We team up with QuickBooks to help small businesses get paid faster
Success for small businesses in the UK is more elusive than ever these days thanks to a weakened pound and intense competition in all markets.
Thousands of the UK’s small and medium enterprises have told us that managing cashflow is a constant struggle. In some cases it can take up to 13 days for an invoice to get paid.
Cashflow is the lifeblood for any organisation, so waiting a fortnight for payment can wreak havoc on a company’s finances. Time spent chasing late-paying customers could instead be used for growing the business.
GoCardless has joined forces with QuickBooks to help small business owners reclaim those 13 lost days, while providing a new way to increase cashflow. This in turn allows for better insight and decision making.
By teaming up with QuickBooks, we can remove the burden of small businesses chasing clients for payment. The integration with QuickBooks allows payment to be taken directly from the client’s account on the day stated on the invoice. This significant change means that businesses can slash the amount of time they spend trying to improve their cashflow.
“Our partnership with QuickBooks brings accounting and payments together into one powerful platform. The integration empowers SMEs, enabling them to manage all their invoicing and Direct Debit payments in one place, saving them significant time and money so they can focus on growing their business,” said Hiroki Takeuchi, GoCardless CEO and co-founder.
For both GoCardless and QuickBooks, saving precious time for businesses is of utmost importance. Setting up Direct Debit payments in QuickBooks with GoCardless couldn’t be easier. What’s more, reconciling becomes a breeze as Direct Debit payments are automatically brought in and categorised on the QuickBooks platform.
“We’re delighted to work with GoCardless to bring Direct Debit functionality to QuickBooks. As a leading UK-based payments company, GoCardless will significantly reduce the time it takes for small businesses to get paid, which is critical to any business’ success,” said Dominic Allon, Vice President and Managing Director, Intuit Europe.
GoCardless and QuickBooks believe that the combination of smart payments and online accounting will enable small businesses to evolve in new and exciting directions, supported by a more efficient and transparent way of getting paid.
Bacs Processing Calendar 2017
It's that time of year again and we don't just mean Christmas. The Bacs Direct Debit 2017 processing calendar is now available, so you can easily check the dates when Bacs will process Direct Debit payment submissions in 2017. The calendar also shows which days Bacs won't process payments, bank holidays and weekends, so you can plan around that.
If you're using GoCardless, there's no need to plan your payments submissions with the Bacs processing calendar. We take care of submission dates for you and we'll automatically submit your payments to Bacs on the relevant day. This means you simply choose on which dates you'd like to charge your customers, and we'll do the rest.
Feel free to get in touch with us at [email protected] if you have any questions about the timing and scheduling of Bacs payments.
Highlights of 2016 at GoCardless
2016 has been a rollercoaster of a year. Here at GoCardless HQ, we’ve certainly had an exciting time.
In this post, we look back at some of our most memorable moments from the year gone by - including big wins, things we’ve learned, new friends, and fun events - all infused with the usual dynamic GoCardless spirit.
We’ve hit some significant milestones this year, including reaching £1.5 billion of processing volume in July, and helping over 20,000 merchants every month to take payments more effectively. We’ve also ramped up our European operations, enabling even more customers to take payments across the eurozone.
In September, we launched a survey on the burgeoning subscriptions industry in our UK and European markets, aiming to find out what people thought of the various different payment methods. The results showed an outstanding victory for Direct Debit, especially in the UK, which was great news for us too!
A couple of months later we entered the prestigious Deloitte Fast50 Awards - and won first place in the fintech category, and second place overall out of 50 of the UK’s fastest-growing companies. Then, just weeks later, we reached the top ten of the Deloitte Fast 500 EMEA Awards, which have a more global focus - honouring the best innovators in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
As well as working hard, here at GoCardless we’ve also been playing hard. We surpassed ourselves by throwing two rounds of the fantastic Quarterly Report bash for our friends in tech and beyond, and also had a very enjoyable time at the GoCardless Christmas party.
So once again it’s time to hand over the spotlight to our amazing people, to let them explain exactly why 2016 at GoCardless was rather awesome.
Cleaning up with Customer Success
We helped Peterborough City Council streamline their recently-introduced garden waste tax, providing easy online payments to make the controversial new charges easier for residents to handle. Residents no longer needed to worry about making payments on time - and the lower processing costs helped the city council to manage their budget more effectively. Everyone’s a winner!
Engineering & Product
Connecting to our Partners
Just recently we launched a one-stop shop for all our partner integrations. This highlights the fantastic range of useful GoCardless integrations currently available - and we’ll regularly update it as we add even more over the coming months.
Improving the Developer Experience
“We launched our new developer site, as we wanted to make the experience for developers getting started with our API as good as possible. We want to guide people through in the language they’re using.
“It was especially great working with users of our API to get feedback on the content we were writing, bringing them into the office and getting them to run through the drafts (and sending them GoCardless swag as a thank you!) We’ve had great feedback and more people than ever are getting started with our API”
-- Tim, Engineering
Diving into DevOps
Back in November we kicked off the new GoCardless DevOps Event Series with our first DevOps event, The Insider Talks. Our very own Chris Sinjakli presented "Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Postgres in Production at GoCardless" and Simon Vans-Colina presented "DevOps at Monzo". The event was a resounding success and we’re hoping to host many more in 2017.
“This year we were awarded ISO 27001 certification, a widely recognised, internationally accepted standard for information security. This will be reassessed annually by an independent auditor. Having ISO 27001 certification helps assure our merchants and their customers that we take security and business continuity management seriously.”
-- Nick, Engineering
Big things happening in Sales
“For me it was launching with Sage. They are one of the biggest tech companies to ever come out of the UK and it's fantastic to add such a big name to our ever growing list of clients.”
