreover, the use of big data analytics is another feature being introduced. These analytics can digest and interpret vast quantities of information, helping CFOs make sense of complex financial data.

These innovations are not simply shiny new additions. They’re set to revolutionize financial management by providing deeper insights and data analysis, improving efficiency, and offering a higher level of accuracy in financial decision-making.

CFO software pricing: what to expect in 2024

What will CFO software cost your finance team next year? Prices will likely shift up and down depending on demand, new options like cloud services, and broader economic trends. But smart budgeting will help you beat any unwelcome sticker shock.

Let’s look at an insider’s view of 2024 pricing, find where you can trim excess features for savings, and plan ahead so you get the right software solutions for your finance and accounting teams at the right price.

Factors influencing CFO software pricing

Determining the cost of CFO software is not unilateral, it takes various considerations into account. The complex interplay of factors like the quality of features, the level of customization you need, the provider’s standing in the market, and external economic conditions play significant roles.

In 2024, the ongoing shift toward cloud-based solutions and an increased demand for advanced AI-powered analytics tools are likely to nudge the pricing matrix upwards. Additionally, economic fluctuations, such as inflation or currency exchange rates, can also influence software pricing. Between software vendors vying for market share and companies aiming for the most cost-efficient solutions, pricing dynamics remain a tug-of-war.

Tips for choosing cost-effective CFO software

Every finance tool offers its unique blend of features and functions. The definition of “value for money” largely depends on your specific requirements and budget limitations.

The first step is to establish your essential utilities: data analytics, forecasting, expense management, spend management, financial planning, or risk management, for instance. Picking software that excels in your required domains and provides the necessary level of customer support can lead to significant cost savings in the long haul.

The next step is evaluating different pricing structures. Subscription-based, usage-based, and one-time licenses are just a few forms. They offer diverse capabilities, so understanding your consumption pattern can help decide the most cost-effective structure.

Finally, consider the scalability of the software. Your investment should be able to accommodate business growth without necessitating a complete software overhaul.

Download the ebook: Data-driven Pricing Strategies

In this ebook, you’ll learn how to optimize your pricing strategy based on customer insights and analytics.

Understanding the benefits of CFO software

Ever been forced to work through manual data entry in an Excel or Google Sheet? …that should be all we need to write in this section. 

Spreadsheet horrors aside, let’s dig a bit deeper to truly understand why investing in dedicated financial software tools in a non-negotiable for your business.

How CFO software enhances financial management

CFO software is an essential tool that bolsters financial management processes and gives executives a single source of truth for the financial health of their business. With meticulous attention to detail and efficiency, financial software acts as an invaluable ally that streamlines operations, reduces risks, and empowers decision-making.

A classic example is NetSuite, the ERP most enterprise financial executives are familiar with. Without it, business leaders have no way of accessing the real-time financial data they need to make key business decisions and report up to relevant stakeholders. By investing in these tools early, business leaders can easily track and manage their company’s financial performance before they’re too late (e.g. getting audited, fundraising due diligence, etc.)

The role of CFO software in business growth: our predictions

As small businesses and SaaS enterprises alike gear up to meet future growth challenges, the role of CFO software is becoming more pronounced. In 2024, we believe finance leaders will continue to move away from large enterprise resource planning tools (ERPs) and invest in point solutions specific to their particular use case.

For example, a SaaS startup that isn’t able to afford a large ERP may adopt a payment processing tool so they can manage their accounts payable/receivable and start getting cash in the door.

Additionally, the advent of AI and machine learning capabilities in today’s point solutions could further delay the need for larger ERP solutions. For instance, point solutions that can predictively manage cash flow, do real-time budgeting, and start forecasting profits with higher accuracy will be powerful assets to finance leaders at SaaS startups and SMBs

CFO software for startups: a must-have in 2024

Now that we’ve seen the transformational benefits CFO software can bring, let’s delve into why startups need them to chart their course, increase their valuation, and ensure they make it to their series B, C, D, and beyond.

Why startups need CFO software

Statistics show that 29% of startups fail due to running out of cash, and a further 18% go under due to pricing or cost issues. That’s almost half of all startups that fail because of financial mismanagement. It’s not surprising given that most startups are traditionally more focused on growth and product rather than finance. So, let’s dig a little deeper into why CFO software is more than just a nice-to-have for startups.

Early-stage companies often face the Herculean task of managing finances with limited resources and expertise. With the fast-paced nature of startups, every minute counts, and long hours are spent on financial reporting, planning, and analysis. These critical but time-consuming tasks, if not executed properly, can lead to dire consequences. This is where CFO software steps in. These tools not only automate most financial tasks, freeing up valuable time, but they also provide CFO-level financial insights which are critical in navigating the choppy waters of startup survival.

One paramount challenge startups face is managing cash flow. Cash flow mismanagement is a slippery slope that can drive startups to their deathbed. CFO software skillfully handles cash management, helping startups monitor their burn rate, predict their runway, and make timely interventions. In other words, manual processes that were once buried under spreadsheets become clear, insightful, and instantaneous.

Best CFO software for startups in 2024

Choosing the best CFO software for startups is much like tailoring a suit; it requires understanding individual needs and circumstances. While there’s no one-size-fits-all, here are some recommendations on the best CFO software suited for startups in 2024.

Finance and billing tools

It’s common for companies to have digitized some of their financial processes. While this is a step in the right direction, there are gaps in many processes companies currently use that finance and billing tools can fill.

