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Is an end to late payments finally in sight?

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, last week announced plans to “tackle the scourge of late payments” to small businesses, including a requirement for listed companies to report on their performance in annual reports and accounts.

So, how did we arrive at this point and what needs to be done?

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FAQ Friday – How do Direct Debit timings work with GoCardless?

We often get questions from our customers about payment timings.

In this week’s FAQ Friday, Customer Success Manager, Ellie, explains how Direct Debit payment timings work with GoCardless for both one-off payments and subscriptions.

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FAQ Friday – What is the GoCardless API?

We often talk about our API as a way for businesses to integrate GoCardless into their website, mobile app or desktop software.

But what exactly is an API and how can the GoCardless API benefit your business?

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How to integrate with the GoCardless API
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FAQ Friday – What is integrated Direct Debit?

We often talk about the benefits of automating your payments with Direct Debit – and how you can work even more efficiently by using Direct Debit in an integrated way.

But what does integrated Direct Debit really mean?

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Looking for a resolution for 2019? Improve business cash flow and beat late payments with these 10 tips

As small and medium-sized businesses wake up to 2019, many will be looking at their financial goals for the year ahead.

Plans for growth can quickly be undermined if businesses can’t collect the money they’re owed. Britain’s small businesses are owed a whopping £6.7 billion in overdue invoices, according to Bacs Payment Schemes, the organisation which handles inter-bank transactions. This has soared from £2.6 billion in 2017, with one in three firms now waiting more than two months beyond agreed payment terms to receive their money.

The effects are real – if businesses were paid on time, 50,000 more UK companies would survive every year, the Federation of Small Businesses calculates.

So, with more companies being left out of pocket for longer periods, here are our 10 tips for prompt payment in 2019.

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FAQ Friday – that’s it for 2018!

It’s been four months (and 15 videos) since we launched our FAQ Friday video series. We have enjoyed hearing your questions and taking on the challenge of answering them on camera.

But with Christmas fast approaching, it’s time to take a short break.

In this week’s video, Social Media Manager, Phoebe, takes a look back at the series so far – including behind the scenes footage and bloopers.

We wish you all a merry Christmas and we’ll see you next year!

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2018 highlights from GoCardless

2018 has been the year of the global payments network for GoCardless. We’re delivering on our mission to build the world’s first network for bank to bank payments, to take the pain out of getting paid for businesses everywhere.

So far this year, we’ve integrated with Direct Debit schemes in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Denmark, taking the number of countries in our payments network to 30.

2018 has seen us move into a new London HQ, and open up new offices in Paris and Melbourne (with more coming soon).

We’re also proud to have reached some transactional milestones this year, including processing 1 million payments in one day earlier this month, and more than six hundred million pounds worth of payments a month.

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FAQ Friday – How can you access Direct Debit?

In the past, access to Direct Debit was only available directly through your bank, and the application process was typically lengthy, complicated and expensive for smaller businesses.

Thankfully Direct Debit is now far more accessible for businesses of every size.

In this week’s FAQ Friday, we look at three ways to access Direct Debit to help you decide which is best for your business.

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FAQ Friday –Can you use Direct Debit for variable amounts or one-off payments?

Most people know what Direct Debit is, and that it can be used to collect regular, fixed payments like subscriptions or memberships but we often get asked about whether or not Direct Debit can be used for anything else.

In this week’s FAQ Friday, Product Marketing Manager, Paul, discusses whether or not you can use Direct Debit for variable amounts or one-off payments, and how this might help your business.

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Bacs processing calendar 2019

With the end of the year fast approaching, Bacs have released their 2019 processing calendar, to help you plan for the year ahead.

The calendar allows you to easily check the dates when Bacs will process Direct Debit submissions in 2019 – and the dates they won’t.

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FAQ Friday – Can you use GoCardless with your existing finance software?

Did you know that GoCardless integrates with major accounting and billing software in the UK, including Xero, Sage, QuickBooks, KashFlow, Zoho and more?

These integrations allow you to process Direct Debit payments from within your existing accounts on these platforms and bring with it a host of other benefits, which can help your business run more efficiently.

In this week’s FAQ Friday, Partnerships Manager, Myles, talks through 3 ways that integrating GoCardless with your billing software can help your business.

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FAQ Friday – What’s the difference between Direct Debit and recurring card payments?

Direct Debit and recurring card payments both allow you to take regular payments, of both fixed and variable amounts, from your customers.

But what’s the difference?

In this week’s FAQ Friday, we talk through the three key differences between Direct Debit and recurring card payments.

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FAQ Friday – What is involved when switching to GoCardless from another Direct Debit provider?

