From XU Magazine, 
Issue 31

How are Neobanks Stealing a March on the SME Banking Industry?

How closing the gap between banking and accounting is changing the landscape for SMEs

Providing expense management tools to clients isn’t just about keeping track of receipts, says James Watson from Expend...
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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The pandemic has taught us one thing as an industry, and as a species: we will always adapt and survive. 

The drive to digital-first has never been stronger, and it’s clear to see why banks like Starling, Tide and Monzo have recently outperformed the acquisition numbers of any ‘incumbent’ bank. Their focus on customer experience in a digital-first manner makes them the easy choice for small businesses opening a new account...

Starling have recently opened 475,000 SME accounts; their seven per cent market share is almost half of Barclays’ share.  

Yes, things are changing fast…

The ‘first-movers’ title has been firmly boxed off now, but the categories of ‘early followers’ and ‘late adopters’ are left open for submissions. Throughout 2022 and beyond, the battle for the highly lucrative UK SME banking market will really heat up. 

There is a final category that exists that no-one wants to be in: ‘the first to fold’. At Expend, we’ve got just the thing to prevent that from being the title attributed to our partners. 

How is Expend different? 

This year we’ve announced our fintech partnership with Virgin Money, designed to simplify the expense management experience for businesses. Virgin Money is a bank that is truly setting its sights on being a leader within the digital banking market, especially for SMEs. And within the accounting industry, we’ve partnered with hundreds of accountants, CFOs and finance teams through our popular Accountant Partner Programme. 

Stakeholders within potential partner firms often ask: “How will this generate revenue?” or “What would the acquisition numbers look like if we added this tool?” Expend’s carefully considered fintech solutions provide the answers.

By working closely with our broad range of partners, over the next year and beyond, we’ll be providing best-in-class expense and spend management tools directly to their business customers, closing the gap between banking and accounting. 

Closing the gap is key. But how?

And that, to me, is the crux of how banks and accounting firms can succeed together. It requires the engagement of businesses beyond just the standard service level that they expect with any firm, and really enriching the experience customers have when engaging with their accountant. 

With leading expense management technology, we can provide digestible but detailed data insights into their spending, maintaining connections with their accounting software to ensure simple and full VAT returns, and even finding ways to help manage cash flow beyond just glancing at any red sections of a bank statement.

In just a few minutes, you can register your firm with our Accountant Programme and have premium access to our features and on-boarding experience, and start inviting your clients.

You can learn more by visiting today

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