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UK direct debit payments are live - but lets help you understand the benefits

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With thanks to our wonderful beta testers for their feedback and support, we are excited to announce direct debits are live for all accounts in the UK! With this announcement, we’re making it even easier for UK-based accountants and bookkeepers to capture client billing information up front 100% of the time.

Whether you only have some clients on automated payments, or none at all, this release will make it easier to move all your clients over - decreasing the risk of debtors and your time spent chasing payments.

No longer do you have to push clients off to a third party payment gateway off an invoice or an email link - Ignition captures details right on the proposal for an exceptional and effortless client experience!

See your clients acceptance experience below with direct debit payments, and find out how to enable direct debit payments in your account here.

But, in case you need more convincing, let's have a look at why Ignition payments are so different from the rest.

Whether you say “We use GoCardless already” or “Our clients just pay into our bank at the end of the month” - we have heard of nearly every possible way you can think about getting paid and researched every supplier doing this at scale with business owners just like you.

So we feel confident that Ignition payments offers some impressive improvements over both a manual payments process or other payments providers - let's discuss why.

First, let's look at our options for getting paid

Let’s take a look at what your current sales process might be if you were, say, using a word document for your proposal and contract (or engagement letter), or maybe you’re even using another proposal or pricing system.

What’s your process of getting clients set up and paid in your payment system?

Once a proposal and contract is signed by your client, you’ll likely have to manually create a repeating invoice in your accounting system and then typically you’ve got a few options to get paid and set your client up in a payment system:

  • Let the client pay you per the invoice due date manually, every month and pray they actually do what they legally agreed to when signing your legally binding contract.

  • You can manually send a document to your client to, dare I say, print, sign and scan a direct debit mandate form back to you or your payment gateway for processing.

  • Or if you’re a little bit more tech-inclined, you may manually email the client a web link for the client to fill in their direct debit mandate or credit card payment online.

All of these require additional steps for your client, additional follow-up and manual processes.

Undoubtedly, all of these options work, BUT, surely there’s a more efficient way for you to win clients and get paid without all the faff and manual admin post-acceptance?

What are the differences when using Ignition payments?

Ignition payments are designed around the needs of a professional service firm and built with an exceptional client experience in mind.

We’re going to run you through 4 key points that differentiate the Ignition payment system.

1. Signature + Payment Authorisation in One Place

Your payment authorisation is built into your proposal automatically, allowing for the best possible customer experience. For your clients, it’ll be like checking out at their favourite e-commerce website.

You can even choose to require clients to provide payment details upfront ahead of accepting a proposal - a pro tip to avoid ever bringing on clients who will not pay their bills.

2. Failed Payments Fees? Not anymore

Failed payments can and will happen. But why should you be penalised as a result? After all, it’s not your fault that your client didn’t have money in the bank when we tried to process their payment. We've re-thought the traditional system, so we don’t charge you when payments fail.

You’re only billed on successful payments processed in Ignition. Funds are sent directly to your bank account, and at the end of the month we add your transaction fees to your bill.

We've recently launched a brand new featured for failed payments called "Client Self-Service Retries", this allows your client to retry a failed payment or update their billing information when something unexpectedly goes wrong with their payment schedule. Eg insufficient funds, expired card details etc.

This means when things go wrong, you don't have to keep chasing your client to amend the situation and start getting paid again.

3. Managing Change Of Scope In Your Proposals?

Outside of Ignition, if the scope of your agreement changes, you would have to manually change the engagement letter, the invoice and update your payment gateway. Three steps!

By tying all of your payments to the original source contract (engagement) in Ignition, whenever the scope of the agreement changes, we will automatically update your engagement letter, payment schedule and your invoice schedule (if you’re using Xero or QuickBooks).

4. Sick of getting your payment less the transaction fee?

Some payment vendors will disburse your payments net-of-fees, which means reconciling your invoices can be difficult and a headache you probably didn’t know you could avoid.

Ignition was born out of an accounting firm so we’re a real stickler for making sure your accounts match and reconcile seamlessly. We disburse your payments in full and collect your transaction fee in arrears, along with your subscription, meaning reconciliation is automatic.

These are 4 key examples that define and highlight why Ignition payments might be the best solution yet for your accounting, bookkeeping or professional services business.

