Your complete guide to enterprise billing software

Enterprise billing solutions are business-critical for large corporations — but evaluating the right solution can be tricky. This guide outlines everything you need to know — why you need enterprise billing software, how it solves complex billing problems, and what you should know before choosing one.
June 14, 2024
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SaaS billing is complicated but enterprise billing takes it to eleven — massive deals, multiple products, and hundreds of customers (with custom contracts) all add to the complexity. 

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At the same time, large businesses — especially the public ones — also operate under stricter compliance and regulatory protocols to safeguard their brand equity and avoid huge penalties. 

Recently, Autodesk (a public company in the Construction Technology space) delayed filing its annual financial report citing an audit investigation into its ‘free cash flow and non-GAAP operating margins’. You can guess what happened next — plummeting stock values and a class action lawsuit by investors. 

Here is where enterprise billing software comes into play. Built for large corporations, it tackles complex pricing, ensures transparent audit trails, and safeguards your data while adhering to compliance regulations.

TL;DR:

  • Enterprise billing software is purpose-built to address the unique billing requirements of large companies such as complex pricing models, advanced financial reporting, and multi-layered security protocols.
  • Some benefits of enterprise billing software include support for hybrid pricing models, top-notch security, and advanced financial reporting.
  • You need to answer two main questions when picking an enterprise billing solution — what features do you need and is the system future-proof? 
  • A decoupled billing system — like Zenskar — can be a great option for enterprises requiring complete flexibility in pricing models and contract customizations. 

What is enterprise billing software?

Enterprise billing software is an automated cloud solution that enables large corporations to streamline various billing processes like creating invoices, drafting contracts, and creating ASC 606/IFRS 15-compliant financial statements. 

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But what’s the difference between traditional and enterprise billing software? While the former helps you automate your billing processes, the latter is built specifically for large corporations — high-volume transactions, month-long contract negotiations, and detailed audit trails. 

Not to mention the enterprise-grade security policies and protocols — multi-layered security infrastructure, compliance certifications, and more.

Enterprise businesses and their complex billing challenges

Enterprise SaaS companies are known for their complexity — in pricing models, customer contracts, and even operational workflows and processes. 

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This can lead to a chain reaction of complications rising one after the other — complex contracts lead to intricate pricing models, leading to revenue leakage.

Complex contracts

Enterprise companies are known for their long sales cycles which take anywhere from six months to a year. And enterprise deals are rarely simple. They come with custom pricing models, volume discounts, and in some cases, even feature requirements. 

Sales representatives might also provide other add-ons like uptime guarantees, priority support, and consultation services. Now, add to this the legal elements like service agreements, payment terms, and termination clauses — and you can see how it gets complicated. 

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Creating such contracts is only half the battle. The other half is feeding them into your billing system to ensure these guidelines are followed when billing your customers. 

There are two main challenges here. You have to:

  • Set up a workflow (or workaround) that reads the custom pricing terms stated in the contract and sends them to the appropriate data fields in your billing system.
  • Create a system to account for (and update) the various amendments or add-ons that are included during the lifecycle of the contract.

This either leads to added work for sales teams (who have to update each contract manually) or development teams (who have to build custom data mapping or metering tools over legacy billing systems).

Metered billing 

Most websites have a ‘How it Works’ page to elaborate on how their platform works. But in Enterprise SaaS, you can also expect such pages for pricing structures (case in point — Twilio). 

Not to mention the rather elaborate price estimate calculators to help buyers figure out the overall cost of a solution.    

Digital Ocean’s price estimate calculator 

 If it takes so much effort to explain a pricing model to users, imagine how complicated it is to actually set up such intricate metered pricing plans

Let’s unpack the many layers of Enterprise pricing plans:

  • A base plan — either tiered, seat-based, or volume-based (in some cases, all of them)
  • Some add-ons — advanced features and increased usage limits such as AI tokens or API read limits
  • Service charges — for implementing a solution, training the team, or maintaining the solution
  • Contractual commitments — like bundled solutions or different discount rates for each year of a multi-year contract 

Imagine setting up a billing system that both manages multi-attribute pricing tiers with customer-specific adjustments and allows for high throughput transaction processing. That’s a lot, right? 

Revenue leakage

According to Ernst and Young, companies lose anywhere from 1% to 5% of EBITA (earnings before interest, tax, and amortization) every year just from inefficient contract management and payment follow-up processes. The main reason for such lax processes — manual workarounds and bad data.  

