“Since money is the fuel that powers business, tapping into billing data is critical to guiding business decisions driving growth. Understanding how to mine your billing platform to generate the right kind of reports can tell you a lot about business operations, cash flow and go-to-market strategy. You just have to know where to look.” - James Messer, Founder and CEO, Gotransverse, in Forbes

Recently, Gotransverse founder and CEO James Messer wrote about the power of the billing process — particularly the mediation engine — to drive significant business insights. Last month, in Forbes, Messer dove deeper, providing tactical advice for mining those insights by generating the reports that turn billing data into actionable strategic guidance. And that guidance, he says, goes deeper than metrics like annual recurring revenue, monthly recurring revenue, or days sales outstanding. While those metrics (and other core subscription billing metrics) are important, he says, there’s much more to look at.

"These metrics are good places to start, but to see the actual health of your business, you need to know how to look wider and dig deeper, assimilating the billing data into reports that matter to your operations.”

In the article, Messer identified ten billing reports (divided into four categories) that can help businesses assess performance and growth in a truly meaningful way. We’ll overview them here, but we encourage you to read the Forbes article for the full scoop.

Revenue Tracking

In the first category, revenue tracking, Messer recommends businesses generate three kinds of reports, all of which are designed to minimize revenue leakage by ensuring every product or service customers use is being billed. These include ensuring every serviced account has been invoiced, every account’s charges match its contract, and every usage event is being successfully mediated for billing.

1. Missing Invoices

2. Missing Products and Services

3. Usage Throughput

Customer Experience and Churn

The reports Messer recommends in the second category are meant to highlight how the customer journey is impacting revenue. Are billing errors having a negative impact on the customer experience (potentially causing them to find another provider)? How quickly is your billing platform enabling you to generate and send out invoices — and how many days is it taking for those to be paid? (The shorter these time frames, the stronger the revenue stream and the smoother the customer experience.) What percentage of bills are outstanding at any given time? Additionally, are customers cancelling their services at an unusual rate? If so, what’s causing the churn?

4. Billing Errors

5. Aged Receivables and DSO

6. Customer Churn

Product Trends

The next two reports are geared toward identifying trends in how (and how much) customers are using your products and services. You can track seasonal trends (such as heightened summertime energy usage, and you can take note of unexpected spikes or dips in usage, then identify what’s causing them and make any changes that might be necessary. Additionally, how many customers are upgrading or downgrading their services, and what does that indicate about ability to pay, customer service, or other factors?

7.  Consumption Analysis

8. Upgrades and Downgrades

Customer Trends

Finally, reports that track customer trends — geography, vertical market, interaction with sales and marketing channels — can help businesses identify which markets are most valuable, which marketing channels generating the highest ROI, and other key insights that can guide resource allocation decisions. Tracking customer lifetime value, too, can guide customer acquisition costs.

9. Customer Billing Profiles

10. Customer Lifetime Value

(Read more about each of the ten key billing reports.)

“Data stored in your billing platform can reveal a lot about your business,” says Messer. The key, of course, is accessing that data in a format that is truly useful in driving business decisions. Messer suggests starting with technology — the right systems can make capturing that data a breeze. “Once you have the data and the means to extract it,” he says, “you can start creating data models that will show you how your business is performing and how to drive more revenue.”

At Gotransverse, we specialize in turning billing data into actionable, strategic insights for our clients. To learn more about our billing platform — and the growth it empowers — we invite you to take a virtual tour today.