Specialist Direct Debit management software is the key to streamlining your business accounting via Bacs payments services.
Used by Direct Debit bureaux and their clients, as well as businesses who directly submit to Bacs, these software solutions are rich in functionality.
They make Direct Debit collection quick, easy, flexible and hassle-free while saving your business time and money, and boosting customer satisfaction levels. Many of the features they offer are fully customisable to tailor their capabilities to your business needs.
All software solutions must meet a strict list of criteria set by Bacs before being marketed, ensuring superior quality standards, ease-of-use and secure connectivity. Suppliers then join an approved list, currently consisting of 17 IT solutions companies.
So, once you’re signed up to a Bacs-approved bureau like FastPay, you can be reassured that the Direct Debit collection software they use provides rigorously-tested integrity and confidentiality.
This hard-working software is packed with features to make the integration of Direct Debit collection into your business straightforward and super-efficient.
Here we take a closer look at ten of these killer features and how they can revolutionise your business’ accounting systems.
1. Automated Collection
The star of the Direct Debit software show is automation. Using a bureau and capitalising on the software they use will transform the way you collect customer payments.
Instead of waiting for cheques in the post, taking credit card details over the phone and keeping your fingers crossed that an expected Standing Order clears, Direct Debit will automatically put you in complete control.
Using a customer-friendly interface, specialist software facilitates secure and efficient automatic collections. Once a mandate has been set up, payments will arrive on the scheduled date. No nasty surprises, no cash flow challenges.
Payment scheduling provides the flexibility to arrange different payment amounts on different dates or at different frequencies. Customers can be informed via the system that this will be happening – no administrative hassles and no potentially awkward phone calls.
Even re-presentations in the case of any bounces or cancellations can be done without you having to lift a finger.
2. Automatic Reconciliation
Direct Debit collection software allows you to say goodbye to laborious reconciliation processes: no more double keying of data, no more chasing late payments.
Bacs reports are automatically downloaded to give you a comprehensive overview of payments. These can then be used for onward reconciliation with your in-house system.
This outsources several complicated admin tasks, freeing up time for you and your accounts team to focus on other aspects of your business and enjoy its growth.
This automation also supplies your business with a comprehensive audit trail to further reduce your accounts department’s workload.
Everything will be taken care of for you as the Direct Debit experts process payments, liaise with Bacs and keep you up-to-date.
3. Efficient Customer Databases
Direct Debit management software doesn’t just provide you with a basic customer database. It offers a full client accounting system in which you can view individual balances in real time.
This reduces time-consuming reconciliation for your account team and the chances of human error, as well as helping to establish a predictable cash flow.
You can record all their personal details, access their full payment history, add new accounts or payments, and search for them by name, postcode or account details. You can also suspend a customer to stop future payments or reinstate them to get the money coming in again.
Balances are automatically adjusted as payments are made to give you an accurate picture of who owes what and when. This information is invaluable to your cash flow forecasts.
This simple tracking of your customers’ activity makes efficient management of client records and relations easy.
4. Makes Going Paperless Simple
Direct Debit software enables your business to move to paperless payments.
In our digital economy, customers want and expect the convenient option of signing up straightaway online. No phone calls, no forms to fill in and post back.
Instead of asking clients to complete a paper Direct Debit mandate, you can incorporate a sign-up page on your website which will link back to your bureau’s system.
Your database is instantly updated and payment can be taken much quicker than via a paper mandate, boosting cash flow.
This 24/7 ability for people to become a paying customer costs you very little and significantly improves customer satisfaction. It also reduces your office paperwork, postage and storage costs, error rate and admin time.
5. Digital Integration
The accounting software your team relies on each day can easily be integrated with Direct Debit collection software: automatic reconciliation and effortless streamlining at your fingertips.
Making the switch to Direct Debit means you can seamlessly connect your online payment gateway to your online accounting system and your bureau’s.
Rich in functionality, embracing this technology opens up a whole world of digital possibilities. All transactions flow easily within the system, increasing payment efficiency, saving admin time and giving you a real-time cash overview.
Combining the logic of Direct Debit with the power of these integrations will become an invaluable part of your business’ growth.
6. Mobile Access
These integration options shift accounting from in-house or remote servers to the cloud, meaning you can access your payment details anytime, anywhere.
This feature is crucial as people make the move to working remotely and more flexibly: they’ll never be caught out if an important issue arises when they’re away from the office or unable to log-on to a server.
7. Helpful, Regular Reporting
Another beneficial feature of Direct Debit collection software is its reporting capabilities.
Before switching to a Bacs payment service, your accounts and cash flow are likely to be built on slightly shaky foundations. Who’s paid what, when and how? Who hasn’t paid? Will we be able to meet our own financial obligations this month?
Time-consuming processing and reconciliation won’t be needed as your bureau will quickly alert you to any problems via regular, comprehensive reports.
These automatic notifications and analytics reassure you that payments have been made and highlight any issues such as unexpected cancellations or bounces.
You can immediately take action, tackling the problem efficiently and professionally. You stay in-the-know and fully up-to-date with all the comings and goings of your account.
Hassle-free, helpful information straight into your inbox.
8. Stringent Security
The high standards set by Bacs that all Direct Debit management software has to meet guarantees bank-grade security, even on the move.
Your bureau will use Bacstel-IP, an online submission channel, to process all your payment submissions. This ensures that your data won’t be tampered with at any level.
Accessing Bacstel-IP to upload and authorise payments is only possible using public service infrastructure (PKI) credentials. As a direct submitter, your bureau will use either a smartcard or a hardware security module to confirm these credentials, and subsequently make submissions and access reports.
9. Manage Approvals and Permissions
Your bureau will have full control over which users have permission to access your Direct Debit collection data. And variable security levels mean the administrator can limit the functions a specific user can access.
The intricacies of the software make the Direct Debit system scalable from a single user up to hundreds, adding another layer of flexibility.
10. Automated Customer Communications
Direct Debit management software will relieve your accounts department of another admin task: keeping every customer up-to-date with any payment issues.
Customer communication templates can be incorporated into the programme, giving your bureau the ability to create custom letters. Whether you need to give advance notice or let them know about a cancellation or failure, this can all be done automatically.
By having these emailed directly to your clients on your behalf, you maintain a helpful, informative relationship while removing the administrative workload.
Direct Debit software is transforming the way businesses across the UK are collecting customer payments. Packed with features and functionality, it could make a world of difference to your business too.