intY is an award-winning pioneer for the distribution of cloud services from the biggest cloud software vendors in the world.
The SaaS business partners with thousands of IT resellers across Europe and the US, enabling them to resell subscriptions for cloud-only business software like Microsoft Office 365 email, security and backup services.
In 2014, intY started to see strong results in the UK and Europe, but there was one thing standing in its way, says Data Analytics & Insights Manager, Chris Swanson.
Our billing process was incredibly manual and error-prone. It was holding us back. Our customers were generally happy; the one thing they complained about was billing.”
While new sales were increasing, intY was losing customers due to avoidable billing mistakes and administrative problems.
Chris and the team knew they had to automate their back office collection processes.
Around half of all the company’s billing came through by Direct Debit, but the business had been managing this directly with the bank. Chris explains:
We had filing cabinets full of paper Direct Debit mandates, and when it came to collection we had to calculate values ourselves, manage error messages from the bank and update customers details when they changed. As we began to scale, this process was breaking.”
intY started to look for an alternative. Chris and the team looked into taking their existing arrangement with the bank online, but realised it was “a huge undertaking” involving training, and new compliance, and security requirements.
Chris explains: “Ultimately we wanted our customers to self-serve online, and we wanted to partner with an expert third party who would look after compliance and security, so we could focus on what we do best.”
Finding a payment solution that integrated smoothly with their new chosen billing system Zuora, was equally important for Chris and the team.
Once we did our research it was clear that GoCardless fit the bill perfectly.”
Making the switch
With a new CRM rollout happening at the same time as the move to GoCardless, Chris and the team had to make sure the business wasn’t impacted.
“Migrating customers was the thing I was most worried about,” says Chris.
“At the time cash flow was tight and we didn’t want to be sat for weeks without being able to collect payments.”
Supported by a GoCardless technical engineer and Onboarding team, Chris reports that the switchover was “absolutely smooth”.
It just worked, GoCardless did the legwork, mapped out the process and timelines, confirmed that the customer details we had were accurate, updated any that weren’t, dealt with all the technicalities and gave us templates to notify customers. We just had to supply a list of mandates.”
Moving customers took around two months, including a one month notice period for the bank. “There was only a few weeks of data checking - I thought it was very quick," says Chris.
The impact of moving to GoCardless has been measurable and significant, reports Chris, who moved from a finance role to a role in business intelligence.
“Once I finished the implementation, I had done myself out of a job! We have grown our revenue 5 times over since we moved to GoCardless and yet reduced our collection staff from 3 to 1. Which means I have been able to move to a role where I’m adding a lot more value for the business.”
John Heggs is now overseeing the sales ledger and credit control functions.
With GoCardless and Zuora in place, we now have a one or two-touch billing process once a month. It takes everything off our hands, we don’t need to think or worry about it anymore. Given the size of our business and the amounts we bill monthly, to me it’s a big win to have only one person in Credit Control and Accounts Receivable. That person is able to manage payment cycles efficiently and seamlessly because of the GoCardless automation and the way it integrates with Zuora.”
Cash flow boost
intY has also seen a 67% reduction in debtor days (or day sales outstanding) since moving to GoCardless.
Chris explains: “The whole accounting process is faster and we’ve eliminated billing errors. Plus it’s now much easier for new customers to sign up to Direct Debit which means we have fewer customers paying us by bank transfer – all of which has helped our cash flow.”
Compliant and secure
The switch was also warmly welcomed by customers, reports Chris. “Some of our bigger customers were pleased to find out we were dealing with an expert Direct Debit partner with the security credentials that GoCardless has.”
Partnering with GoCardless has also helped intY comply with its obligations under GDPR, adds John. “Now, intY doesn’t have to deal with customers’ bank details, which helped us in achieving GDPR compliance.”
Stronger proposition in Europe
Chris says intY has achieved its aim of delivering an automated, scalable billing system, but moving to GoCardless has had another welcome benefit.
"When we tried to sell into Europe with just credit card or bank transfer as our payment options, we found it difficult, since the companies we were targeting felt more comfortable with SEPA Direct Debit. Now we offer SEPA through GoCardless, we’re seen as a bigger, more reliable company to work with in those regions.”
So, overall, how does John sum up his experience of GoCardless?
It is a service that just works – 100% of the time. We don’t get payment complaints or issues any more, everything just works. As a finance manager I can’t ask for anything more.”