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Billing Software

Paul Shapiro's Profile

My company sells internet bandwidth and storage for rich media companies, on a recurring revenue model.  There are many exceptions to our standard deal and a lot of unusual billing requirements.  We are currently using Excel to track our contracts and sales orders, and Quickbooks to process billing invoices and track customer A/R.  We have grown to the point where these solutions are not sustainable.  Additionally, soome of the deals have gotten too complex to rely on Excel to contain all of the necessary requirements

We have looked at Aria and Zuora as possible billing software solutions but wonder if anyone has experience with either these or other solutions?

I appreciate feedback on user experience and direction.

Paul Shapiro
Santa Monica, CA

Answers

Ivette RuizBabylon
Title: Controller
Company: Acceller, Inc.
(Controller, Acceller, Inc.) |

Have you considered a fully integrated solution for billing and financials? Intacct provides a great, user-friendly Financials package that has fully integrated billing and revenue recognition functionality. It's SaaS "cloud" computing which eliminates the need for upgrades and "patches" you might find with hosted or in-house solutions. I highly recommend you check them out at www.intacct.com

Topic Expert
Paul Benedetto
Title: CFO, Director of Finance, Consultant
Company: Nextwave Software, Rethink Fabrics
(CFO, Director of Finance, Consultant, Nextwave Software, Rethink Fabrics) |

I agree with Ivette's comment. I converted a company to Intacct back in 2002, and while no longer there (was their controller, then CFO), I continue to maintain their system. They have a rev rec and subscription billing module, along with many other seemless integrations you can deploy. I would be happy to discuss your situation in more detail, to give you a better flavor of how Intacct might help; as well as can provide a demo (I am actually a partner/reseller of their software). No pressure and no cost for my assistance - just a strong advocate of SAAS "Cloud" systems. At my current employer we use NetSuite, another one worth strong consideration.

Respectfully,

Paul

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Paul,

It's not clear from your note if your company has telco-like requirements for billing. If so, may I suggest you carefully define those requirements before you look at any software- I would tend to refer to billing as front office and the rest of your accounting as back office-broadly speaking.

That said, here are some pointers:
1. do you need usage based billing? how do you collect and process usage data?2
2. how do you rate the usage to create a billable amount?
3. what taxes are applicable to which billed services? Is it just sales tax, or do you have to handle various telecommunications taxes?
4. what is your revenue recognition set of rules? how often to you have credits and rebills that can affect the deferred vs earned amounts booked?
5. what invoice presentment requirements do you have? Aggregated, detailed, customer defined formats?
6. Multi currency?

Where will this company be in 3-5 years?

Regards

Len Green

Paul Shapiro
Title: Director of Finance [formerly Interim VP..
Company: Verizon Digital Media (EdgeCast Networks..
(Director of Finance [formerly Interim VP Finance/CFO], Verizon Digital Media (EdgeCast Networks)) |

Thanks for all of your commments. I've looked at Intacct but I'm worried that the company's billing complexity won't be met by their software, but I will look again. Len, we have our a proprietary usage program, but have various levels of billing terms and that's where the software seems to come short. We're going to run some scenarios through Aria and see how it performs.

Theresa Wilt
Title: Independent Contractor
Company: Multiple U.S. Clients
(Independent Contractor, Multiple U.S. Clients ) |

I agree with Len's comments that you should first assess your requirements
and then do your comparison shopping. There are so many products to choose
from you might as well get the one that is closest to exactly what you will
need and always be sure to consider future needs to allow for growth. Take advantage of free demos and if you tell one vendor which other vendors you
are considering, they will point out the flaws in the competitors' product
that you might overlook in your own assessment of the product's features.

This might be more than you need, but if you are considering an integrated system that includes full financial accounting including complex billing...
might want to look at Deltek Costpoint which specializes in Project accounting where each Project can be set up to be billed uniquely, even for same customer.
This is the system I am most familiar with but have no comparison info to share.

Good luck!
Teri

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