How switching to Xero allowed My Training Day to exponentially grow their business.

A Cloudworx Accounting Case Study

My Training Day was started by Claire Horner in 2006 as a way to supplement her income as a young professional triathlete. Claire focused on providing customised training programs to people wanting to compete in the then very new and very niche sport of triathlon. To say that it started small is an understatement — 4 athletes signed up. It is a testament to the family atmosphere of My Training Day that 3 of those 4 are still active members.

Over the last 10 years, triathlon worldwide and especially in South Africa has grown exponentially, and as a result, companies like My Training Day have taken off.

Eventually, Claire was joined by her husband and fellow professional triathlete, Kent who ran the financial side of the business as well as coaching athletes as the demand for training programs was quickly becoming more than one person could handle. By now, My Training Day had grown from not only offering training programs, but providing group swim, bike and run sessions as well — and taking on non-triathletes as well.

This is where the growth of My Training Day began to be a problem. Kent was spending 3–4 days a month sending invoices — for close on 100 Athletes — which was unproductive time for which no income was generated.

It was around this same time that I decided to start competing in triathlons and signed up for a training program with My Training Day. It was at the end of my first month with them that I received their invoice and immediately realised the enormity of their task of invoicing all of these clients every month. With my knowledge of cloud accounting, through Cloudworx Accounting, I suggested they introduce Xero accounting app to simplify the process.

That was nearly 3 years ago and My Training Day has never been the same. This is the story of how they have grown.

Once converting their accounting system to Xero, the amount of time they spent invoicing decreased from 4 days, to 1 day. It was at this point that Kent, having extra time realised that he could look to offer more services, like bike fitments and parts, to what is essentially a captive market of athletes. And so MTD Cycles was born. Nobody quite realised what a huge undertaking this was.

From small beginnings, MTD Cycles operated using the Xero inventory system — even though this had no stock tracking options at the time. Eventually a Point-of-Sale system and stock management system became necessary and Vend was implemented. This meant that ringing up sales was easy and little pieces of paper with sales written on them were no longer being passed around to be captured on Xero.

In addition to the growth of the shop, demand for training programs was growing throughout the country and the decision was taken to employ additional coaches in Cape Town, start a mid-morning ‘mom’s’ training group and expand into Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth as well as introduce a swim school for kids.

While such growth is fantastic, it brought with it several issues. The first was getting coaches all over the country to invoice their athletes. The first system of doing this involved an Excel spreadsheet. Eventually the collating and checking of this excel spreadsheet for importing into Xero was taking 2–3 days.

It was on a long Ironman training ride where the idea of using Vend to allow the coaches to do their own invoicing came up. While unconventional and not at all what Vend is made for, it has worked beautifully. The flexibility and ability to think outside the box typifies why the Cloudworx and My Training Day partnership has become so successful. All of a sudden, the time spent doing accounting was back to under 1 day a month — for just over 200 athletes.

With athletes spread all around the country, the next step was to set up an online shop. After almost 3 months of work behind the scenes, the My Training Day shop was launched using a combination of Shopify, Vend and Xero to make the accounting process run smoothly.

As with any growing business, cashflow became a problem as people were taking longer and longer to pay. Three big things happened that improved the situation.

First, the decision was taken to pay coaches on a cash basis, rather than an invoicing basis. This meant that the coach in charge of each region needed to take responsibility for ensuring that their athletes kept up with their payments. Doing this was easy from an accounting perspective thanks to Xero being able to prepare reports on the cash or accrual basis at the click of a button.

Second was the implementation of Snapscan and Xero’s Online Payments function which made it easy for people to pay for items on their phone.

Third was the introduction by Xero of automatic invoice reminders. These proved highly effective. Terms are 15 days yet debtors days had increased to around 20 days. Since these two measures have been implemented, it has dropped to under 5 days.

Of course, with operations spread so far and wide, paperwork can be something of an issue — and this is where Receiptbank comes in. Coaches submit expenses via the app or via their own unique email-in address for quick and easy processing.

The last piece in this puzzle is Crunchboards. This allows Kent to keep track of his debtors days, as well as gross profits throughout the organisation as well as assisting with forecasting. However, it’s most useful contribution was made almost as soon as it was set up — identifying that the stock holding was nearly twice as high as management thought it was. This piece of information was used to investigate which stock was not moving and holding a sale on those items. Just 3 months later, stock holding is at the level desired by management.

All in all, in just under 3 years, My Training Day has grown from a small, two person show to employing coaches throughout the country, running a bike shop and even running camps and other events all around South Africa. None of this would be possible without the time savings and flexibility that Xero and the cloud-accounting eco-system offers.


If your business is facing similar situations, or if you’d like to enquire about finding a solution that fits your business feel free to contact me at gareth@cloudworxsa.com or visit our website at www.cloudworxsa.com