Many of the cloud book keeping services allow you to automatically import bank transactions in to the software. This has the advantage of ensuring the bank always reconciles, reduces data entry and saves time as the better software learns what the repeat transactions are and will code them automatically.
Paypal transactions can also be imported directly in to some of these products.
At Sutherland Black we have clients on Freeagent, Xero and Kashflow and support them all. We also have an internal system called Bankstream that we use to do client’s book keeping for them.
There are two main types of bank feeds. Unfortunately UK banks seem to be difficult for the software providers to deal with. They are obviously need to somehow get read only access to people’s bank accounts in order to import transactions but conversely the banks are rightly concerned about security.
One way for the software providers to deal with this is use a third party bank aggregator, the largest one of which is a company called Yodlee. http://www.yodlee.com/. They then use a technology called screen scraping to import the transactions. In order to use this a user needs to provide them with their user name and password. We have never heard of an issue with this but some people worry that this breaks their banks terms and conditions.
Some of the software providers have managed to obtain “direct” feeds from individual banks so that a third party does not need to be used. At present the list is:
Xero: HSBC, Metro Bank, Natwest, RBS, Santander Business. Other banks need Yodlee.
Kashflow: Uses Yodlee only.
Freeagent: Barclays Business. Other banks need Yodlee.
If you would like to talk to us about moving your book keeping on to the cloud please give us a call.