The Oakley ERP Blog

How ERP Software Can Help Run your Subscription Business
Monday July 24, 2017

Subscription-based businesses are growing at a huge rate. The latest ERP software is similarly having to change to keep up and handle this new kind of demand.

There are more payment options available than ever before. True, some, such as cheques and postal orders, have been largely superseded, but their places have been quickly taken by an ever-growing choice of credit cards and store cards, not to mention online payment options, PayPal and various other platforms.

The “silent predator” in all of this has been the phenomenon of subscriptions. They have quietly, but effectively, become more prevalent. If you are scratching your head, here are two words that present a prime example – Microsoft Office. The days of buying it and taking it home in a box to keep forever are long gone. Today, you sign up on a rolling subscription and pay Microsoft’s fees every year.

The growth of subscription services

Other examples abound. Think about your antivirus products and the apps or services you have for watching TV, sport and films. Subscriptions are great for businesses, as once set up, the majority of consumers just keep on paying month after month and year after year without really thinking about it.

Looking at it that way, perhaps it comes as less of a surprise, then, that subscription-based companies are growing some nine times quicker than traditional product-based companies.

Challenges

Subscription strategies clearly represent a fantastic model when it comes to costs and revenue. However, they can create some administrative headaches, particularly for the finance teams running the back end.

Without specialist tools to manage the finance side of the subscription business, they can find themselves in a morass, juggling with multiple spreadsheets to try and keep on top of new business, client follow ups, renewals, amendments, cancellations and so on. It does not take a genius to see that in a situation like that, resources will be drained and mistakes will slip in.

Ultimately, this can mean a significant increase in operating costs for the organisation, not to mention the very real possibility that customers will become dissatisfied and vote with their feet – meaning sales and reputation can both take a hit.

Suddenly, the brave new world of subscription businesses sounds fraught with danger. But there is a solution.

The right ERP software

By implementing the right ERP software solution, a company can easily handle subscriptions as well as the traditional side of sales, without incurring extra time, costs and errors.

Two of the most popular such solutions are Sage 200 and Sage 300. Here are a few examples of how they can help run your subscriptions smoothly:

  • Setting the deferred revenues in the system.
  • Creating recurring revenue transactions – these are the points at which those deferred payments actually take place.
  • Accurately forecasting revenue on the basis of real time information.
  • Automatically sending out reminders to customers when it gets close to the renewal date.
  • Providing flexible payment options and configuring the payment due dates on the basis of what the client selects.

Subscription businesses are on the up and up. Make sure you take full advantage of what they have to offer, by getting the right systems in place from the outset, contact us today to find out more.

Written by Oakley ERP at 10:48

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