“We just don’t have to think about billing, our payments come in and the invoices are automatically reconciled in Xero.”

James McGladeFounder, Growth Alliance

Key benefits

Low cost, reduced admin, automatic reconciliation

Company name

Growth Alliance


Marketing agency

Number of employees


Number of customers


Partner integration

Uses GoCardless for Xero

Headquartered in Santa Monica, Growth Alliance is a marketing agency operating in the US, UK and Australia. 

With over 100 clients around the world, the team of nine consists of strategists, marketers and creators from the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon and M&C Saatchi - who work with disruptive startups looking to make an impact. 

We spoke to Founder James McGlade about his strategic decision to keep the team lean and how automating their payment process has been instrumental in making this possible.

Supporting recurring payments

Before moving to the US, Growth Alliance had quickly grown a strong client base in the UK, and it was there that James discovered GoCardless. He says: 

“As a founder, I needed something that would give me the time to focus on the business' strategy and growth - rather than processing payments - so I spent a lot of time comparing various different payment methods. Direct Debit stood out clearly, not only as the simplest, but also the most cost effective way for us to process payments.

“When we compared GoCardless’ fees to some other providers, they were up to four times cheaper.”

The majority of Growth Alliance clients are on a retainer, so GoCardless’ ability to seamlessly handle recurring payments was also important. James and the team were already using Xero to manage these subscriptions and six months ago integrated both systems. He explains: 

“The GoCardless for Xero integration has streamlined the whole billing process. Now, we just don’t have to think about billing, our payments come in and the invoices are automatically reconciled in Xero.” 

James has also found that automating the billing process eliminates the risk of manual error when processing payments - something that was causing the business to lose around 5% of revenue each year.

We had to manually input data in several different places. It was hard to keep track of who had paid what and it meant that we were missing out on important payments every year. GoCardless for Xero gives us visibility over the process and the peace of mind that we will get paid.”

The holistic cost of processing payments

As well as the transactional costs associated with processing payments, James’ strategic decision to keep the team relatively small has meant that the time saved by automating processes has also added value. He explains: 

“Before GoCardless, I was spending around two hours a week processing payments and manually updating our systems. This is time that I can now spend on our strategy and building strong relationships with clients.”

With GoCardless and Xero working in the background, James has also avoided the need to hire someone in a finance role to take care of payments. He adds: 

“This has saved us a whole person’s salary. Not to mention the time it would take for me to manage that person. These savings all add up and mean that ultimately we can focus on the work we do with our clients - and not on payments.”

Taking payments internationally

Growth Alliance has recently started to onboard its US clients to GoCardless using the ACH Debit system. James has found this to be well received, even among some of the agency’s biggest clients:

“Business payments in the US are still very manual. Even some of our biggest clients have been paying by check. This is just more hassle for both us and them. 

“We have been introducing these clients to GoCardless and we’ve had positive feedback so far – with the first customers already getting set up.”

Growth Alliance’s clients in the UK have already benefited from a better payment experience and this is something James in keen to share with clients in the US.

Direct Debit isn’t just better for the business – it makes onboarding and the whole payment experience easier for our clients. Once set up, they don’t have to think about payments either – this level of convenience is something we really want to share with our clients around the world.”

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GoCardless (company registration number 07495895) is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017, registration number 597190, for the provision of payment services.

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GoCardless SAS, an affiliate of GoCardless Ltd (company registration number 834 422 180, R.C.S. PARIS), is authorised by the ACPR (French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority), Bank Code (CIB) 17118, for the provision of payment services.