Contractual-based, recurrent revenue made by a company over a year, including subscriptions.

Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) is a key metric used primarily by subscription-based businesses to gauge their predictable, year-on-year revenue stream. It essentially reflects the total amount of revenue a company expects to receive from customers’ subscriptions and recurring charges over a period of one year.

Here’s a deeper dive into ARR:

  • Core Function: ARR helps businesses understand their financial health and growth potential by focusing on recurring income. Unlike one-time sales, subscriptions provide a more stable and predictable revenue stream.
  • Calculation: There are a couple of ways to calculate ARR:
    • Summation Method: This involves adding up the following:
      • Annual subscription fees from all paying customers.
      • Recurring revenue generated from add-on services or upgrades.
    • Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) Method: If you bill monthly, you can multiply your Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) by 12 to get your ARR.
    Important Note: Remember to factor in revenue lost from cancellations and downgrades during the year. You can subtract this amount from the total to arrive at a more accurate ARR figure.
  • Applications: ARR serves various purposes for subscription businesses:
    • Growth Tracking: Helps monitor year-over-year growth in recurring revenue, indicating the effectiveness of customer acquisition and retention strategies.
    • Financial Forecasting: Provides a basis for creating financial projections and making informed business decisions about investments, staffing, and future product development.
    • Valuation: Investors use ARR as a key metric when valuing subscription-based businesses. Higher ARR generally translates to a higher valuation.
  • Limitations: While valuable, ARR does have some limitations:
    • Doesn’t Account for Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV): ARR focuses on annual revenue, whereas CLTV considers the total revenue a customer generates over their entire relationship with the company.
    • Sensitivity to Churn: ARR can fluctuate significantly if a business experiences high customer churn (cancellation rate).