Maxio

Maxio is the bridge between a company’s CRM and general ledger that prevents revenue from falling through the cracks. Maxio automates your expense and revenue recognition, helping you keep your data clean and making audits a breeze. Its robust suite of integrations empowers your team to manage every step of your order-to-cash process seamlessly and without fear of inaccurate data. Spreadsheets quickly become unwieldy for a scaling SaaS company; Maxio is the financial reporting tool you’ll never outgrow.

In addition, you can supercharge your entire billing and finance operation. Maxio is a powerful B2B SaaS subscription management software that enables you to employ complex pricing strategies (like prepaid usage or real-time multi-attribute billing), so you can bill exactly the way you want—without the time or financial investment of building out a custom solution. Maxio is the most powerful way to manage the entire order-to-cash process and financial reporting and analytics.

CRM tools

Customer relationship management (CRM) software keeps everything related to your customer journey in one place. By keeping track of all information about potential customers as well as current customers, these CFO tools have the potential to improve your business’s relationships and catalyze growth.

Salesforce

By far the biggest name on this list, Salesforce has become an undeniable giant in their line of work. As the world’s #1 CRM platform, Salesforce can do everything from providing more insight into customers or sales to improving inter-company communication for better customer service.

Salesforce has a whole host of CRM tools to browse. If you haven’t heard of them, or aren’t using one of their tools yet, check them out.

Pipedrive

Pipedrive is hailed as the easiest-to-use interface in the sales industry.

This CRM tool allows companies to visualize their sales pipeline by keeping track of meetings, follow-ups, leads, communications (past, future, or present) so that you can tend to customer relationships in the most effective way possible.

Hubspot

Hubspot is another CRM tool that helps companies manage relationships with customers by improving inter-departmental communication and information records. Hubspot keeps all information related to the buyer’s journey in one database, meaning no double entries or outdated data, since everyone is working off of the same system of record.

General ledger tools

CFO tools that deal with the general ledger are not ones to mess around with. As the record-keeping system for all of a company’s financial data, an accurate and easy-to-navigate general ledger tool is essential.

Here are some of the top CFO tools we recommend to keep your ledger organized and secure, shorten your month-end close time, and keep your company GAAP compliant.

QuickBooks

QuickBooks is useful for all things accounting and finance. From payroll to freelancers to bookkeeping to automated billing, QuickBooks can handle it all (and at a very reasonable price).

QuickBooks links to your business’s bank accounts and automatically categorizes transactions, meaning just one glance provides all the cashflow information you need.

Xero

Xero is a popular all-in-one accounting software trusted by over 3 million business-owners. 

Their software automates tasks like invoicing; keeps track of filing, tax returns, and cash flow; and allows companies to easily see the entire financial picture of their business. In summary, Xero is an excellent digital tool for all of your accounting needs.

Invoicing and ePay tools

Getting paid on-time is just as important as how much money is coming in. Utilizing ePay tools makes sending invoices and receiving customer payments easy.

Maxio Advanced A/R Management

Maxio’s accounts receivable management tool is customizable to a business’s payroll and invoice calendar. 

Create custom collections emails and establish escalation plans for tardy invoices, schedule automatic generations of statements, and get unique reports on metrics like Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) in order to judge the effectiveness of your A/R management process, all with one software platform. Sign up for a free demo here.

Stripe

Stripe is a great configurable billing tool for SaaS companies. It allows you to collect and store payment information, send invoices to repeat customers, and offer free trials and negotiable rates to boost sales.

Stripe’s flexible pricing fits any plan for any business of any size, and even uses machine learning to gather information to reduce churn in the future. Stripe is a great tool for the CFO looking to be particularly nimble in their invoicing and ePayments game.

Stax

Stax prides itself on being more than just an invoicing platform. Besides handling transaction settling, they give SaaS businesses marketing and sales services to strategically increase future adoption and engagement.

Stax’s software allows businesses to accept virtually any payment method through one API, and gives managers the ability to control the customer onboarding process from start to finish in less than 20 minutes. 

Check out Stax if you are looking to boost your company’s on-time payments and invoice organization, as well as gain insight into your operations to boost future sales and customer satisfaction.

Sales tax and compliance tools

Automating sales tax and filing saves both time and confusion for SaaS companies. These tools make it possible to outsource the work of other software companies while adding functionality to “Big ERP” sales tax and compliance tools.

Avalara

Avalara is one of the few state-certified providers for SST (Streamlined Sales Tax). Their software works with over 1,000 signed partner integrations and automatically updates to stay compliant with changing tax rates.

Named an IDC MarketScape Leader in Worldwide SaaS and Cloud-Enabled Sales and Use Tax Automation Software for Small and Midsize Businesses, Avalara is an excellent CFO tool to automate taxes, so you don’t have to think twice about them.

Fitting the best CFO software into your 2024 plans

As you think about your software needs in 2024, consider these points to shape your decision: Which software option aligns best with your business needs? How soon do you plan to transition or migrate to these new tools? Do the features meet the needs of both your finance leaders and doers?

If you’re looking for a finance tool purpose-built for growing SaaS companies, we—obviously—recommend Maxio. Our platform automates your billing, subscription management, collections, and reporting, so you can scale efficiently and delay the need for an ERP.

Schedule a demo to learn how Maxio is helping SaaS leaders get cash in the door and grow their businesses.

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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

Get the ebook

Managing the financial operations of a fast-growing SaaS business is no easy feat, especially when you have a small finance team. From billing and revenue recognition to planning and forecasting, there are countless processes that need to be tracked in order for a company to scale efficiently. However, relying solely on spreadsheets often leads to scattered data, manual errors, and limited visibility into key metrics.

