GoCardless customer story: Farnell Clarke
Farnell Clarke began life as an ambitious accounting practice back in 2007. But within a few years of trading, Will Farnell realised that the emerging cloud accounting technology could transform the way the firm worked – and the inherent value they could offer to their portfolio of business clients.
Initially managing their accounts on spreadsheets, Farnell Clarke took the time to look at the options in the online accounting software market before making the decision to move their whole client base on to a market leading platform, Xero.
Embracing the benefits of cloud technology
Will and the team set about making the most of the Xero ecosystem and the huge variety of apps and cloud solutions that they could use with clients. And talking to clients about their technology needs is central to how the firm works, as Will explains.
“Technology is discussed at a very early stage of the conversation with clients. When we take on a new client we’ll say ‘Our process is this: you use Receipt Bank, you use Xero and this is what it does, this is how it saves you time and this is the way you should do it’. We’ll talk to them about what they do in their business, and if they say they send bills out every month then we’ll suggest using GoCardless.
So having those tailored technology conversations has become part of our natural onboarding process with every single client.”
Why Direct Debit beats inflexible standing orders
Farnell Clarke has two distinct parts to the business, with separate accounts and tax practices to service their clients. With the accounts side working around a monthly package fee, Will knew that they needed a reliable way to collect those fees and keep their cash flow looking positive.
“Before we started using GoCardless we were using standing orders for payment. When we made changes to the monthly fee prices that played havoc with the standing orders because, obviously, you’re dependent on the client remembering to change the standing order amount!"
“The minute that somebody signs up as an accounts client they will get a GoCardless invitation from us, they sign up for Direct Debit and we do the recurring billing through Xero. So we don’t generally have a problem getting paid for that accounts side of the business. If there’s a problem with Direct Debit payments then we’ll use Chaser to send out email chasers and that helps to sweep up any outstanding payments.”