-- George, Sales
“We doubled the size of our UK sales team. We also created a useful process for cracking new verticals on a mass scale, focusing on our work with the local government and Peterborough City Council in particular.“
-- Mia, Sales
Newsletters and newborns in Marketing
“My highlights were being involved with the launch of the GoCardless newsletter, plus co-ordinating a successful events calendar for 2016. Also, getting married and having Forrest be one of the GoCardless babies of 2016!”
-- Ross, Marketing
All-new integrations in Partnerships
“For me it had to be launching several new integrations, including GoCardless for Quickbooks, a new version of GoCardless for Xero, along with Chargebee and WooCommerce.”
-- Josh, Partnerships
Success at South Summit in Spain
“Nobody could resist GoCardless swag in our first ever Spanish event. Even the main politicians of Madrid wanted to wear our jackets!”
-- Alfonso, Global
Brand new Customer Support Centre
Mid September saw the launch of the brand new GoCardless Support Centre, offering significant improvement on our previous FAQs page.
"We’re really excited about the potential of our new support centre for making our product and service knowledge base easily accessible and readily available for our merchants and their customers. We’ve got many more great ideas up our sleeves for improvements and will be continuing to add more content throughout 2017."
-- James, Support
Winning at Dodgeball London
“The GoCardless team won the Dodgeball London quarterly tournament!”
-- Steve and Alex
Party Central at GoCardless
We invited our friends, partners and customers old and new from London's tech community for a civilised social gathering over cocktails, music, and stacks and stacks of pizza!
2016 was sprinkled with assorted team events, ranging from cocktail-making to cookie baking, proper cooking lessons, white-water rafting, BBQing in the park, zapping each other at laser tag - along with numerous opportunities for the GoCardless team to go out for dinner and drinks together.
Putting on the Ritz with our French team
The folks at Koala Telecom, one of our French merchants, were so delighted with the GoCardless product that they took us out to tea at the Ritz. Well one of us anyway. For the lucky recipient, Côme, in the France inbound sales team, that was definitely his highlight of 2016.
Overall, 2016 has been a successful, productive and, most of all, fun year at GoCardless. Here’s to an even better 2017! We wish everyone a very happy new year.
GoCardless among top 10 innovators at the Deloitte Fast 500 EMEA Awards
It was only a few weeks ago that we at GoCardless were busy celebrating our outstanding performance in the recent Deloitte Fast 50. We’re delighted to announce another big success.
Last night, GoCardless reached the top 10 of the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA awards, presented in Paris.
In this competition the stakes were much higher than before. We were up against a diverse range of cutting-edge tech companies from all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa. So it was a significant achievement for us to make it to tenth place in the overall ranking, putting us in the top 10.
“We’re really excited to see our achievements recognised internationally as well as in the UK,” said Robert Whiteside, GoCardless.
“It was fitting to receive the award in the Eiffel Tower, itself created by one of the greatest innovators of his age, while being surrounded by the world’s most exciting 21st century innovators.
“At GoCardless we’ve been privileged to help great businesses get off the ground and scale, and in turn grow with them to such an extent that we’re recognised as a leader in our peer group, both within the UK and further afield.”
The Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA programme is an objective industry ranking that recognises the fastest-growing technology companies in EMEA over the past four years. It’s supported by the various Deloitte Technology Fast 50 initiatives, ranking high-growth technology companies by specifically defined geographic area.
Now in its sixteenth year, the 2016 programme included 28 countries and companies with growth rates from 212 percent to 28,126 percent. This year’s winners were selected based on percentage fiscal-year revenue growth from 2012 to 2015.
In the 2016 Fast 500 final ranking, the overall winner was Swedish software company Fingerprint Cards, which produces user-friendly biometric fingerprint solutions for use in securing electronic items. Fingerprint Cards had an impressive growth of 28126%. Congratulations!
GoCardless shares the top ten with one other UK company, Brain Labs Digital, the UK winner, taking fifth place in the ranking. Overall, the Fast 500 top ten represents a wide range of countries and diversity within the tech scene, including Israel, France, Sweden, Turkey, Norway, Poland, Austria and of course the UK.
We hope to take on the Fast 500 challenge once again in 2017, achieving more growth and the chance to rank even higher next time!
GoCardless helps Bacs break new records
Bacs broke new records recently when it processed the staggering figure of 109.3 million payments in just one day. The figure, achieved in September, overtakes the previous daily high of 103.7 million transactions, recorded in April, and represented an increase of 5.4%.
Thanks to this achievement, Bacs already looks set to overtake the figures it set in 2015, when over 6 billion transactions were processed for the first time, reaching a value of £4.6 trillion. That included an impressive 3.9 billion Direct Debits, an increase of 239 million compared to the previous year. Bacs (short for Bacs Payment Schemes Limited) is the organisation behind Direct Debit, the popular UK payment system.
Direct Debit has played a key role in enabling the success of Bacs, with its continuing popularity in the UK certain to have boosted the organisation’s growth. Latest figures show that 9 out of 10 adults in the UK have at least one active Direct Debit and pay around 73% of their household bills using this payment method.
The success of Bacs and Direct Debit spells good news for the cutting-edge payments solutions that are now supporting them, such as the Direct Debit payment system offered by GoCardless. As the UK’s number one Direct Debit provider, it’s interesting to consider where we fit into this.
We’re not only simplifying Direct Debit for businesses large and small, but we’re also supporting the growth of Bacs as we go. In fact, between April and September 2016, we increased our volume of Direct Debit transactions processed by 36% - contributing to the overall 5.4% that Bacs managed to achieve. Pretty impressive, if we do say so ourselves!