Switching Direct Debit provider can be a daunting prospect, so for this week’s FAQ Friday, we asked Onboarding Analyst, Costa, to explain exactly what the process involves.

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New trends in automation that work for SMBs

Though automation is usually associated with large corporations, forward-thinking SMBs are discovering that it doesn’t have to be that way. As automation technology continues to grow, it becomes easier to access for companies of every size.

So what are some new trends in automation that SMBs can get on-board with, that don’t require huge investment or resource?

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FAQ Friday – How much does it cost to process Direct Debit payments?

The cost of processing Direct Debit payments varies between providers – some offer flat rates, others have a number of additional charges and monthly or yearly fees to consider.

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A guide to Direct Debit in the UK
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FAQ Friday – How often can you collect payments with GoCardless?

Direct Debit collection dates and payout timings vary depending on your provider. Some offer flexible collection dates, where others offer a restricted number of collections days – meaning your payouts come at set intervals too.

So, how often can you collect payments with GoCardless?

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Direct Debit timings with GoCardless
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FAQ Friday – How often can you collect payments with GoCardless?

Direct Debit collection dates and payout timings vary depending on your provider. Some offer flexible collection dates, where others offer a restricted number of collections days – meaning your payouts come at set intervals too.

So, how often can you collect payments with GoCardless?

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Direct Debit timings with GoCardless
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FAQ Friday – How can you encourage your customers to pay you by Direct Debit?

From automation and flexibility to low costs and lower failure rates, the benefits of Direct Debit have even more impact when more customers are using it.

But how do you encourage more of your customers to pay this way?

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FAQ Friday – What notifications will your customers get from GoCardless?

If you’re collecting Direct Debit payments in the UK, you’re required by Bacs to send notifications to your customers.

At GoCardless, we take care of this – sending fully compliant notifications on your behalf.

But what notifications will customers get from GoCardless and when?

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FAQ Friday – Can you pay by credit or debit card through GoCardless?

One of the questions we often get asked is whether or not we process credit or debit card payments.

GoCardless specialises in bank to bank payments using Direct Debit schemes around the world, meaning you can’t use us to take payments via card.

This FAQ Friday, we hear from GoCardless’ Director of Business Operations and Strategy, Pranav, as he talks us through the three mains reasons why this is and why we believe this is better for our customers.

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FAQ Friday – Why do some Direct Debit payments fail and what can you do about it?

Payment failure rates with Direct Debit are low compared to other payment methods (typically <3% with Direct Debit compared to 5-15% with cards).

Though Direct Debit is one of the most reliable payment methods, transactions can still fail. This week on FAQ Friday, Product Marketing Manager, Ross, explains what GoCardless transaction data tells us about payment failures. He reveals the two most common reasons for Direct Debit payment failures and what you can do about them.

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FAQ Friday – How do Direct Debit timings work with GoCardless?

From setting up mandates, to receiving your payouts, we get lots of questions about how Direct Debit payment timings work with GoCardless.

So this week we chose the top three and tasked Product Marketing Executive, Sally, with answering them.

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Riding high - GoCardless’ London to Paris cycle

As if building the first global network for bank to bank payments doesn’t keep us busy enough, some of the GoCardless team decided to challenge themselves earlier this month by cycling from our HQ in London to our new office in Paris and raise money for Mind charity.

On 1 September, 14 riders set off with Paris in their sights.

Now back and rested, we sat down with two of the team, Merve and Anca, to find out how they got on.

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FAQ Friday – How to explain GoCardless to your customers

We’re back with our second FAQ Friday.

We often get asked about the best way to explain GoCardless, and the benefits to your customers of paying by Direct Debit. So this week, we hear from Product Marketing Manager, Paul, with his top three things to say:

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5 ways to increase automation and efficiency with technology

A quarter of UK accounting firms identified increasing their use of technology and automation as a key priority for the year ahead, in our recent Accounting Benchmarking Survey. And this drive for improved efficiency through technology underpins many of the key themes we’ve seen coming out of this year’s Accountex conference.

In this blog, we outline 5 key ways your firm can increase the use of automation and improve efficiency through greater adoption of online technology.

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FAQ Fridays – our new video series

We’ve taken the questions we get asked most often and called on our GoCardless experts to answer them on camera... Introducing FAQ Fridays!

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3 automated payment methods compared
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How to recover an unpaid invoice: Advice from Sage

Chasing late payments takes time, money and resource from your business.

There are steps you can take to make sure you get paid on time, like automating payments with Direct Debit.

But if you aren’t yet using Direct Debit to take your payments, or if you have experienced clients failing to pay due to lack of funds, you might need to take action and approach those awkward conversations.

So, thanks to Sage for putting together this practical guide and timeline for recovering invoices.

