A recent survey found that only one in eight Certified Practising Accountants could name an SME fintech lender.
While the majority of fintech innovation revolves around enhancing customer experiences for end-consumers, more and more fintechs are exploring business banking as an opportunity to right the wrongs of large banks and offer bespoke services to individual SMEs.
With small UK businesses generating a combined annual turnover of £2 trillion in 2018, fintech accounting for SMEs continues to raise eyebrows across the finance sector. Specifically, the rise of digital business banking presents a golden opportunity for accountancy firms to stay up-to-date with the latest fintech innovations and help clients negotiate their digital transformations.
Join us as we explore five of the best digital banks for business accounts and offer insider tips on how the accountancy sector can embrace fintech accounting in the digital age.
The growth of so-called ‘challenger banks’ has flipped the world of modern accounting on its head as cutting-edge fintechs combine existing banking principles with the latest technology to address specific pain points for customers.
While many of the big banks were initially unperturbed by the threat posed by small challenger banks, experts predict the rise of fintech banking could eventually pull up to $4.7 trillion of revenue away from traditional financial service providers.
So, let’s take a look as some of the rising stars that are working to improve financial access and enhance customer experiences for SMEs.
Describing itself as the ‘small business account’, Tide enables customers to open an FSCS protected business bank account in a matter of minutes.
Their simple and streamlined approach to banking is trusted by over 150,000 businesses, thanks to their versatile service plans which can be tailored to suit stand-alone freelancers, small businesses, and even scaling startups.
Tide’s tiered payment system allows small businesses to join as a free member and increase their fee to receive added functionality as they grow. The ability to distribute multiple cards to team members, generate on-the-spot invoices, and process free card payments makes Tide a very attractive choice for businesses looking for a fuss-free solution.
Monese is an ideal option for businesses that frequently send payments overseas.
While traditional banks will often include international transfer fees and process their payments through third-party card associations, Monese’s user-friendly banking app provides real exchange rates with no hidden fees to over a million customers across thirty-one countries.
The London-based banking app is also supported in fourteen languages — making it the perfect choice for businesses operating across multiple geographies and looking for a cohesive system to streamline internal accounting.
In March this year, the high-flying fintech launched its highly anticipated business bank account. Their FSCS protected account is regulated in the same way as a high street bank, yet the use of sophisticated payment analytics and budgeting tools give small businesses added functionality that blows traditional banks out of the water.
Whether you want to create a series of pots to support budgeting across teams, create in-app invoices, or integrate with existing accounting tools, Monzo provides a sleek and user-friendly interface to help businesses make smarter financial decisions, reduce the scope for accounting errors, and track the movement of money.
Does your business turn over less than £1.7 million per year and have less than ten employees?
If so, banking with Starling gives you fee-free access to the Starling Marketplace — a techies paradise filled with smart products to help businesses tackle hyper-specific pain points.
Whether it’s integrating with sophisticated accounting software, buying insurance packages, or even linking legal support with your banking provider, Starling provides a fleet of cutting-edge tools to help you along the way.
Trawling through piles of receipts and chasing employees for expense reports is a thing of the past with Holvi.
Doubling as a basic accounting package, Holvi helps businesses maintain clear financial records and includes receipt-capture functionality to streamline expenses where users simply take photos of receipts and upload them onto a central system.
Holvi puts “all your business under one roof” by providing a single platform to collect earnings, manage outgoings, and “see the big picture” using real-time cash flow insights and detailed accounting reports.
As challenger banks continue to offer fast, affordable, and highly-accessible financial services to business customers, the accountancy sector must stay up-to-date with how these technologies work and how they can adapt their client offerings to complement these new capabilities.
Accountancy firms that encourage the use of digital banking and upskill their employees to embrace the digitalisation of labour-intensive accountancy tasks will garner a winning edge over rivals.
While it’s easy to resist change and view the integration of fintech accounting with digital banking as a threat to traditional accountancy, forward-thinking firms will perceive the digital world as an opportunity to push technical boundaries and help clients remain competitive.
Crucially, the accountancy sector must pull together to champion technological progress that can keep pace with the rise of fintech. Instead of approaching innovation as a race to the top, a collaborative effort is necessary to solve industry-wide issues and pool resources to develop powerful tools that complement innovations in the banking sector.
The fusion between banking, accountancy, and technology is set to change the way businesses manage their money for good.
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