Direct Debit has been around for many years. In fact, it’s the UK’s favourite payment method with its usage continuing to grow. Direct Debit has gained such a strong reputation in part because customers are protected by the reliable Direct Debit Guarantee. Direct Debit is also very simple to set up - with money is taken automatically from your account on the specified day. There’s no need to update your details, unlike when using credit and debit cards.
Bacs CEO Michael Chambers sees the great results of Bacs and Direct Debit as a vote of confidence in “simple, reliable and convenient solutions for users”, which form an integral part of the UK’s financial infrastructure.
At GoCardless, we’re playing our part in supporting the UK’s innovative payments environment, while also helping Direct Debit to grow and flourish. In particular, we’ve opened up access to Direct Debit for many small businesses that couldn’t use it before. At the same time, we’re offering customers such as Vax and Thomas Cook a new way for their customers to pay - in convenient instalments.
The future looks bright for Direct Debit, which has consistently proven its worth as a reliable, safe and convenient payment method.
GoCardless recognised as UK's fastest growing FinTech company in Deloitte Fast50
We’re thrilled to announce that GoCardless took first place in the fintech sector in the prestigious UK Fast 50 Awards. We were also awarded second place overall. Our growth rate was an impressive 6661%!
Robert Whiteside, our VP of Sales, said: “We’re so pleased to recognise the hard work done by the team over the years to build a great solution that our customers love using.
“It’s exciting to see that you can take a proven and popular payment method like Direct Debit and make it fit for the digital age, unlocking so much potential for our merchants who are working hard to bring modern solutions to the market. We’ve been privileged enough to help great businesses get off the ground and scale, and in turn grow with them to such an extent that we’re recognised as a leader in our peer group.”
The Fast 50 awards are a fixture in the UK technology arena, having been around for almost two decades. Deloitte launched the award programme in 1998, to recognise growth driven by the leading technology companies. Today, the awards celebrate the UK’s finest examples of innovation and entrepreneurship. Now in its 19th successful year, the Fast 50 is an acknowledgement of the UK’s 50 fastest-growing companies, with rankings based on revenue growth over the previous four years.
In the fintech industry, GoCardless, Smarkets, KANTOX and WorldRemit reached the top ten of the Fast 50. Overall, the 50 top companies generated £884 million in total annual revenue in the year 2015/16, employed more than 7,100 people and recorded an average four-year growth rate of 1,240%.
Previous Fast 50 winners have included companies of all sizes from across the UK, including some of the country’s most dynamic players. Between them, the companies focus on many diverse areas of technology, including specialists in fintech, biotech, digital media technology, life sciences, software and telecommunications.
As this award win demonstrates, our success is due not only to an innovative product that solves pressing business problems, but also to our genuine commitment to making GoCardless a great place to work and do business with.
We’re very excited about our plans to expand both domestically and internationally over the next few years. Our vision is to turn payments into one less barrier to doing business with anyone, anywhere in the world.
What does Europe think of Direct Debit for subscription payments?
Back in September, GoCardless launched a UK-wide survey focusing on the popular subscriptions industry. We wanted to explore what members of the public thought about the various payment methods used to pay for subscription services. With the rapid rise of subscription services in the UK for everything from magazines to bacon, we thought this was an unmissable opportunity!
The results confirmed our suspicions - the UK loves Direct Debit. Despite its advanced age, the popular payment method is still the country’s most trusted choice. But our curiosity didn’t stop at the UK border. As GoCardless is a European payment provider covering Bacs, SEPA and Autogiro, we wanted to bring in essential insights from our key markets in France, Germany, Sweden and Spain.
So, do subscription customers in Europe love Direct Debit as much as those in the UK do?
We commissioned YouGov to survey the state of subscriptions payments in these four European markets. Like last time, we wanted to know how comfortable people were with using different payment methods to pay for their digital or physical subscriptions. This could be any product or service for which they pay a regular monthly fee.
The research produced some intriguing results about the state of subscriptions payments across Europe.
Subscriptions in France
Direct Debit: Just as in the UK market, Direct Debit performed very well in survey results among French consumers. Almost one third of those surveyed - 29% - reported feeling ‘very comfortable’ with using Direct Debit for subscription payments. In contrast, only 11% said they were ‘not at all comfortable’ with it.
Credit cards: Paying by credit card is not a popular option for French subscription customers. In fact, 39% of those surveyed rated it rock-bottom, as the payment method that they were ‘not at all comfortable’ with using. Only 8% said they were ‘very comfortable’ with credit card payments.
Debit cards: This was a fairly popular option among French subscription customers, with 28% claiming to be ‘very comfortable’ using debit cards for making recurring payments. Only 11% said they were ‘not at all comfortable’ with this method; a stark contrast to the results for credit cards. It looks like people feel more reassured knowing that their recurring payments are coming out of existing funds in their bank accounts, rather than from credit.
Subscriptions in Germany
Direct Debit: The results for Direct Debit among German consumers were more subdued than those in the other markets. 17% of respondents rated themselves ‘very comfortable’ paying by Direct Debit, but on the other hand 12% said they were ‘not at all comfortable’.
Credit cards: As in France, paying by credit card is not an especially popular option for German subscription customers. 22% of those surveyed said they were ‘not at all comfortable’ with paying by credit card. Only 11% said they were ‘very comfortable’ with credit card payments.
Debit cards: 16% of German respondents claimed to be ‘very comfortable’ using debit cards for making recurring payments. Only 14% said they were ‘not at all comfortable’. There’s not much to choose from between the two extremes here.
