BankiFi business bank account-ing is delivered through a suite of business micro services. The bank creates its own bundle for a particular segment or solution by combining a set of these services. Ultimately the bank can opt to let the business customer also create its own bundle from their banking selection in order to create a customer specific experience. At any stage new services can be added or removed as the business services are hosted and updated in the cloud. The list of microservices below is not exhaustive.
Banks can offer their micro business/ sole trader segment the ability to generate, send and collect invoices more easily – even straight from the bank account or if so required through an accounting package of their choice. Business users can create invoices and send them to their clients digitally. To collect invoices, business users can send their clients a Request to Pay, which means that a debtor will be able to simply authorise a pre-filled payment initiation, creating a frictionless payment option for the business user's clients – even without a scheme being in place. (see Request to Pay)
Using the categorisation engine and combing data from the bank and accounting packages, BankiFi enables the business user to create both a P&L and balance sheet. The service also allows the user to compare periods, actuals versus forecasts and have an up to date view of the businesses financial position. The business user can invite their advisor/accountant to have access to their bank account-ing data to review or prepare accounts on their behalf. If and when the business outgrows the bank based accounting package BankiFi facilitates a seamless migration to a growing list of integrated accounting packages such as Xero, Sage, Quickbooks and Exact to name a few.
BankiFi has access to both the account information and payables and receivables of the business user. This means that this data can be leveraged to create the necessary input for digital VAT returns. The BankiFi Making Tax Digital microservice categorises this data to pre populate the VAT return of the business owner. The business owner and their tax advisors can review and correct or amend this information and submit it to the tax authorities via the tax service API and fully digitise the tax return process.
Request to Pay allows a creditor to send a request for payment to a debtor, based on which a pre-filled payment initiation can be created and authorized by the payer. In combination with the Invoicing service, this solution increases the level of automation for the SME to ensure they get paid in a timely fashion without the need to support direct debits. It also decreases the cost to chase outstanding payments and makes reconciliation between the invoice and the actual payment more straightforward as well as creating a communication channel between the business and its debtors.
Account Information allows the business user to get balance and transaction information across multiple bank accounts. It provides for both end of day and intra-day reporting and also allows account grouping across multiple accounts and multiple currencies. This microservice consolidates account data across bank accounts and across banks, giving the business owner a single dashboard with up to date information on their financial position.
For more complex payment scenarios, where a bank instructs another bank to debit the account of a mutual customer on behalf of their business client – known as Payments On Behalf Of (POBO), inefficient and expensive mechanisms such as MT101 Swift messages were the only option. These POBO payments tended to be complex and certainly not real-time, which is a huge disadvantage to the business owner.
Post PSD2 and Open Banking, this same functionality can be achieved through a PIS API. The POBO business microservice turns the hosting bank into a TPP offering PIS services and the microservice requests the consent to enable PIS services. As a result, more cost efficient and faster execution of those payments can be offered to business customers.
Cash forecasting allows the business user to see their cash position in real-time over a configurable period. Cash forecasting drags in all obligations to pay (payables, payroll etc.) with all receivables (invoice receivables, loans, investments) and calculates a cash position which is then displayed to the user over the configured period of time or presented to the business user as an ‘actionable insight’ in the form of an SMS alert, etc.
The predictive modelling engine builds a model of actions that the business needs to take to optimise working capital. The application presents both a worst-case and best case scenario over a 30 day period. The ‘options’ tab details what actions the business user could take in such a scenario ranging from ‘don’t pay suppliers today, to overdrawn, to borrowing, invoice financing or redirection to the app store for alternative finance.
Often in banks today, due to organisational structure, it is typical for cash management and lending functions to be totally separate, whereas the business user will want to have access to both capabilities. Typically, today both these products require the customer to use all their receivables to determine available lines of credit. Whilst this often suits the lender, it may not of course be the most appropriate scenario for the business user as such solutions may force the business user into taking loans when they are not required or for longer, incurring unnecessary fees and interest.
BankiFi is designed to combine these two capabilities into one simple, easy to use, and where possible automated service by allowing the business user to finance individual invoices and/or to finance the whole receivables portfolio.
A combination of predictive modelling and the cash forecasting service determine any predicted cash shortfall, advising the business user on which invoices can be used as security to bridge the gap in cash shortfall. The bank informs the business user how long any loan is required for. Finally when any receivable that is used for securing a loan is paid, BankiFi can be configured to automatically settle the loan.
Another key service is the sweeping function. A user with the appropriate role can setup sweeping rules within BankiFi. The Sweeping microservice allows the user to create instructions that automatically invoke a payment. The rules can be based on balance (zero or minimum positive balance), date (regular interval or one-off) and thirdly frequency (standing order). Once complete the dashboard screen is updated to reflect the current real-time position of the business.