The subscription software model gained significant popularity over the last decade. It was first observed across SaaS solutions and streaming services, and eventually followed by others like product rentals and subscription box services. Once optimization of operational processes became available, businesses found themselves on the hunt for billing software that could simplify recurring billing management. The ability to collect money automatically on a regular basis, requiring little effort on the part of the employees, was too good to pass up.
At first, vendors took a one-size-fits-all approach to billing software, but business needs have remained dynamic through the early 2020s, and this trend will certainly continue for years beyond. Recognizing this, companies have been open to the idea of experimenting with their business models, pricing, and billing methods before figuring out what works best for them. Instead of choosing between either subscription based or traditional sales, they began to ask, Why not both? And, why sign a contract for software that will remain static even as business needs evolve? They wondered if a land-and-expand approach to software made more sense.
Modern billing software has come a long way, and in 2023, it’s set to meet the challenges of the next decade and beyond while ensuring accessibility for all sorts of growing businesses. In this article, we will explore what flexible billing software looks like in 2023 and how it’s meeting future needs, today.
Automation Can be Trusted and Relied Upon
The role of automation in billing software has taken a major leap forward. For much of the time it was available, businesses seemed wary to trust something as important as cash flow to a system requiring few human checkpoints—especially when the software was in its buggy, nascent stages. However, features that were once considered ideal have now become standard, and automation in modern billing software is far more reliable than its predecessors.
Today’s billing processes running on the latest software invites employees into the process rather than obscuring each step. Workflows are now built by people and can be customized on-the-fly without interrupting automated processes. The technology is flexible enough to operate within custom templates, as well, and can produce reports at a moment’s notice to provide more transparency and visibility. Alongside AI capabilities, automation within billing software can even produce analytics reports to guide future decision-making down to a granular level. Automation has taken on the role of supporting feature rather than software mainstay, resulting in powerful executions with as much employee input, or as little, as companies require.
While modern automation scales with changes to billing software and CRM configurations, its ability to grow doesn’t stop there. Many vendors offer third-party integrations and additional apps for their billing software offerings that expand functionality, and automation seamlessly slides itself alongside, including monitoring these customized systems for vulnerabilities behind-the-scenes. By trusting automation in all business cases, small businesses can enjoy more time and energy to focus on core business activities, growth, and customer satisfaction.
Access Has Expanded
In 2023, flexible billing software isn’t confined to office desktops or on-premise systems. Thanks to cloud-based solutions, mall businesses can now monitor their billing workflows from anywhere. Business owners and financial teams can check the status of invoices, track payments, and manage collections on-the-go in a way that better fits the future of work. This mobility means that small businesses can reduce the time it takes to collect payments and resolve billing issues via remote work.
Not only can companies collect payments from anywhere, billing software now offers the ability to collect payments in multiple forms. Today’s offerings include flexibility for types of currency, methods of collection (credit, debit, ACH, etc.), and error correction. These ensure billing software accomplishes its most basic function regardless of obstacles; if problems arise, employees can see what went wrong via automated tracking and reporting, and make the necessary adjustments from afar.
Small businesses can maximize this expanded access by reconfiguring their workflows. They can consider the cloud not as a backup location for work but as a central hub through which all tasks should flow. As more employees are added to the company, they can be trained on a cloud-based system and offered customization options from the beginning, ensuring a higher likelihood they’ll find the new tools accessible and immediately actionable.
Client-Facing is the Way of the Future
In today’s customer-centric world, businesses need billing solutions that cater to both their internal needs and their clients’ expectations. Flexible billing software should be designed with the customer in mind. Establishing trust with customers is an important part of retention, and maintaining transparency with them is a step in this direction.
Businesses should look for features that enhance the client-facing aspect of billing. This includes client portals that provide customers with easy access to a comprehensive overview of their transactions, billing information, payment history, and the ability to complete, payments online. It’s not just about having these features; it’s also about ensuring that customers know about them and use them to their fullest effect.
Companies can ensure smooth client interactions by placing renewed emphasis on the onboarding process. Yes, selling is important, but if customers aren’t staying around because they’re not receiving top tier service, all those initial efforts go to waste. Small businesses are light on customer service resources, so by empowering the customers themselves to take action or track down the information they need, these businesses are conserving resources better served in growing the business in other ways. Small businesses can further communicate the advantages of client-facing features through clear and personalized notifications, guides, and user-friendly interfaces. This not only improves customer satisfaction, but also encourages on-time payments and stronger relationships.
In the dynamic world of small business operations, billing software has made remarkable strides in 2023. With increased automation, expanded access, and a client-focused approach, flexible billing software empowers small businesses like never before. Small businesses that embrace these changes will be better prepared to navigate the challenges and opportunities that the future holds.
More in: Zoho Corporation