Subscriptions in Spain
Direct Debit: In Spain, our survey found that subscriptions consumers love Direct Debit almost as much as in the UK, with a large 31% reporting that they were ‘very comfortable’ using it. Only 10% said they were ‘not at all comfortable’ with using Direct Debit.
Credit cards: Both card-based payment methods fell somewhere in the middle, with 14% of respondents ‘not at all comfortable’ with credit cards, compared to 22% who said they were ‘very comfortable’.
Debit cards: Debit cards came out almost level with credit cards, scoring 12% of responsdents who were ‘not at all comfortable’, and 23% who said they were ‘very comfortable’.
Subscriptions in Sweden
Direct Debit: The biggest surprise of our research project was found in Sweden. Here, the popularity of Direct Debit blew all other payment methods away. An entire 37% of Swedish subscription users rated it the payment method they were most comfortable with. Only 10% of the respondents were ‘not at all comfortable’ with using it.
Credit cards: Among Swedish consumers, credit cards lag behind other payment methods, with only 20% of respondents saying they were ‘very comfortable’ in using them, while 19% were ‘not at all comfortable’.
Debit cards: Debit cards emerged as the second more popular payment method in Sweden, with 31% of respondents rating debit cards top, while only 8% rated them bottom.
What does all this tell us about the state of European subscription payments?
For subscription providers focusing on these European markets, there are clear differences that should be kept in mind in order to provide the most effective service tailored to specific market needs.
With GoCardless, you can manage all payments seamlessly, taking advantage of low fees, flexible timings and a fully-automated system. The sign-up process is quick and easy with no minimum term. We even integrate with popular accounting packages including Sage, QuickBooks and Xero.
Sign up now and start taking European subscription payments with GoCardless today.
Xero and GoCardless: Getting you paid on time, every time
Are you using Xero online accounting to manage finances for your small business? If so, you’ll already be aware of how cloud accounting speeds up processes, automates your admin workload and helps you take control of key numbers.
Xero’s now got a new string to its bow: a direct integration with GoCardless via its new app. GoCardless for Xero offers automatic invoice payment and reconciliation. Now your Xero account can be linked straight to GoCardless, providing a fast, efficient way to collect invoice payments from customers with the absolute minimum of hassle.
That has a number of key benefits that will make your finances slicker, more streamlined and working hard for the long-term good of the business. And your customers will love how simple and straightforward it is – meaning you get paid faster!
1. Remove late payment issues while improving cash flow
Late payments can have a huge impact on small businesses. According to recent research, UK businesses with turnovers of under £1million are now waiting an average of 72 days for invoices to be paid.
Using GoCardless to collect your invoice payments by Direct Debit means you’re always paid on the invoice due date. No late payments, no time wasted chasing customers and no worries about the impact of aged debts building up in the business and affecting cash flow.
Cash-flow issues account for around half of all UK start-ups failing in their first five years. That’s mainly due to unstable payment revenues and the resulting lack of liquid cash to fund growth and keep the business in the black. So getting customers to pay you instantly and regularly through GoCardless will have a hugely positive impact on your cash flow.
2. Provide an easier way for customers to pay
Compared to many payment options, GoCardless is an incredibly simple and hassle-free solution for your customers. They can be signed up online in minutes, and need never worry again about missing a payment due date.
Unlike inflexible standing orders, Direct Debit never needs renewing and handles price changes, irregular invoice amounts and ad-hoc payments with ease. It’s the most convenient way for customers to pay – meaning you can add real value by offering GoCardless as an option.
3. Reconcile payments automatically
The average UK business spends 9 hours every week dealing with business banking. Much of this time will be spent on bank reconciliation – matching incoming customer payments to the invoices raised.
With Xero and GoCardless working in tandem, you not only have no chasing of payments to complete, you also have no reconciliation to worry about. GoCardless will automatically reconcile incoming payments to your Xero online invoices, saving hours of admin time – and keeping your Xero numbers 100% up-to-date while delivering real-time reporting.
4. Cost-effective payments solution
Software set-up costs and subscriptions can start to add up and eat into your profits. But with GoCardless, there are no more worries on this front.
Integrating GoCardless with your existing Xero account is totally free. Also, running the GoCardless Direct Debit solution to collect customer payments is a truly cost-effective option. You pay 1% of the total transaction fee, capped at £2, keeping costs down and bringing in steady, predictable income streams in the most productive way possible.
5. Fast and simple setup
Integrating GoCardless with Xero couldn’t be simpler.
- Connect your Xero account to GoCardless. Simply create a GoCardless account, complete the ‘GoCardless for Xero’ online registration and your Direct Debit account will instantly appear on your Xero Dashboard, ready to take payment.
- Set up your customers. Automatically (or manually) send a request to your customers and ask them to complete the online sign-up process to pay by Direct Debit.
- Start collecting payments. collect your payments automatically on the invoice due date, straight into Xero – no more waiting for payments to arrive.
- Automatic reconciliation. Your invoices will be reconciled, without you lifting a finger, and the GoCardless fee will be recorded as a fee straight to Xero.
For small businesses using Xero, signing up for GoCardless solves late payment, cash flow and reconciliation issues with one simple integration. Your customers will thank you for providing such an easy way to settle invoices by Direct Debit.
New Developments in SEPA
Some new SEPA developments are coming up in November - so here’s a quick update on what will happen and what it will mean for you as a merchant taking euro payments using GoCardless.
So what exactly is happening and why?
The rules behind SEPA are changing as a new version is set for release on November 21st 2016.
