Open Banking: what’s the opportunity?

If your clients are customers of any of the banks participating in the Open Banking directive and you partner with an FCA-recognised accounting software provider, you could have real-time access to your clients' most up-to-date banking data every single day. No more chasing clients for the information or waiting for third-party bank feeds to update! Instead, you will be free to focus on providing value-added services to your clients while they go about their daily business, knowing that their bank transactions are being sent to you accurately - and automatically - through their accounting software.

How FreeAgent can open doors for your practice

Once it becomes available, a number of cloud accounting software providers - including FreeAgent - will have the FCA registration required to use the Open Banking API. However, if any of your clients bank with either NatWest or the Royal Bank of Scotland, FreeAgent is uniquely placed to help you, your clients and your practice get the very most from the enormous opportunity that Open Banking presents right now.

At the start of 2017, FreeAgent was selected from a longlist of 30 vendors to partner with NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland to offer their business banking customers access to our award-winning online accounting software. It’s a unique integration with NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland’s banking platform that is set to become even more powerful with the advent of Open Banking.

An opportunity for you to connect with NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland

In addition to real-time access to your clients’ banking data, our relationship with NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland will also offer you access to the banks' networks of more than 70 Business Growth Enablers and Relationship Managers. These teams interact with small business owners in the UK every day and are keen to share their knowledge to help FreeAgent’s accountant partners grow their practices.

A more proactive banking service for your clients

Clients who sign up to FreeAgent through the NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland partnership and agree to share their data will make their FreeAgent account data accessible to their bank. This will allow NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland to tailor the services they offer accordingly and suggest solutions that meet the genuine, real-time needs of your clients’ businesses.

An integrated banking and accounting solution

Above all, our relationship with NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland - together with the introduction of Open Banking - means that working with FreeAgent will allow you to offer clients an unprecedented level of integration between their banking service and accounting software. As technology and legislation continue to move forward to bring both industries into the digital era, this is the kind of solution that clients will soon come to not only expect, but demand, from their accountants.

Open Banking essentials

Open Banking is part of a wave of digitally disruptive legislation that seeks to modernise outdated systems and move the banking and accounting industries into the digital era. Imposed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the Open Banking directive is concerned with opening up competition between banks and making customers’ banking information more accessible to appropriate third parties.

Accounting software providers - like FreeAgent - with the ‘Account Information Service Provider’ (AISP) FCA registration will be able to import up-to-the minute banking information directly into the accounting software accounts of customers who:

  • bank with one of the participating banks
  • give their consent to participate in Open Banking

The participating banks

When it is introduced in January 2018, the following major banks will participate in the Open Banking directive:

  • NatWest
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Allied Irish Bank
  • Bank of Ireland
  • Barclays
  • Danske
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • Nationwide
  • Santander

To find out how FreeAgent can support you and your clients with Open Banking simply get in touch.