As a hyper-growth SaaS business with a rapidly expanding user base that preferred to pay online as well as offline, Userlane’s billing process efficiency started taking a hit
While there are accounting tools that connect with payment gateways and automate recurring billing, the finance team at Userlane realized that they’re not equipped to handle the logic of recurring subscriptions or calculating the exact MRR numbers.
The bigger problem lay in achieving accuracy in revenue reporting and getting a holistic view of the customers with respect to subscriptions, plans, and billing dates.
This meant the finance team at Userlane would spend nearly 5-6 days in closing their monthly financials, after collecting information from multiple sources and then hashing it out in spreadsheets.
Without a dedicated billing system, Userlane couldn’t bill their customers flexibly either — with customers who signed up on a specific date, they wanted to align their subscription start date to the first of the month, and bill them on the date that the customer would set up payment details.
For Userlane, billing operations are not necessarily strategic. It’s more tactical that needs to be addressed at regular time intervals — every day or every month, depending on their customer. Thus efficiency in the billing process became a critical metric when choosing a solution.
Userlane found Chargebee most suited to handle their unique billing needs, to smoothly onboard customers, and to offer different payment methods — both online and offline. Zeroing in on Chargebee also helped them manage subscriptions with different start dates.
With Chargebee the finance team at Userlane is able to:
- Forecast cashflow: Chargebee became the Finance team’s primary source of truth to forecast their cashflow. Once they won a customer, Chargebee took charge of everything else — right from payments or issuing refunds, measuring how many invoices were sent last month, how many were paid, how many are due to be sent next month, how many customers paid monthly vis-a-vis annually, how many renewals are due and so on. All this wouldn’t have been possible had they used an accounting tool to automate their billing.
- Automate billing schedules and flexible payments: For Userlane, accommodating different subscription start dates became a necessity as they scaled. From being able to set a subscription start date to two months after they’ve actually won a customer, to scheduling renewal dates, they automate different billing schedules for different customers.
- Defer invoicing for unbilled charges: Rather than invoice the customer immediately when the subscription is created, they now add the amount to unbilled charges. This was done to ensure that invoices are paid for on time, and more importantly to create a great customer experience.
- Save 80% of the time spent on monthly financial reconciliation: The time saved from automating billing is spent on more critical tasks, like calculating revenue projections. What would have otherwise taken them 4-5 days per month in manual billing and reconciling the payments with their banks, now takes just one day in a month, saving them 80% time in reconciling their monthly financials.