Master SaaS Budget Planning: A Guide for Finance Team

Tathagata Chakrabarti

28th March, 2024


SaaS has become integral to many businesses today. However, as a finance manager, managing a budget for your SaaS landscape can be a challenge. With the abundance of options available and the ever-changing costs of these services, keeping track of expenses and ensuring that your SaaS budget is being used effectively can be challenging.

As a finance manager, you must optimize your SaaS expenses, which can be done with efficient SaaS budget planning. So, let’s delve into practical insights, time-tested strategies, and innovative approaches to empower your finance team with the knowledge and tools needed for effective SaaS budget planning. 

This blog has essential strategies that you need to make informed decisions and ensure your SaaS budget plan works for you. But before diving into strategies, let’s know more about SaaS budget planning.

What is SaaS Budget Planning?

SaaS budget planning is the process of managing your organization’s spending on SaaS apps and related expenses. It's like handling your finances but specifically for your SaaS applications.

To start the SaaS budget planning process, your finance team needs to identify which SaaS applications and services your organization uses or plans to use. The key here is understanding what your business model truly needs from these tools to budget effectively.

Once you've got a clear picture, it's time to set aside the right amount of money to cover these costs. This means creating a dedicated budget specifically for your SaaS expenses.

You'll also need to decide how much return on investment (ROI) you want to allocate to each application. Plus, it's crucial to predict and monitor your spending to ensure you stay within your budget. These steps are the building blocks of SaaS budgeting.

But there's more to it. SaaS budget planning isn't just about money; it's also about making the most of your tools. So, you'll want to examine data on how your company uses these tools. Are there trends or patterns in their usage? Can you optimize and make better use of them?

For instance, you can employ a SaaS management platform to discover any applications or services your team isn't fully using. If you find any, you can consider cutting them out to reduce subscription costs. You might also identify opportunities to renegotiate contracts or get better deals with your SaaS providers.

5 Strategies for Effective SaaS Budget Planning

Effective SaaS Budget Planning

By following these wide range of strategies, you'll be able to tackle the daunting task of SaaS budget planning with ease and ultimately see an improvement in your financial management.

1. Identifying your SaaS needs

First and foremost, identifying SaaS needs allows your Finance team to allocate resources wisely. Without a clear understanding of what SaaS applications are required, it's easy to overspend or invest in tools that do not align with your organization's financial goals. By pinpointing specific SaaS needs, you can create a budget that maximizes the value of each SaaS subscription.

Additionally, your finance team needs to identify a SaaS financial plan to establish cost controls and prevent unnecessary spending. This ensures that the company only invests in software that directly contributes to productivity, efficiency, and revenue growth while eliminating unused or redundant applications.

Furthermore, effective SaaS budget planning also involves optimizing existing SaaS investments. Your team can identify opportunities to consolidate redundant tools or upgrade to more cost-effective solutions by identifying SaaS needs. This not only reduces costs but also enhances the overall efficiency of the organization.

2. Setting a SaaS budget

Setting a SaaS budget gives your finance team a clear understanding of the expenses associated with SaaS subscriptions. This allows for better cost control and predictability, ensuring that your organization doesn't overspend on SaaS apps. It also helps identify cost-saving opportunities by evaluating the necessity and efficiency of existing software subscriptions.

Moreover, without a proper SaaS budget, your finance team may encounter unexpected expenses, such as auto-renewals, overages, or unplanned software purchases. Setting a budget allows for proactive planning and negotiation with vendors, preventing unwelcome financial surprises that can strain the company's resources.

3. Tracking your spending

Tracking SaaS spending offers your finance team a clear view of where the organization's money is going. With a comprehensive understanding of the various SaaS subscriptions in use, you can exercise better control over these expenses. This visibility empowers your team to decide which subscriptions are essential and which may be redundant.

Efficient SaaS budget planning is all about optimization. By monitoring SaaS spending, your team can identify opportunities for cost savings. They can assess whether unused licenses, duplicate subscriptions, or services no longer align with the company's goals. This scrutiny enables the finance team to reallocate resources more effectively.

Further, SaaS spending is a significant portion of your organization's budget. When your team tracks these expenses, they can allocate resources strategically. You can prioritize investments in SaaS apps that directly contribute to your organization's growth and cut back on unnecessary ones.

4. Negotiating with your vendors

Negotiating with SaaS vendors plays a pivotal role in achieving an effective budget. Here's how:

  • Cost Reduction: Effective negotiation can lead to cost savings. Finance managers can secure more favorable deals by discussing pricing models, discounts, and contract terms, potentially reducing the overall SaaS expenditure.

  • Customized Plans: Each business is unique, and your SaaS needs may vary from others in your industry. Negotiating allows you to tailor your contracts to fit your specific requirements, eliminating unnecessary features and costs.

  • Contract Flexibility: Negotiations can lead to flexible contract terms. This is especially beneficial if your company experiences changes in user numbers, as you can adjust the contract accordingly, avoiding penalties for unused licenses.

  • Value-Added Services: Vendors often have additional services or features that can enhance your SaaS experience. Negotiation can help you access these extras without breaking the bank.

  • Long-Term Savings: By securing favorable terms now, you're saving for this year and the long term. Over the life of your SaaS contracts, even small savings can add up to significant financial gains.

