Barclays relaunched as Absa with new branding on Wednesday as the British bank retreats from Africa. PHOTO: Supplied by Absa Group.

LONDON – South African small businesses can now find it easier to access funding following the announcement of Xero’s partnership with Absa bank.

This was according to Colin Timmis, general country manager at Xero SA.

Xero is a global, easy-to-use accounting software platform firm for small businesses and their advisors with 1.6 million subscribers in more than 180 countries.

Timmis was highlighting what the recent partnership meant from a South African perspective, speaking at the sidelines of the Xerocon London 2018 conference, which took place at the Excel London convention centre last week.

The conference brought together more than 3 000 accountants, bookkeepers and exhibitors for two days.

Timmis said most small businesses in South Africa avoided compliance as it had become cumbersome for them to perform tasks such as accounting and bookkeeping.

He said the partnership would make it easier for small businesses to access financing from Absa.

“It will definitely make it easier, so small businesses that need access to funding, than need maybe working capital invoice factoring, other products and services, getting their data compliant. 

Processing data

“It just makes it easier because traditionally to think about how a small business works it is a case of trying to manage your business, processing data, paying someone for the data, putting it into an accounting system. Now what we are saying is actually just connect your bank to a product and it flows across automatically,” said Timmis.

He said by doing this, Xero was removing cost from a process and increasing accuracy and efficiency and there is set to be a whole lot of spin-offs that could come from this.

Timmis said the product was set to launch by early next year and will be a free service to small businesses as there is no costs involved.

“It is important to remember that this process really enables the small business to probably start viewing their entire accounting and financial information completely differently because one of the challenges back home (South Africa) is that access to finance, working capital, all those things. 

“Even if you want to raise your investment or sell your business, you can’t do any of those things. There is a massive time saving, a massive cost saving and a huge amount of efficiency that is now being driven by the fact that we now have this type of connection,” he said.

Absa spokesperson, Molahadi Mohale, who was also speaking to Business Report at the sidelines of the event, said the capability was more than just around the transferring of information.

“It is about giving our clients time back to actually run their business a lot more efficiently instead of focusing on a host of manual tasks. It is really around just getting them back to business,” she said.

BUSINESS REPORT