Quickbooks and Procountor - Exploring the limits of SaaS accounting

SaaS growth companies often struggle to get the data they need from their accounting software and end up having to resort to spreadsheets to bridge the gap

Cameron Murphy

October 24, 2022


Spreadsheets work for a while, but let’s face it: it’s tedious!

The majority of customers we come across have hit their limit with this process. Unable to bear the thought of having to face another month of manually adding subscription and payroll data to their burgeoning excel empire, they lash out and blame their accounting software for its limitations.

If you’re in the same boat, here’s what you can do:

Modernize your finance stack and make sure all your finance tools are interconnected.

It sounds simple, but it's a little more nuanced than that.

Before we go any deeper, let's look at what your accounting software offers, and what sort of insight it delivers.

The off the shelf products you’re more than likely using are:
- Quickbooks, if you are in an English-speaking country; or
- Procountor, if you’re in Finland

At their core, your accounting software stores your business financial data, but not ALL of it. The financial data that goes into your accounting software is usually not detailed enough.

There are four points of failure when it comes to accounting software:

  • When your company has multiple entities and more than one bank account

How do you manage reconciliation? Most customers export to CSV from each accounting software and consolidate their accounts along with currency conversions in Excel.

  • Offline billing

As your company grows, you have no doubt noticed that your products, billing, and payments had grown rather organically over time.

Keeping track of legacy products, pricing and subscriptions becomes increasingly difficult, particularly if you issue offline invoices through your accounting software.

A partial solution to this is converting your offline billing data (PDF invoices paid with wire transfers) into online billing data (credit card payments and subscription management).

  • Lack of supporting data to calculate SaaS metrics

Without having a clear view of your metrics such as Churn, Customer Lifetime Value (LTV), and Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC), you’re probably running your cash reserve into the ground before you even know it.

  • Lack of sales forecasting and cashflow forecasting options

Your basic accounting software will give you access to accounts payable, accounts receivable, journals, general ledger, payroll, and cash balances. But that’s about it.

It doesn’t tell you about your Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) or where your revenue streams come from. Without your revenue metrics, it’s hard to measure the profitability of your business.

Those are the shortcomings – the limits of our financial horizons.

You may wonder: What should I use my accounting software for then?

Procountor and Quickbooks are both great for creating statutory, historical financial reporting for your investors.

It’s also the source of your EBITDA and your gross margin – two of the main elements in your Profit and Loss (P&L) statement. They’re essential building blocks in creating your SaaS financial reporting.

Now, let’s talk about modernizing your finance stack.

The optimal interconnected finance stack will get your startup off the ground and set your financial routines on autopilot from Day 1. 

Here’s how you can do it in three steps:

Step 1:Map your tech stack 

Questions to consider: 

  • Which software do you use for CRM, Sales, Payroll, Banking and Expense management? 
  • Are all of your ancillary services inhouse and digitized? 
  • Or maybe your payroll is done externally? 
  • Are all your tools connected to one another to avoid manual work?

Once you have mapped your current Finance stack across all your entities, you need to confirm you have access to each of those data sources, even if you outsource some functions such as payroll. 

Once you have access to your financial data, you can integrate it into a modern CFO tool like Calqulate and build a single source of truth of your financial data. 

Step 2: Bridge the gaps in your finance stack

Consider this as an opportunity to:

  • Revise your historical billing processes.
  • Update any legacy products or subscriptions to their modern counterparts. 
  • Update payment method to a service like Chargebee or Stripe

If this is not an option and you use either Procountor or Quickbooks, Calqulate can turn your offline invoices into SaaS metrics through our Subscription Auto-detection module.

Step 3: Automate, automate, automate

Financial reporting does not need to be complicated and almost all manual work can be removed with modern plug-and-play integrations. 

Automate your sales forecasting, financial forecasting and investor reporting. Use your SaaS metrics and Profit&Loss data to set your forecasting on autopilot with out-of-the-box financial models that are updated automatically with data feeds. 

Key Takeaways:

- Know the limits of what you can expect from your accounting software
- If you have not already done so, map your finance stack and identify data blanks on your financial map

- As your financial complexity increases, stay on top of it by building an additional layer of financial analytics, either custom and in-house, or out-of-the-box and external. 

- Set your sales forecasting and financial forecasting on autopilot and remove manual work. 

Author Avatar

Cameron Murphy

Head of Growth

Head of growth with a focus on the marriage of financial accountability and marketing madness. Helping CFOs say "Yes" since August 2020.