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What is an automated billing system?

Glossary definition

What is an automated billing system?

An automated billing system allows SaaS and subscription companies to set up rules for automation to send outstanding bills to clients and customers at a cadence that you set. Automating your billing helps your outstanding bills get paid faster and offers your clients and customers an easy way to see their balance and pay their bills.

What are the key features to look for in an automated billing system?

The key feature of an automated billing system is that it removes the need to manually send out recurring billing notices for outstanding invoices to your clients and customers. Instead, with automated subscription billing software, you’re able to automate the cadence of recurring invoices to be sent out, thus removing tedious admin time from your schedule. It even helps you get paid faster!

There are 5 key functionalities SaaS and subscription companies should look for in a billing solution to automate accounting and reporting. These include:

  1. Flexible intelligent general ledger with AI and a continuous close
  2. Public market reporting such as forecasting, FP&A, and financial statements
  3. Foreign exchange, currency, and tax
  4. Consolidations
  5. SOX compliance

Take for example the story of Marqeta, which leveraged Sage Intacct to modernize and streamline their SaaS billing process—cutting time spent on monthly billing. Watch this short video to see how Sage Intacct met Marqeta’s needs to modernize and streamline their SaaS billing processes.

What to integrate with your billing system

Depending on the accounting and/or billing software you use, it might already include automated billing that you can customize. It is best to reduce the number of systems that you must integrate to drive your billing, collections, and reporting; however, if that’s not the case, there are several add-on software services that possibly integrate with your current billing or accounting software as a plugin.

Watch this short video to learn about Sage Intacct’s native integration with Salesforce. You will learn how Sage Intacct allows SaaS and subscription companies to automate billing and revenue, forecast the future over the lifetime of your contracts, and bring all of your SaaS metrics into a single dashboard.

The advantages of automated billing

There are several key advantages of utilizing automated billing software, including:

  • Automating your invoicing save you the tedious admin time of manually creating and sending out invoices.
  • You get paid faster when automated billing software sends out regular recurring bills ahead of due dates, and most automated billing software will offer the option to add payment options for your customers to pay you directly from their invoice.
  • When you automate your invoicing, it also removes the possibility of manual error, saving time and money by avoiding costly mistakes.

How to set up an effective automated billing system for your business

There are many ways to create an automated billing process. While setting up an automated billing system is a straightforward process, every business operation is different and therefore steps to follow will depend on your business requirements. However, the most effective method is to utilize automated billing software that allows you to create rules and logic that define your invoicing process in very simple way.

To set up your automated billing system, this typically involves choosing and customizing an invoice template to your liking, setting up regular recurring cycles that you want to send out invoices, and choosing the payment options you’d like to offer your customers. Automated billing software like Sage Intacct makes this process very easy, which also enables you upload your company’s logo and change the design to fit your company’s aesthetic, ensuring your branding is front and center on all your invoices.

Watch our 5-minutes video to learn what you need to put in place to build and forecast an effective usage-based billing model.

How to determine the best automated billing system for your business

Determining the most ideal software for billing is completely dependent on your business needs and current operating model. Generally, subscription billing systems are not something you change until your scale demands it. It’s therefore important to assess the performance of your current billing system in order to make an informed decision. However, in the digital era where automation is ubiquitous, the best billing software will include automated billing, customizable templates that incorporate your business logo and branding, and contain payment options for your customers directly on the invoices you send out. Sage Intacct has several options that include all the above, and more.

How to evaluate automated subscription billing systems

When your SaaS company grows in size or complexity, you reach a point where manual processes drain your productivity, and you begin to struggle to analyze your growing range of financial and operating data. An ideal solution to this problem is using an automated billing system that leverages the latest technology. But what are the key features to look out for when evaluating and comparing modern automated billing systems?

At a minimum, a modern billing and accounting system for SaaS, software, or technology companies should automate and streamline core financial management functions—such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, and the financial close. Yet that’s just the tip of the iceberg; SaaS firms have revenue recognition, subscription billing, and SaaS and GAAP investor reporting needs that require specialized functionality in their financial management systems.

For these reasons, we’ve created a SaaS finance buyer’s checklist that includes 45 must-have features of a modern automated billing system. To help you evaluate and compare subscription billing systems, download the ultimate checklist for choosing subscription billing software.

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