Automated payment collection with GoCardless saved accountants CPA Group several days a month on admin.
days per month saved in payments admin.
of payments fail with Success+.
Less payments admin, more ‘digital nomad’ time
CPA Group provides accounting, payroll, and auditing services. Its 15 partners lead a team of 250 employees serving SMEs from all types of industries across France.
One of those partners is Romain Joussellin. In 2022, as part of his remit to increase automation, he switched to the Pennylane accounting package integrated with GoCardless for invoicing and invoice collection.
His goal was clear, if ambitious. “With any new technology I’m trying to win back time and get closer to my dream: accounting from a sun lounger on the beach, with just a cocktail and a smartphone in hand,” he said.
A magic integration
When CPA Group invoices customers in Pennylane it automatically schedules the corresponding collection in GoCardless.
“When I discovered that I could collect payments this way I knew immediately it would get me closer to my dream,” said Romain. “The integration between Pennylane and GoCardless is magic – you just create your subscription in Pennylane and every monthly payment is taken care of by GoCardless from there.”
Before Pennylane and GoCardless, invoicing and collecting payments was manual and time consuming. Every step of the way was a drain on time for Romain and his admin team. Banks’ systems also offered poor visibility into the status of payments.
“We had to manually — and carefully — create and send the payment file to the bank,” said Romain. “Later, we had to manually reconcile everything in the accounts, and it’s only then that we’d discover a payment had failed.”
Several days saved
GoCardless has freed up huge chunks of Romain’s schedule, which he dedicates to increasing revenue instead.
“Before using GoCardless I spent multiple days billing customers every month and it was difficult finding time to invoice for the exceptional assignments that generate important additional revenue,” he said.
“Now that routine billing and reconciliation almost run themselves, I spend one day per month billing customers, compared to three, and I can prioritise problematic payments or billing for higher value work. In that way we’ve increased our revenue with GoCardless, and the reduced admin costs have improved our margins.”
The impact of GoCardless is keenly felt by members of the team that also work with parts of CPA Group that don’t yet use GoCardless.
“We had one full-time admin person whose job included sending invoices and collecting payments,” said Romain. “GoCardless saved her four to five days per month of payments admin, which meant she could instead focus on collecting debts. She’s actually now head of administrative tasks for the Group, and says she finds it horrible going back to their manual processes.”
GoCardless has also spared Romain some awkward conversations with customers. “In the past, poor visibility into payments meant I had neglected to charge customers on time,” he said. “Ringing customers months later to request payment is not a serious look for an accounting company or a good experience for them! But with GoCardless we never miss a payment and can easily see who has paid and when.”
Less than 1% of payments fail
Success+ from GoCardless ensures that only the highest priority failed payments are flagged to Romain and his team for further investigation. This feature uses payment intelligence data and machine learning to reduce failed payments with intelligent retries, which identify the optimum time to retry payments.
“Payment failures with GoCardless are less than 1%, and Success+ provides peace of mind that whenever a payment does fail, it will be automatically retried without creating any extra work for us until absolutely necessary,” said Romain. “There is also no charge for failed payments with GoCardless, unlike banks which charge between 5 and 15 euros each time.”
More accountants could benefit
Romain believes that accountants in France are missing an excellent opportunity to work more efficiently, due to conservative attitudes and skewed cost-benefit assessments around new technology.
“Accounting companies in France are very attached to working with banks, and the monthly subscription cost of working with a modern provider like GoCardless is very different to that model,” he said.
“But with GoCardless you just set it up, and let it go – from there, you win back valuable time to take care of your business. After seeing my team’s success with GoCardless, the partners in the rest of the Group are all now actively looking to sign up too.”