Creativity meets accountancy – Sharon Baker tells us why the future of payments is digital

5

min read

Creativity meets accountancy – Sharon Baker tells us why the future of payments is digital

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"First, tell us how you set up Kinder Accountants, and a little about your firm’s ethos?"

I set up Kinder Accountants, my own business, in 2005, because I’d just had my first child and I wanted to be flexible and work around him. People were already coming to me asking if I could do their personal tax returns, so it started fairly organically.

We like looking after hospitality businesses, because I was practically born into a hospitality background and I understand their particular needs and challenges. We also look after construction, professional services, start ups, sole traders – really, for us, it's about the mindset and the attitude of the client. We like taking on businesses that recognise they need a support team, and the value that outsourcing to someone else can bring. We’re all about helping clients plan the future, and getting their focus back on why they set up in business. Often the one reason why they started up gets lost along the way. For example I set up to work around my kids, but I’m still never home to cook dinner ! Or perhaps people wanted to make a certain amount of income, or get a certain type of lifestyle. Is that happening?

"We want to help our clients to refocus on what’s important to them, and make sure the business is working for them, not them working for the business."

We help people plan the next 12 months, and support them in getting there. We help with strategy for the business and act as the accountability buddy to help small businesses get towards their goals. That’s where clients see most value from us, and it’s the most fun and rewarding bit for us too. We’re also the top advisor for finance and funding for Enterprise Nation, which we’re really proud of!

When integrating, ask yourself: ‘can I do things with fewer clicks’?

"How, when and why did you switch to cloud accountancy?"

2012 was the year that I discovered Xero. In 2018, Xero identified 16 UK accountant firms as their pacesetters - we were one of them! That just opened up a whole world of online opportunities and possibilities. We made sure the whole firm switched to cloud accountancy, rather than just having someone sitting in the corner doing ‘the cloud stuff.’

So, quite quickly, I really absorbed myself into that whole world, and saw how many digital accountancy tools were out there, creating so many opportunities.  I think it suits my creative brain because all of the software is really visual and it all talks to each other. Integrating is fascinating. I love working out ‘how does that talk to that? And can I make it do this? And can I make it faster?’ Basically I want to know: ‘Can I do things with fewer clicks?’

We're 100% digital; everything talks to each other, and it's all browser based and secure, of course.

Business customers can pay in 3: ‘it’s Klarna for businesses’

"Tell us how and why you use iwocaPay?"

We’re a small firm and we manage monthly recurring revenue and one off project work. I’d been chasing some clients for a long time for payments, so to know we can now get our money immediately has made a real difference.

"The best thing about iwocaPay is that our customers can pay in three instalments, but we get paid instantly."

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Nearly all of our clients are on a monthly direct debit; our invoicing goes out from ignition, and then ignition automatically collects the payments. But, we've had cases where clients have got really behind, or they've had a big fee for project work and the monthly fees can be quite lumpy for them. Clients can also call back a direct debit facility – they might not recognise ‘ignition’ on their bank statement so call it back by mistake because of this. This happened to me on an invoice for about 3 grand; the client called to say it was an accident right away but it took months to get the money back. So, for bigger project work iwocaPay is definitely better as the client can’t call back, so you’re limiting your risk.

We use Chaser for credit control and they’ll go into debt collecting if need be - but sometimes that doesn’t work either.

The first time we used iwocaPay was with a client who we'd been chasing for ages, and we'd virtually put them on stop. I sent them the iwocaPay link and it was sorted. It's just so easy. The beauty of it is that we can offer this facility to clients and say, ‘Look, if there's an issue you can pay over three months’.  And what’s key is that we get the funds straight away. It's then iwocaPay that is collecting the three payments. So it's a no brainer to do that.

"That's when we started using iwocaPay - I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘what do you mean - my clients can pay in three instalments?!’ It’s like gold dust. It’s giving us an added string to our bow."

We also get to share the benefits with our clients! We tell our clients, ‘we’re doing it, why don’t you do it as well when you’re collecting payments?’ And they've already seen it from the other side as the buyer.  

Stripe is expensive, bank transfers are clunky…

How does iwocaPay compare to other payment methods?

When you send your bank details to somebody to pay you, you're leaving control with them.And that’s a friction point. I know if somebody sends me an invoice that I've not worked with before, and their bank details are on the bottom of it, I just think ‘ah if they had a Pay Now button, I could just put my card details in which I've got saved in Google Pay.’ Whereas if it's just the bank details, and I'm on my phone, I've got to then open my bank… and I've got to add their new payment details in… but every time you click away from the banking app it locks you out… oh it’s a nightmare! And then I end up paying them late at night, because I'm a normal business owner and as much as I want to pay everybody on time (or early), you try to do that, you can’t do it because you’re on your phone, so you move on to something else … and then you’re getting chased.

So, there's a lot of friction with sending your bank transfers. There's also the problem with emails or invoices with bank details getting intercepted - so iwocaPay is removing that possibility of fraud.

I know that people have problems with eCommerce solutions and payment providers. And people don't want to use Stripe because it's expensive.  

What I like about iwocaPay as well is that you can use the universal link and put it in your email or in the payment services or the invoice, or wherever you want.But you can also customise the link where you're putting the reference and the amount. You're putting yourself in control of that. We've also got iwocaPay set up as a payment service in Xero. So we found people using it when we've not expected them to, because they could pay now or pay later.

"It allows us to provide a service that might otherwise not be affordable, like if we want to do chunky things like forecasts, cash flow, management reports, or planning for the future."

These are essential things, but often people can see the value in them, but can’t afford them. iwocaPay will make it affordable. Because of the climate we’re in, I think it’s going to be really helpful. There are so many ways we can use it more.

If you’re looking for an accountant, check out Kinder Accountants' website.

Or, if you want to get paid on time whilst also letting your customers buy now and pay later – just like Sharon has – click below!

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Article updated on:
October 18, 2022

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