some sage advice from our Direct Debits guru!
With e-day on our doorstep and lots of talk of e-payments and SEPA compliance, we thought we would grab a few precious moments to pick the brains of our in-house Direct Debits guru, Robert Burke.
First of all, let's meet Robert...........
So, tell us a little about your background, specifically around the topic of Direct Debits?
Here in Envisage Cloud, I look after our Direct Debit software for Sage. I was originally involved with our development team in the design of our solution easydd, which is software that we created to help businesses better manage direct debit payments and get paid faster. I have been looking after the sales, implementation and support of the software for the past six years.
Obviously, with e-day upon us, many businesses are more aware of the whole bigger picture of SEPA and electronic payments. How do you think a direct debit solutions could benefit businesses?
Without a doubt, I would say:
- gaining signficant reductions in processing time (up to 90%)
- reduction in human errors
- reduction in un-productive time/labour costs/credit control chasing
- increases in cash flow
So, what kinds of businesses do you find are most suited to accepting payments on a direct debit basis?
Traditionally, we would have had a lot of companies involved in recurring billing such as Telecoms. More recently, we have noticed a surge in enquiries across services and distribution sectors. They are all looking to improve their payment administration processes and their cash flow with an integrated direct debit solution.
Explain the different styles of Direct Debit solutions that are out there and the Pro's and Con's of these solutions?
Generally, there are two types. Integrated and non-integrated. The key difference is that the integrated solution completes the whole process right through to posting and allocating receipts in your accounting system. Our software also sends email notifications to notify customers and give them a break-down of the invoices debited.
The non-integrated type is probably cheaper, but it it's sole purpose is to upload a file to the bank for processing. You would then have to manually update your accounting system with the receipts and allocate them.
If you have a requirement for direct debits, I would say try to look for a solution that will integrate with your accounts software and will complete the loop. Otherwise you are really only solving a little part of the problem.
Having been involved in the development of easydd, why do you think easydd works so well?
In a word, Simplicity. Direct Debit software should not be complicated to use and the savings in time and effort should be very obvious. With our software, you could do a direct debit run with 500 customers in about 10 minutes including collecting, posting and allocating receipts. If you were to do this manually, you could be looking at a number of days.
What advice would you give to companies looking to implement a direct debit solution for the first time?
First of all, you will need to get bank approval for direct debits. Then, make sure the software you choose is suited to your own particular needs. Not all software does the same thing and most businesses have different ways of managing direct debits, so definitely ask the questions and make sure it ticks the boxes for you. Don't forget to ask about integration with your accounting package and finally, make sure it is SEPA compliant.
What's involved in getting set-up for direct debits and how long does it take?
Once you have your bank approval, then the process should be straighforward. To begin with, you may need to enter some bank account details and customer email addresses in your accounts package, but once this is done, processing directs should be done in no time at all.
Interesting topic, thanks Robert for your insights. I hope this information was beneficial.
Post your feedback, we would love to get your views on this topic.
If you are considering a direct debit solution for your business and you would like to speak with Robert, please click on the button below for a no-obligation chat. He will listen, provide advice and hopefully point you in the right direction.