Set to Scale: Up Close With Wyntec's Tom Freer

Started at the bottom, now they're here! Set to Scale sees the cultivated success of Wise-Sync's earliest customers, from maneuvering the rocky road to reconciliation, with manual nightmares and expended resources, to now, feeling empowered with the right tools and experiencing optimal financial efficiency. Ready, set, automate

Here to talk synccess, Wise-Sync sits down with Tom, CEO at Wyntec IT Services and IT Consulting, on why financial automation's integral to scalability, the importance of prioritising meaningful customer relations, and how this solution stack truly had his business set to scale... 

Q: Tom, you're one of our longest-standing customers, can you recall when you first identified the need for Wise-Sync? 

Tom: I couldn't tell you how many years we've had it now (laughs), it's been a while! We'd been running ConnectWise [Manage] and Xero for quite some time, and we had a bookkeeper basically doing double entry.

So, we were always using ConnectWise to do our invoicing, and Xero to do all of our GL and reconcilation and all of the bits that go with that, and it got to a point where we were just spending way too much time entering invoices -

We were obviously growing, and as we continued to grow, we went on the hunt for a solution to try and automate that process; that's when we came across Wise-Sync, so we implemented that, and away we went! 

Q: Amazing, and can you roughly recall how long that manual process would've taken you before implementing Wise-Sync?

Tom: It's hard to know because it was a growing process. When we first started, there obviously weren't that many invoices so it was okay to handle though I think there was a point, where it was probably taking the best part of a day for someone to key all of those items and make sure they're accurate -  

It was more the errors that were the issue; when it wasn't keyed right or prices didn't match at some point, that's when it became a real problem. 

Q: Wow, Tom, so it was taking up to a whole day before! How long does this now take for your team to process?

Tom: Well, I don't even think they know it - it just happens (laughs)! Someone just clicks the button* at the end of the day and anything that's been invoiced or paid [see Wise-Pay] on either side gets all synced up - so, it doesn't take any time at all! And everything's so much more accurate, which is great! 

*Wyntec has since implemented Real-Time Sync (RTS) for a completely automated invoice lifecycle without a single click needed: Discover our all-new Sync here.

Q: So, you implemented Wise-Pay a little later on?

Tom: Yeah, later on, so I think we had Ezidebit at the time where we had a few customers obviously on subscription services, and we had organised credit cards with them -

Again, as it scaled, it became really difficult for us to manage because the amounts would change every month based on licensing usage and other conditions like that...quote1-tom

Q: How has Wise-Pay helped your business now that you've automated your invoice lifecycle? 

Tom: I think the key thing again, is the accuracy around data. So, less issues with clients and invoices being out of whack or things like that... our clients have access to the portal so they can do a lot more self-service, which is great, as it takes a lot of pressure off us; it's also a lot more secure because we're not necessarily having to have forms emailed with credit card or bank details; that's all gone online - 

And I think it's just given our clients more options so that they can manage their cash flow a bit differently.

Q: That's what we love to hear! Flexibility is definitely key. And life before automation, Tom, how would you explain your stress levels associated with that all-encompassing journey from manual to digital?

Tom: I'm probably more stressed now because I've got a bigger business (laughs) but it's one thing that we talk about with our clients - it's an ever-evolving journey. quote2-tomI think the automation journey just continues to evolve, so I don't think that we've stopped or finished that but it's certainly knowing our invoice and payment synchronization is under control; that definitely makes it all a lot easier. 

Q: If you had to summarize the role that Wise-Sync and Wise-Pay plays within your organization in three words, which would you use?

Tom: In our overall processes - quote3-tomThat's probably a key thing - without it, we wouldn't be able to do what we're doing - that's pretty much it. 

Q: In that case, one word will definitely do! Awesome. And what do you like most about Wise-Sync and Wise-Pay? 

Tom: From my perspective, it just works! So, that's probably the biggest tick. To be fair, I probably haven't looked at a lot of the newer features from our client-facing side of things (with the one-click to pay and stuff like that) - there's probably a few things that we need to update, that's probably a key thing - 

But I think the fact that it just works, and I don't think we've ever really had any issues with Wise-Sync and/or Wise-Pay. I think the only request we've really logged for support is if we wanted to change something or if we broke something (not that the system ever stopped even in that case) -

Basically, our accounts' team has a button that they click at the end of every day and it all just runs! 

Q: Synccess! And how has having the right solution stack (ConnectWise Manage, Xero, Wise-Sync, and Wise-Pay) helped your business to grow all these years?

Tom: I think, probably as I touched on before; it's having the confidence that this process works - quote4-tom

Q: Absolutely, that peace of mind surely pays! If you could recall back to all those years ago when your team were still manually entering data, how was your team's wellbeing? 

Tom: It was just time-consuming, and it would cost us time more than anything else. Back then, we implemented it a lot sooner before it became super stressful for anyone; we had identified the need for it a lot earlier on. 

I think, now, there would be no way to do what we're doing without it; there are just way too many invoices going out every month - to try and reconcile and manually enter all of these, and to make sure that they're all aligned, and to get our reporting out every month... it just wouldn't happen without the automation we now have.

Q: From saving up to a full day of manpower each week, how has your team been able to refocus their efforts on other parts of the business with these significant time-savings?

Tom: I think it's allowed us to change the makeup of that finance team so that there's less data entry requirement, so in that sense, we've saved people - quote5-tomSo, we're getting better reporting, better numbers, and more regularly. 

