Every subscription-based business needs a reliable billing platform, but does this platform integrate with your other programs? Billing integrations with third-party software can help you capture important data regarding your subscribers and leverage it to improve your business processes.
How should you begin thinking about billing integrations? After all, selecting a billing platform in the first place is a big task. Keeping third-party software integrations in mind, on top of the selection process, can be overwhelming, but with this guide to billing platform integrations, you should be able to navigate your decision with ease.
The key pillars of billing platform integrations
These three aspects of billing integrations should be top-of-mind while exploring which platform is right for your business:
- Billing integrations built by the billing platform provider: Most billing platforms will have a list of pre-built integrations with other software. Your billing partner can provide you with a comprehensive list of each of these integrations, so you can examine whether your current software providers are already supported before you make a purchase decision.
- Billing integrations from third-party software or open-source projects: These integrations may be built-in, or you can check with your current software providers for a list of supported billing platforms. Moreover, open-source projects might have integrations built by another user.
- Flexibility of your billing platform: A truly flexible billing platform will be able to build new integrations with additional third-party software, either through extending application programming interfaces (APIs), plugins, or an adaptable framework. Regardless of the preferred method, flexible billing platforms support seamless communication with other software.
Once you’ve fully examined these aspects, you’ll be better equipped to understand which of your software providers are compatible with the billing platforms you’re considering. Moreover, you’ll have an understanding as to whether a billing platform can build new integrations with the software you currently use or might consider using in the future.
Evaluating a billing platform’s integration capabilities
With these considerations in mind, your next task is to evaluate precisely how well your billing platform performs when it comes to third-party software integrations. The ideal billing platform is one that is already integrated with your existing software or capable of building new integrations quickly and seamlessly. In this case, you would not have to adjust your workflow at all to accommodate your new billing solution.
There are two major elements of evaluating how effective a billing platform’s integrations will be for your business:
1. Can the platform pull usage or purchase data from your current software providers?
2. Can your software providers easily pull reporting, analytics, and accounting data from your billing platform?
Together, this forms the type of bidirectional flow that will serve to enhance not only your billing platform but your other software solutions, as well.
For example, if you want to compare your financial performance over time, your billing platform and accounting software should be able to share information about revenue, subscription renewals, and new sign-ups. This can streamline your business operations and reduce complexity.
The major types of key billing integrations
While investigating billing platforms, ask yourself which type of integrations you are likely to need. There is a wide range of services that can plug into your billing platform, and while all are useful in certain contexts there might be some you prioritize over others.
There are nine major types of integrations that many subscription-based businesses require that can work hand-in-hand with a billing platform. These include:
- Electronic payments: Billing and payments are closely intertwined aspects of a subscription-based business. Your billing platform should be able to easily integrate with your current merchant gateways and any other payment processing platforms you work with.
- Accounting: Billing platforms contain critical information about the financial health of your business. Therefore, the data contained within your billing platform must be available for export to whatever software you use for accounting.
- Tax calculations: When billing your customers, tax considerations are key. Taxes may change while your rates stay the same, and it’s important to adjust for these taxes. Integrations that allow your platform to automatically detect and set tax rate changes will remove a great deal of manual labor.
- Fraud detection: When operating a business at scale, detecting fraudulent accounts or the use of stolen identities can be difficult. However, when your billing platform can detect scams and fraud by leveraging external data, you’ll be able to effectively deter fraudulent accounts.
- Security: A billing platform relies on customers’ trust in order to secure payments and other personal information. Integrations with leading security and verification software can help bolster the reliability of your billing platform security.
- Cloud: How many resources is your billing platform using? An integration with your cloud provider can shed light on how much bandwidth your hosting billing software demands and its precise hosting-related expenses to your business.
- Domain registrars: In the event that your business relies on managing or selling domains as part of its revenue stream, integrations with domain registrars can automate the maintenance process, including ordering new domains and automatically renewing domains prior to expiration.
- Supported hardware: Managed service providers require a solution that can inventory, monitor, and reboot switches and protocol data units automatically, whether you’re managing the infrastructure in a data center or colocation space. Ensuring the hardware can share data with your billing platform helps streamline management of usage.
- Reporting: When dealing with large amounts of data, the ability to run analytics and generate easily digestible reports is imperative. Your billing platform should offer internal tools or integrate with external reporting software to create detailed reports about the data you need.
Consider each of these types of integrations and whether your existing software providers can work in tandem with your billing platform options. If your top priorities line up with seamless integrations into your billing platform, you can rest easy that your workflow will undergo minimal changes and you’ll get the optimal performance out of all your software solutions.
In the modern business world, seamless transfer of data is key to running an efficient operation. That means building bridges between all the software you use every day so data can flow freely and be accessible with the click of a button. A billing platform should only serve to enhance these flows of communication rather than hinder them, so be sure to select a billing partner with a laser focus on creating and maintaining the software integrations that are important to your business.