When he’s not running his own accountancy practice, Paul Swift is a coach for his son’s football club in Cross Gates Leeds. Amaranth FC has around 200 members and 12 team, with players ranging from three years old in their soccer school, to 62 in the veterans team.
After coaching there for a year, Paul was given the opportunity to put his accounting skills to use to help the club.
“Someone found out that I was accountant and I was asked to taken on the treasurer's role!” says Paul.
Almost a decade later and Paul is still managing the club’s finances - with one major difference. Now, 95% of the club’s members pay their fees through Direct Debit with GoCardless for Sage50.
Before moving to GoCardless, the club collected subscriptions through team managers, who would bring cash to the monthly meetings.
“The problem was relying on the managers to collect cash,” says Paul. “It wasn’t ideal, so we tried standing order. Even then, we were reliant on the getting the customer to sign the paper form and submit it to their bank.”
And there were often mistakes in the form such as missing digits, says Paul, or the date on the standing order would expire before the bank received the form. “We wouldn’t find out about these errors until we received a bank statement the next month, at which point that member had missed another month’s subscription.”
GoCardless for Sage50 has given Paul greater control and visibility over the payment collection
Now I look on Sage50 and I can tell them straight away if a member has set up their Direct Debit or if someone has cancelled it. I know who to chase - and I can do so before it becomes an issue.”
More time to focus on coaching
At the start of the football season, members pay a £15 registration fee to join the club and £20 a month thereafter for the duration of the season (May to September). Collecting these fees by Direct Debit means that Paul no longer has to manually reconcile payments with the club’s accounts.
“It’s a massive transformation,” says Paul. “I no longer have to manually check off 200 separate payments a month. GoCardless collects the lot together, posts the funds to Sage50, where the receipts are all allocated.
Using GoCardless has halved the time I spend doing the accounts from eight hours a month, down to around four hours, which means I can spend more time doing what I joined to do - coaching my son’s team. I do enjoy football more than finances!”
Simple set-up for new members
New members wanting to join the club are asked to do three things as part of the registration process: provide ID, send a photo and authorise the set-up of a Direct Debit mandate through GoCardless.
“Until the latter is in place, we don’t register the members,” explains Paul, “which gives us a lot more control. We no longer have plays getting registered and saying ‘I’ll give you the cash later’ which used to happen a fair bit.”
Cash flow boost
As a busy football club, Amaranth FC needs membership funds to pay for facilities, coaches and equipment. In 2018, the club has two less teams than it did in 2017, yet the club is “collecting more money” says Paul.
This time last year we had around £3000 owed in unpaid subs and it was hard work chasing members. Now, we’re owed less than £100.”
As well as collecting standard monthly fees by Direct Debit, Paul has been able to settle historical debts by setting up members to pay off debts in monthly instalments through GoCardless.
“Our debts have reduced by around 95%, which means we have the funds we need to run the club effectively and the extra monies we are now earning can be re-invested back into the club,” says Paul.