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5 proven ways to win more clients for your accounting firm

Acquiring more clients is a top priority for 41% of the accounting firms that took part in our recent Accountants Benchmarking Survey.

But what are the best ways to do that in an increasingly competitive market?

See below for 5 tried and trusted methods for making your firm more attractive in the marketplace and bringing in the new clients you need.

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Cloud adoption: Single platform or multiple accounting software?

When it comes to offering an effective cloud accounting service, there’s a choice to be made.

Should your firm have:

  1. A single cloud accounting platform that’s mandatory for all clients.
  2. Multiple accounting software packages that offer clients a choice of platform.

We’ve spoken to some leading UK accountants to understand the pros and cons of each option, and the things that might influence your firm’s decision.

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The results are out: Accountants Benchmarking Survey Report 2018

This is a guest post from Tom Herbert, Editor of AccountingWeb

At a time of great economic, legislative and technological change, more businesses than ever are looking to their accountants to provide help and advice. But how are the accountants coping?

The GoCardless survey provides us with some fascinating insights into the minds of accountants around the country, and the results offer a thought-provoking snapshot of the current state of the profession.

  • 84% have met their clients face to face
  • 53% of their clients use cloud accounting software
  • 43% of client fees are collected through customer bank transfers
  • 14% make it mandatory for their clients to use their preferred accounting software

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Around the world in 90 debtor days

In the UK, spending time, money and resource chasing up late payments is common practice for many businesses.

But are we uniquely bad at paying on time in the UK? Or have these bad business practices spread to Europe? And how does Britain compare to the rest of the world?

Research by Dun & Bradstreet (CRIBIS D&B) compares payment practices in 36 countries. Take a look at the infographic below to see, in numbers, the state of late payments around the world.

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Working with Pride at GoCardless

Pride month comes to an end this week – and throughout the month, we’ve seen tech companies supporting and celebrating the LGBT+ community; from Zuora's #SubscribeToPride to Xero marching with Pride at parades across America. In the UK, preparations are underway for London Pride on 7 July.

At GoCardless, we’re celebrating London Pride by coming together to celebrate each other’s backgrounds and differences, while raising money for the Albert Kennedy Trust – a charity that provides safe homes and support for the LGBT+ youth homeless community. Check out their #NoRoomForHate campaign here.

Our approach to diversity and inclusion at GoCardless is closely related to our company values: start with why, take pride, act with integrity, and be humble.

Ahead of the event next week, we spoke to some of the team at GoCardless, both members of the LGBT+ community and allies, to find out what diversity and inclusion in the workplace means to them.

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5 objections to paying by Direct Debit and how to respond

The average UK person has 6 Direct Debits in place at any one time. So, even if Direct Debit is new to your business, your customers probably already use it to pay their household bills, their gym memberships or into their savings for example.

Still, asking customers to change the way they pay you isn’t always easy, so, to help, we’ve created this complete guide to getting your customers to pay by Direct Debit.

In this blog, we outline some of the common objections that you might get - with some tips on how to respond to them.

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GoCardless on the move: why our new office space matters

 

From campuses Apple Park and Google HQ to open plan start-ups and coworking spaces, working in an office has come a long way since the days of box cubicles and water cooler chat.

Research into working environment, productivity, and wellness has meant that more and more companies are using their office space to reflect and even shape a culture conducive to a happy, healthy workforce.

Earlier this year, GoCardless moved to a new home in Clerkenwell. Senior Facilities Manager, Jackie McRobert, explains: “We quickly outgrew our old office, going from 35 to 160 employees in four years. The challenge we faced was how to foster the trusting and collaborative culture we had worked hard to build, in a space three times the size, over three floors.”

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How data drives decisions at GoCardless: Interview with BI Analyst, Liz

The GoCardless data team is on a mission to help everyone here at GoCardless make better, faster, more data-driven decisions.

To find out how this works in practice, from tech stack and data sources to projects - we spoke to GoCardless BI Analyst, Liz.

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Elevate your member experience to win in a fast-changing fitness industry

The UK’s largest health and fitness trade show, Elevate, returned to the Excel Arena last week and GoCardless was there to take part in the action.

We were joined by hundreds of fitness businesses, from gyms and equipment suppliers to software platforms, including our fantastic partners ClubRight, Glofox, Virtuagym, OpenPlay, Sport Solutions and more.

Business leaders took to the stage in Elevate’s first conference, to share their thoughts on emerging trends and the future of fitness. Throughout the two-day event, one thing became clear: the fitness sector is changing and those who focus on member experience will emerge as the winners.

In an industry that is shunning long-term contracts in favour of more flexible membership options, fitness business operators must provide a better member experience to attract members and keep them for longer.

