SaaS Brief

6 Ways to Build a More Effective SaaS Finance Team

Finance Team

If they're being honest with themselves, any successful SaaS company will probably admit that their CFO had a large hand in their good fortune. 

This is because CFOs serve two fundamental roles, both of which are critical to any enterprise: 

  • Leading with objective data: Crafting profitable financial strategies for the company with reporting and forecasting.
  • Building a stellar team to produce that data: You should take personal responsibility for ensuring your SaaS accounting team has everything they need to achieve their professional goals. 

We're going to explore 6 of the best ways for CFOs leading SaaS finance teams to achieve both of the above goals. 

How to build a stellar SaaS finance team

Put these tips into practice to give yourself the gift that keeps on giving: a proactive team that can help you generate rock-solid results through thick and thin. 

1. Leverage automation

Spreadsheet software is no longer an adequate accounting solution in the age of automation. The larger your company is, the more true this statement becomes, as the shortfalls of spreadsheet accounting will only multiply as you scale. 

More and more finance leaders are converting to automation. The benefits are just too clear to ignore, including: 

  • Automatic data sharing: Say goodbye to wasting time and resources manually transferring data across departments. With automation, everyone has access to precisely what they need all the time. 
  • Real-time billing updates: Never have a billing slip-up again. Choose billing automation software that automatically tracks contracts changes and amendments, across upsell and downsell, to know any changes in billing that might impact your company. 
  • ASC 606 assistance: SaaS revenue recognition is tricky even for seasoned financial professionals. A little automated help can go a long way.

 

 

That's only the start of building an effective SaaS finance team, though.

2. Use role-based dashboards 

More than ever, forward-thinking accounting teams are leveraging role-based dashboards to aid in visual organization.

This is a phenomenal strategy because it gives key players like the CEO, CRO, Chief Customer Officer, CFO, Controller, and others immediate access to every metric they need in a single glance. 

SaaS accounting is complicated enough. There's no reason to make it even harder through a messy and decentralized approach to your data.

3. Streamline your invoicing 

An invoicing error reflects poorly on your company and can be a hassle for the recipient, depending on the transaction involved. You want a friction-free billing experience.  

Automating your SaaS accounting workflow will make invoicing inaccuracies a thing of the past. It essentially acts as built-in reputation protection in that respect. 

But the most critical benefit of automatic, touchless invoicing is time. First, how much of it your team will have freed up for big-picture strategic planning instead of being bogged down with manual invoicing. Second, by speeding order-to-bill you can lower DSO and thereby, increase cash-flow to invest back into the business. 

4. Expand your integration capabilities 

As companies grow larger and develop a more complicated web of corporate tools and relationships, integration becomes increasingly central. 

Your SaaS accounting suite should feature seamless integration. It's part of a recurring theme that weaves its way through the most successful businesses in all industries. They do everything they possibly can to automate and centralize their enterprise. 

Sage Intacct can effortlessly integrate with major platforms, including: 

  • American Express and VersaPay
  • SalesForce and Hubspot
  • Expensify, Airbase, TeamPay, Nexonia
  • Workiva, Planful, Vena, Jirav
  • ADP and 
  • Hundreds of others

Integrations are essential to maintaining your day-to-day workflow and effectiveness. 

5. Produce accurate, insightful reports 

It can be tempting to see financial reporting as falling among the more passive corporate activities. But nothing could be further from the truth. Accurate reporting serves as the strategic backbone of company plans and initiatives by:

  • Improving and maintaining investor relations: Investors crave clarity. Automated reporting can help you tell the best version of your company's story to investors, no matter what stage your business is at.
  • Giving your internal team a compass to follow: Accurate multifactor reporting is an indispensable way to give your team members a sense of where they are in the present moment. And just as importantly, they'll know how that stacks up against where they need to be. 
  • Laying the groundwork for robust forecasts: Effective reporting is worth pursuing for more than its own sake. The more effectively and clearly you can report on your present position, the more powerfully and accurately you can forecast the future. 

Can your accounting software do all that? With automated reporting technology at your fingertips, you'll tremendously enhance your operational capacity and efficiency. 

6. Track and improve your SaaS metrics 

There's another set of valuable navigational tools we still need to address: your SaaS metrics

It's important to know exactly where you stand with respect to your SaaS KPIs. Keeping an eye on them allows your team to gauge the company's strengths and potential shortcomings so you can capitalize on the former and address the latter. 

In particular, you'll want to follow these three metrics closely: 

  • Customer lifetime value: Your CLTV tracks the average amount of money each customer spends with you before they churn. You should always aim to keep this figure as high as possible.
  • Engagement rates across channels: Whether it's social media, email marketing, blog audience figures or something else, keep your engagement high. Do you know what customers aren't doing if they're engaging? Churning. 
  • Churn rate: Churn measures how many users unsubscribe from your services over a specific period. One of the most important strategic elements of SaaS finance is keeping your churn at the bare minimum.

 

 

Business often involves stress and long-term competition, both of which can cloud our strategic vision and judgment. Metrics act as an objective guide and touchpoint to help prevent this. 

Key takeaways 

Teamwork is essential. It's true in life, it's true in business, and it's especially true for SaaS CFOs. Check out this helpful guide to learn more about building the best SaaS finance team possible. 

 

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