Subscriptions are more important than ever in the remote-first era

2014 was the year that spending on software subscriptions first started to become noticeable. Fast forward to today and the average 1-50 person business will use up to 40 subscriptions. Each team has their own unique processes that are enabled by the subscription that they use. Sales teams use Salesforce, Marketing teams use Marketo, Finance teams use Xero, and Software Development teams use Jira.

The adoption of subscriptions has only become more prevalent as COVID-19 has set in. Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, said that they’ve seen “two years worth of digital transformation in two months” since COVID-19 and that subscriptions have become an important part of helping the world shift towards remote work.

We’ve observed the same trends at DiviPay. Since May, spending on subscription software has increased by 135%:

And it should come as no surprise that monthly subscription payments to Zoom’s video conferencing software have grown by 767% in the last 12 months:

What is a subscription tracker?

A subscription tracker is a spreadsheet or piece of software that helps you record and stay on-top of upcoming subscription spend. A good subscription tracker will record:

  • The name of the subscription provider
  • The name of the employee who signed up to the subscription
  • The amount
  • The billing frequency

We’ve created a subscription tracker with Google Sheets that you can copy and paste and use in your own business.

However a more sophisticated subscription tracker like DiviPay will not only automatically track subscription spending for you but it will also let you issue a unique virtual card for each subscription to control spending.

3 benefits of a subscription tracker

  1. Identify any overlapping and unnecessary subscriptions

The discipline of adding each new subscription to your subscription tracker and regularly reviewing it can save your business thousands of dollars of unnecessary spending. An up-to-date tracker will reveal any duplicate subscriptions that already exist and stop new ones from being created in the first place. If you do identify a duplicate subscription you can quickly cancel the subscription you no longer need.

  1. Quickly track-down and re-assign subscription owners

Recording the owner of each subscription will make it easy for you to know who to contact if you ever have a question about a subscription. Without this you can end up spending days chasing down the owner of a subscription.

It will also stop subscriptions from slipping through the cracks if a previous owner changes roles or leaves the business. If you see a subscription with an out-of-date owner then you can simply re-assign the subscription to a new owner or cancel it if it’s no longer required.

3. Understand the ROI of each subscription

Once your subscription tracker is set up, it’s a great opportunity to evaluate the cost and benefit of each subscription. How much does the subscription cost? Is the team getting the uplift that we expected? Are there any better alternatives available? Answering these questions on a regular basis ensures that every subscription returns a positive ROI.

If a subscriptions ROI is in question then the price can often be re-negotiated or if required cancelled all together. You might also find that the tool meets the businesses requirements but the users need up-skilling. If this is the case, encourage self-education or book in training with the supplier if it’s available.

How to setup your subscription tracker

Whether you’ve created your own subscription tracker using the Google Sheet template or you’ve signed up to DiviPay, we recommend the following this process:

  1. Write out all of the subscriptions you think your business uses
  2. Check your credit card statement and check for any missed subscriptions
  3. If you missed a subscription, there’s a good chance it’s not critical to your business
  4. Cancel unnecessary subscriptions to save extra money
  5. Add the remaining subscriptions to your tracker and fill in the following:
  • The name of the subscription
  • Who the owner of the subscription is
  • How much the subscription costs
  • How frequently you are billed for the subscription (weekly, monthly, yearly, or by usage)
  1. Update the register for all new subscriptions

How DiviPay helps Australian SMEs track subscription spending

DiviPay is an award-winning subscription tracker that helps Australian SMEs create a unique virtual card for each subscription and surface inefficient subscription spending through easy-to-read tables, charts and metrics.

Nicholas Roberts is the Product Manager at DiviPay, a virtual card and expense management platform for Australian Businesses. Follow him on Linkedin.

Subscriptions stock photo by Cagkan Sayin/Shutterstock