That’s why savvy SaaS operators are turning to purpose-built finance technologies like Jirav and Maxio to achieve efficient growth and streamline their financial operations. In a recent webinar, our team at Maxio met with Jirav to discuss the challenges facing small finance teams and how our two platforms can help them build a more efficient Finance function in their business.

Our panel included:

  • Adrianna Hardin, Senior Director of Support and Services at Jirav
  • Andrea Wunderlich, Director of Product Marketing at Maxio
  • Shilpa Mohan, Head of Operations at ProcurePro

Here’s what we learned.

The challenges of managing finance with a lean team

“Finance team of one, that’s me,” laughed Shilpa from ProcurePro. As the sole finance lead for a 40-person company operating globally, she epitomized the small-but-mighty finance team. In a poll taken during the webinar, a staggering 43% of attendees also indicated they had just one person handling Finance.

For these slim teams, relying on manual processes poses significant challenges:

  • No single source of truth. Data easily becomes fragmented across disconnected spreadsheets, and critical information gets lost in the mix. No real-time visibility means you can’t access accurate metrics like MRR or ARR on demand.
  • Difficulty scaling. Adding new product lines and customer segments increases complexity beyond what spreadsheets can handle.
  • Limited forecasting. Manual processes make modeling your growth trajectories and cash runway nearly impossible.
  • Revenue leakage. Lack of automation in your AR and AP processes means missed invoices and billing errors are common.
  • Reporting headaches. Creating investor-ready materials is both time consuming and error prone.

“There’s a real risk that if you’re working in spreadsheets, you’re never looking at a single point in time. You’re stuck in the weeds trying to update week by week without ever seeing the full picture,” Shilpa explained. Without centralized systems, data easily becomes fragmented.

Finance team struggles at different company sizes

This pain only deepens as companies add products, customers, and business complexity. “As you get bigger, the problems get bigger,” said Andrea from Maxio. Missing renewal invoices, complex revenue recognition needs, and trouble scaling pricing models were just some of the issues she commonly saw companies run into as they grew.

Making the leap from spreadsheets to software

Yet, despite the headaches spreadsheets cause, many lean finance teams hesitate to adopt dedicated financial systems. In our webinar poll, over 50% of attendees said they still use spreadsheets for billing, revenue metrics, and other financial operations. Why the resistance to upgrading processes?

Cost and current workload are two primary factors for upgrading financial systems, the panelists noted. “I totally get it. Software isn’t the cheapest solution when you can still do things in spreadsheets,” acknowledged Shilpa. Likewise, when your current workload feels manageable, it’s hard to justify the time and effort of implementing a new system.

But there are several risks finance leaders must consider if they continue relying on makeshift spreadsheet solutions:

  • Formula errors and broken links between spreadsheets become more frequent as complexity grows. If you’re manually updating financial data in spreadsheets, critical data can easily become corrupted or lost.
  • Lack of automation means teams struggle to keep up with manual processes as transaction volume increases.
  • Spreadsheets often become siloed. There’s no single source of truth, hindering leaders from getting an accurate big-picture view of the business.
  • Custom logic in spreadsheets is rigid and hard to change. This makes it difficult to scale pricing, billing, and reporting needs across geographies, business units, and products.
  • Little or no audit trail of changes made to spreadsheet data, formulas, or reports means the accuracy of your spreadsheets often comes down to institutional knowledge. 
  • Forecasting, cohort analysis, etc., becomes time consuming or impossible. This makes it difficult to answer key questions from stakeholders without extensive manual work.

So, when should you make the leap to dedicated finance software? Our experts agree it pays to think ahead.

“Whatever feels manageable now, you’ve got to think about where you’ll be in 12-24 months,” advised Andrea. When you project out your forecasted customer and revenue growth, you need to keep in mind that your current spreadsheet processes will quickly break as you scale. Relying on manual processes like these is what makes scaling so difficult.

In short, it’s better to preemptively invest in scalable technology upfront. That way, you avoid reactionary Band-Aid solutions down the road, as your business’s complexity outpaces your finance team’s capabilities.

ProcurePro’s powerful combo: Maxio + Jirav

ProcurePro didn’t want to risk outgrowing spreadsheets. From their earliest days, they implemented SaaS solutions to manage their finances, starting with Maxio for billing, revenue recognition, and subscription management.

“We knew from the get-go we wanted to use software,” said Shilpa. Relying on manual processes would mean that ProcurePro’s leaders would never have had an accurate handle on critical SaaS metrics like their MRR and ARR, making it difficult to convey performance to investors. Maxio gave them real-time visibility into these numbers.

Here’s how Maxio was able to help:

  • Automated global subscription management and invoicing with flexible billing options
  • Advanced revenue recognition capabilities to handle complex multi-year contracts
  • Milestone-based project modules that aligned revenue recognition with their sales cycle
  • Detailed reporting on MRR and other SaaS metrics to prep for investor conversations

To further mature their finance stack, ProcurePro also used Jirav for planning, budgeting, and analytics. Now, they could marry Maxio’s accurate historical data with Jirav’s forecasts and models to gain even more visibility over their business’s performance. 

Jirav enabled them to:

  • Create insightful models and forecasts leveraging real-time data from Maxio
  • Report and analyze financial performance and cash flow in real-time
  • Extend their cash runway by optimizing payment terms based on data insights
  • Reduce budgeting and reporting workloads for their lean Finance team

“Closing our books each month takes maybe two hours now,” revealed Shilpa. Now, instead of being bogged down by manual reporting, she and her team can analyze performance and cash flow in real time with Jirav’s dashboards. This insight enabled ProcurePro to recently tweak their payment terms with a surprising result:

“We extended our runway by six to eight months,” said Shilpa. By taking advantage of SaaS tools like Maxio and Jirav, they were able to make a huge impact on their financial performance with minimal effort.