Currently SEPA COR1 is the main scheme used in Germany, Austria and Spain, while SEPA Core is the dominant scheme elsewhere. The most important upcoming change is that the SEPA COR1 system will cease to exist, while SEPA Core will become faster.
How will these changes affect me as a GoCardless merchant?
Firstly, existing SEPA Core users will benefit from faster payments against new mandates. The first payment from a customer previously had to be submitted to us six days before the charge date. After the change they will only need to be submitted three days before the charge date.
Secondly, we will adjust our system to remove references to SEPA COR1. The details of this are as follows:
- New mandates will all be created as
sepa_core. For API users, if you try to specify
sepa_cor1for a mandate or redirect flow after 4pm UK time on Wednesday Nov 16th we will return an error
- From the morning of Friday Nov 18th, we will change the scheme on existing mandates in our system to
sepa_coreregardless of which scheme the mandate was originally created in
What do I need to do?
There will be a transition period where GoCardless will handle everything to ensure a smooth changeover to the new rules. You may see payments showing the message 'pending_submission' for a few days longer than usual - but you don’t need to do anything! We’re just mentioning this to alert you to the possibility.
Of course, the SEPA update is being handled by the banks, so it’s not all in our hands. But we’ll be doing everything we can to make this transition as smooth and as seamless as possible.
When will all this happen?
The changeover day itself is November 21st. Any payments with a charge date after November 21st will be collected under the new rules.
SEPA COR1 has been operating as an extension of the SEPA Direct Debit Core scheme. The COR1 scheme was designed to allow faster payment timings in countries where the required payments infrastructure was already in place. The timings improved to bring the system into line across Europe.
South Summit 2016: A big step for GoCardless in Spain
GoCardless was one of the lucky startups to attend South Summit, along with another 7100 entrepreneurs. For those not familiar with it, South Summit gathers the greatest innovations from Southern Europe and LATAM and connects them to the region’s biggest customers and investors. Get ready to hear about how GoCardless enjoyed the experience!
08:00 Alfonso, Carles and Nicola get ready for the action
With an event like this on the horizon, getting up early is not so painful. We had our stand ready before the official doors were opened. The market place was our territory. It was the space where all the networking would occur and the meeting point for all the startups, corporate partners, accelerators and institutions. It was the place to be!
Alfonso Sainz de Baranda, our Country Manager in Spain, and Carles Marcos, Sales Development Representative for Spain, were the first to arrive and prepare everything for any early visitors. Of course, we displayed all our keychains, hats and jackets (they were the key to some major networking, but we’ll get there soon...)
09:00 South Summit starts!
South Summit’s president Maria Benjumea was responsible for the opening of the Main Arena where she told the excited crowd to make the most of the three upcoming days. Niklas Zennstrom, co-founder of Skype, followed her on stage to emphasise the importance of thinking big and thinking global. We were definitely onto that! But what mostly impacted us on that first morning, was what the cofounder of Linkedin, Allen Blue, said about small companies:
“When beginning a business you should focus on one thing at a time. Hundreds of things in our minds can cause stress and this will end up in the work not being done. It is important to delegate duties to people you trust.”
Inspiring as it was, we’re proud that GoCardless is on the right path to success knowing we can help each other.
11:30 We launch our jackets contest
To give GoCardless visibility and also have some fun with the visitors, we created a contest where people had to take a photo with our jacket. After taking the photo, they could then enter a raffle and win one of the five jackets we were giving away. Of course, everybody wanted one!
13:00 Time to network!
Our first morning at South Summit was definitely busy! Lots of friends, investors and other entrepreneurs approached us to talk about fintech and the role of GoCardless in this new revolution.
15:30 The fintech competition started
After lunch, we couldn’t miss the afternoon fintech competition. One of the most interesting talks was entitled “Revolutionising the banking system through APIs", where our VP of Marketing Nicola Anderson made us aware that from the customers’ experience we shouldn’t go wider but deeper. You can watch the whole talk in this video
18:00 End of the first day
The first day came and went faster than we would have wanted, but that meant we had an amazing time and we squeezed the most out of it! We did some last minute networking before heading back to rest and recharge our batteries for the next day.
09:00 Round two!
The morning of the second day was tremendously eclectic. We spent most of it talking to press and doing some really amazing interviews. Spanish media were very interested in knowing how we work, so ‘busy’ is the word that best describes this day.
12:40 Learning how to expand a business
This was the moment for Alfonso to do his magic. The stage was ready to welcome our Country Manager to show everyone how to open new markets for startups. There were many highlights in this talk but we chose the three basics needed to open markets: skills, brains and plasticity.
16:00 GoCardless reached Ciudadanos
The afternoon couldn’t have been more exciting! Albert Rivera, president of the political party Ciudadanos, visited South Summit. We had the opportunity to talk to him and gave him one of our jackets. We can’t deny it - our jackets are stylish!
09:00 This is the end
The end of South Summit was drawing near. We couldn’t be prouder of our presence there. We got to know lots of new people, had fun, made contacts and most importantly, made a name for ourselves in the Spanish fintech panorama. We would like to congratulate all of the winners of this impressive event and end this post by saying how excited we are about opening up new markets through Europe.
Oh yes, almost forgot - we nabbed the Mayor of Madrid and gave her one of our jackets too! ;)
Moving to cloud accounting – the benefits for your business
When managing business finances, you want the processes to be effective and consistent – and to take up as little time as possible.
But if you’re still managing accounts using Excel spreadsheets, paper files or traditional desktop accounting software then you’re losing a huge amount of that potential productivity. Time-consuming data-entry, poor integration with your systems and hours messing around with complicated formulae all eat into the working day and stop you achieving your goals.
