A best-in-class solution for commercial real estate
Re-Leased is a cloud-based management platform for commercial real estate and provides a mission-critical backbone for landlords and property managers. Established in 2012 in New Zealand, Re-Leased now has more than 1,200 customers and has expanded into the UK, Australia, the US and Canada. The company also recently launched CREDIA, a business intelligence platform that allows property investors and managers to make better investment decisions and benchmark performance.
“We were inspired by the way the Xero platform has transformed the lives of accountants, and we want to do the same for property managers and owners,” said Sam Caulton, Re-Leased’s Chief Finance Officer.
“Our software provides a single source of truth for our customers. We manage the whole workflow surrounding leases, properties, maintenance, compliance and payments – everything a landlord or property manager has to do for its clients. And we’re the only global cloud-based platform to have this kind of reach.”
During Covid, Re-Leased has seen very positive growth. The pandemic made a lot of prospects realize that they couldn’t run their business with all their data sitting in the office and, as a cloud solution provider, that helped Re-Leased get customers onboard faster than they had expected.
From start-up to scale-up
Sam joined Re-Leased in 2018 to help deliver the company’s plans for dramatic growth, but he saw that an early task would be to find a reliable payments provider.
I could see instantly that we needed to eliminate international transfers, where payments are made from customers in one country to a bank account in another. These transfers are common when you’re a start-up and you move into overseas operations, but they come with significant foreign exchange risk.”
Bank transfers also add significant costs, in time and money. International payments were taking between 3-5 days to land in Re-Leased’s account in New Zealand, and up to 25% of the transaction value was being taken in bank fees and FX.
“Secondly, we needed to improve our cash position,” Sam said. “We had billing and cash targets, because for high growth businesses, cash is king. But our DSO [Days Sales Outstanding, or the average time it takes customers to pay an invoice] was between 45 and 50 days. There was a lot of chasing. Even as CFO, I was spending one to two days a month calling customers, chasing outstanding payments.”
Speedy to set up, quick to deliver
To solve these issues, Sam started talking to GoCardless, a company he knew shared a similar ethos to Re-Leased. “Our CEO, Tom Wallace, cares deeply about our customers and wants them to have an incredible experience with us. And if that means building the best solutions, or integrating with the best technology, like GoCardless, then that’s what he wants us to do,” said Sam.
Re-Leased was already running its finances using Xero’s online accounting platform, so the GoCardless for Xero integration was an obvious choice, and it was quick to get started. “It was really easy – the system is incredibly intuitive,” said Sam. “The click-through functionality, the integrations, and the user interface are all very user-friendly."
It’s a simpler workflow for customers, too. Instead of filling in a paper Direct Debit mandate, sending it by post and waiting five days for it to be actioned, GoCardless uses an online form that’s sent instantly to Re-Leased.
More simplicity and less admin
“Before GoCardless, our payment process was slow and expensive,” said Sam. “But now it’s streamlined and cost-effective – we’ve saved $10,000 a month on bank transfer fees. And rather than having to collect recurring payments by manual methods like bank transfer or cheque, GoCardless enables Re-Leased to collect automated international payments through Direct Debit.”
As a result, the finance team spends far less time on invoicing. With GoCardless and Xero, invoices and payments received are automatically reconciled, which means the team only needs to do top level checks. It reduces manual errors, and frees people up to work on other tasks.
“We’re also down to 30 days DSO,” Sam said, “which, as we have 30-day payment terms, means most invoices are being paid on time. We can see which payments will be coming in and when, which is massively important for our planning, and also if any are likely to cause us issues and need some proactive input. We do still have a small amount of arrears, but not from organizations using GoCardless.”
For now and the future
The standard approach is for new customers to sign up using GoCardless. Some are still keen to have a credit card option, but we want to encourage more to move to Direct Debit as it enables us to reduce financial risk whilst giving us more time to focus on our customers and ultimately the growth of the business.”
“We have billing targets every month and cash targets, let’s call it a $1 million cash target for the month. I know $500,000 of that is going to be collected through GoCardless. That’s hugely powerful as a CFO, as if you think about the alternative you are waiting until the end of the month to see if you have hit that target and then you are chasing. That just doesn’t happen with GoCardless.”
Sam recommends any business to use GoCardless. “I speak to my peers and other CFOs all the time, and probably recommend GoCardless on a weekly basis, because they are so good, and the user experience is fantastic. If you’re considering speeding up your payments process or your arrears collection, or if you even want to abolish arrears, then I would definitely recommend giving GoCardless a go.”