Improve the Month-End Close in Your SaaS Business
Finance and accounting teams have had to quickly react, changing processes and procedures due to the pandemic. Nowhere has it felt more acute than during the month-end close.
In this SaaS Success session, finance leaders shared their best practices to manage the month-end close in volatile times through streamlined processes, collaborative teams, and ongoing improvements with actionable analytics. Access the month-end close videos and slides for all four sessions.
David Appel, Head of Software and SaaS at Sage Intacct, was joined by:
- Kevin Neary, Controller at Wistia, a leading a video marketing SaaS platform used by 500,00 businesses; and
- Mike Whitmire, Co-founder and CEO of FloQast, a close management software, enabling a better, faster close
Here are three questions the panelists answered:
What does that look like in the coming months?
This is uncharted territory for us right now, but we've also hired a really great team. I was confident that, as an organization, we would have the mentality to pull together and get through this.
-Mike on the people challenge we’re all facing today
SaaS companies need to address the personal and cultural transitions to work remotely month after month, as well as the trust that exists among the finance and business teams. On the cultural front, many companies are doubling down on their acknowledgment and gratitude for their employees. FloQast established a great program with a Slack gratitude channel to capture achievements and awards given at every virtual town hall.
What can you actually control in a remote world?
We've definitely drilled into more details of our close checklist and our reconciliations now because people's schedules are so unpredictable. . . people may need to get away from the screen for a little while. At the beginning of each cycle, we have a pre-close meeting so that we know what's going on each day of the close. That gives people the ability to shuffle their to-do lists on the fly month in and month out.
-Kevin on Wistia’s close strategy
Controlling the month-end close can be especially challenging right now. Open lines of communication go a long way. But, if you don’t have an established close plan and tools, the remote close will likely get delayed.
Automating the close with subscription revenue management software can reduce close times by more than eighty percent because you have one source of truth. Great SaaS companies integrate quote to cash, billing and revenue recognition, and synch between Salesforce and their financial system. With billing and revenue rules already kicked off, manual processes are eliminated. From there, you build your SaaS month-end close checklist like the one FloQast provided during our session. Once you develop this checklist, it can evolve as your business evolves.
Scenario Planning, SaaS Forecasting and Working Remotely with Your Team
Now that the pendulum is swinging away from hunker-down mode, how are you working remotely with your team?
We don't want people’s professional growth to be stagnant during these uncertain times. So, now we're in the process of setting goals for ourselves for the next three to six months. We’re asking what projects team members want to work on, where they see themselves in six months, a year, three years, five years. . . we're really focused on how do you want to contribute and where do your interests lie?
-Kevin on supporting his team’s career growth
As we navigate through Covid-19, it’s key to take care of yourself and your team. That will create the collaborative culture that wins in the ongoing competition for finance and accounting talent. As Mike explained, “A lot of SaaS companies are still hiring at this point. And my anecdotal thought on that is accounting has always been understaffed. So, a lot of companies just can't cut anyone in finance. . .they are either remaining steady or adding some people.” If you have a steady team and see growth on the horizon, it’s the ideal time to look at efficiencies and automation that support a streamlined month-end close.
This is just an excerpt of this great conversation. See the session video that includes Q&A with your SaaS finance peers, month-end close slides, and the three other SaaS finance sessions.
David Appel is the Head of Software & SaaS at Sage Intacct, and is passionate about creating great B2B SAAS companies. Over time he has developed a series of SMB, Mid-Market, and Enterprise customer-lifecycle playbooks that focus on creating value for customers, increasing return for shareholders, and building great teams, that have generated over $1.1B in market capitalization for his clients.
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