By moving to one of the new breed of cloud accounting platforms, you not only improve the efficiency of your processes, but also gain a whole raft of benefits that can only be achieved by using an online financial management solution.
So, what are these benefits? And why is cloud accounting such a positive move for the longer-term success of your organisation?
Cloud accounting as the ‘new normal’
Cloud accounting is rapidly gaining a foothold as the solution of choice for businesses that want an improved level of control over their finances.
Recent research by the Cloud Industry Forum showed that 38% of UK businesses are now using cloud-based accounting solutions, with that figure increasing to 46% for the small and medium-sized business market. CIF research also shows that 16% of surveyed businesses are looking to expand their use of cloud accounting over the next year.
But when we spoke to our GoCardless customers, we found that 38% of our business users don’t currently use any accounting software at all, creating a huge opportunity to improve your productivity and financial control by embracing cloud accounting.
Access anytime, anywhere – with online accounting you have 24/7 access to your accounts, wherever there’s an internet connection. So you can check your cash situation from the local coffee shop, or send an invoice from your front room. Real-time reporting and forecasting – live bank feeds, smart-scanning apps and automated data processing come together to deliver a 100% current, real-time overview of all your important finance information. And that’s a huge benefit when you’re looking at future business planning.
An integrated system built on business apps – cloud accounting platforms allow you to add apps and FinTech tools to customise the functionality of your systems. Connect to a live bank feed, scan in expenses or improve your reporting with your choice of apps.
A more efficient way to control your finances – intelligent automation completes your bank reconciliation, chases your outstanding invoices and takes payment in an instant. Get real control over your financial management and focus your time on customer relationships rather than admin.
Better collaboration with your accountant – instant shared access to your data, and the real-time reporting that cloud accounting delivers, make it easier to have a productive and forward-looking relationship with your accountant and advisers.
Integrating GoCardless with cloud accounting software
Your GoCardless solution integrates with all the major cloud accounting platforms. Whether you need simple bookkeeping functionality, or full-blown multi-company accounting, there’s an online accounting solution that fits your needs and keeps you fully connected with GoCardless as your payment collection option of choice.
For freelancers, micro businesses and sole traders, FreeAgent, Sage 50 and QuickFile are a good basic place to start your cloud accounting experience. If you’re a growing small business, then Xero, Kashflow, Clear Books or QuickBooks all offer great functionality and helpful integration with a range of business apps. If your business is more complex, with multiple subsidiaries and group structures, then the Netsuite accounting and ERP system has scope to grow alongside the organisation.
Whichever online accounting package is best suited to your business, GoCardless will remain fully integrated as your Direct Debit solution, with full integration that pulls payment data straight into your accounts.
- A hassle-free Direct Debit solution.
- Full integration with your accounting platform.
- Flexible payments and pre-authorisation of amounts.
- Automation of recurring invoices and cash collection.
- Low cost – just 1% per transaction capped at £2.
If you’ve never considered cloud accounting, now’s the time to do so! Why not move to a more powerful, flexible and integrated system? It makes perfect sense.
Find out more or give our sales team a call on 020 7183 8674.
How to avoid credit card fees with Direct Debit
Direct Debit could be the answer for businesses looking to avoid the increase in card processing fees after Visa removed its interchange cap earlier in September.
The change mainly affects garages, travel agents and other B2B businesses that accept customer payments by Visa debit card. Those merchants with Average Transaction Values (ATV) above £245 will be the most heavily affected.
This is not the first time Visa has made changes to its fee structure. In March 2015, the company changed its debit interchange rate from a fixed rate per transaction (8p for chip & pin) to an “ad-valorem” (% of transaction value) rate of 0.2% + 1p. This move created higher costs on all transactions above £35, particularly affecting merchants with higher value transactions.
But now that the new changes are in place, merchants are seeing significant increases in processing costs. For example, according to recent figures from CardSwitcher, a travel agent with a £500 – £1,000 transaction value would see their debit processing costs double or quadruple. A garage selling used cars at £5,000 – £10,000 would see their costs rocket by thousands of percent.
This is understandably a huge concern for merchants. So what can they do to mitigate the effect of these changes on their business? The folks at CardSwitcher advise the following -
Find a new acquirer. They will all incur an uncapped cost of 0.2 %, but different acquirers will add different margins on top of this. It’s worth shopping around.
Charge customers extra. This is understandably unpopular but it is becoming increasingly common, especially for credit card charges. At present, businesses are allowed to pass on their costs to the customer, but this may change in future as legislation brings in an outright ban on adding a surcharge to consumer debit and credit cards.
Consider using another payment method. For affected businesses, the most logical response to this situation is probably to identify another payment method altogether - if your customers are happy to use them. Bank transfer is one idea, although this method lacks the chargeback protections that credit and debit cards benefit from.
For recurring payments, the tried and true method of Direct Debit is a top choice. According to recent survey results from YouGov, Direct Debit is the method that UK consumers feel most comfortable with.
With the rise of cutting-edge payment providers such as GoCardless, businesses can quickly and easily start using Direct Debit and get all their customers on board too. GoCardless helps merchants benefit from fully automated systems, real-time alerts and the ability to create flexible payment plans that precisely fit their customers’ individual needs.
Direct Debit offers an appealing alternative in these times of ever-increasing credit and debit card fees. By using GoCardless as your Direct Debit provider, your business can benefit from scalable transaction pricing between 2p and 60p, along with no set-up fees, hidden costs or minimum contract.
Direct Debit flies ahead for UK subscriptions
Subscription services have really taken off in the UK in the last few years. With so many of us feeling increasingly squeezed for time, we take enthusiastic advantage of having our essentials delivered to our door, whenever we want them. Thanks to the internet age, busy people can now subscribe to all manner of products and services, from the traditional magazine and newspaper subscriptions to more random, slightly quirkier items such as underwear, makeup, or even bacon!
