Skip to content

UK Bank Feeds – a new way of working

Henry Ford, the pioneer of what we recognise today as Lean Manufacturing, introduced a revolution centred around the elimination of wasteful processes more than a century ago. In his autobiography he explained the essence of it as:

“I believe that the average farmer puts to a really useful purpose only about 5% of the energy he expends. Not only is everything done by hand, but seldom is a thought given to a logical arrangement…his whole idea, when there is extra work to do, is to hire extra men. He thinks of putting money into improvements as an expense. It is waste motion – waste effort – that makes farm prices high and profits low.”

While I wouldn’t suggest that Ford’s farmer is perhaps the best proxy for accounting, take a moment to look around your desk and office. Aside from the odd PC, I’d bet that paper still rules the roost. But more than that, repetitive paper based processes and workflows still dominate the world of accounting and bookkeeping.

We love a challenge

So, in a few weeks we’ll be rolling a new capability to our UK customers which securely imports daily banking transactions straight into Xero. While we’ve had this running for over twelve months for the hundreds of Xero UK customers who bank with HSBC, the UK bank feeds release will enable this ability for most UK banks, credit cards and financial institutions. Around eighty new UK feeds will be added all told.


So, why is this such a big deal for small businesses?

Cash is king. Providing the capability to check your live bank balance and cash transactions from within Xero not only means there’s one less website to visit every morning, it also means that cash based businesses have a fully automated mechanism for loading, analysing and reconciling their cash. Instead of sitting down once a fortnight – if you’re lucky – with a paper bank statment and then repeatedly manually keying, matching, marking and reconciling payments and invoices for each statement line, Xero will will enable you to do a bank rec in minutes every day. Not only do you save time but, critically, you get the benefit of complete, up-to-date visibility of cash.

So, why is this such a big deal for accountants?

Eliminating the need for accounts staff to manually capture, key and reconcile their clients’ accounts not only benefits the clients, but the internal practice efficiencies are multiplied many times over.

Is bank feed data capture a silver bullet, should all my data now come in from my bank statement?

No. While every business will benefit from automated bank feeds, it stands that the more cash based your business is the more you will benefit. But we believe that loading and coding with automated bank feeds, coupled with the full accrual accounting capabilities already present within Xero, will eliminate huge amounts of wasteful re-keying of cash movements, as well as providing hyper realtime management reporting that is sourced from the real, current cash position – not what it was weeks ago when you last did a full bank rec – could be transformational for many small businesses.

We are really excited about finally bringing this service comprehensively to the UK market, stay tuned for more insight as we get closer to launch.

 

Read more about Accountants

 

43 comments

[...] just advised via their blog that in a few weeks they will be rolling out around 80 bank feeds from UK banks [...]

Ben Kepes
20 October 2010 #

Well done guys – let’s see what happens to the customer count now…
http://diversity.net.nz/xero-makes-a-breakthrough-uk-bank-feeds/2010/10/20/

iphone app development co
20 October 2010 #

I hope Lloyds is one of the eighty!

Brilliant move Xero, this now removes the barrier if having to remind the client to download the files and send if over to us for our quarter end work!

John Keane
20 October 2010 #

Business only, or also for personal?

Benjamin Bowles
21 October 2010 #

I can’t wait for this, what a breakthrough!

Any chance of some early beta testing….

David Griffiths
21 October 2010 #

This is going to be a great benefit for a lot of business owners. Coupled with the intelligent way that Xero learns about bank transactions, keeping the bank up to date moves from being a chore to a pleasure.

Catherine
21 October 2010 #

@iphone app development co – Yes, Llyods is on the current list!

@John First up we’re bringing bank feeds into Xero Business only using the Yodlee service which is new to us, & once we’ve got it up and running we’ll look to see if it’s something we use with Xero Personal depending on how things have progressed with prospective partner banks.

@Benjamin We’re not doing any beta testing, although with the launch of this service in Australia very soon we’ll know how things have gone.

Jon
21 October 2010 #

Is the Co-op bank on the list?!

Omar Kassim
21 October 2010 #

Hi Guys, this is a really nice development. Any idea when you’ll spread this out to other countries (even those that Yodlee) doesn’t cover?

Is it a case of not being able to access bank feeds in other countries or is it that there aren’t sevices like Yodlee, who aggregate bank feeds, not being able / not convering other countries?

Is there anything that we as heavy Xero users can do, do make this happen quicker?

Any plans to potentially develop an API esque mechanism that will allow us to integrate with our banks using our own relationships with them?

Catherine
22 October 2010 #

@Jon – as in The Co-operative Bank (UK)? In that case – yes!

Alastair Grigg
22 October 2010 #

Hi Omar
Once we have completed the full integration we will be able to connect to any bank account in any region that Yodlee provides access to. Their coverage of banks in countries outside the US seems driven mostly by other Yodlee integration partners becoming active in those regions, giving them the scale of potential customers to extend their coverage. Until we ourselves have a larger concentration of customers in some of these regions it will be difficult for us alone to drive extending the Yodlee service coverage. At this stage we haven’t identified any suitable alternative data gathering service providers in regions not currently well covered by Yodlee.