Revenue leakage — especially from contract mishaps — can both disrupt your cash flow and lead to customer dissatisfaction (and eventually churn). Even worse is the fact that most businesses consider revenue leakage an unavoidable part of doing business.

Here’s quoting Anita Dougall, the CEO of the data consultancy firm Sagacity

“The amount of money being left on the table is shocking but perhaps equally worrying is that many businesses have their heads in the sand, with two-thirds saying that revenue leakage is unavoidable, and the less said about it, the better.”

The benefits of enterprise billing software

But what if we told you enterprise billing software can help you address most, if not all of the challenges mentioned above? 

Here are some ways enterprise billing solutions can help you —

Supports multi-layered contracts and pricing plans

The main advantage of using enterprise billing software is the level of flexibility it provides. It allows for endless customization options that can help you automate even the most complex billing workflows — reducing hours (and days) of manual work. 

Whether it’s custom hybrid pricing models (with tiered pricing, add-ons, and usage-based components) or built-in data mapping features (to customize the billing rules for each customer) — they can help you do it all. The results? Better efficiency and lesser revenue leakage. 

Take Squadstack (the AI-driven sales outsourcing platform) — they saved more than 120 engineering hours per month by shifting from their in-house billing tool to Zenskar’s enterprise billing solution.

Gives you access to low-code/no-code tools and APIs

In most cases, off-the-shelf software should address all billing requirements out of the box. But the ‘enterprise world’ works differently — and in many cases, you might need to build custom solutions to extend the capabilities of your billing system. 

It’s not just hyper-specific billing requirements, enterprise businesses might also have to deal with ‘process bloat’ — age-old operational workflows and legacy integrations. 

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Enterprise billing software can help you here — most of them provide low-code tools like SQL-query builders for usage data ingestion and aggregation and full-stack APIs to help you build custom integrations or automations. 

Enterprise-grade security and compliance protocols

The final benefit of using enterprise billing software is the security it provides. Not only are large companies held to a higher standard of compliance and security, they are also more likely to face government scrutiny. 

And a tiny mishap can lead to reputational damage, millions of dollars in fines, and even lawsuits. 

For example, the fine for GDPR non-compliance can be up to 4% of their global annual turnover or €20 million, whichever is greater. And there are many companies — like Clearview AI — who have paid this hefty €20 million fine.

Enterprise billing software comes with additional compliance standards and advanced security infrastructure — multi-layer authentication, threat intelligence, and such — to protect your billing data from security breaches. 

Enterprise billing features to look out for

According to PwC’s 2024 Finance Effectiveness Benchmark Study, the average finance team spends: 

  • 45% of their time on customer billing
  • 35% of their time on financial reporting
  • 29% of their time on account receivables

So much so that more than half of a finance team is simply working on tasks that can be automated. 

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But with the right enterprise billing software, you can shift your team’s focus from billing ops to financial strategy — and drive business growth.

Here are some features that can help you automate your billing operations:

  • Pricing designer to set up intricate pricing models without any developer support.
  • Drag-and-drop contract builder to create customer-specific contracts at scale.
  • Automated workflows to manage processes like prorated billing for mid-cycle signups and automatic downgrades based on usage limits.
  • Subscription management to manage the entire quote to cash lifecycles like trials, renewals, upgrades/downgrades, and cancellations.
  • Rule-based revenue recognition to help you keep track of revenue streams and auto-generate industry-standard financial reports.  
  • Audit trails to ensure billing transparency and maintain regulatory compliance.
  • API access to build custom integrations or automated workflows. 

How to choose an enterprise billing solution?

Apart from features, here are three other aspects to consider when choosing an enterprise billing solution —

Brand equity 

If choosing a billing system is difficult, then migrating from one to another is doubly so. That’s where brand equity comes in — choose a software solution that not only comes with a good reputation and positive feedback but also one that is prepared for the long game — one that’s future-proof and scalable.

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Regulatory adherence 

You are only as secure as your billing provider. Being a central database of all your customer billing information, it’s the most vulnerable to data breaches. So, it’s important to start with a data-first approach when evaluating software vendors.