Overcoming the scale-up bottleneck

Unfortunately, many growing SaaS companies will hit hard limitations trying to manage financials with entry-level tools and institutional knowledge. “It creates this phenomenon we call the scale-up bottleneck,” said Andrea. This phenomenon explains why growing companies are struggling to measure SaaS metrics and improve their financial operations.

Symptoms of an impending bottleneck include:

  • Heavy reliance on complex, easily broken spreadsheets
  • Constant scrambling for answers to critical questions
  • Inability to provide investors with detailed metrics and cohort analysis
  • Revenue leakage from missed invoices and billings

“This is when you’re failing audits, taking valuation haircuts, and disrupting M&A,” said Andrea. The business consequences of shaky financial operations grow more severe over time.

The Scale-Up Bottleneck

For example, a lack of accurate revenue recognition and billing management means most companies will struggle to provide investors and board members with detailed monthly recurring revenue cohorts by customer segment. In this scenario, leadership teams will constantly be guessing at churn risks rather than having clear visibility into what’s actually happening in their business. Similarly, critical questions about how pricing changes may impact subscription renewals will go unanswered due to poor reporting capabilities.

And that’s not all. When you rely on manual tools like spreadsheets, gaps in your order-to-cash processes will lead to missed billings and invoices, resulting in substantial revenue leakage quarter after quarter. Attempts to model growth trajectories and cash runways will also be nearly impossible without a single source of truth for key metrics. The end result is frustrated investors, failed audits, and stalled growth for your business.

However, modern platforms that are purpose-built for SaaS companies can bust through these barriers. By unifying your order-to-cash processes and connecting your actuals to forecasts, they give you the visibility, flexibility, and controls needed to scale smoothly.

For instance, with Maxio and Jirav, SaaS businesses gain access to pre-built reports, dashboards, and visualizations that provide clear insight into MRR cohorts, customer health, pricing analytics, and more. Forecasting, budgeting, and scenario modeling also become simple when real-time data flows automatically between the platforms. As Shilpa put it, “I can spend time looking at what the numbers are telling us versus focusing on manual work.”

And most importantly, by automating repetitive tasks, you can empower your finance team to focus on high-impact strategy and planning instead of toiling away in spreadsheets.

Is It the Right Time to Upgrade Your Finance Tech Stack?

Ready to reevaluate your tech stack? Here’s how our panelists recommend you overhaul your financial tech stack step-by-step:

  1. Document your current pains: Where do spreadsheets and manual processes bog you down? What questions keep you up at night? Track these pains to build your case for change.
  2. Map out your future needs: Factor in projected growth, potential business model shifts, and new product lines. What potential challenges lie ahead in 12-24 months? How could technology help you scale?
  3. Model the benefits: Calculate how much time and money tech could save you, plus the opportunity cost of delayed decisions or insights. You should also quantify the revenue risk of billing errors and missed invoices.
  4. Start small, think big: You don’t need to overhaul everything at once. Start with foundational platforms like your billing and metrics. But choose flexible solutions that can expand as you grow–investing in enterprise tools like an ERP could lead to unnecessary tech debt.
  5. Invest in implementation: Don’t just plug in software and call it done. Set it up for long-term success by meticulously configuring it to your needs from the start.

Following ProcurePro’s lead, combining Maxio’s order-to-cash capabilities with Jirav’s planning and analytics can create a formidable finance tech stack for your business. But smart finance leaders know successful adoption requires much more than just purchasing software.

If you’d like to learn how other B2B SaaS leaders are overhauling their billing and invoicing, check out our recent Maxio Institute Report. Or, schedule a demo with our team to see how Maxio can help you achieve efficient, scalable growth.

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What are your biggest financial challenges?

You can’t expect to build a highly profitable SaaS company through manual processes alone—especially when it comes to managing your finances.

This guide shows you how Maxio automates accountants, controllers, and SaaS finance leaders’ day-to-day workload, and how it can eliminate your financial headaches for good.

Download the Guide

At Maxio, we’ve worked with thousands of B2B SaaS operators who already have robust finance and accounting teams and sophisticated FinOps tech stacks, yet they still struggle to tie out bookings vs. billings vs. revenue vs. SaaS metrics. 

There are a few factors that contribute to this: 

  1. Fragmented order-to-cash process: Companies may have best-in-class tools, but if they’re managing bookings, billings, revenue, and SaaS metrics in different systems, they’re likely still doing manual reconciliations in spreadsheets. 
  2. People are singing from different sheets of music: Because there is no governing body that dictates the way SaaS metrics are calculated, different stakeholders will have different opinions about what to include or exclude in vital metrics like ARR and NRR. 
  3. The tools in their tech stack weren’t built for SaaS metrics: While there has been a lot of growth in B2B finance and accounting tech in recent years, most vendors didn’t start out with SaaS metrics for B2B in mind, meaning their metrics offerings are a mile wide and an inch deep. 

What doesn’t work

We’ve been around for 14 years and have helped our customers raise $100B in funding, so we’ve seen every approach there is to solve the SaaS metrics problem. Here are a few things that DON’T work: 

Better spreadsheets 

There’s no amount of color coding and access controls that will derisk managing SaaS metrics in spreadsheets entirely. Add on top of that the inherent risk of formula errors (which let’s face it—even the most experienced Excel wizards make them) and you’ll very quickly find yourself in treacherous waters.

