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Subscription tracking within contracts

Michael Sharp

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Firstly I'd like to say how much of a great job you've done on Supplier Manager.  Not used it before a few weeks ago and and kicking myself for not doing!

This is not too dissimilar to a post by @Stephen.whittle (below) in that we are expected to produce financial projections (for us, to our internal Finance team).  Historically we have used Excel to show a per month projection however I'm finding difficulty with Supplier Manager in that it only lends itself to single payment transactions.

Given subscriptions are becoming more common, do you have any suggestions on how I can make this work practically?  For example I need to retain the contract start/end dates but also need to show monthly billing (preferably without creating duplicate contracts every month).  These monthly costs can also be variable when considering consumption e.g. Microsoft 365 licencing costs scale in relation to licences added/removed per month.

Also, is there a way to include contract value in the quick PDF report?

Tagging @Gerry and @AlexTumber who were involved in the original post.



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@Michael Sharp

This is actually a very big topic.  

In its most simple form, having the ability to define a contract as a "SaaS contract" so we can also define a number of specific SaaS properties like contract type, value, renewable and so on, against contracts. The n adding the notion of "bills", that is, each time the supplier of the service sends an invoice (or credit note for that matter) for the service, you could add that against the specific contract it relates, giving you a full record of invoices/credit notes with relevant date ranges.  The bills would be stored with basic attributes such as date, description of change, who, when etc..  that is relatively trivial to do. 

However, the next that would be then asked for I am sure is "financial reconciliation", that is some way of setting a contract budget/cost/value, a way of flagging the different types of invoice/credit notes (i.e. changes to the contract for more stuff, less stuff, price changes and so on), and then reconcile and report on those financials. That is a much bigger piece of work and would need considerable design and implementation effort behind it. 

In terms of what you can do now, you can only really define annual contracts, implicit in that is the contract value does not change between renewals. There is quite a gap between what it can do now and what I have described above. 

The issue with us developing this sort of stuff is, there is just not a lot of demand for it, companies tend to do this sort of stuff on their finance systems and not there IT systems, and IT teams tend to be reluctant to take on responsibility for financials (its easier and less risky to let finance do the finance kind of stuff). 

I think we could probably do the first part (having the ability to record invoices/credit notes against a contract) which would give you some degree of granularity, and I think for the effort, that would be really worthwhile addition.  Beyond that, it becomes a much bigger effort and I am not sure we have enough demand to warrant that sort of development at this time. 





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Thanks for the detailed reply @Gerry, really useful to have a picture of where this product fits in your portfolio. 

In terms of defining a contract type, this functionality exists already so wouldn’t be too much hardship for those using the product in this way to set up “Subscription Annual” and “Subscription monthly” to the contract which is likely where I will now take this. 

As for the bills per contract, if we could have the ability to have an “invoices/credits” section/drop down with fields against each entry being “summary, description, value, date, attachment” that should satisfy that requirement if the costs and dates were reportable at all levels I.e. across the platform, per supplier, per contract? The ability to have a minus value for credits would be needed unless changing the “type” would handle this.

Financial reconciliation I do see as an Accounts system process. My query is more around general IT budget management and per month/annual expenditure which I think would be invaluable within an IT Managers own toolset.

I really think you’ve got a solid product here and disappointing to hear there isn’t the demand for it given the features you’ve got so far even without a subscription to pay for its development. We’ve been a Hornbill customer for years and overlooked as thought it was just a CRM system (which it is also) but I personally think it’s main strength now is that financial management as IT Departments are constantly facing the challenge of squeezing overheads. 


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