That means top facilities and passionate employees committed to helping members see results. But increasingly, it also means keeping up with fitness trends, integrating technology into your offer and providing simple, hassle-free payments. We’re excited by this as we think our Direct Debit solution can help gyms of all sizes to do just this!

With this in mind, here are our 3 key takeaways from Elevate 2018.

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Where we are this Spring

With events season in full swing, it’s going to be a busy few months for the GoCardless team. From Glasgow to Warsaw to Singapore, take a look below to see where you can find us over the next few months.

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Why a healthy cash flow is the secret to a successful agency

Business services is fast-paced, dynamic and competitive. But being busy isn’t enough. Whatever field your agency operates in, evidence of your success lies in your company’s bank balance, as much as in the volume of work you’re tackling. Having lots of projects on the go and more in the pipeline is well and good. But if you’re not getting paid on time your business isn’t truly healthy - or ready to grow and exploit new opportunities.

The nature of the work many agencies undertake can exacerbate issues with cash flow. Projects often take some time to complete and can prove elastic, with clients requesting unexpected last minute changes. Plus, larger client firms might insist on long payment terms, leaving an agency waiting for money for months after work has been delivered.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are several paths to improving your business’s liquidity. What exactly should an ambitious agency owner be doing to ensure they have a healthy cash flow? And how can they use that strengthened position to scale their company up?

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The state of late payments

The culture of late payments has become so ingrained in the UK that spending time, money and resource chasing payments has, for many, become business as usual.

Take a look at the graphic below to see, in numbers, the state of late payments in the UK, how this compares to other European countries and if with new legislation, there is any sign of things improving.

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GC women discuss supporting women in tech

The problem of gender diversity in the tech industry is not new and there are many businesses and charities doing great work to make the industry more inclusive. For example, Code First Girls' 2020 campaign has already trained 5000+ women how to code for free and the newly-launched Fintech Parity Pledge encourages those working in events to only speak at, attend, and organise events that promote diversity.

Despite the success of these campaigns, there is still a long way to go, with some organisations predicting that the gender gap will worsen if more is not done. According to Code First Girls, female programmers and software developers made up only 3.9% of tech and telco professionals in the UK in 2017, down from 10% in 2007.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we sat down with some of the women in GoCardless’ Product Development team to hear about their experiences as women in tech (and fintech, a sector in which women represent only 29% of the workforce), and to get their thoughts on what can be done to encourage more women into the industry.

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Where are we in March?

March is set to be a busy month here at GoCardless as members of the team head out to various events across the UK and beyond.

Before that though, we have the last few February events, including the Techies where we are delighted to be nominated for FinTech Innovator of the Year and Quickbooks Connect in London.

With events season really starting to kick-off, take a look below to see where you can find the GoCardless team in March.

Events

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Meet Jake: GoCardless' Energy Specialist

Jake is Gocardless' energy specialist

Jake joined GoCardless six months ago as an account executive in the enterprise sales team. Since then, Jake has become our energy specialist, immersing himself in the market and seeing some great results! We sat down with him to see how he is finding life at GoCardless.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Jake Grave. I have been at GoCardless as our energy specialist in Sales for 6 months, during which I have been lucky enough to work with some phenomenal companies and get them up and running on GoCardless. I’ve worked in sales and customer success in early stage SaaS companies for the past seven years, and in the summer of last year my search for a new challenge at a fast growing FinTech company brought me to GoCardless.

What does a typical week look like?

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Card surcharge ban: what does it mean for businesses?

The new legislation on card surcharges that came in January 2018

On 13 January 2018, new UK legislation and pan-European regulation came into effect, making it illegal for businesses to add surcharges to credit and debit card payments anywhere in the EEA.

The surcharge ban is one of many changes brought about by the new EU regulations known as the European Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2), an update to the previous payments directive in 2013. The regulations are intended to increase competition in the payments industry, enhance customer protection and introduce common standards.

The surcharge ban itself is designed to ensure that customers avoid unfair or hidden charges at the point of purchase, particularly with credit card payments, where transaction costs can be as high as 3-5% and in certain industries have historically been passed on to customers.

But, what does it mean in practice for businesses?

  • Businesses that accept card payments can no longer pass the charge for processing transactions on to their customers and will have to find ways to cover the cost.
  • The ban does not apply to payments made with corporate credit or debit cards, but merchants who take payments from these sorts of cards (typically B2B businesses), cannot charge fees higher than the costs they have incurred for processing payments.

Pranav Sood, Director of Business Operations and Strategy for GoCardless, comments: “While the ban will affect anyone taking credit or debit card payments from personal cards, the impact will differ between businesses: those hardest hit are likely to be smaller merchants or those in industries that typically operate with low margins, who will struggle to absorb processing costs.”

How can businesses respond?

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