A high-performing finance team is focused on providing support across an organisation – responsible for understanding how each department is performing against key objectives, identifying what is going well or poorly, and course correcting when needed. This means the success of a finance department is contingent on compiling accurate, insightful data into a central location and using that information to improve each department’s decision-making.
“Without consistent, clear data, you miss opportunities,” said Praveer Melwani, Head of Finance and Business Operations at Figma. “If your conversion is lagging and you don't have a clear understanding of your sales and pipeline data, then you're not going to see the early indicators and know how to respond. Ensuring consistency across all systems of record [Salesforce, Marketo, board decks, etc.] enables quick decision-making as we work with both internal and external stakeholders.”
To ensure Figma could scale up a lean team while keeping data high quality and reputable, Praveer needed to automate financial processes and select a payments solution that:
- Accepted both subscription payments and offered invoicing for self-serve customers and enterprises, respectively,
- Offered near real-time reporting on its payments data, and
- Had flexible reporting with metadata parameters to store additional, structured information, and ensure data consistency into all systems of record.
Originally, Figma looked into connecting legacy, standalone solutions for payment acceptance, subscriptions, and invoicing but was nervous about the resources needed to integrate and consistently maintain multiple systems to ensure high-quality, real-time data.
Figma selected Stripe because of its complete payments platform, which allows customers to pay for subscriptions and custom invoices using cards, ACH, or wire transfers. Using the Stripe Dashboard, Praveer’s team tags the payments data with metadata parameters and sends it to Snowflake on an hourly basis, via Segment. In Snowflake, the tagged data is formatted so that it’s digestible for all other business applications and internal modelling. Once reformatted, the payments data is distributed via Census to the following business applications to provide greater context:
- Salesforce: Figma uses Stripe to enrich Salesforce accounts and opportunities with payment and activity information, which can be used for things like commissions calculations and prospecting.
- Marketo, Facebook audiences, and Google Ads: Figma appends Stripe data to users, teams, and orgs in order to tailor marketing messaging to different audiences.
- Board decks: Figma uses Stripe reporting and analytics to turn around a board deck with speed and accuracy immediately following the close of a period, providing investors with detailed reports on geo splits, net retention, and annual recurring revenue waterfalls by transaction type.
- Company metrics and forecasting: Figma leverages Stripe payments and invoicing data to create real-time life-time-value dashboards, retention and churn analysis, and to illustrate expansion patterns.
- Month-end close process: Figma uses Stripe payments and invoicing data as inputs into its revenue recognition model, tax, and deferred revenue balance via SuiteSync.
“Our small team is able to leverage the power of Stripe to automate things like collections and invoicing so they’re able to spend their time on higher-value activities,” added Praveer. “We’re also powering other business applications using data from Stripe, so we’re able to quickly and iteratively add new product, role, and plan types, and see our product evolve.”
By integrating the right payments platform into its tech stack, Praveer was able to ensure all business applications across the company were powered by customer transaction data in near real time, accurately and reliably. In turn, Praveer was able to help scale Figma to its $10 billion valuation with a lean finance team by automating systems and generating clear data to guide valuable decisions across the business.
Praveer said, “Stripe’s simplicity and product depth have been the foundation for how we’ve scaled with few people. Without integrating Stripe, I’m sure we would have needed at least five more people to handle a variety of manual processes like managing the close process, reconciling transactions between systems, keeping our AR balance in check, and troubleshooting incorrect datasets."
With Stripe, Praveer’s team is able to:
- Reliably forecast business metrics: “You want a flexible solution that enables you to cut the data in different ways quickly. We’ve built business logic into our system using Stripe data as the source of truth. The result is real-time data on how folks are making purchasing decisions and how they change over time ,” Praveer said.
- Establish trust within the organisation with reliable data: “I’m able to build a reputation of credibility and trust with the broader company and our shareholders with the confidence that our underlying data set and systems are clean and accurate,” Praveer said.
- Keep finance focused on higher value work: “Time spent on payments, billing, reconciliation, etc., is time spent away from helping the team think and act strategically about the business on a go-forward basis,” Praveer said.
Stripe’s simplicity and product depth have been the foundation for how we’ve scaled with few people. Without integrating Stripe, I’m sure we would have needed at least five more people to handle a variety of manual processes like managing the close process, reconciling transactions between systems, keeping our AR balance in check, and troubleshooting incorrect datasets.