Receipt management is one of the many things they don’t teach you in startup school, but it’s an important topic.
When we first started selling Sameroom subscriptions, we used Stripe’s built-in ”Email customers for...” functionality.
It wasn’t long before a customer based in Hungary requested that their and our corporate information be displayed on PDF receipts, copied to a secondary email address. Stripe doesn’t let you do any of that.
That conversation forced me to formulate a set of receipt management requirements and sent me on a journey to find a solution.
Heres my list.
1. Customers need access to historical receipts
If you sell a SaaS product, expect customers to ask you for copies of receipts. If you can’t easily re-generate historical receipts, you’ll find yourself scrambling to fabricate them in Google Docs, then exporting as PDF. This is hugely annoying and distracting.
This is why it’s best to make sure customers can always go back and download every single receipt from your service, as many times as necessary.
2. You need access to customer’s historical receipts
In addition, you should be able to view and download every historical receipt, for any customer.
3. Customers need ability to update company details
In many countries, accounting rules require payment receipts to include the corporate address and VAT number for both vendor and client.
The best way to address this requirement is to provide a way for your client to specify any custom data to be displayed on each receipt.
4. Receipts should include your company details
Additionally, there should be a way for you—the vendor—to easily specify and update your own company details, such as address, phone number, or VAT number (if applicable).
5. Customer is notified when credit card charge fails
Credit cards are fickle—they expire or get randomly replaced by credit card companies all the time.
This is probably the best reason to only offer annual plans, to avoid dealing with credit card-related churn.
If you offer monthly plans, it’s important to notify the customer of failed credit card charges as soon as possible. This type of communication is called dunning emails or dunning management.
As we were considering implementing the above requirements ourselves, Josh Pigford, the CEO of Baremetrics, showed me AccountDock.
As a side note, I thought it would make sense for Baremetrics to offer this functionality in addition to analytics, but Josh disagreed at the time (and pointed me to AccountDock). Interestingly, Baremetrics recently rolled out support for dunning emails, so maybe he's had a change of heart.
For $45/month, AccountDock satisfies all of my requirements. Our customers get a clean-looking billing history, where they can view, download, or forward receipts, and customize ”Receipt Settings”, where they can add their company details.
The service also offers dunning email support, letting you craft up to four separate email templates, one per failed charge.
SaaS receipt management is important. Try to give your customers as much power as possible in dealing with receipts, and make sure you can easily retrieve historical receipts yourself—it might be easier or more polite than sending the customer on a DIY journey.
Automatically notify the customer of failed credit card transactions—this will reduce your churn.
Lastly, don’t build this stuff yourself, use a professional. After all, even Stripe chose not to bother. They did build a very beautiful mobile app though, which totally makes sense—it's a lot more fun that dealing with PDF receipts.