The future is here, and it runs itself

We recently updated our GoCardless integration to add even more automatic payment features, and this latest update feels like a milestone in enabling the complete automation of previously manual and time-consuming tasks.

Consider the case where I’m regularly invoicing my clients for the same product or service each month. Maybe a retainer or a subscription of some kind.

First, I’ll check a few things are set up in my FreeAgent account:

  1. Make sure my bank feed is set up
  2. Enable the GoCardless integration and enable automated invoice reconciliation
  3. Agree a Direct Debit mandate with the customer to allow me to take payments directly from their bank account each month
  4. Set up a recurring invoice profile for the product or service, set it to email automatically to the client and use the Direct Debit mandate option

And that’s the hard work done. Each month an invoice will be automatically created and sent out to the customer. At the same time the payment for the invoice will be taken automatically from the customer’s bank account using the Direct Debit authorisation.

A few days later, when the payment has been successfully transferred into my bank account, GoCardless notifies FreeAgent and we record the transaction and mark the invoice as paid.

The next morning my bank feed will automatically bring my daily transactions and all I need to do is match up the transaction with the one added yesterday.

Beyond those initial setup steps, there is barely any manual involvement each month in invoicing my customer, taking the payment or tying up all the accounts. What could have taken hours each month is now done in seconds.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg. Over the next few years we’ll see a continuing trend of software automating the mundane admin tasks that suck up so much time for businesses each month.

In the future, self-driving cars may grab the headlines but automating our daily admin will be just as impactful.

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