See all customer stories

Descript takes command of ARR reporting with Equals

Ibrahim Cisse
VP of Finance, Descript

logo Created with Sketch.

Discovering the opportunity

Descript is on a mission to make video a cornerstone of everyone's "communication toolkit" by making video editing as easy and accessible as editing a doc.

On the heels of rapid growth across their B2B and B2C businesses, Descript increasingly needed a single source of truth for their revenue reporting. The goal: Align a growing range of stakeholders—product, marketing, and finance—on initiatives that would move the needle.

At the time, Descript relied on Stripe for all billing, payments, and subscriptions and used a third-party tool to extract Stripe data for revenue reporting. However, they faced major hurdles when it came to operationalizing this data:

  • It was impossible to customize business logic for the components of ARR (like churn, restarts, and expansion) to align with the way Descript viewed its own business
  • Existing tools lacked the flexibility for deep data exploration to better understand customer behavior and revenue growth over time

As Ibrahim Cisse, VP of Finance at Descript shares, "There were just far too many limitations on how we could view our business. We were flying blind." Recognizing the need for a solution that would give back control over their own business metrics, Descript turned to Equals.

Implementing changes

The Descript team quickly connected to Stripe using Equals' point-and-click integration. They then got to work modeling raw Stripe data according to their unique business logic, using Equals' SQL editor and flexible spreadsheet.

“Before Equals, I had to write a specific query in Stripe Sigma, download a CSV, then do transformations in Excel," shares Ibrahim. "Now thanks to Equals, I can run and schedule my query and do any transformations in one connected flow."

Now with direct access to their row-level data, the Descript team can explore all the drivers of ARR: "I can segment based on any customer attribute and build cohort analyses to go deeper on revenue growth," shares Ibrahim. "With just a few clicks I have all that information at my fingertips.”

Along the way, Descript found value not just in Equals but also in the partnership that came with it.

As Ibrahim attests, "Having partners who specialize in finance and understand Stripe's data and our business was a huge unlock. Getting ARR from 0 to 97% is somewhat easy - getting from 97 to 100% is extremely hard. That's where Equals Experts were super valuable.

“They helped us go deep on modeling our edge cases so that we can look at revenue in a way that truly reflects how we see our business."

With their core revenue logic established, Descript was able to stand up automated reporting flows completely within Equals: "Equals really thinks about how to go from raw data to insightful, live dashboard all in one place,” notes Ibrahim.

“Instead of sending a classic deck for board meetings, I now just share our Equals ARR dashboard. It’s something I know I can share externally with a high level of confidence."

Unlocking growth

Up next? Descript is on the path to productionizing its new revenue logic: "Our data team is leveraging the work we've done with Equals to replicate that logic in BigQuery," shares Ibrahim.

"We are then going to pipe everything from BigQuery into Equals to build all our revenue reporting. We're going to leverage Equals even more going forward."

In parallel, the team is exploring ways to unlock even more efficiencies with Equals. "Equals integrates with pretty much everything," attests Ibrahim. "It was super easy to integrate with Quickbooks. We went from an extensive process with multiple downloads and custom formulas to one-click accounting consolidation across all our subsidiaries."

With Equals Descript is rewriting the script on its data story, query by query.