Integrating with more accounting providers
Table of contents
Looking back – What is possible today?
When we went live with Penta in 2018, we knew that integrating additional bookkeeping and accounting platforms to Penta would be key for a fully rounded business bank account. Ultimately, Penta’s proposition is to help you save time & money.
Shortly after launching, we offered you the ability to download a .csv file of your transactional data to be able to import it into a vast amount of bookkeeping tools.
A couple of months afterwards, we went live with our integration with lexoffice and shortly thereafter Debitoor. Thousands of customers are using this real-time integration on a daily basis now.
In 2019, apart from improving our direct integrations with lexoffice & Debitoor, we launched the ability to download a standardised MT-940 (.sta) file for your transactional data.
This standardised file allows you to import your transactions into 99% of accounting platforms with ease (Datev, WeClapp, etc.)
Additionally, we extended our transactions functionality so that you not only can add categories to a transaction but now also attach files (e.g. receipts or invoices) straight to transactions to make the entire expense process even easier.
Previously, you were able to export transaction by transaction, now you can export them all in one go, making it so much easier for you and/or your accountant to do your bookkeeping.
Our learnings in 2019
Building a customer-focused product often comes down to prioritizing value that makes the biggest impact to our customers.
As an example, let’s take our accounting integrations our customers are often asking for. Each new direct integration with an accounting program takes 4-6 weeks development capacity plus significant improvements over time to create a seamless experience.
Hence, we looked into our data and validated with our customers to see how strong the demand is for the bookkeeping platforms that our customers are asking for. During this journey, we learnt two main things:
- It became evident that with lexoffice & Debitoor we already have built a great integration for a lot of our customers, with transaction data being sent in real-time, which is a great starting point.
- Datev Unternehmen Online and Datev overall is a key topic for our customers, and businesses all across Germany. The MT-940 file is a great starting point, however an automated and direct solution via DATEV would be clearly preferred. And we’re working on a solution!
There is a huge variety of other different accounting tools that businesses rely on and integrating each would only satisfy a small group of our customers at a time.
The strategy forward when it comes to accounting integrations
We knew that PSD2 was coming to help us bridge the accounting gap and so we made more efficient use of the last months to focus our team’s work on building non-Accounting features.
PSD2 is fundamentally a boost for the entire industry and will solve several issues, however the first couple of months of the directive being in place, have been full of ups and downs.
What is PSD2 and what does it mean for Penta transaction data and accounting tools?
With PSD2, each bank is required to provide technical endpoints (so called “APIs”) to allow customers a seamless connection of their banking data with other different tools, such as accounting software at the customers request. This process is called XS2A (Access to Accounts).
Our banking partner solarisBank AG already today provides such an API for third-parties.
Under the new legal framework however, third-parties must be registered/regulated with/by the BaFin in case they want to be able to access transactional data on behalf of their customers (so called “Account Information Service Providers” or “AISP”) or initiate payments (so called “Payment Initiation Service Providers” or “PISP”) , respectively.
Only registered/regulated parties who have an AISP or PISP license can access these banking APIs.
The most common setup now involves a regulated third-party acting as a middle link between a bank and an accounting software provider.
You will know these regulated third-parties as Figo/Finleap Connect, Fintechsystems, FinAPI & others who allow companies to connect to banking data.
The major milestone for Penta customers will be when all these regulated third-parties / technical providers connect to the XS2A APIs of solarisBank. This will mean that Penta transaction data will be available in any accounting tool.
Over the last few months, we have contacted all of these third-party technical providers and are in touch with many of them.
Currently, we expect that until Mid March all three main third-party technical providers have integrated solarisBank’s API and accounting providers, like DATEV can allow you to connect your Penta/solarisBank account.
In one specific case, we (Penta) even paid a third-party technical provider to speed up the development of this API as we truly understand how important this is for you.
So to sum it up – For many accounting integrations (incl. Datev Unternehmen Online and SevDesk), we expect a first solution in early Q1 2020, hopefully as early as February.
How you can help us
The integration via the banking APIs means however that data won’t be sent in real-time and it will limit our ability to innovate and improve the experience for you.
With Datev for example, we are working on a solution to send the receipts/invoices which you attached to your Penta transactions to Datev via their API.
As I mentioned in the beginning, the development of these integrations sometimes take quite a lot of time and effort.
Hence, we need to better know which tools we need to prioritise.
It would tremendously help us in the prioritisation if you connect your Penta MasterCard or Penta VisaCard to your accounting software (or even all software) so that we can see on an anonymised basis which software is used and make smarter data-driven decisions.