The reality is, there’s no governing body that regulates how SaaS metrics are calculated like there is with GAAP revenue, so a lot of it is up to interpretation. 

Force-fitting an ERP 

As companies scale, implementing an ERP may seem like the best way to eliminate the scale-up bottleneck. But ERPs aren’t silver bullets. SaaS companies in particular usually explore ERPs when they hit limitations with their GL, but then get cajoled into buying other modules, like billing and SaaS metrics in addition to the core GL. 

Unfortunately, most ERPs were originally built for manufacturing companies. They were not made to handle the unique complexities of SaaS billing and the depth and breadth of SaaS metric reporting, leaving users frustrated when they need to appease investors, instill confidence in potential acquirers, or simply gain the level of operational insight needed to run the business day to day.

Hiring an analytics wiz to custom-build something in a BI tool 

After the above methods have failed, we often see companies take the approach of hiring a senior analytics/BI person to come in and custom-build something in their BI tool of choice in order to get the dashboards and drill down views they need. 

While this isn’t a terrible approach, it can be a time suck. It may take a BI person a year to build the SaaS-specific views the business needs, and that’s valuable time they could be spending analyzing the data and making strategic recommendations about the business. 

Is it all doom and gloom? No! There’s a movement of SaaS winners who’ve overcome the SaaS metrics scale-up bottleneck. 

Introducing Maxio Metrics: investor-grade SaaS metrics and analytics built for B2B SaaS

SaaS metrics are part of Maxio’s core DNA. Our reports were forged from the fire of thousands of funding rounds, allowing our customers to raise over $100B in funding over the years. From there, the product expanded to include billing, collections, and revenue recognition. Today, SaaS metrics are a core part of the Maxio platform, and most customers are using our full set of capabilities. 

However, we sometimes run into larger companies who are already managing billing somewhere else, like an ERP system, but they still have a gap when it comes to air-tight metrics. 

That’s where our metrics reporting package, Maxio Metrics, comes in. Maxio Metrics allows our customers to get plug-and-play access to SaaS metrics, all while using their existing billing software or ERP as the source of truth.

– Kevin Sonsky, SaaS Metrics Consultant and former Citrix Executive

A few examples of reports you get with Maxio Metrics include: 

👉 Momentum Report (snowball view) 

Maxio automatically categorizes your ARR into New, Expansion, Contraction and Churn. Categorize your ARR the same way every period for accurate and consistent metrics reporting. Compare this to the old way, where metrics data is inputted and categorized by error-ridden spreadsheets and reconciled by a dedicated, full-time employee and the ROI starts to prove itself. 

Chart_ARR Summary - Funding - Momentum Chart

👉 ARR/MRR 

One of the challenges of a sales-led model is parsing out the difference between bookings or “committed” ARR and “live” ARR from customers who are up and running on your platform. 

Maxio distinguishes between the unique use cases B2B SaaS companies experience, and can handle other complex use cases such as:

  • Delays between the booking date and actual subscription start date 
  • Mid-term contract changes 
  • Early renewal upgrades 
  • Mid-month start dates 
  • and more
Chart_Committed Momentum (USD)

👉 Cohort Analysis 

Want to dig into performance metrics by start date, industry vertical, salesperson, or something else? Maxio enables you to do in-depth cohort analysis with a few clicks of a button.

Chart_ARR Cohort by Month TTM

👉 Unlimited custom objects

Bring in custom objects from your CRM or GL to slice and dice data by the parameters that are relevant to your business. Or, leverage our free attribution data from Clearbit to populate data like Customer Location, Industry, Size, etc.

Chart_ARR by ICP Score & Biz Sector

Ready to level up your SaaS metric reporting? 

Maxio serves over 2,400 B2B customers, annually supporting over $14 billion SaaS billings. Over our 14 years in the business, our customers have raised over $100 billion in funding. We’re trusted by top-tier investors, like Battery Ventures, Insight Partners, and Francisco Partners.

Let us show you how to get investor-grade SaaS metrics and analytics at the click of a button.

Get a demo

Explore the #1 billing and finance platform for B2B SaaS.


FAQ

Question: Can we bring in historical data? 

Answer: Absolutely. In most cases, customers bring in 1-2 years worth of historical data, but we can discuss this further in the sales process. 

Question: How long does it take to implement? 

Answer: This offering is by far our quickest implementation. In some cases we automatically ingest all of your historical data, and the implementation can be done in a few days. In other cases we upload historical data via a .csv file or API. This approach varies from a timing perspective. A rough estimate would be 2-4 weeks.  

Question: What’s the best “source of truth” data? 

Answer: We typically recommend customers use their billing/payments or GL because these sources paint a more accurate picture of the ongoing financial relationship with the customer, but we do occasionally have customers elect to use their CRM as the source of truth.

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Explore the #1 billing and finance platform for B2B SaaS

Get a customized demo to see how Maxio will help you:

  • Streamline your order-to-cash process
  • Reduce churn and stop revenue leakage
  • Get cash in the door faster
  • Drive strategic decisions with real-time SaaS metrics and analytics

Request a demo

In our Fall product update webinar, Chief Product Officer Barrow Hamiliton, Manager of Product Grant Chambers, and Director of Product Marketing Andrea Wunderlich (that’s me!) showcased some of Maxio’s most powerful features for helping companies activate a hybrid go-to-market strategy.

We covered:

  • The changing market dynamic 
  • What a hybrid go-to-market motion actually entails 
  • A sample B2B SaaS company with a complex, hybrid GTM model 
  • A sample subscriber journey 
  • What’s next on Maxio’s product roadmap

Why should SaaS companies leverage a hybrid GTM strategy?

