Consultant analyzes financial statements in spreadsheets

Recession fears driven by inflation and other macroeconomic headwinds put a squeeze on sources of funding that were previously available, which has led to a variety of cost-cutting measures across the SaaS industry. Today's reduced access to easy capital has forced business leaders to balance growth with operational and capital efficiency not only to weather the current storm but also as a method to attract potential investors.

Bessemer Venture Partners, in their latest State of the Cloud report, stated in the new cloud environment, fundability comes down to whether you are in control of the levers of your business. So what does this mean for SaaS companies? To face today's headwinds and be in control of the core levers of your business, you must be able to measure and monitor them accurately and consistently.

All too familiar basic analytics setup

For many SaaS companies, their data analytics strategy is reliant on aggregating information across a variety of siloed systems. For example, a company will have an accounting system or ERP, such as Sage, where they manage or track sales and marketing spend, gross margins, enterprise contracts, billings and credits. The company may also have a CRM system, such as Salesforce, for tracking opportunity pipeline, booked deals, customer accounts and attribution and a payment processor such a Stripe, where they manage low-touch recurring billings and various payment processing activities.

All too often, all the data from these siloed systems are manually aggregated into Excel as the business’s operational reporting tool. Although Excel-based analytics are commonly used by businesses, it often leads to low-quality and error-prone data.

Top challenges with Excel-based analytics:

  • Time-consuming: Manual data preparation or aggregation of information from multiple sources
  • Error-prone: Easy to break, low-quality data that requires a lot of intervention on behalf of the finance team to make sure the information is accurate
  • Delayed results: Without real-time analysis, leaders can't respond rapidly to emerging trends
  • Doesn't scale: Large volumes of data become practically and technically unmanageable at scale
  • No single source of truth: Version control issues, lack of auditability and inconsistent data aggregation and normalization call into question the reliability and accuracy of data
  • Lacks depth of analysis: Surface-level metrics with limited segmentation and lack of depth analysis

Obstacles facing a maturing business

As a SaaS business matures, the complexity of its contracts often increases – generating increasingly complicated scenarios for which the finance team is tasked with managing and measuring. So as contracts become more complicated, SaaS companies end up with situations like:

  • Multi-year ramps
  • Non-coterminous and re-racks
  • Free months
  • Channel sales
  • Late or early renewals
  • Credits and concessions
  • Usage/consumption models
  • Multi-currency
  • International consolidations

Each of these complexities adds additional strain and overhead to operational analysis forcing the finance team to go back to the drawing board to determine how to upgrade (i.e. reinvent) their data model to accommodate. It’s a never-ending cycle as the business evolves and its motions transform.

Amplifying your SaaS business intelligence

Businesses can elevate their team's focus from data management to advanced data analytics, gaining real-time access to the business intelligence necessary to measure their organization’s performance and health more efficiently with Baker Tilly’s SaaS Intelligence.

SaaS Intelligence is an investor-grade, fully automated B2B SaaS financial metrics tracking application built on Sage’s robust infrastructure. The application leverages a proprietary intelligence engine to deliver metrics that are automated, real-time, reliable and insightful. SaaS Intelligence is purpose-built to manage the increasing complexities of a growing SaaS business so that finance teams can maintain focus on delivering strategic business insights.

Utilizing Sage's best-in-class integrated systems approach, SaaS companies can leverage their preferred business applications integrated directly into Sage and analyzed by SaaS Intelligence as a single source of truth. SaaS Intelligence empowers organizational leaders with a consistent understanding of business performance across functional areas and provides them with real-time access to the metrics that matter most.

Baker Tilly has experience helping SaaS businesses implement Sage Intacct to get the most of our their financial data. Contact us today for more information.

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