Tech Profile: Fusebill
What is Fusebill, and how did you and your team get started in this field?
Fusebill automates invoicing, billing and collections for subscription-based companies. It is ideal for both B2B and B2C businesses that use combination invoicing options, including retainer, project and hourly fees, as well as billable expenses. Our customers span many industry sectors, including consulting, software as a service, digital media and communications. Our customers rely on Fusebill to reduce their costs, speed their cash collections and extend their customer lifecycles.
We pride ourselves on our customer support and service and measure our success by our customers’ success. We realize that billing is a critical business function, and we are available 24/7 to help.
Our expertise in subscription billing comes from years of building and extending large scale billing systems for SaaS companies. The founding team of Fusebill helped build Protus — maker of MyFax, Campaigner and my1voice — to support over 550,000 paid subscribers and a wide variety of pricing models and real-world billing issues.
How should the marketing/advertising industry utilize Fusebill to streamline their client billing process? What types of billing structures does Fusebill support?
Whether you bill hourly, flat-rate or even on retainer, Fusebill streamlines the billing process by allowing you to “set it, and forget it.’’ By automating recurring billing, the marketing/advertising industry can speed payment via timely billing — without having to enter any time entries and go through the invoicing. With Fusebill, you can establish a schedule to automatically charge clients based on the components you created.
Fusebill eliminates your manual billing processes and reduces errors. Fusebill eliminates the month-end headaches of calculating bills, sending invoices and eliminates the errors that creep into any manual process. Fusebill remembers whom to invoice or charge on what day. We take care of calculating and sending the recurring invoices, payments in cash, checks and wire transfers, processing debit, echecks and ACH payment and charging customer credit cards. Monthly, quarterly and annual billing periods are all supported with pricing models ranging from simple monthly charges to complex usage-based price structures.
Fusebill tracks revenue and deferred revenue. Subscription-based companies know that the revenue from a subscriber’s payment is recognized over the life of that subscription – while one-time charges, for example, can be recognized when charged. Fusebill tracks both earned and deferred revenue at a customer level so you know how much of a subscription has been earned in a billing period. Accountants can see how much of their revenue has yet to be earned (the liability to provide future services). This makes financial reporting easier and can also be used as a tool to determine how much to consider refunding a customer who cancels mid-subscription.
Fusebill accurately tracks accounting ledgers. We track accounts receivable (AR), collections, revenue, deferred revenue, discounts, write-offs and taxes in separate ledgers. We also monitor results through our executive dashboard, drill into details using our finance reports and export the details for further analysis or to another system.
Taxes. Fusebill allows the flexibility to tax clients based on billing address and then customize the way taxes apply to any particular customer (to manage exemptions) or price component (to manage differing tax treatments for different products). Reporting by the individual tax rule allows you to complete your paperwork quickly and on time. All transactions can easily be exported to form an audit log.
What trends and changes in the market led you to realize that Fusebill would fill a void? Describe the void.
Fusebill’s executive team saw a gap in the marketplace. Our goal was to provide mid-market firms with an affordable piece of vital corporate infrastructure — a billing system that could handle recurring payments including things like credit card declines and expiry dates. There are competitors out there like Zuora who provide a great solution for enterprise companies. Fusebill makes similar capabilities accessible to a wider range of businesses.
How does Fusebill interact with other software like Quickbooks to streamline the record-keeping process?
Fusebill tracks all your customers, invoices and payments. It’s easy to reconcile with Quickbooks at month end or to access customer data to use in email marketing systems like Mailchimp. Fusebill also has a rich SOAP API to link to your own systems. With the API we include code samples and free developer support.
With the proliferation of online bill pay and ecommerce, privacy is always a concern. What steps does Fusebill take to ensure secure payment processing?
Fusebill protects customer and credit card data in our PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant facilities. We do not use 3rd parties (including payment gateways) for storage of credit card data.
Fusebill adheres to the credit card data portability standard, which means we must maintain a secure, sensitive data transfer process that is compliant with the most recent version of the PCI Data Security Standard. Fusebill is also an accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
What steps is Fusebill taking to make it easier for consumers to pay on a mobile device?
Mobile purchase technologies are more suited to one-off product purchases. Our focus is helping to set up and establish an easy-to-use and beneficial recurring billing program.
For what types of businesses is Fusebill most ideal? Small startups, mid-sized companies, B2C or B2B?
Any business using a combination of recurring fees, special project costs and billed expenses can benefit from Fusebill. Fusebill is ideal for both B2B and B2C businesses; our customers span many industry sectors, from small start-ups to enterprise-grade companies.
How do you see online billing and payment technology evolving in the next three to five years?
Business models are increasingly based on selling ongoing subscriptions to customers, not just completing one-off transactions. Recurring billing and payments are at the foundation of these new business models. Over the next few years these will expand to help manage the customer lifecycle: selling new products and add-ons, renewals and upgrades and targeted offers based on individual customer characteristics. Increased use of analytics will help businesses better understand their businesses and their customers so they can extend the customer lifetime and value.
Chief executive officer of Fusebill, Steve Adams, has over 20 years of experience in leading high-technology and software companies, most recently as VP and general manager with j2 Global, which acquired Ottawa-based Protus. Steve helped propel Protus into one of the fastest growing companies in Canada, with over 555,000 subscribers, before it was acquired in 2010. Steve also worked at Spotwave Wireless, CrossKeys Systems Corporation, Corel and Nortel and is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and the Ivey School of Business.
Tarah Benner is the associate editor of The Agency Post, where she edits content, researches new technology and writes on industry trends. She's a runner, rower and avid blogger who enjoys curling up on the couch with good pizza and a movie. Her experience includes copywriting, content marketing, digital publishing and writing for the web. You can connect with her on Twitter @TarahBenner or on LinkedIn.