Think Big! Accounting Software Integration Features

business-account

#1

Hello,

As you can imagine (considering our roadmap) we have continual engagement with various accounting software partners and during a meeting last week the question was posed that assuming everything was possible, what features would you love between your bank and accounting package?

I’m asking you to think big here. Things like a bank feed, reconciliation and category mapping are all in our thoughts. I’m keen to hear if you have something more innovative? To give you a general idea (and these are ideas, not commitments) we were looking at features like:

  • Project cost tracking (be able to assign transactions to both a category and a project or client. The idea being that if you’re a consultant or project we can help you manage expenses at a project or client level)
  • Payments innovations

So, what ideas do you have? Happy to arrange some Starling socks for the best one.

Cheers, Jason


#2

As a freelancer and heavy user of FreeAgent I can’t wait for FreeAgent to have a real-time link to my Starling Business account, so an invoice gets paid and is instantly marked as “paid” in FreeAgent (with a FreeAgent thank you e-mail sent to client and Starling notification to me), but I imagine (hope?) that’s the current plan. Category mapping sounds ace too!

It would be quite cool if Starling’s Settle Up could be added as an option in FreeAgent for clients to pay invoices, (e.g. alongside PayPal, Swipe and GoCardless). A client paying by debit card and instantly receiving the funds would be amazing! (Even if there was a fee). Swipe and GoCardless are so slow at paying the funds into your account.

A few ideas that come to mind, that would be helpful for me:

  • When an incoming payment gets marked as a payment for an invoice in FreeAgent, it would be ace to be able to set rules such as, move X% into my HMRC tax goal, move X% into my personal account.

  • Display outstanding FreeAgent invoices in the Starling app, along with the amount and due date, so I can see my balance and expected incoming payments all in one place to assess my cash flow.

  • Starling displaying the descriptions and categories for transactions that I’ve set in FreeAgent would be quite handy, along with client, project names and invoice numbers for invoice payments would make looking though my transaction list in Starling much more informative/pleasurable.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t really be keen for Starling to try and introduce features such as invoice creation, Self Assessment integration etc, as I use FreeAgent for all this. So it would need to either nicely integrated with FreeAgent for said features, or they’d need to be completey optional within the app, and dissapear if you choose to use your accounting software for them instead.

I like that you’re looking for big ideas, but I’d be wary about adding features to a banking app, that should really be in your accouting app.


#3

Great start @jcwacky. I should add that these ideas can be built into either platform (us or the accounting package)


#4

I think getting the categories bank on for business would be great. Also, I have seen rival service Anna estimate tax liabilities - so with the move to Making Tax Digital that might be useful to see?

A real partnership with the lies of XERO in terms of deep integration would be amazing.


#5

Well, first of all, I HAVE to put in my Quickbooks Online vote once again, really need to see that integration before I can properly use my Starling Business Account (oh and Business CASS).

However, in terms of BIG ideas, I want to see end to end expense integration. I’m thinking Expensify for Starling on ACID. The features I envisage would include: (and for the purposes of this all accounting references are to QBO)

  • Pictures of receipts, auto-scanned and auto-resolved direct into the Starling timeline with the relevant expense created in QBO
  • The ability to allocate a scanned receipt to a corporate credit or charge chard within Starling so the receipt is stored then allocated, auto-resolved and submitted as an itemized expense to QBO when the corporate card is paid off once a month.
    *Starling providing an email address unique to the user to allow expense submission by email (both plain text email that is recognized as a receipt and emails with receipts attached).

Some other things I would like to see would be:

  • The ability for QBO to instruct a payment to a third party (paying off a received invoice direct from QBO)
  • The ability for QBO to send possible income matches direct to QBO (so, for example, I receive £xxx from my client as payment, Starling can query QBO for invoices that are due and match the value of the income (or a combination of multiple ones) and suggests within the app that xxx has paid me, I can then confirm and the relevant invoice is marked as paid within QBO.

Basically, I want to have to go into my accounts as little as possible with Starling providing links to do everything QBO needs from within its own interface.


#6

I would love to see integration with BillyApp and also YNAB (You Need A Budget - for personal accounts and business).