We have had requests to extend the Xero API to enable importing of bank statement data this way. It is certainly something we’d be keen to provide but isn’t scheduled yet as we have other even more requested API improvements to deliver first – see our Xero API forum on User Voice to register your votes on these improvements.

Kyle
24 October 2010 #

Any chance of getting the PayPal feeds fixed after this? I tried to test them out again in the demo account but I guess you’ve disabled the feeds for accounts that don’t already use them.

Earl Rudolfo
25 October 2010 #

Well done Xero team. You continue to increase your credibility and trustworthiness by following through on your commitment to improve Xero to meet the needs of small businesses. Can’t wait for the Yodlee service coverage in Canada.

I’m thinking that the proactive Xero users should now be looking at ways (following Xero’s lead with bank feeds) to make their internal processes more “paperless” with an integrated document management system to improve efficiency. So get into the “less paper” mindset.

Chris
28 October 2010 #

Doesn’t seem like Lloyds will be on the list but happy to be proved wrong.

Alastair Grigg
28 October 2010 #

Hi Chris.
Yes, accounts available through Llyods Personal/Retail online banking site will be available when we release the automated bank feeds in the UK. We are working to extend this to also include accounts from Llyods Business online banking, but can’t confirm the timing of this just yet.

Brad Forester
28 October 2010 #

This is positive news, but how long will the US-based Xero customers have to wait for bank-feed rollout? This is probably the biggest difference (on the downside) between Xero and QB for my small business.

Jon
1 November 2010 #

@Catherine
Thanks that’s great news.
Look forward to updates on when.

Dan
1 November 2010 #

Is there any news on what charges are likely to be incurred. As it stands i am aware that HSBC charge £2.50 + VAT each month. Will these other banks follow their lead, or could they offer the service for free, hopefully forcing HSBC to drop their charge.

I am not overly computer literate but imagine there can not be too many cost involved after the initial set up.

Gary Turner
2 November 2010 #

Hi Dan,

The new feeds we’re adding will be free of charge.

Brian Curran
2 November 2010 #

Sounds great, I manually download & import two Barclays accounts each and every day. It only takes a few minutes but auto-feeds would be much better.

2011 Wish List:
I would love to be able to make a payment in Xero and have the transaction feed back into my bank account so that the payment is made via BACS :)

Dak
11 November 2010 #

HI

Any further updates as to when daily feeds for UK Barclays customers will start? Also, maybe you can give us an idea of any costs involved and what paperwork needs to be done by us for the feeds to start, as maybe some of this can be done now, so we are ready from day one.

As you can tell i cant wait for daily feeds as i currently download my statement once a week and sometimes have to wait 8-10 days as Barclays online banking doesnt have the statement available for downloading. Daily feeds will be a great help.

Regards

Dak

Catherine
12 November 2010 #

@Dak – we’re still on track to roll out feeds for the UK now that they’re up and running for Australian organisations in the next few weeks – no exact date yet. Initially the feeds can be used from banks with a simple single login point i.e. they don’t have additional security or token authentication (known as MFA), so you’ll be able to access your Barclays account if it doesn’t use MFA. As for preparation you can do – there’s no cost and no paper work! Here’s a video we posted recently when we launched the feeds for Australia showing how you’d set up a feed.

Brian Curran
21 December 2010 #

Hi Catherine,
Barclays have a complicated login for their online banking (smart card reader). Does this mean bank feeds will never be available?

Thanks
Brian.

James Cox
24 December 2010 #

Re Brian’s comment, I’m looking to migrate from Microsoft Account 2008 to Xero, but would like to know the answer to the question re Barclays integration, as this would be my final element to make me commit to Xero.

Karl March
14 January 2011 #

Hate to ask the same ting again but any news on this for Barclays customers? Integration with my current Xero account would confirm Xero as the finest online software available (everything else is superb..!) Help Barclays move out of the dark ages and I’ll seriously appreciate it!

dak
19 January 2011 #

Hi Catherine

As as a number of other UK Bank customers who have made comments above, bank with Barclays, its been 2 months since daily bank feeds came into play, and many more months since it was first talked about, but we as Barclays customers cant take advantage of daily feeds. I appreciate that Barclays do have additional security or token authentication (known as MFA), but you havent even replied to last 3 posts about this subject dated the 21/12/10, 24/12/10 or 14/01/11.

Come on Xero keep us in the picture, please

Regards

Dak

Gary Turner
19 January 2011 #

Hey Dak – thanks for the kick – apologies for not responding sooner.

We just rolled the planned phase of north American bank feeds last week which means we’ll be looping back through the other regions in the coming weeks. Barclays is definitely coming but I can’t give you a firm date right now.

