Open Banking Bulk Payments for SMEs comes to Xero and Sage.
Open Banking isn’t new. In fact, you probably have an app, a budgeting or savings tool that uses open banking to give you an overview of the multiple bank accounts you own in one place. But this is only one part of what Open Banking has to offer. There is a side that is new to many, and that side is bulk payments.
This brings us to Comma, the UK’s first ‘native Open Banking bulk payment platform’. It sounds like a load of fancy words — but — it does actually mean something too. And now, the public can access this technology for the first time from two of the UK’s largest accounting platform marketplaces.
What it means for SMEs.
Any business owner, founder, CEO, CFO or finance team will know the pain that comes with paying those boring things like bills and salaries every month. But, you will also know how important setting time aside in your busy schedules to do it is (otherwise, you would have some angry suppliers and unhappy, un-paid staff!). Businesses spend millions of hours every year processing payments online. 137m hours, to be precise. That’s 15,639 years! That is a lot of wasted time.
Small businesses spend 137 million hours every year making payments online — mainly payroll and invoices.
This is where bulk payments change the game. Comma drastically reduces the time it takes by providing a connection between accounting platforms (such as Xero, Sage and Intuit QuickBooks) and business bank accounts (the likes of HSBC, Natwest and Barclays etc.).
By connecting the two platforms, businesses can push payments for invoices via API connections from their accounting tool to their bank account. Meaning you can pay multiple payees, for multiple bills, with one authentication — without needing to do any of the manual data entry that comes with it. Just select and pay.
Comma for accountants.
By allowing users to prepare payment runs for their clients outside of a bank account, Comma gives accountants the ability to offer services that, until now, were deemed too risk heavy.
BACS is like the fax machine of the payments world.
“What Comma has developed is poised to overtake traditional BACS and virtual account-based payment systems.” — Anne Dwane, Village Global
Using the Comma platform, accountants can:
- Create a payment run from existing bills or a payroll file.
- Input any missing information (e.g. a bespoke reference).
- Share the payment run with a client for simple click and pay.
- See when the client has made the payment.
- Easily reconcile against payments in the accounting platform.
Previously, this was impossible to do without bank access, which makes Comma such a powerful value add to any accounting practices services.
Here’s a question: When’s the last time your accountant offered a truly innovative service?