#7

BillyApp uses Yodlee for their integrations


#8

How are we doing @jasonwilkinsonbrown? Do we need to think even bigger?


#9

+1 for YNAB, and also WaveApps, as mentioned in other threads.

Customisable categories would be really useful - if we could map those categories to the accounting/budgeting package that would be even better! Save time recategorising all the transactions in the accounting software.


#10

My aim would be to have minimal interaction with my accounting software and use Starling as my source of truth. In the ideal world… Starling will see the invoice payment coming in and we could set out much of that is allocated to VAT or corporation tax.

Currently when an invoice gets paid into my account- I have to look at the invoice and check how much of it is VAT and move it into a goal bucket. Would be great if that was automated.

Can I have some socks now? :slight_smile:


#11

I use FreeAgent and so far I’ve been using a tool I wrote to convert the CSV format to be understood by FreeAgent, as FreeAgent cannot parse it as is.

I tend to favour the single responsibility principle, and I would want my bank to do my accounting or my accounting to do my banking. I, personally, only want to get transaction information synced to the accounting software (FreeAgent).

I’ve been tempted to sign up for a developer account in both FreeAgent and Startling and write a tool that reads transactions from one into the other bypassing the whole CSV and conversion hassle every time I do it. But since a proper integration was promised soon I’ll just wait :slight_smile:


#12

Yo!

So for context… I have really basic accounting needs - I’m a project management contractor with very few transactions (and am a limited cost trader!). I currently use freeagent without an accountant.

What would make a big difference to running my business (in terms of accounting / banking)?

  1. Real time updates /integration

I know it’s been said, but for clarity… True real time integration (other banks do overnight feeds into Freeagent). The driver for this is mainly for bookkeeping - my biggest pain is bookkeeping and filing receipts. I want to tag a receipt to a transaction, and have it synced (with the receipt) in my freeagent account immediately ideally.

  1. General Bookkeeping ideas

a) somehow capturing & storing all info required for VAT record keeping purposes at point of payment, thereby not even needing a receipt. Don’t think this is remotely possible, but trying to think big!

b) auto-categorisation for VAT/HMRC categories in Freeagent, (i.e. not the Starling payment categories)

c) an ongoing pain is splitting receipts between multiple categories. If you could build some AI/machine learning that learned when a receipt should be split. For example -
I regularly visit a coffee shop and buy 2 coffees (one for me, one for a colleague). 1 coffee should be posted to ‘travel & subsistence’ (my coffee), the other coffee should be posted to ‘business entertaining’. The categorisation is important as they are treated differently for tax purposes. If system could learn when to split this way (either by ‘reading’ a receipt on upload, or learning how frequent transactions at particular retailers are handled) that would be a timesaver!

d) Central receipt repository. Store a receipt once, hyperlink to it from both apps. And going above and beyond - Metadata to be able to search receipts, OCR so you can search what’s written on the receipts etc

e) a ‘pull’ from personal bank accounts, where you can tag personal expenses to be charged to the business.

  1. Accounting workflow/ dashboard / alerts

What would be helpful is some sort of personal dashboard or customisable workflow, which I can tailor for how I manage my accounts. In essence, you could log in daily and get a list of all activities to be completed on that day, or heatmaps for key activities. Some examples:

  • I have a recurring personal expense in Freeagent that gets posted on the last day of every month. The exact amount differs month by month. It would be good to setup an alert (viewable on a dashboard) which reminds me on the day to review/update the expense.

  • Sweeping of personal expenses. I have a large buildup of personal expenses to be reimbursed to my personal account. Again an alert or dashboard to remind me to do this. In this case, it might have a custom red/amber/green status depending on the value to be reimbursed (e.g. I might decide an expense buildup of >£1k per employee should appear red, with a transaction drafted that can be ‘approved’ before it is released via Starling)

  • more broader (which is kinda what Freeagent already does) things like running payroll, paying employees, completing tax return etc. But again… all rolled into a single dashboard, which lists the actions to be completed that day.

Not sure if that’s the kinda stuff you’re after! I’ll keep thinking… :wink:


#13

Have you tried importing without converting recently? I’ve been happily importing Starling CSVs straight into FreeAgent, so maybe they changed something?