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When you were starting your online business, you probably weren’t thinking about how exciting the billing process would be unless you’re a trained accountant and love documentation, of course.
You’re probably more interested in developing new products and creating business solutions. Regardless of your professional motivations, billing and invoicing is a vital part of any successful business. This means you need to find a billing solution that keeps your business running smoothly, and preferably one that requires very little of your time.
To help you find the right billing software for your online business, we’re covering the ten features your billing software needs to have:
4. Global Compliance
5. Revenue Recovery
8. Fraud Protection
9. Third-Party Integrations
Keep reading to learn more about these essential billing software features.
Again, you’re not an accountant; you’re a business owner. This means you need your billing software as simple as possible so you can easily manage it or have someone else handle it.
For example, there is a lot of complicated billing math that helps you determine when to bill, who to bill, and how much tax to charge … for every transaction. Good billing and invoice software will simplify your life by automatically doing all this math for you. Make sure your billing program keeps the process simple for you and is equipped to handle all your transactions.
Before you invest in a billing program, take it on a test drive. Or at least view screenshots of the actual platform. You want to make sure the program is easy to understand and navigate.
Pay attention to the user interface. Is the interface intuitive? Do you feel like you can navigate the program and find all the features you need?
When it comes to usability, it’s all about personal preferences; only you can determine what works best for you. So, your comfort level with billing and invoicing will determine the type of layout and functionality you prefer.
Also, consider the onboarding process. How long does it take for the program to install and be functional? Can it be easily integrated with other platforms?
Determine if the billing program can actually do what you need it to do. Can it accommodate several different payment options? Can it accept foreign currencies? Can it handle subscriptions?
Functionality is especially important if you offer multiple plans, add-ons, subscriptions, or run coupons. You need to make sure your billing software can implement changes quickly and frequently.
There are so many guidelines and regulations for both domestic and international eCommerce. What makes things even more complicated is that they’re constantly changing. Nobody, especially if you’re running an online business, has time to keep track and comply with every new rule. This means you need to find billing software that does it for you.
Specifically, you need to find a platform that manages compliance for:
- GDPR. This is the EU General Data Protection Regulation. It allows you to conduct business with EU-based customers through your online store. Also, it’s important your billing software “complies with the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework as set forth by the US Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of personal information from EU member countries.”
- PCI DSS. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard protects consumers and their data when shopping online or in-store.
P.S. FastSpring is fully compliant with GDPR and PCI level 1 certified, the highest level of certification possible. Just in case you were wondering.
5. Dunning Management and Revenue Recovery
Dunning management and Revenue Recovery tools allow you to decrease credit card declines. These tools are especially crucial for subscriptions/recurring billing. This is how it works:
- The technology monitors customer accounts and looks for credit cards that are expiring soon.
- It then notifies the customer of the upcoming expiration.
- The software encourages them to update their payment information.
If you offer subscriptions, you need dunning management. So, make sure your billing platform offers it.
When it comes to billing, you want as much visibility and transparency as possible. Without in-depth reporting, there’s no definitive way to determine the health of your business. So, confirm your billing service gives you access to revenue reports and tax summaries.
If you offer subscriptions, you’ll need reports for:
- Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
- Average MRR Per Subscription
- Active Subscriptions
- Total Subscribers
- New Subscriptions
- Upcoming rebills
- Churn Rate
- Upcoming rebills
- Lifetime Value
And with FastSpring, you can drill down to the subscriber level and see individual activity so that you can check each subscriber’s status. You can visit our support documentation to learn more about subscription reports.
Even though a third-party is handling your billing and invoicing, all billing communication and digital invoices should reflect your branding.
You also need to make sure you can customize your billing amounts and time periods. For example, can you split your product prices into multiple payments, giving customers more payment options? If you offer subscriptions, can you specify monthly/quarterly/yearly billing cycles?
8. Fraud protection
When you handle other people’s personal and credit card information, you need to be aware of the risks of theft and fraud. When shopping for billing software, pay attention to their security features.
For example, FastSpring has a multi-factor fraud monitoring and detection algorithm that blocks fraudulent transactions without interfering with the customer experience.
Once you decide on a billing program, include security information on your site to give your customers peace of mind.
9. Third Party Integrations
Make sure your billing data is exactly where you need it to be to make informed decisions with the help of third-party integrations. You can use an API and webhooks to view order details, access payment data, manage invoice delivery, monitor billing and contract cycles, and much more. Learn more about the integrations available with FastSpring.
Ideally, you’ll be able to install and run your billing software without a hitch. But if you do run into issues, it’s nice to know there’s customer support available.
Besides a customer support phone number or online chat feature, look for other sources of information, like onboarding documentation, developer tips, video tutorials, and other articles to help you navigate your new billing and invoicing system.
Every online business has unique billing and invoicing needs. This is why it’s so important you find the right billing system for your business. Ready to grow your business with the support of a full-service ecommerce partner? Try FastSpring today!