With all these subscriptions (and rashers of bacon) flying about, how do people usually pay for them? We at GoCardless were in a curious mood recently. So we decided to gather some opinions from across the country about how people prefer to pay for their favourite subscriptions. What we found out not only surprised us, but also encouraged us.
We commissioned YouGov to conduct a survey for us, exploring the UK’s favourite subscription payment methods. We wanted to know how comfortable people were with using different payment methods to pay for their digital or physical subscriptions. This could be any product or service for which they pay a regular monthly fee. Here’s what YouGov found out.
Out of the sample of 2,044 UK adults surveyed, Direct Debit emerged as the most popular payment method, which people felt most comfortable using. Direct Debit has been around for a long time and is considered old-fashioned by some. But nevertheless it’s also seen as reliable and well-trusted. In fact, it’s the UK’s favourite payment method and its usage continues to grow.
Direct Debit enjoys a strong reputation throughout the UK, especially because customers are protected by the reliable Direct Debit guarantee. On top of this, Direct Debit is also very simple to set up and involves no effort after the initial set-up - money is just taken automatically from your account on the specified day. Unlike credit and debit cards, there is no need to update your details.
To put the results in context, here’s a breakdown of how credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal fared against Direct Debit.
According to the data, credit cards were the method people were least comfortable with using to pay their subscriptions. A quarter of the sample said they were ‘not at all comfortable’ paying by credit card. Responses were measured on a scale of 0–10, with 0 being ‘not at all comfortable and 10 being ‘extremely comfortable’. At the opposite extreme, 20% of respondents said they were extremely comfortable paying by credit card.
Next up was PayPal, another payment option commonly offered by UK subscriptions companies. 19% of people said it was the method they were least comfortable with, but 25% rated it top, saying they were ‘extremely comfortable’ with it.
Debit cards scraped in very close to PayPal, with 18% finding them the least comfortable method, and 25% the most comfortable. There’s not much to choose from between the two methods.
But the clear winner in this survey was Direct Debit. People are clearly very happy using Direct Debit to pay for their subscriptions. Only 14% said it was the least comfortable method for them, while a whopping 32% rated it top, saying they were extremely comfortable using it.
For subscription providers, the clear takeaway here is that you really can’t afford not to include Direct Debit among your payment choices for new subscribers. With GoCardless, you can manage all payments seamlessly, taking advantage of low fees, flexible timings and a fully-automated system. The sign-up process is quick and easy with no minimum term. We even integrate with popular accounting packages including Sage, QuickBooks and Xero.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,044 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th - 7th September 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
Why Global Britain is driving the fintech revolution
The UK’s history of innovation goes back a long way. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, we have carved out a far-reaching global reputation for creative thought and technological excellence. But national reputations only stick if they are backed up by concrete action - and ours has remained solid because we live it every day.
In the world of finance in particular, much of UK innovation has been driven by London. In an environment where technology meets banking heavyweights, it seems a natural progression for fintech companies such as GoCardless to emerge and flourish.
From small acorns
Founded in 2011, GoCardless has been on a quest to create a bank-to-bank payments network that spans the globe. We’ve been internationally focused from the beginning, our ideas guided by the best of Silicon Valley as part of Y Combinator, then brought back to London by British founders.
The GoCardless system is built by working with the banks and gives everyone access to the Direct Debit recurring payments system, previously open only to large firms. This has been a revolution for everyone, from entrepreneurs to enterprises, reducing late payments, improving cashflow and allowing them more space to innovate.
Now, over 20,000 of Europe’s most innovative companies - such as Thomas Cook, the Financial Times, and Box.com - use GoCardless to collect payments with ease, freeing them up to focus on what they do best - creating the best possible experience for customers. This forms a virtuous circle that further strengthens the UK’s reputation for innovation. GoCardless initially focused on businesses in the UK, but quickly expanded to serve those in France, Germany and Spain, via the Bacs and SEPA bank-to-bank payment systems. Our plan is to go global, breaking down international borders to create a new global payments network. We’ll do this by connecting together the Direct Debit systems in different countries into one streamlined whole.
Surrounded by brilliance
London’s culture of innovation plays a vital role in our success as a company. We’re surrounded by great technology firms, all set within a supportive and collaborative environment filled with the brightest international minds. This has helped us form important partnerships with other payments innovators, such as Xero, QuickBooks and Zuora. Working together is a recipe for success when it comes to getting new ideas off the ground. This year GoCardless processed over £1.5 billion worth of payments for tens of thousands of organisations - and we’re growing fast.
Just the beginning
In the wake of Brexit, we’re doubling down our focus on Europe, combining that perspective with a wider global outlook. We’ll keep pursuing the GoCardless vision to create a global payments network - a mission we believe has become more crucial than ever before. To take brand Britain forward in a new direction, every action counts, and we’re proud to be part of it.
What makes an awesome company culture?
The world of work has come a long way over the last decade.
Where once employees were expected to suit up and bring their most serious work face to the office, these days it’s more about artisanal coffee, flexible working, and regular company events.
Call it a hangover from the tech startups of Silicon Valley, but whatever the source, employee expectations of work have changed. There’s no going back.
Our parents and grandparents grew up in a world where your studies led you into a job for life. If you were lucky, your boss would present you with a gold watch when you retired. In those days people used to think that security was the most important element of a job.
But today’s workforce sees things differently. For them, driven by legions of technological advances and global opportunities, companies are compelled to offer more than simply job security. Employees are looking for meaning. And they find it in the culture of the company they work for.
