Why are subscription metrics in ChartMogul different from my billing system?

As you work with ChartMogul, you may notice that our subscription metrics don’t always match those in your billing system, and you may wonder, “why?”

The shortest answer is that your billing system may use different formulas to calculate metrics than ChartMogul. That said, this article explores this topic more in-depth and provides resources for you to better understand what may be happening behind the scenes from a data perspective.

Read more about how we calculate individual metrics in our Help Center. Also, ChartMogul allows you to export customer and subscription metric data to CSV, so you compare these with data exported from your billing system.

Now, let’s have a look at the most common sources of differences between ChartMogul and your billing system:

  1. Differences in MRR
  2. Differences in customer counts
  3. Differences in customer statuses
  4. Differences in cash flow
  5. MRR vs. Revenue

Differences in MRR

MRR reported by your billing system may differ from what you see in ChartMogul due to differences in how we handle and process data. Here are the most common reasons:

Time zones

Different time zones can cause MRR reported by ChartMogul and your billing system to vary. For example, if your billing system is set to Pacific Standard Time (PST) and ChartMogul to Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), an invoice issued by your billing system on one day may be reported as MRR the following day in ChartMogul.

Failed invoices

Some billing systems exclude customers with failed invoices when calculating MRR. ChartMogul includes these in its MRR calculation, even if a transaction is marked as failed.

Refunds

Except for Stripe, ChartMogul doesn’t include refunds when calculating MRR. Even when a transaction is refunded, the original transaction amount is still included in the MRR calculation. Read more about configuring refund handling.

One-time payments

One-time payments do not contribute to MRR, as they are not recurring. You can see these payments, however, in the Net cash flow chart. Some billing systems include one-time payments when calculating MRR.

Coupons and discounts

ChartMogul deducts coupons and discounts before calculating MRR.

Taxes

ChartMogul does not include taxes that are specified on invoices when calculating MRR.

Currencies

In ChartMogul, you select a primary currency for your account. Invoices you issue in other currencies are automatically converted using exchange rates from openexchangerates.org. Read more about how we handle multiple currencies.

Handling of what is considered an active customer

ChartMogul considers a customer active if they have a subscription with an amount greater than $0.00.

If a customer is on a free trial or has a 100% discount, ChartMogul does not classify them as an active customer but instead as a lead.

When a customer has a past-due payment, ChartMogul assumes good faith and does not classify the customer as churned until their invoice is closed or their subscription is canceled in your billing system.

ChartMogul classifies customers with only one-time payments as leads.

Recognizing churn

ChartMogul offers two options for recognizing a cancellation as churn: 1) immediately or 2) at the end of the paid-up billing period.

The setting you select in ChartMogul may differ from how your billing system treats cancellations, which can lead to differences in MRR calculations. Read more about churn recognition options in ChartMogul.

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Differences in customer counts

You may see a different number of customers in your billing system than in ChartMogul. The most common reason for this is the way ChartMogul handles customers who haven't paid. For a customer to be considered active and be included in the customer count in ChartMogul, you must have successfully billed them an amount over $0.00. For this reason, customers on a free trial or with a 100% discount do not appear as paying customers in ChartMogul.

Also, customers who you invoice outside of a subscription contribute to Non-Recurring Revenue and are classified as leads in ChartMogul.

You can also export a filtered list of customers. Use this to spot discrepancies between ChartMogul and your billing system.

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Differences in customer statuses

The way your billing system and ChartMogul classify customers based on their billing activity may differ.

In ChartMogul, there are four customer statuses: Lead, Active, Past due, and Canceled.

  1. Lead — The default status. It applies to non-paying businesses or consumers who may eventually become an active customer. Any customer who is not Active or Canceled is a Lead. Leads also include those who have only made non-recurring payments and do not have any subscriptions.
  2. Active — Customers with at least one active subscription
  3. Past due — Customers with a past-due subscription payment
  4. Canceled — Customers whose subscription(s) is canceled

You can filter your customer list in ChartMogul by Subscription status to see which customers fall into each status. You can also export customers with a specific status to a CSV file and compare it to data in your billing system.

Differences in cash flow

ChartMogul calculates Net Cash Flow by adding revenues from subscriptions as well as one-time and metered charges, then subtracting refunds. Credit card transaction fees are not deducted. Payments from customers you’ve manually created do not contribute to Net Cash Flow.

For Gross Cash Flow, ChartMogul includes revenues from subscriptions as well as one-time and metered charges. Neither refunds nor credit card/transaction fees are deducted. Payments from customers you've created manually do not contribute to Gross Cash Flow.

Be sure you check how your billing system calculates and presents cash flow. If it handles refunds or credit card/transaction fees differently, the cash flow it presents may differ from what we display in ChartMogul.

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MRR vs. Revenue

While they’re related, there is an important difference between MRR and revenue.

  • MRR is the sum of all currently active subscriptions normalized (amortized) to a 30.45 day period.
  • Revenue is the sum of all billings successfully paid (cash) or recognized (accrual) in the month, depending on your basis of accounting (cash or accrual).

For example (and using cash accounting), if you have 100 customers who you bill $10 per month, your MRR would be the sum of all committed revenue ($1,000). This is what your customers committed to pay, so this is your MRR. If 10 of your customers didn’t pay their invoices, your MRR would still be $1,000, but your (cash accounting) revenue for the month would be $900.

Another reason MRR may differ from revenue is that subscriptions are not always billed monthly — often the case for yearly subscriptions.

To calculate MRR, ChartMogul recognizes revenue from an annual subscription over 12 months. For example, when you bill a customer $12 for an annual subscription, ChartMogul recognizes $1 of MRR each month and reports revenue as $12 in the first month and $0 in the following 11 months.

Lastly, invoice line items in ChartMogul can either have a type of subscription or one-time. A $100 payment can consist of a $20 setup fee (one-time) and a $80 (subscription) payment. In this case, MRR is $80 while revenue is $100.

If your billing system shows a different MRR, one way of determining what's causing the difference is by identifying a specific customer with a different MRR in ChartMogul. From there, you should be able to see what is driving the difference.

If you feel the MRR in ChartMogul is inaccurate, please email our support team.

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