SMEs can now link DBS accounts to cloud service

DBS Bank and cloud accounting firm Xero have introduced a system that speeds up account management for small businesses.

Company owners who use the online business banking platform DBS Ideal can now have their bank transactions imported automatically to Xero if they are subscribers.

This will be faster and more efficient than the old system, which requires small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to apply for such data movement via paper forms, a process that can take about 10 days to set up, DBS noted.

Data of a firm's transactions in its DBS bank account is fed to Xero every day so that business owners can get "a reliable, up-to-date view of their financial position in Xero", added the bank.

This means firms do not have to spend too much time on manual data entry or importing bank transactions.

Xero managing director for Asia Alex Campbell said: "DBS has all the customers' bank transactions, which flow to Xero every morning once they sign up. There's a much better view of sales and cash flow.

"It also allows their accountants to move from being data-entry people, to advisers and growth consultants to small businesses."

Mr Keyis Ng, co-founder of speciality coffee bean e-commerce platform, said: "The DBS-Xero direct bank feeds will save us so much time. By automating the process, we're also avoiding the mistakes that can happen due to human error."

Ms Joyce Tee, DBS group head of SME banking, said the bank has plans to roll out instant data importing for SMEs in other markets.

Xero founder Rod Drury believes such technical partnerships with banks will be the norm in future. The firm works with 100 or so banks now.

A Xero survey conducted in June of 150 SMEs here found that small- business owners spent an average of 15 1/2 hours a month importing and reconciling their bank statements manually, while about 30 per cent spent between 20 hours and 40 hours a month.

It also noted that 67 of those polled said manual bank statement reconciliation was a major challenge in managing their operations.

A United Overseas Bank (UOB) survey last year found that 70 per cent of SMEs were still using multiple software programs to manage their business processes, a task they said was time-consuming and unproductive.

UOB has its BizSmart solution, and claims it offers cost savings of up to 60 per cent for small businesses compared with using multiple software programs, and that they can spend 2 1/2 days on administrative work, instead of four.

Rachael Boon

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2017, with the headline SMEs can now link DBS accounts to cloud service. Subscribe