An easy way to do this is by checking if the vendor has achieved relevant security certifications like SOC 2, PCI DSS, ISO 27001, or HIPAA (if you are in healthcare). You can also ask them about their security protocols such as how often they run security audits or how they assess and manage vulnerabilities.

Billing experience

There are way too many SaaS platforms that use deceptive UX — especially in the subscription workflows and enterprise billing software is no exception to this. 

Plus, with billing software — where you’re charged according to your usage limits such as invoices generated or bills processed — it’s even more important to go for a software vendor giving you a ‘good billing experience’. This includes accurate invoices (with usage records), personalized communications, and flexible payment options. 

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Why do companies choose Zenskar for enterprise billing

If you’re an enterprise business that’s outgrown your legacy (or internal) billing system, then Zenskar’s enterprise billing solution might be a good option for you. 

Here’s how Zenskar differs from regular billing systems:

A decoupled approach to metering and billing

Unlike other platforms, Zenskar follows a decoupled approach to metering and billing. This simplifies usage metering by allowing you to send ‘raw usage data’ from over 200 data sources using direct integrations and external APIs.

How Zenskar separates usage from pricing

How does this help —

  • Create any type of pricing — from traditional ones (flat-fee, percentage, and matrix) and usage-based pricing (multi-attribute and overages) to hybrid pricing models
  • Alert customers when they reach a usage threshold and add usage data to invoices for better transparency
  • Run pricing experiments, find growth levers, and tweak your pricing strategy with real-time and historical usage trend reports

A node-based contract builder

The contract builder is built on top of Zenskar’s proprietary graphic data model. As such, all billing elements — subscription types, products, usage metrics, and payment terms — are each a ‘separate node’ unaffected by other elements. 

Create intricate contracts with Zenskar’s point-and-click contract builder

This means your sales team can put together bespoke contracts for each customer by simply selecting the relevant nodes — no coding required. 

Zenskar’s features

  • Subscription management: Automate your entire quote-to-cash cycle with features like invoice generation, payment collection, and dunning sequences. 
  • Personalized payment communications: Segment customers based on their industry, aging status, and payment status and send targeted emails. 
  • Revenue recognition: Track and record revenue sources using accrual-based guidelines, subledgers, and ASC 606/IFRS 15-compliant financial records.
  • Real-time usage metrics: Gain insight into your business’s revenue with GAAP-compliant financial reports and customizable dashboards.
  • Robust APIs: Have a specific requirement? Use Zenskar’s extensive APIs to set up custom integrations or automations.

Plus, Zenskar comes with enterprise-grade security (SOC2 Type II-certified) and is GDPR compliant — so your billing data is well-protected.

Curious to learn more? Book a demo and we’ll show you how Zenskar can help you optimize your billing workflows.  

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

1. What is the difference between traditional and enterprise billing systems?

While both traditional and enterprise billing software automates billing operations, there are some key differences between the two:

  • Traditional billing software is designed to handle simple subscription types and low transaction volumes. Plus, they also come with limited customization and financial reporting capabilities. 
  • Enterprise billing software, on the other hand, is built to address the complex requirements of large companies like intricate contracts, usage-based pricing models, and advanced financial reporting. They also come with an advanced security infrastructure to match the strict compliance protocols of large companies.

2. Why is enterprise billing software important for SaaS companies?

There are multiple ways that SaaS companies can benefit from enterprise billing software. You can:

  • Automate complex billing operations like multi-product pricing, custom contract generation, and payment collection
  • Maintain detailed audit trails of all transaction activities (including refunds, failed payments, and cancellations) ensuring accurate records
  • Get access to detailed metrics and custom reports on your business’s financial performance
  • Improve revenue recognition with accrual-based guidelines and ASC 606/IFRS 15-compliant financial records 

3. Why should enterprises consider Zenskar for enterprise billing?

Here’s how Zenskar’s billing system (and its decoupled approach to metering and billing) can help enterprise businesses:

  • Create flexible pricing models — tiered, matrix, usage-based, and hybrid — with Zenskar’s no-code pricing designer
  • Draft custom contracts with different prices, discounts, billing cycles, and more
  • Run pricing experiments without worrying if it’d corrupt your metering system or usage data
  • Extend Zenskar’s functionalities to match your customization requirements with low-code SQL query builders and robust APIs

Plus, Zenskar’s SOC2 Type II-certified and GDPR-compliance protocols mean your customers’ billing details are secure. 

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