PGA leads digital transformation with Stripe

The Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) is the country’s expert on the business and game of golf. As the organisation worked to popularise the sport, it outgrew the home-grown payments and invoicing infrastructure used to manage finances for its regional sections and help professional coaches operate their coaching businesses. PGA chose Stripe to accelerate its digital transformation, connect disparate backend systems, and modernise transactions between coaches and golfers.

Products used

    Connect
North America
Enterprise

Challenge

Founded more than 100 years ago, PGA grows its fan base by promoting golf through innovative golf programs, e-commerce, and an online marketplace that allows golfers to directly engage certified PGA coaches for lessons. However, disparate legacy data systems and manual processes created friction and frustration for golfers, coaches, and PGA across its various digital platforms.

“At the beginning of our digital transformation in 2017, we faced some significant challenges with the technology platforms we had in place,” said George Whitaker, senior director of enterprise technology at PGA. “We had disparate data systems and constant production critical errors. We also transferred payments to coaches by check, resulting in a time-to-payout cycle that needed to be faster. It all combined to create an accounting nightmare.”

PGA also struggled with weak PCI compliance, unclear data controls, and myriad financial considerations due to its unique combination of business models. With a manual invoice reconciliation process that took weeks each period and often resulted in costly errors, the organisation’s financial close process was also in need of a fix. PGA set out to modernise its backend financial systems and processes, gain more visibility into payments, and improve the payments experience for internal and external users. Fortunately, PGA already used Stripe to accept payments for membership dues and online purchases, so it had access to a solution.

Solution

PGA chose Stripe to improve its financial infrastructure, which began with an integration to its Workday financial management platform. PGA used Stripe to streamline and improve the experience for coaches and golfers as they register and pay fees for applications and lessons. Since it was also using Stripe to collect membership dues, PGA now had detailed visibility into its end-to-end finances across all the platforms used to run its business.

“The Stripe API lets us build a direct connection to Workday so we can instantly get invoice and payment details for more accurate account reconciliations – way easier than reconciling through the bank,” Whitaker added. “Stripe gave us a fast and easy way to deliver a better payments experience.”

With just one developer, PGA used the Stripe API to build a custom connection to its Workday backend, which automatically gathers invoice and payments data from more than 10 regional sections. It also replaced its manual payments processes with Stripe Connect to launch an intuitive platform, resulting in quick and seamless transactions when golfers used the PGA marketplace to hire PGA certified coaches for lessons.

Results

PGA – like many large organisations – needed operational simplicity, especially regarding revenue and cash flow. It chose Stripe to modernise its payments infrastructure as part of a broader digital transformation effort.

Just one developer required to integrate Stripe with Workday

The detailed documentation accompanying the Stripe API gave PGA the confidence to build a custom connection to its existing Workday financial backend with only one developer. Now PGA ingests Stripe data into Workday to automate its payment reconciliation process.

Whitaker said, “Stripe is developer-friendly, intuitive, and adaptable. The APIs really save time and provide more accurate payments and invoicing data for our finance and accounting teams. Traditional merchant systems and payment gateways can’t do anything like this.”

Saving 40 hours per month with automated payouts for 1,500+ coaches

PGA’s previous coaching platform didn’t allow golfers to pay coaches directly, so payouts were manual and often delayed by a month or more. With Stripe, PGA quickly replaced those processes with automated payments. This saved the organisation 20 hours per month on processing coach payouts and another 20 hours per month for credit card reconciliations.

“Stripe took us from an excruciating payout process for coaches to one that happens automatically. Our payout team doesn’t even need to be involved and coaches are paid directly in days,” said Seth McGuinness, product manager at PGA.

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