A Guide to Subscription Billing and SuiteBilling

By the team at Elevate2 | 30 Nov 2020
4 min read

Many NetSuite users are unaware of the benefits of SuiteBilling, which is understandable as it’s a relatively new product in the UK – but if your business utilises some form of subscription billing, then you might find it invaluable.

Firstly, what is subscription billing?

With its origins in the 17th century, subscription billing has been around a while – but as the business landscape has evolved, particularly in this digital age, we have seen its use flourish.

Finance leaders are always looking for creative ways to increase revenue streams for their products, services, maintenance and support offerings, which often leads to a complex fusion of billing based on usage and subscriptions.

Rather than selling a one-off product, with subscriptions customers are billed at regular intervals (monthly or annually are the most common). This type of billing is very common for software companies – NetSuite and Salesforce operate in this way, as does Netflix. You can even buy shaving products on a subscription basis now!

When a company is small with very few customers, this can be managed with spreadsheets, but with hundreds or thousands of customers and potentially millions of transactions it is vital to have a software solution that can manage this for you. Without it, you risk mis-billing your customers, which will not only increase customer dissatisfaction (and therefore churn) or worse still – you might not bill them at all.

Moves to subscription billing add complexity around revenue recognition for companies who are not used to operating within that space – where knowing where and when to recognise revenue is vital. Revenue recognition rules also evolve, so it is equally important to be cognizant with any changes to avoid losing revenue and falling foul of tax laws.

SuiteBilling

The surge in subscription billing now means that more and more companies now need a solution that can handle such complex billing arrangements.

NetSuite SuiteBilling provides businesses with one of the most comprehensive billing systems on the market. It can create flexible contracts for customers and sits seamlessly within NetSuite’s core financial accounting solution, giving you real-time visibility into all business operations – synchronising all your orders, billing and revenue recognition into one system.

Main Features

Pricing Models

SuiteBilling gives you the ability to bill using flexible pricing plans:

  • Flat Pricing – Where the customer is billed the same amount on each billing cycle.
  • Consumption-based Pricing – Based on consumption or entitlement where the highest volume tier unit rate reached is applied to the entire quantity to charge.
  • Tiered Pricing – Where the rate for each unit of consumption or entitlement tier is applied to a given range. The total end rated value is comprised of varying per unit rates to achieve the final amount to charge.

Rating Models 

SuiteBilling gives you the flexibility to invoice subscriptions as once only, in advance or in arrears. Customer subscriptions can also be configured to include items such as license counts, setup fees and consumption in one step using multiple rating models.

Billing Accounts

SuiteBilling allows multiple billing accounts for a single customer and sub-customer. For example, you might have a customer that has many franchises who needs the license fee charged to the parent company and the service fees need to be billed to sub customers.

Change Orders

SuiteBilling allows you to schedule and automate changes to subscriptions meaning you don’t need to manually monitor and track customer subscription changes. Any alterations to prices and/or quantities can be made immediately or scheduled for a later time using a change order.

Revenue Recognition

SuiteBilling utilises NetSuite’s Advanced Revenue Management so there’s no requirement for additional software to accomplish this tricky area of accounting as it is compliant with revenue recognition rules.

Efficient Billing Process 

SuiteBilling provides greater transparency and an improved billing experience for the customer by providing a thorough breakdown of their invoice so they know exactly what they are paying for.

Visibility 

Real-time visibility into billing and financial activity.

“With SuiteBilling, we’re giving our customers

a next-generation solution to win in the

marketplace today and future-proof their

business for change tomorrow.”

Former NetSuite President and Chief Operating Officer Jim McGeever

What’s new in version 2020.2?

SuiteBilling releases its first SuiteAnalytics Workbook, focusing on monthly recurring revenue. This feature includes the record, dataset template, and workbook template.

Use the standard workbook template for analytics on recurring revenue, churn, upsell, downsell, and renewal revenue for all your subscriptions. Customize views with additional filters and data by modifying the workbook template and dataset template. Choose to visualize the data as a table, chart, or pivot. The workbook lets you compare revenue trends and details through the following customizable views:

  • Monthly Recurring Revenue Year-over-Year
  • Current Month Recurring Revenue
  • Monthly Recurring Revenue by Class
  • Recurring Revenue Sources
  • Upcoming Renewals
  • Top 10 Performing Items Last Month

Next Steps

SuiteBilling might be exactly what your business needs to increase visibility and increase automation to subscription billing in your company. If you would like to know more about SuiteBilling, or any other area of NetSuite get in touch:

📧 [email protected]

☎️ +44 (0) 203 733 2110