Interview: How We Brought the DATEV Integration to Life

Oliver February 2021 Fintech Content Editor 5 min

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The winter of 2020 was a very memorable time for Penta. Finally, the long-awaited official DATEV integration could be used by customers for automated accounting. A major milestone on Penta’s product roadmap has thus been achieved. With the new integration transactions and receipts can be synced via DATEV Unternehmen online and DATEV Belegbilderservice (former DATEVconnect online).  

All members of the management team were involved to realize the integration to DATEV. Lukas Zörner as Penta’s Chief Product Officer now shares his insights in this interview. 

Wow, what a huge milestone for Penta! We’ve finally integrated DATEV and several other accounting tools. How do you feel now after finalizing this major project? 

Lukas: “I’m super proud of the team for coming together to deliver this, and I’m so happy about the responses we’ve seen from customers so far. It’s the missing piece in the puzzle for them to be able to manage their full end-to-end spending in Penta. It’s going to save them countless hours, and it’s a really simple journey.” 

What Is the Integration of DATEV All About

What is the exact issue this solution will solve for our current and potential customers? 

Lukas: “There is a golden rule for accountants – Keine Buchung ohne Beleg (No accounting without a receipt).  
Our customers need to get all their transaction data and receipts to their tax accountant. Previously Penta customers needed to manually export and upload their transaction data and receipt files into DATEV Unternehmen online or other accounting tools. This is a time-consuming and error-prone manual effort.” 

Which bottlenecks and time-consuming manual work will be eliminated? 

Lukas: “This new solution speeds up the processing time of getting the data and receipts ready for the tax accountant. The business owner can focus on making their business a success rather than banking. The CFO can focus on the cashflow of the business rather than the administrative work.
Additionally, it saves costs–all a business needs to manage their finances is Penta. The tax accountants have everything they need to do their work efficiently. 
And this new integration could reduce errors: Manual work in limited time can lead to data loss or errors. The digital transfer of data and receipts is less error-prone.”

How would you describe the importance of DATEV in the business world of Germany particularly for SMEs?

Lukas: “Many businesses simply could not use Penta to the fullest extent because their tax accountant relies on DATEV. The majority of tax accountants is using DATEV and want their clients to choose a bank that offers the integration with DATEV. It’s a fundamental requirement of a business bank account.”

From the Idea to the Go Live

What was the most valuable lesson you learned?

Lukas: “Our obsession with the customer is what is going to make Penta stand the test of time. Never compromise if it’s what the customer needs. ” 

Which other teams or departments played a crucial role in this project?

Lukas: “Oh, it was really a team effort! Employees from Design, Tech, Product, Sales, CRM and Marketing were heavily  involved–even our own Finance department gave us user feedback.”  

What makes this project the largest yet possibly? 

Lukas: “It’s the one missing piece of the puzzle that makes Penta the best tool for businesses in Germany. The large majority of tax accountants use DATEV. To allow our customers to connect to DATEV Unternehmen online is relevant for many of them. The combination of the transactions and receipts synchronization is unique, no other challenger banking service is offering this so far.”

Outlook for the Future

How about the feedback from our customers so far? 

Lukas: “We already saw in the usability testing that offering the additional synchronization of receipts gets our customers excited and really solves a pain point for them. And now that this feature is actually live, the positive feedback and user numbers reflect that as well. 
We get very positive feedback regarding the added value for them not only from the feature as such, but also in regard to the guidance we provide to them for the setup and usage of the integration. 
We also get constructive criticism on functionalities that we are missing. This is valuable input, and we will use it to optimize the DATEV integration this year.“

I think we can say that this was one of the biggest projects in Penta’s history—what’s next on the roadmap?

Lukas: “Regarding DATEV, we will be working on improvements, which will make the usability of the feature better and the customer experience smoother. But we have been recently adding plenty of other great features, too, such as SEPA direct debits, KfW Instant Loans and subaccounts, which will be optimized as well in the near future. What else? We have some more projects on the roadmap, such as Apple Pay and virtual cards–we will keep you posted and develop the product roadmap further based on our customers’ feedback.”

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