What are some of the benefits our practices have seen?

Now let's discuss the benefits practices using Ignition payments have seen - there are quite a few!

Benefit 1: No More Debtors

Yep, that’s right, no debtors. By running 100% of your clients through Ignition and selecting payments as a requirement in your proposals, you’ve collected everything you need to have a successful relationship before you’ve even started work.

If you don't believe it, see how Rise Business Solutions set-up Ignition payments and eliminated more than 300K of their debtors.

There are three key components to how Ignition payments does this better than the rest:

  • Flexible billing types allow you to bill all of your services through Ignition. Whether it be one off services, ad-hoc billing, recurring services, scope adjustments, renewals or on completion payments - you can set up and bill for all arrangements in Ignition.
  • Get paid upfront for all services. Receive monthly payments for recurring services meaning you’re getting paid upfront for all the services you do each and every single month. Alternately, take a deposit for services billed on completion with a simple flick of a switch.
  • Build Payment Plans For Outstanding Debtors. If you’ve got large outstanding debts from your clients, you can go ahead and create a monthly recurring payment plan in a proposal to ease the cash-flow burden on your client. Ignition will take care of the rest. We firmly believe it’s better to receive the payment over time than not at all.

    Benefit 2: Guarantee payment for the work that you do

    There is nothing worse than worrying that every new client you sign will eventually become a debtor. Wouldn't you rather only work with clients who value your service and pay you for it?

    To assist you in bringing on the right clients and streamlining their payment experience, Ignition allows you to set all payments as REQUIRED when a client signs your proposal.

    But why would you do this?

    • You’ve got no history with new clients. How will you know they will pay on time and not turn into a debtor? Guaranteed payments will prevent this.
    • It’s a great customer experience that your clients will appreciate. They have one less task to do every time they receive an invoice from you.

    Benefit 3: Improved Cashflow

    How does Ignition help you improve your cash flow?

    We firmly believe that Monthly Recurring Revenue (also known as MRR) is the ultimate cashflow driver. Receiving cash monthly from your clients means you’re never carrying the cost of delivering a service. You’ll also be in a better position to predict your revenue growth.

    Ignition also gives you the ability to spread your recurring payments throughout the month. You can elect a different recurring invoice day for each client in your business. Meaning you can have your payments be delivered throughout the month so that all of your major expenses are covered.

    Benefit 4: Automated Accounts Receivable

    Let's review a typical accounts receivable process. You would have to manually:

    1. Find the price agreed by client
    2. Draft the invoice
    3. Send the invoice
    4. Wait for the payment
    5. Send reminders to pay
    6. Call the client to chase payment
    7. Receive the payment
    8. Find and match the invoice that was paid
    9. Reconcile the invoice
    10. Send the receipt to the client
    11. Do this again every month for recurring services

    It’s very easy for this process to bottleneck or break but, importantly, this could be one person’s full-time job in your office. Is that the most valuable thing they can be doing for you? We think not.

    Let’s compare this process with how Ignition can automate your accounts receivable process.

    1. Proposal acceptance will set up invoices to automatically create in Xero or QuickBooks Online
    2. Creating the invoice will automatically start payment collection based on your payment terms
    3. We’ll automatically disburse the amount to you in full to your bank account
    4. We'll automatically reconcile the sales invoice in Xero or QuickBooks Online
    5. We'll automatically send the payment receipt to your client
    6. The process repeats automatically every month for your recurring services

    Every step is automated through our platform, meaning that as soon as your client signs your proposal the magic happens in the background immediately.

    Summing it all up

    Ignition payments is a one of a kind solution to a common problem all professional services businesses have - engaging clients and getting paid for your work.

    Our new direct debit release is the icing on the cake for UK-based customers seeking to solve these problems for their business.

    With the significant benefits Ignition has already offered to our practices - are you ready to give it a try?

    To discuss more with your account manager or sales representative, contact help@practiceignition.com (if you are a customer) or sales@practiceignition.com (if you are not yet a customer).

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    Meet the author

    Angela Gosnell
    Angela Gosnell

    Global Content Marketing Lead 

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    Published 20 Nov 2019 Last updated 19 Mar 2024