Q: Win-win! Due to that accurate reporting, would you say as a CEO, that you now have clear financial visibility over your business and where it stands? 

Tom: Definitely! The fact that we can report pretty much instantly out of Xero, and knowing that whatever comes out of ConnectWise is in there; we've got a really strong view of our numbers and there's very little delay in that - everything lines up really nicely.

Q: It might surprise you as an Australian MSP to hear that we still witness a significant number of American MSPs still desktop accounting and/or collecting checks - 

What would your advice be to those MSPs essentially working in the past?

Tom: I don't know about advice, I'd just be asking "Why?" It blows my mind to be honest, I can't see how that's efficient in scaling anything. I mean, not only collecting a check and waiting for it to clear, but then trying to reconcile it on top of that, would just be... no chance! I can't remember the last time I got a check - 

Actually, I do! It was last month, and it was from Telstra, and I still haven't banked it - that's how painful it is! 

I think for those MSPs, the only bit of advice I could offer, is to really ask yourselves "Why?" because it doesn't make any sense; the amount of time you'd probably save by simply moving to cloud accounting with Xero Online or QuickBooks Online versus desktop accounting, would a be a reason in the first instance yet alone the time you'll save syncing up everything out of ConnectWise.

Q: We can definitely see that. In the beginning, Tom, when you first started your MSP, were you a one-man MSP by any chance?

Tom: I started twelve years ago when it was just myself, consulting, before moving into support; so then it was just me, and now, I have a team of 24 staff. 

Q: Congratulations, Tom, that's incredible to hear - 

A lot of MSPs start out in a similar fashion, often on their own, and will likely feel that pressure of juggling between so many different hats everywhere from marketing and sales, to finance and support -

Could you share any practical advice for those MSPs still finding their feet? 

Tom: I guess, the first thing is, to really work out what it is that you want to do on a daily basis. Most people starting out at an MSP are probably technical people anyway, so they're probably not great at financing - not being disrespectful (I was terrible at financing), and I think, if anything, my advice, and in hindsight, would be to get that function off your plate as soon as you possibly can - quote6-tomAnd outsource whatever you don't need; whatever's not critical to what you do or whatever you're not good at and as soon as you can fund it - outsource it! 

Q: Fantastic. And Tom, since you've started using Wise-Sync, how would you explain that interconnect ability of having these systems finally "talk to one another" as one of our customers phrased it -

Are you now getting the best value out of your PSA and accounting package?

Tom: Oh yeah, I think it's the fact that we can get more value out of our accounting tool having the data in real-time, it's daily; I think that's probably the primary factor, the fact that it's accurate, and having that connectivity ensures that I've also got confidence in the numbers I'm looking at, as well.

Q: And how would you explain the level of support you've received from Wise-Sync whenever you've needed it? 

Tom: It's been good! We've had a few instances where we've had some changes that we needed to make, or some additions or subtractions in the way it's structured, and it's been very easy to deal with.

And I've noticed your support team is quite proactive as well; we've had issues where there might have been an account with an old email address that was bouncing and you guys picked it up and sent it through to us to make sure it was updated - so, all in all, very good! 

Q: What would be the key takeaways in Wise-Sync and Wise-Pay's ability in continuing to really drive that greater financial efficiency in your business (and of course, that's together with your PSA, ConnectWise Manage, and your accounting package, Xero)? 

Tom: I guess, running ConnectWise Manage and Xero, both are really good products on their own, but certainly, the Wise-Sync and Wise-Pay element; the biggest thing, is that it gives me absolute confidence that the numbers are going to be accurate - quote7-tomAnd then Wise-Pay as an add-on, has just made it much more accessible for our clients in giving them plenty of options to pay the way they want to pay - sure, there are some fees involved but  no one actually cares, they normally recover most of that anyway so, it's just easy! 

One of our clients the other day, called it their "points buffer," they'll pay on American Express (AMEX) where they might pay a percentage more but they're happy to pay that; that's for their points buffer (smiles) so yeah, it's just about giving our customers this flexibility! 

Wise-Pay just gets used! We probably don't advertise it enough but once they're in, they're in there! They log in and update their credentials and their bank account or credit card; whatever they need to, and that's just it! 

Q: That's just it indeed, I guess when we go to pay an invoice, we typically want to just get it paid; given it's a secure platform, easy to use, and convenient - 

Tom: Yeah! And they do, they just click the button and they pay with Wise-Pay

Q: And no login needed as part of our new payment experience, so hopefully that's making life even easier -  

Tom: Definitely! 

Q: Tom, your business has definitely scaled tremendously from beginning with just yourself to now having 24+ staff - and your customer reach?

Tom: Yeah, look over the years, we've obviously grown our customer reach too! Our model is very focussed on going deep with clients; so we don't have hundreds and hundreds of clients; instead, we've got to really focus on the clients that we do work with, really really closely - 

And that's sort of scaling over the years as we need to, and that will only continue to grow.

We work in that small to mid-market area and again, I'd say customers just want it to be seamless; they want it to be easy, so "stress-free" is our motto, and anything we can do to make it stress-free for them from an operational/IT support perspective and then obviously including payments and other areas like that, that's obviously our approach, and Wise-Pay definitely ticks that box.

Tom Freer shares more top-tier advice on his podcast 'Modern Workplace Hacks,'  you can catch his latest episode 'Business Audits - People, Process and Technology' here, where Tom further discusses the importance of driving business efficiencies through implementing the right technologies.