Article Mastering Contracts: Essential Data Points for B2B SaaS Controllers
Is your contract management system (or lack thereof) driving the controller bananas at your B2B SaaS company?
Controllers at B2B SaaS companies are like canaries in a coal mine. They need to have access and knowledge about what is in customer contracts and actions they have to take towards accounting for the contracts. If they start complaining about data quality in your customer contract recordkeeping, you could soon have a big problem on your hands.
Not being able to view accurate details quickly about every last one of your customer contracts is more than frustrating. It tends to lead to nasty surprises like missed invoicing or incorrect metrics reporting (eg TCV/ACV).
- No leadership team wants to make decisions off of corrupted financial data!
- No customer wants to receive an incorrect invoice from a vendor they trust, or receive an invoice that is months late.
- No controller wants to be put in the crossfire when their company’s contract data records let them down.
Read on to learn more about how today’s B2B SaaS accountants and controllers are using software to track their most vital contract details.
B2B SaaS Controller Role In Customer Contract Management
For B2B SaaS companies, the controller’s role is critical in reviewing and synthesizing diverse financial requirements from customers’ contract data. This data is essentially the beating heart of every company, since it drives customer invoicing, revenue, renewals, and much more. Let’s dig into the details:
1. Contract Terms and Conditions: Understand the specific terms and conditions of each customer contract, including the effective start date, contract duration, renewal dates, pricing details, and any special arrangements or discounts offered. Each one of these things will have an impact on the amount of revenue you can recognize.
2. Upfront Billing Terms: With upfront billing comes the challenge of tracking and recording deferred revenue. Most companies use spreadsheets to do this until it becomes unbearably time consuming.
3. Billing and Payment Information: Track billing frequency (monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.), payment terms, and any outstanding payments or overdue invoices. Ensuring timely and accurate billing is crucial for cash flow management.
4. Contract Modifications: Contract modifications often are done by the sales team for various customer-facing reasons. The accounting team isn’t always aware of the modifications until after the fact, sometimes way too late. The impacts are often on billing and reported revenue.
5. Churn and Customer Retention Data: Customer churn impacts the entire company, lost revenue being one of the most important problems. Customer churn can be related to so many things, one of them product related. Monitoring contraction and churn and reporting this on a repeatable and consistent basis is a must, yet it is often left to manual systems (e.g. spreadsheets) to do it.
6. Net Dollar Retention: Are your customers renewing and also buying or paying more year after year? Who is tracking and reporting this?
7. Contract Cancellation Policies: Certain cancellation provisions, such as termination for convenience and refund rights, can have very negative effects on revenue recognition. You need to make sure the senior accounting team is involved during contract negotiations to negate potential revenue damaging provisions within your customer contracts.
8. Contract Analytics and Metrics: Do you trust the calculation of your key KPIs? Since many KPIs do not have specific standards, different companies calculate them differently. Just one example is Committed Annual Recurring Revenue (CARR) versus Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR). Ten companies may have ten different approaches. The accounting team should be tasked with defining and reporting these key metrics accurately and consistently. Other metrics to consider are: CAC, CAC payback NDR, GDR, ARR growth, Average Deal Size.
Having access to this crucial data allows the controller to effectively manage financial operations. This adds confidence and power to their role. It also allows them to assess the financial health of the business and support strategic decision-making within the entire B2B SaaS leadership team.
What happens if my B2B SaaS company doesn’t do a good job of storing contract details?
Small errors can quickly compound into major issues.
- Inaccurate contract information will have severe negative consequences to your company’s valuation:
- Flawed revenue recognition and thus misreported financials
- Significantly increased audit costs
- Tax return refilings
- Damage to your B2B SaaS company’s credibility among employees and investors
There is no reason to run these risks when financial operations platforms like TrueRev exist. This software can store accurate, complete contract details on every customer to be retrieved with a click.
Here’s what specialized finops software can do at a fraction of the cost of enterprise-level finops platforms:
REDUCE ERRORS WITH RELIABLE AND ACCESSIBLE CONTRACT DETAILS
Without accurate contract details right at hand, guesswork can creep in. If a controller doesn’t have a clear picture of their B2B SaaS company's revenue, it can be impossible to assess financial performance and to plan for growth correctly and allocate resources.
TIMELY INVOICING IS A MUST
Sending invoices late or worse yet, forgetting to send invoices at all, is a killer to working capital. Yet, this happens all too often due to miscommunication and using the wrong tools (manual reminders, spreadsheets). We are living in the technological age, and the best of breed teams use the right tools (ie smart software) to avoid these problems..
KNOW YOUR METRICS - COLD!
Knowing everything about your customers, such as the revenue, which products are granted the most discounts, who is churning and why, what is your ARR growth, what is your CAC and can a product really be profitable if you spend way more to get acquire a customer, then the revenue you generate from that customer. Who on your team has this information? It should be a combination of your sales team, customer success team and accounting team but each will have potentially competing interests. Using the right tools can help you get these metrics and also remove individual bias..
IMPROVE JOB SATISFACTION FOR YOUR ENTIRE ACCOUNTING TEAM
No accounting professional likes the chore of manual rework and correcting errors that could have been easily avoided with clever financial software.
Let TrueRev Make B2B SaaS Contracts Easy TrueRev software is purpose-built just for B2B SaaS and the complex, unique contract requirements of the B2B software industry.
TrueRev makes it simple to track the essential B2B SaaS customer details, at a fraction of the cost of expensive enterprise software! TrueRev does not replace your CRM either, it does what your CRM or Accounting system can not do out of the box
- Contract start and renewal information
- Billing events during a contract
- Revenue to recognize by contract
- Total Contract Value (TCV)
- Annual Contract Value (ACV)
- Retention Metrics
All this information is available in real-time for your B2B SaaS finance team to analyze with just a click or two.
TrueRev is committed to accurate data and offers a complete onboarding service for companies with a large set of contracts or customers. Every member of the B2B finance team can be up and running fast.
Controllers armed with accurate records are a powerful combination! This optimal situation leads to more successful decision making for everyone at your B2B SaaS company.
Don’t waste your accounting team’s valuable time, skills and sanity on manual spreadsheets, leaky cloud storage systems and avoidable errors with endless rework.
That means competitive advantage and success of your B2B SaaS company.
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