This is a huge endeavour for us and nobody is keener to complete the roll out than we are (OK, maybe a few customers are a little keener!) – so we’ll do our best to keep you in the loop – but please keep prodding if we look like we’re slipping.

Andy
3 February 2011 #

Any idea on timescale for Barclays in the UK? Are we talking weeks or months? I am thinking of moving to Xero, and will change bank if necessary but there’s no point if it is just around the corner. Thanks!

Graham Shepherd
17 February 2011 #

Hi – Back on 22 Oct 2010 Jon asked; “Is the Co-op bank on the list?!”

To which Catherine replied; “@Jon – as in The Co-operative Bank (UK)? In that case – yes!”

I’m a Co-operative Bank plc (UK) customer and my Daskboard now suggests that Bank Feeds are available. However when I enter the bank details I’m told they are not recognised.

Can you let me know what the situation is (or will be) with feeds for the Co-op please?

Thanks

Gary Turner
18 February 2011 #

@Andy @Graham – we originally planned to open feeds for both those banks in Q1, but that’s now looking like early Q2. Check back early April for a more defined ETA.

TMRE
20 April 2011 #

When are we going to see Barclays supported? This has been promised for over a year now!!

Gary Turner
20 April 2011 #

@ TMRE – We feel your pain, and I know it might feel like it’s been a year but we were always aiming for Q1 this year. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s now Q2 and you’re still waiting.

We’ll post up an update for Barclays customers and those with other banks who are waiting as we get closer. Be strong!

Michelle Brooks
21 April 2011 #

We committed to moving all of our companies’ accounting to Xero based on the fact that Xero claimed to offer bank feeds to both Lloyds and Adams bank Plc, yet none of these work and getting a committment from Xero as to when the feeds will become operational has been as painful as pulling teeth! Responses are vague and I am unable to pin them down to an exact date / month this will become operational – one thing I am certain about is that Xero does not do what it says on the tin, which is pretty poor in an age where mis-advertising is neither acceptable, nor legal! Am ever hopeful this post will generate some form of committment but not holding my breath…

Gary Turner
22 April 2011 #

Michelle, I both appreciate and apologise for causing you to get so frustrated with us on this, but in spite of these issues I believe you still made the right decision to move to Xero.

We’ll work with our bank feed service provider, Yodlee, to get a resolution for you but in the meantime you will have to rely upon Xero’s existing statement import functionality for any accounts for which an automated feed is not yet live. I know that’s not as effortless as an automated feed, but it should hopefully work out for you as a reasonable compromise solution while we resolve the automation issues.

If you would like someone to walk you through that, please drop me a line to gary.turner@xero.com

John
25 April 2011 #

A lot of people whinging quite correctly about the Barclays feed. In my experience the bank is the last to roll out any kind of user feature on their website. They have a difficult and outmoded login procedure on their website and their ability to satisfy their customers with changes is the worst in the UK. In addition, they will not at least on a personal account, allow more than one month of data download. So, in less you keep really up to date on this you’re going to be disappointed. On the plus side, if you currently use Barclays you’re really in no worse shape by using Zero as you can’t pull down the data feed very easy in the first place! In my limited experience, pay pal is a much more difficult reconciliation that a bank account as it includes variables such as shipping and fx transactions.

Tony Lawler
28 May 2011 #

Do you have any idea on Barclays bank feeds, thanks.

Warren
18 June 2011 #

I am another Barclays Business customer considering switching to Xero.

Any update on the bank feeds issue?

Tony P
21 June 2011 #

We bought Xero on the understanding that it would download from HSBC. I filled in the forms, waited nearly a month, to be told by HSBC that they only offer link to Business accounts! We are a partnership so have a private account.
If I switch my bank account to Co-Op. do you have a feed that is now live?

Gary Turner
20 July 2011 #

Thanks for your patience.

The encouraging news is the next batch of feeds are now in beta test and the first of the Barclays feeds (there are a number of different account types) should become active within the next month or so. It will be a phased roll out but we hope to have full coverage on all the main Barclays feeds by the end of the summer.

We’ll post an update on the blog shortly.

TRACY
9 August 2011 #

wHOOP wHOOP xERO GET bARCLAYS ARSE MOVING!!!!

Eric
11 September 2011 #

So what is happening with the bank feeds? we heard all that noise last year and now nothing… Have you made progress with Barclays?

Alastair Grigg
11 September 2011 #

Eric, We’ve released two big bank feed updates over the last few of months
http://blog.xero.com/2011/05/1000-more-bank-feeds/
http://blog.xero.com/2011/08/xero-now-supports-over-5000-bank-feeds/
We now have feeds running with dozens of UK banks and financial institutions, including Barclays Business and Barlaycard, with more new feeds in beta and due to be released over the next few months.

Add your comment





We welcome all feedback but prefer a real name and email address.