We all know the business environment around us has changed significantly over the last couple of years. A new B2B era is upon us. Gone are the days of growth at all costs, sky high valuations, and an unlimited supply of funding. 

This new era requires growth efficiency and greater financial rigor. There is no better proof of this change in the market than what we are seeing happen with valuations. 

The

Rule of 40, and its impact on company valuations

You’ve likely heard a lot recently about the Rule of 40, a useful tool for measuring the balance of a company’s growth and profit margin. Less than 18 months ago, 10% on the rule of 40 was the low bar to get a 10x valuation. Based on a 2023 study from Software Equity Group, companies now require 50% on the rule of 40 to command a 10x valuation, meaning if you aren’t growing north of 50%, you better be profitable. 

That’s a pretty significant swing in expectations.

How to achieve growth efficiency in today’s market 

So how do you achieve the Rule of 40? Well, it has two implications. 

On the profit margin side, you need to think about how to keep your G&A and R&D costs low, but on the growth side, you need to think about growing your revenue more efficiently.

Reducing headcount and cutting back on tech spend for GTM teams can only take you so far. 

You need to fundamentally rethink the way your products are packaged, sold, and delivered to customers to discover where you might capture efficiencies.

Product-led growth, which in many cases means self-service models and pay-as-you-go, has long been touted as a path to efficient growth because customer acquisition cost is lower.

However, our recent Maxio Institute data shows companies that offer sales-negotiated contracts have higher CLV and have maintained healthier growth rates in the downturn. 

Additionally, Gartner reports that PLG-only models result in a 23% higher chance of buyer regret, which spells disaster for retention efforts.

The logical conclusion here is that you need to run both a sales-led and product-led motion—a hybrid go-to-market model. 

But what does a “hybrid go-to-market motion” even mean? 

Some in the SaaS space define hybrid GTM as the ability to offer both subscription and usage-based pricing to customers. Others define it as the ability to run both self-service and sales-led motions in parallel. 

More often than not, a single GTM motion aligns with a single pricing model. This isn’t because customers want it that way, it’s because mixing and matching acquisition and pricing models is an operational nightmare

That’s where Maxio comes in.

How to operationalize a true hybrid GTM model in Maxio 

Maxio is a financial operations software that was purpose-built to support the needs of growing B2B SaaS companies. That includes supporting your hybrid billing model. Let’s take a look at how it works:

For demonstration purposes, let’s look at how this would work for a fictional SaaS company with a complex, hybrid GTM model. 

SaaS Mail Co. is a B2B SaaS company that specializes in email marketing. They have two “self-service” type plans, the usage-based plan and the starter plan, and one sales-negotiated enterprise plan.

Blog_SaaS Mail Co pricing

As you can see, the SaaS Mail Co. product catalog is pretty complex. It includes offerings like metered components, overage charges, user seats, and non-product items like 24/7 support. 

All of this is easy to configure in Maxio’s Advanced Billing platform.

On our product webinar, Manager of Product Grant Chambers walked us through a sample subscriber journey for a SaaS Mail Co. customer. (We’ve included his demo below.)

This journey includes things like: 

  • Moving from an evergreen to a term subscription 
  • Mid-period upgrade 
  • Reverting back to an evergreen subscription after the term has expired 
  • Using a self-service portal to make changes to the subscription 

All of the subscription actions taken in Advanced Billing are reflected on in Maxio Platform’s financial and SaaS metric reports, making it easy for SaaS Mail Co. to see:

  • Future draft invoices for a term subscription that includes a usage component 
  • Easily see future revenues at the customer and term subscription level 
  • Easily distinguish between subscription and usage revenues in SaaS metric reporting

What’s next on Maxio’s product roadmap

Stay tuned to learn more about what’s coming for Maxio, and how you can better leverage our software to meet your revenue goals. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s coming next:

Maxio Payments

Unlock automated reconciliations, batch reporting, journal entries, and seamlessly sync payments & deposits directly to your GL.

Developer Tools 

Easily integrate your web applications with Maxio using our embeddable components and SDKs (Software Development Kits).

Data Extensibility 

Extend the value of your Maxio data and enable new insights with new benchmarking and reporting capabilities.

Ecosystem Integrations 

Facilitate business processes and with Maxio’s continually evolving ecosystem of integrations including NetSuite, Intacct, QuickBooks, Xero, Salesforce, HubSpot, and more.

Watch the full recording from Maxio’s Fall 2023 Product Update Webinar: Hybrid GTM Demystified.

Ready to operationalize your company’s hybrid go-to-market model? 

Maxio is the only billing and financial operations software purpose-built to support growing B2B SaaS businesses. We automate your billing, subscription management, collections, and reporting, so you can stop chasing dollars and focus on evolving your business strategy and operations.

Get a demo to see first-hand how Maxio can help you adapt to the changing market.


About the author

Andrea Wunderlich has spent the last five years working in various GTM roles including sales development, content marketing, and market strategy for B2B SaaS leaders like Chili Piper and FullStory. She now leads Product and Customer Marketing at Maxio, a billing and financial operations platform built for B2B SaaS, helping SaaS leaders carve a path to efficient growth.

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The State of SaaS Growth 2023

We’ve analyzed the billing data of over 2,100 B2B SaaS companies between 2022 and 2023 and have presented key insights, including:

  • Growth rates of businesses based on billing type
  • Where some of the fastest growing companies are located
  • The bar for raising your successive round of investment.

Download the report

Product webinar recap

Hybrid Go-to-Market Demystified: Unleash Your Growth Potential

Join us as we share how Maxio’s new (and some not-so-new) features enable you to operationalize the hybrid GTM motion you need for success in today’s market.

