Uncovering a need for training
SELECT is the Scottish trade association for the electrical contracting industry. Based in Midlothian, just outside Edinburgh, SELECT has over 1250 members including qualified electricians and apprentices who represent 90% of all electrical installation work carried out in Scotland. The association works to provide technical, legislative, employment and regulatory advice, as well as training and various member benefits. It also represents its membership to all levels of government and helps to shape the market environment through the consultation it provides on industry standards and regulations.
The accounts department at SELECT are responsible for the processing of their member subscription payments, half of which are currently paid by Direct Debit. The accounts team were prompted to research Direct Debit training as they had a new requirement to start taking payments by Direct Debit for their benefits offering, and they realised that none of the team had ever received any authoritative Direct Debit training.
Choosing the ‘Direct Debit Made Easy’ course
Research into training providers led them to choosing SmartDebit and their ‘Direct Debit Made Easy’ course. SmartDebit is a Bacs accredited training provider, which means that its training course material is approved by Bacs and is guaranteed to be up-to-date and relevant for the latest version of the Direct Debit scheme rules. SmartDebit provides a number of training courses but the most popular is its one day ‘Direct Debit Made Easy’ course which is delivered by its dedicated professional training team and covers all the fundamentals of the Direct Debit scheme. For SELECT, the delivery of the training face-to-face in its office was the favoured approach, though the course could also have been delivered by webinar or at one of SmartDebit’s regional training locations.
More than a training session
Michelle Courtney, Benefits Advisor at SELECT, attended the training session alongside the accounts team to understand more about Direct Debit and any impact on its benefits offering. Michelle comments
Our trainer Claire delivered an exceptional training session for myself and four colleagues. We needed training that started at the beginning and took us through every aspect of Direct Debit. She took the time to understand how we were processing Direct Debit collections, and this meant that the course was tailored to our current processes and led to some very interesting discussions.
Analysis of work practices at SELECT enabled them to establish that they were using some very outdated processes as they were using a paper-based, or non-AUDDIS, system. This meant that they had much higher error rates and longer lead times than the paperless AUDDIS system which most Direct Debit service users now use. In addition, the training course helped SELECT to gain a greater understanding of the current indemnity claim process to help them to challenge or counterclaim in the future if necessary.
The training was a revelation and it became apparent that our bureau had not supported us sufficiently or kept us informed of changes to the Direct Debit scheme. At the end of our training session, we knew we had to make the move to an AUDDIS service as it would evidently improve and automate our collection process, but we also knew that we needed to review our bureau.
Making a happy switch
After the training session, SmartDebit followed up with SELECT and provided advice regarding the steps that needed to be followed to switch to AUDDIS . SELECT were impressed with the level of detail and support offered by the SmartDebit team and decided to switch to SmartDebit to not only handle their AUDDIS migration, but also their Direct Debit processing for the future.
Currently, SELECT are completing the steps to become an AUDDIS service user and are applying for two additional Service User Numbers (SUNs) for other parts of the organisation to take Direct Debit payments.
Throughout this process, our contact at SmartDebit has been fantastic in keeping in touch and assisting us with the required forms. We are on track to migrate our payers to our new system from 2020 onwards, and I am so glad that SmartDebit will be with us on the journey to modernising our Direct Debit processes, as the benefits will be felt by both the team and our members