From XU Magazine, 
Issue 24

Perfecting the payments process

How one TaxAssist Accountants franchise manages proposals to payments in one platform

We caught up with Lloyd Stubbs, owner of the Grantham-based TaxAssist Accountants franchise, to learn more about their transition over to Practice Ignition Payments. His team had long been using Practice Ignition for the contract needs but only recently made the full transition — so we were keen to learn more.

Hi Lloyd, thanks for joining us. First up, why did you decide to move from your original provider to Practice Ignition payments?

To be honest, we didn’t actually have a particular problem with our original provider, it just seemed like PI would make everything so much more efficient and streamlined. Our old process was semi-automated and semi-manual — we’d have to download a CSV file, move data into a template, upload into Xero, and then reconcile payments when they came in.

While this doesn’t sound like much work, it’s completely unnecessary. It’s more of a psychological burden when you think: “Oh, on top of my other 1,000 tasks, I’ve also got to remember to do this data entry/admin”. With PI, it’s completely automated.

Once the contract has been raised, invoices are then produced, sent to the client, and payments are reconciled. It’s just so much easier knowing that the entire process will automatically be handled on your behalf.

Did you have any worries or hesitations in switching? If so, how were these addressed?

I didn’t have any concerns at all. We’d been using PI for a while so I knew that it was a great piece of kit, it’s just we weren’t using its full range of functionality. My team was initially slightly reluctant which is understandable — we had a process in place and so introducing a new way of working meant a slight amount of upheaval. That said, once I sat them down and spoke about the long-term benefits, they were totally on board. We’re starting to really see our investments in automation pay dividends.

Now that we’re all working remotely and dealing with a mountain of work, I’m so glad that there are certain activities that we can fully automate — it means we can focus on important, high-value activities instead.

Has PI payments made it easier to sell services to clients?

Personally, I don’t think it’s really made it easier to sell services — people have likely already made their mind up by the time that you send out a contract. However, it’s definitely speeded up payments. We used to have to send out a PI request, it would get accepted, and then we’d also send out a direct debit form.

Sometimes people would immediately send it back, but other times, they’d forget all about it and I’d have to spend unnecessary time chasing them up. That’s no longer an issue — all the necessary payment details come in straight away.

As you’ll know, with PI, payments take 4-5 business days to clear. Has that been an issue within your firm? If so, what have you done to address this?

This hasn’t been an issue for us, we’ve just had to manage our cash flow differently. Our previous provider had a clearing time of 2 days so it’s not all that different, to be honest. We’ve literally just moved our payment dates back so that contracts and the payments match up.

When you switched clients to Practice Ignition payments, did you use this as an opportunity to renew client fees? If so, do you have any figures on extra growth that you can share with us off the back of this?

Yes, we actually took it as an opportunity to review all our clients’ fees. Every client is different — that goes without saying — but on the whole, we probably saw a standard increase across the board of around 5%.

It just seemed like the perfect opportunity to revisit our fees as we were already going through all the necessary client information and collating it in one place (PI). We’ve also now introduced a new process where every time we sign a new contract, we’ll first undertake a fee review and make sure that everything looks good. PI has helped us become less ad hoc with our pricing reviews and certainly more process-driven.

What advice would you give to other firms thinking of switching to Practice Ignition payments?

I’m really pleased we did it — it was definitely the right decision to make. It saves so much time that we’d otherwise have to spend on manual data entry, checking invoices, etc. As I mentioned before, it’s great to be able to focus on more important things than chasing up clients. I’m all for introducing technology that makes your team’s life easier, and PI payments has 100% managed to do that.

Why leave it there?

To learn more about Practice Ignition

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