Fall, 2023

What’s New in Maxio

Custom Pricing, Embeddable UI Components, and Multi-Frequency Line Items

Read the transcript

Today I’ll be taking everybody through an example subscriber journey for a fictional SaaS company called SaaS Mail Co.

SaaS Mail Co. automates the sending of emails. SaaS Mail Co started as a product-led growth company, and as they grew and scaled their business, they added a sales-led go-to-market motion.

This is SaaS Mail Co’s pricing page. As you can see, they have two PLG, or self-signup, plans here in the first and second columns. In the third column, they have an opportunity for customers to reach out if they desire to send more than 10,000 emails per month to negotiate with the sales rep.

We’ve gone ahead and created SaaS Mail Co’s product catalog within Advanced Billing. There are three products corresponding to each one of their plans, and four components: 24/7 support, custom domain names, emails, and users.

Before we jump into the example subscriber journey, I just want to talk about some of the different ways you can create subscriptions within Advanced Billing.

4 Ways to Create Subscriptions

API calls and self-signup pages

Historically, our two most common ways that our customers create subscriptions, via API or self-signup page. API is most common for that click-through signup you have within your application.

Then your application is making an API call to Advanced Billing to sign up the subscription. The self signup page is when you actually have a URL for a page that we host. You give that URL to a prospect or customer, and they can sign up a subscription themselves.

CRM integrations

We also have a lot of customers who have historically used our CRM integrations, and now we’ve enhanced those CRM integrations to better handle Term.

Maxio’s UI

The fourth way to create a subscription is via the Maxio’s UI, and this is going to be a lot more common with Term when you have billing managers needing to go into the UI to create the subscription. This is the subscription methods that will demo here in the upcoming demo.

The customer journey: How SaaS Mail Co manages subscriptions and reporting

Let’s jump into a plan configuration for this example customer.

We’re going to configure a plan that bills quarterly for $1,500 per quarter and includes 250,000 emails per month. So, we’ve created a product that bills every 3 months for $1,500. That product has an expiration of 12 months, and that’s what makes the subscription a Term Subscription. Our usage component of emails is set to monthly.

This means if the customer does not go over the 250,000 emails every month, they’ll get just that quarterly invoice. And if they go over 250,000, they’ll get an in-between invoice to cover the overage.

From here, let’s bounce over to Maxio Platform. You can see in Maxio Platform, we have a transaction that’s created for $6,000, which is your $1,500 per quarter times four quarters.

There’s four invoices. The first of the four invoices is paid because it’s been issued out of Advanced Billing. And the next three are what we call “future draft invoices.”

These are invoices we intend to issue unless something changes with the subscription, and we’ll show you after this what a subscription change actually looks like and how that impacts your transactions and your future draft invoices.

Before we continue on the example subscriber journey, I want to talk a little bit about the reporting suite that we have within Maxio Platform.

Reporting in Maxio

The reporting suite and Maxio Platform is all triggered off of the transactions and the future draft invoices. So when we have a subscription that’s Term, we actually can go ahead and create those transactions and future draft invoices up front, which gives us a lot more insight into our reporting.

Advanced Subscription Momentum

This is an example of the Advanced Subscription Momentum. There’s some different customers in this report for SaaS Mail Co, so it’s hard to pick out exactly where that example subscriber is, but we can filter this report down and see just their movement of $6,000 coming in in September and then the $6,000 being there throughout.

Deferred Revenue Waterfall

This is a view of the Deferred Revenue Waterfall, which is another really powerful report that brings more insight via Term Subscriptions. You can see with the subscription that’s invoicing every quarter, how we have the highest deferred revenue in the first month, and then it steps down in the second month.

Then the lowest in the third month before replenishing again in that fourth month.

Advanced Revenue Summary

Another super powerful report within Maxio Platform is the Advanced Revenue Summary, where you have your invoices per period, the recognizable revenue per period, and the deferred revenue.

Embeddable UI Components

We have another product that we want to highlight here that you may or may not have heard about. It’s called Embeddable UI Components. Embeddable UI Components are delivered via an SDK. So what you’re seeing here is an example of SaaS Mail Co’s portal where their customers can login to manage their subscriptions.

For our example subscriber, they’re logging in right now and upgrading 24/7 support. When they confirm the change here, it draws up an invoice for the prorated amount of $50, which in this case is $49.50 and this is all being delivered via our Embeddable UI Components.

When we flip over to Advanced Billing, you can see how that invoice comes across in Advanced Billing. Then also within Maxio Platform, there it is. $49.50 is the first transaction, and then you get $1,550 for the next three periods. And our future draft invoices are also updated from $1,500 per invoice to $1,550 to now account for that 24/7 support.

Changing a subscription from Term to Evergreen

That brings us to the conclusion of our customer journey. We just have one more step to do.

We’re going to fast forward in time a little bit. Imagine that you’ve made it to the end of your contract. The contract terms still apply, and that customer’s now going month to month.

What we’re simulating here is a changing of the subscription from Term to Evergreen. That just puts the subscription in a month-to-month state where the transactions will now generate like an Evergreen transaction already does. Every time a the subscription processes, a new transaction will be created from that point forward within Maxio Platform.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this demo showing the full customer lifecycle from subscription creation through self-service upgrades all the way through month-to-month at the very end. And highlighting some of our new features that we’ve added: Custom Pricing, Embeddable UI Components, and Multi-Frequency Line Items.

Future Updates

What’s coming next for Maxio? Find out here.