5. Monitoring data to identify needed budget tweaks

First and foremost, data monitoring is vital because it provides you with real-time insights into your SaaS usage. With SaaS applications being the backbone of your IT operations, knowing how your team utilizes these tools.

Imagine a situation where you've allocated a significant portion of your budget to a particular SaaS tool, but it turns out that only a fraction of your team uses it regularly. Without proper data monitoring, you might never know this, and your budget would continue to bleed unnecessary expenses.

Let's explore how data monitoring helps identify the necessary budget tweaks. By tracking usage data consistently, you can pinpoint areas where your SaaS subscriptions are underutilized or overused. These insights allow you to make informed decisions about your budget adjustments.

For instance, if you notice a specific SaaS app being underused, you can consider downsizing or canceling the subscription. On the other hand, if another tool is experiencing high usage, you might want to allocate more budget to it or explore cost-effective alternatives.

Moreover, effective SaaS budget planning hinges on data-driven decisions. Monitoring data transforms your budget from a static document into a dynamic, adaptable resource. It ensures that your financial resources align with your actual needs, helping you achieve optimal cost-efficiency and improve your business performance with the right key metrics.

So, how can you effectively monitor data to enhance your SaaS budget planning? It all begins with the right tools and processes. A SaaS management platform like Zluri offers detailed usage analytics, giving you insights into user activity, license utilization, and more. 

How Zluri Helps Your Finance Team With SaaS Budget Planning

Managing your SaaS spending just got easier with Zluri! This innovative SaaS management platform is here to revolutionize how finance leaders manage and budget for your organization's SaaS apps. With Zluri, all your apps are neatly organized, optimized, and closely monitored in one easy-to-use platform. Let's see how.

  • Discover your SaaS Landscape: Zluri simplifies your SaaS budget planning by giving you a clear view of your organization's software. It helps your team identify and remove duplicate apps, ultimately saving you money and reducing SaaS wastage in your organization.

    With the world's largest app library, Zluri has over 225,000 SaaS apps in its database. It uses five different methods to ensure you find every single SaaS app in your organization and eliminate shadow IT. These methods include single sign-on (SSO), finance & expense management, direct integrations, desktop agents (optional), and browser extensions (optional).

    Application tab

  • SaaS Apps Insights: Once Zluri has identified all your SaaS apps, it compiles a centralized repository of information for each one. Zluri provides you with a breakdown of the cost associated with each SaaS application. This transparency helps you allocate your budget more effectively and eliminate unnecessary expenses.

    Further, it also provides you with information about the security features and compliance certifications of each SaaS app, helping you maintain the highest data security standards and comply with industry regulations.

    SaaS Apps Insights

    In addition, Zluri provides your team with a custom dashboard that gives budget per department information. This empowers your finance team to make smarter decisions, control costs, and ensure that your SaaS budget aligns with your organization's overall strategy. This also keeps track of actual spending vs budget and alerts you for overcharges.

    budget per department

  • License Optimization: Zluri’s usage monitoring feature helps you uncover unused SaaS licenses, making it simple to let go of them and only buy new ones when necessary. This way, Zluri makes sure you're using your valuable licenses efficiently, and avoid overspending. 

    License Optimization

    For instance, imagine you have 500 licenses of a customer relationship management tool, but only 320 of your team members are actively using the software. Zluri would identify these 180 unused licenses, allowing you to save money by not renewing them and allocating those funds where they're needed most.

  • Manage SaaS Renewals: Zluri's renewal calendar makes it easy to stay on top of upcoming contract renewals, giving you early warnings well before the renewal date.

    For contracts, you'll receive alerts 30 days, 15 days, and 1 day before they're due for renewal. Regarding payments, you'll get alerts 7 days and 1 day in advance. Plus, you can even set your own custom alerts.

    Manage SaaS Renewals:

    Let's say you have a critical SaaS contract of a project management software platform expiring in 30 days, and you receive a Zluri alert. This early notification allows you to review the contract's terms, negotiate if needed, or prepare to renew it on time, ensuring you're in control of your SaaS budget.

  • Terminate Abandoned Licenses: When employees leave your organization, Zluri ensures that all their accounts are closed and terminated by automating the manual process of employee offboarding. This helps you protect your data and avoid wasting money on unused licenses.

    Zluri keeps an eye on your SaaS usage and identifies licenses that are no longer in use. You can also deactivate applications for departing employees right from Zluri's dashboard. Apps without an assigned owner are vulnerable to being forgotten and left unused.

    For instance, an employee who had access to a specialized tool like Zoho Books (finance management software) leaves the company. Without Zluri, their license might continue to be paid for, costing you unnecessary expenses. With Zluri, you can quickly spot this and save your budget by deactivating the unused license.

    Moreover, with Zluri's usage reports, you'll have actionable insights to help you optimize your SaaS spending and make smart SaaS spend management decisions. Furthermore, Zluri's ROI calculator helps you figure out how much money you could save by finding apps you don't need, uncovering hidden IT costs, reducing expenses with vendors, and more, making it convenient for an effective SaaS budget planning.

    Zluri's ROI calculator

    So what are you waiting for? Request a demo today and start your SaaS budget planning like a pro to improve your organization's financial performance!

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Related Blogs

See More