Recent regulatory changes have given SMEs a host of new financial solutions to choose from, and BankiFi has been trailblazing change in UK banks for years.
The company has already been engaging with Australian financial services organisations from its UK headquarters for the past 18 months.
Now the fintech is taking on the Singaporean and Australian markets, with an office opened in York Street in Sydney two months ago, offering a unique enablement of financial services with an API-first solution.
BankiFi is banking on becoming essential for the small business client base, and has just appointed Lloyd Parata to lead the expansion into the Australian financial services market.
New BankiFi Australia and New Zealand country manager Lloyd Parata said the company’s technology platform means banks stay relevant by offering innovative solutions to SMEs.
Initially, it will most benefit any tradie, sole trader and micro-business that today can’t accept digital payments.
The company wants to provide an SME banking portal (mobile or internet) that allows any SME of any size to run their business from their bank portal, rather than partially from their accounting package and partially from their bank portal.
When it comes to managing cash flow, Mr Parata said small business owners tend to be stuck between two offerings within a bank: consumer functionality that is too basic, and commercial and/or treasury functionality that is too complex.
“Rising expectations from sole traders and micro-business owners ramp up the pressure for banks to step up and provide services they never did before, such as invoicing, reconciliation and bookkeeping options,” Mr Parata said.
Small business is the backbone of Australia’s business landscape, accounting for 98 per cent of all Australian businesses, and employing over 4.7 million people, more than 40 per cent of the business workforce, making it Australia’s biggest employer.
“Many micro and small businesses suffer tremendously as a result of high transaction fees, delayed or late payments, complex financial admin tasks and cash flow disruption,” Mr Parata said.
“We’ve found small businesses are like low-hanging fruit, because they contribute massively to the economy, there are lots of them, and they have been underserviced thus far.”
Through using the BankiFi platform, small business owners can expect a reduced amount of time spent on manual administration and chasing late payments.
Vastly different from traditional banking, the platform allows users to send secure, real-time payment requests via text, email and Whatsapp as well as QR codes for simple face-to-face transactions.
Funds are transferred into a chosen account immediately to boost cash flow. It also generates invoices, streamlines the process of chasing late payments and automates financial admin by integrating with all the major accounting applications.
According to a recent report from the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, it is estimated that as many as 90 per cent of small businesses are failing due to cash flow problems and using credit cards to try and offset late payments.
“The report demonstrates exactly how much disruption late payments can have on cash flow, especially to businesses experiencing strong growth periods, and that’s where BankiFi can help,” the ASBFEO said.