Tax & admin · 26 January 2017

RBS and NatWest to provide accounting software for small businesses

The publication of the FCA findings were has just been delayed for a third time
RBS has partnered with FreeAgent

High street lenders the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and NatWest have partnered with FreeAgent to offer accounting software to thousands of small business customers.

The deal will enable small company owners who bank with either RBS or NatWest to gain access to FreeAgent accounting software, that will link directly to their bank account, throughout 2017.

It is hoped the deal will make it easier for thousands of small UK business owners to complete their tax returns, particularly with this year’s switch to digital tax.

The banks have claimed that FreeAgent software will improve forecasting, save time and make the process of submitting tax returns simpler for small business customers, with features such as the ability to upload photos of receipts.

Commenting on the partnership, Business Advice expert and director at RBS, Marcelino Castrillo, said that by offering the platform, small business customers will have “everything in one place”.

“When you are a small business [owner] you want to concentrate on establishing and growing, not on tracking expenses and invoicing. The way customers want to bank with us is constantly changing, so it is important for us to innovate. This will give valuable time back to customers to do what is most important,” added Castrillo.

RBS has also said the partnership will involve working with FreeAgent to introduce a data-sharing capability, allowing the bank to run analytics on the accounts of participating businesses.

Announced at the RBS global headquarters in Edinburgh, FreeAgent was chosen from a list of more than 30 software providers to support business customers of the two banks.

In a statement, FreeAgent chief executive, Ed Molyneux, said that he hoped the deal would make life a lot easier for small business owners. “In many cases, business owners must do their accounting by themselves. We hope this will allow them to concentrate on running their business.”

“This is a really exciting partnership for us and we look forward to developing our relationship with RBS and NatWest throughout the rest of 2017 and beyond,” he added.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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