Read the transcript

Just an overview for those of you who may be less familiar with Maxio: In your monetization stack, Maxio sits between where your sales orders are coming in.

So in that hybrid motion, it could be from a CRM or directly entered into the system. But, most people with a sales-led motion are working with Salesforce or HubSpot or a self-service signup process where your new customers are going to some sort of a site and just signing up automatically.

Maxio is able to ingest all that information, process all the invoicing, all the payments, etc. through our partnerships with companies like Stripe and through our own payment capabilities called Maxio Payments. And then all that data is, of course, reflected in revenue recognition, reporting, analytics.

All those things are really important inside the Maxio platform, and it all flows through to your general ledger as well, so your entire tech stack around billing and financial operations stays in sync. And works in seamless automation together.

So drilling down a little bit further inside of Maxio, the things we’re really focused on in terms of facilitating that integrated B2B SaaS monetization process is the automation of all those steps, either in that integration with the CRM, like when you’re putting offers out there and you’re acquiring customers. Or it could be through that self-signup process and provisioning them, automating all the subscription setup, provisioning, invoicing, collecting new cash.

Automating all the reporting of revenue, making it really easy to close the books, and then being able to use all that information for analytical purposes, understand what’s happening in your business to think about how you want to game plan for the future. Then, taking that next step to enhance your go-to-market motions, whether it be enhancing your sales-led motion, your self-service motion, or launching a hybrid motion like we saw the capabilities for today.

So what’s next on our roadmap?

There are four key areas we are working on right now to develop enhanced capabilities.

1. Maxio Payments

One is building on what we already have today with Maxio Payments.

We want to not only the facilitate we have today for processing of payments and collecting cash, but also the automation of all of those financial operations: automated reconciliations and reporting and journal entries, all those things to make that critical function to tightly integrate that into all the capabilities that are within the Maxio platform.

2. Embeddable Components

We also want to make it super easy for you to build your product and integrate wherever it makes sense into the Maxio platform. You saw one example of that today with the demo that Grant was showing with the Embeddable UI components as one of the examples of us providing developer tools.

So, pieces of code, SDKs, Embeddable Components, things of that nature, where it’s very easy for your development team to take that code and then embed the functions of creating subscriptions, reading information, working with invoices, all the stuff across our platform, within your own applications and within your own workflows.

3. Data Extensibility

Through the Maxio Institute, we’ve published some great results in terms of benchmarking. And you can see a lot of the trends that are going on within the SaaS ecosystem and marketplace. We will continue to build on that, but also just extend the value of the data, making it easier and easier to compare your specific data in your part of the Maxio platform with what else is going on out in the broader SaaS ecosystem as well as doing some other things to extend the value of our data around forecasting and just generally adding on to our reporting capabilities, which are such a critical part of the Maxio platform.

4. Integrations

We want to continue to make sure that we’re working with the most important players in the SaaS ecosystem, so we will continue to build features into our current set of ecosystem integrations as companies like NetSuite, Intacct, QuickBooks, Salesforce, HubSpot, as they expand their capabilities. We want to more tightly integrate with those so we can maximize the value you get from those applications and working within the Maxio platform. Addiitonally, we’re always looking for potential other SaaS ecosystem players to integrate with wherever it makes sense to extend the value that you get from Maxio.

Q/A about Maxio’s Fall Updates

Watch the Q&A recording here, or scroll down to read through answers to the questions viewers asked about our recent Maxio updates.

You can use Maxio Payments today!
In terms of how it compares, it, of course, completes basic payment processing. But what sets it apart is the fact that it’s built directly into the Maxio platform This makes all the reconciliation and what’s happening in your payment processing is accessible in our reporting analytics. Imagine all the reporting anlytics you’d have within Stripe, but being able to manipulate it within Maxio.

No. We have process that will make this a relatively painless transition.

The hardest part of a chargeback is the need for a quick turnaround time. While we don’t handle the dispute process for you, what we do is expose the information right away. With this information immediately at your fingertips, you’ll have a much better chance at winning the process.

These types of subscriptions differ by the way they’re configured. Term subscriptions configure an expiration date, while Evergreen subscriptions are configured via the product price point.
The price point functionality was previously available in Chargify (now Advanced Billing). What we’re doing now is adding the term functionality for use cases where there’s a contract involved so that revenue can be recognized within the parameters of those dates.

Any subscription action that happens in Advanced Billing is synced with Maxio Platform.

A “future invoice” is basically an invoice preview, but for the entire term of the subscription in Advanced Billing. You’re able to see the entire future of that subscription.

Yes, and this information is updated within Maxio Platform at the same time.
For example, if you have a year term on your subscription that bills monthly, you’ll have 12 invoices. So, at signup, you’ll see one paid invoice and 11 future draft invoices. Once you get to the second month, you’ll see two that are paid, and 10 that are in draft. And you’ll see this in both systems.

Yes! We sync invoice information from Maxio into Salesforce so you can see which have been paid and which haven’t in either systems.

If your goal is to use our billing portal or Embeddable UI components, we can treat those as historical invoices that you’ve sent out of Maxio Platform as an import into the Advanced Billing System. Then your reporting will be handled via your transactions and invoices within Maxio Platform.

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Launchpad is the premier monthly newsletter for B2B SaaS professionals. Learn how to tackle funding challenges, achieve compliance, improve your pricing, and streamline financial operations with actionable advice from industry experts.

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The 2023 SaaS Growth Index

We’ve analyzed the billing data of over 2,100 B2B SaaS companies between 2022 and 2023 and have presented key insights, including growth rates of businesses based on billing type, where some of the fastest growing companies are located, and the bar for raising your successive round of investment.