A good company culture can have many benefits; both for the company itself and for the employees. What’s more, the two are intricately linked.
Culture defines a company; it’s the beating heart that keeps the company alive. Culture is the values and attitudes that drive the company. Ideally, these should be aligned with the values and attitudes of the people who work there.
When culture is unhealthy it reflects on the way people work together. They tend to work purely for the salary and benefits. They may have less loyalty to the company and be constantly on the lookout for something new.
On the other hand, a company with a healthy culture values everyone on the team, supports their goals, and develops an environment of inclusivity and collaboration.
In return, employees feel valued. They feel that the company has their best interests at heart. This fosters team spirit and boosts performance naturally. Great culture also brings many benefits for employees, from boosting motivation to enhancing their quality of life.
After all, we spend a large chunk of our lives in the office - it has a massive effect on life quality. What’s more, happy employees are quick to become company advocates, which can help us to hire more great people!
For the company, building a strong and positive culture brings great benefits too.
Having an awesome culture helps companies to:
- Build a positive reputation
- Develop good productivity
- Keep quality of their service or product high
- Attract and retain the best talent!
At GoCardless, culture is at the heart of everything we do.
"The culture is super trusting, collaborative and open. As soon as you start at GoCardless, you’re given the freedom to work flexibly, and the trust to do it well. We care immensely about enabling people to produce work that they’re proud of, rather than checking what time they walk into the office,” says Jess Summerfield, Head of People.
The hiring process at GoCardless focuses not only on your skills, but on the characteristics you bring to the table as an individual.
If we hire you, we’ll do everything we can to improve your skillset, all the way from supporting additional training to encouraging you to get involved in all kinds of cross-departmental projects. We also encourage employees to pursue their interests outside of work, from computer science to Mandarin Chinese!
GoCardless cares about doing brilliant work, and to enable this, we need to give people an awesome place to do just that.
That doesn't just mean sorting out the aesthetics. A nice office is great, but culture means letting people learn and develop in the best ways for them, giving them autonomy, ownership and a sense of purpose.
Jess says: “The culture fit side of the interview process is as important, if not more important, than the role fit side of it. The top piece of feedback that we get from the team is that it's the people who make GC an awesome place to work, and we want to keep it that way!
“We don’t want to hire people that are the same as us - far from it - but rather that we want to hire people who care about the same things that we do. I've seen the team grow from 35 people to 85 people over the past two years, and it's been a complete privilege to work with such a big group of amazing, talented people."
At GoCardless, diversity is key. We have a real mix of employees from a range of backgrounds, but the one thing is common is our company culture. We also have a high percentage of female employees for a tech company - 23% and rising! For the future, we’re focusing on growing this number even further.
To see some of our team talking about life at GoCardless, check out our video on Zealify.
Like what you see and read? We’re hiring! Why not take a look at our latest vacancies.
How to get paid more quickly this summer
The grey skies of London don’t look especially promising as August dawns today. But here at GoCardless HQ, we hope to brighten your day just a little by exploring ways to get your incoming payments under control. Wouldn’t it be great to have extra cash in the pipeline, just in time for summer?
For many small businesses, late paying customers are a constant headache.
Chasing them wastes valuable time and manpower. But even worse, late payments affect your cash flow. This may cause your business to miss out on important opportunities simply because of a lack of available cash. It’s frustrating to send yet another payment reminder on an overdue invoice, only to be met with an excuse, or even worse, with complete silence.
At GoCardless, we specialise in taking payments by Direct Debit. So we firmly believe this is the most effective method for accepting recurring payments. Direct Debit allows you to take control of your payments and get paid on time. Here are a number of additional tips to handle late-paying customers and retrieve the money you’re owed.
Tips to get paid more quickly
Make sure that your payment terms are clear right from the start. State terms on your contract and repeat them on every invoice you send to customers. This should include the full amount, the due date, and any late payment penalties (yes, we’ll get to those shortly).
Send your invoice as soon as you complete the work. Some people do forget, especially those lacking an automatic invoicing setup. There’s no room for delay when it comes to getting paid.
State late payment penalties and make sure you use them. You’re covered by UK law for this, so don’t forget your rights.
Chat to your customer about possible reasons for late payment. You’d be surprised at the difference a phone call can make. You may well discover an unexpected problem and can then work with the customer to resolve it and get paid.
Make it easy for your customers by letting them choose their preferred payment method. Then set up a system where they can pay you instantly if they want to, send them payment reminders before payment is due, and make sure your payment information is displayed clearly and accurately on every invoice.
Try out credit control solutions such as Satago or Chaser. These can be integrated into your accounting workflow. They automatically email customers when an invoice becomes overdue. Businesses that use them report getting paid up to 23 days faster.
Consider using invoice factoring to fund your cash flow. Currently used by 45,000 UK businesses, invoice factoring involves selling invoices at a discount to a third party, either a bank or an independent factoring provider such as MarketInvoice. These services unlock funds tied up in unpaid invoices so that your business gets paid without waiting for customers to pay first.
And finally (you knew it was coming!) why not encourage your customers to set up automatic payments by Direct Debit? It’s especially useful for regular recurring payments as well as automatically taking payments on invoices and makes sure that you never miss a payment again. That keeps your cash flow in good shape.
At GoCardless we use advanced technology to make Direct Debit accessible to businesses of all sizes, not just large organisations. Now even sole traders can take advantage of the benefits of the UK’s most reliable payment system.
We hope you can use some of our payment tips to improve your business situation this summer. Using GoCardless lets you take full control of your payments. To learn more about how we can help you, click here.