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What we delivered in 2019 and what will happen in the first months of 2020?

Oliver
Oliver January 2020 9 min

2019 was a very exciting year for us and our customers. We launched several products & improvements while investing heavily into our technical infrastructure.

Today, we want to highlight what we did for our key value propositions and how Penta’s product development will look like in 2020. 

Creating the best bank account opening process for SMEs

The vast majority of global businesses are still used to traditional, offline banking with significant limitations to even open a business bank account online.

We have proudly offered a fully digital experience since day one and improved our account application process significantly in 2019. 

What we did in 2019 for our Sign Up Process

In early 2019, parts of our signup process were still highly manual. 

We often had to request additional documents via email. The same was true for additional questions that our CRM team sent to some of our customers as part of the signup process. There was no automated possibility for customers to upload them by themselves on our platform.

All of this changed now, as we have automated this entire process and applicants are able to do this process entirely by themselves.

On top of this, where possible, we automated gathering data directly from the commercial register (e.g. Handelsregister). This means we were able to reduce the amount of data you needed to enter by yourself and we improved the general data quality.

For Penta’s launch in Italy, we adapted our account opening process to the Italian market and to Italian regulation.

Lastly, we ended the year on a high here by allowing Einzelunternehmer (Sole Proprietors) to open an account with us within ~7 minutes from application to German IBAN. This is particularly important as the legal form Einzelunternehmen is the number one legal form of choice for Restaurants, Bars, craft-men & craft-women, Travelagencies, Hotels, Doctors and Care. With this step we are covering now the vast majority of all German legal forms and can become the number one business banking partner for millions of companies. Since the launch a couple of weeks ago, we have opened accounts for over 1,000 Einzelunternehmer already!

Brief outlook for our signup process in 2020

In 2020, we will invest a lot of resources into speeding up internal processes to be able to further automate the signup process and improve the quality and customer experience we can offer you. We are also working on enabling Einzelunternehmer to open their Penta account on the mobile app and then also other legal forms. This comes together with further improvements to the experience to reduce the necessary steps even more.

Providing SMEs with the best-in-class experience for their expense management, from payments to accounting.

We believe that Penta can be the number one business banking option to help you save time and money with your entire expense management process. From enabling you and your team to securely spend money with your Penta cards and automating the entire expense management process from payment to bookkeeping.

What we did in 2019 for Accounting and Expense Management

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.

Additionally, we extended our transactional engine 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. 2019 was also the year when you could start to manage your own categories.

With our new functionality to download all invoices/receipts at once, it is now much easier for you or your accountant to do your bookkeeping. Combined with the improved transactions filtering capabilities, you have now the possibility to reduce the time spent on accounting preparation by up to 11h.

Issuing cards to employees and managing their limits securely & in real-time was launched in 2018, but we significantly improved the experience by for example sending push notifications in case of payment rejections straight to your smartphone.

While we are at Push Notifications, did you know that you and your team members now also receive a reminder push notification to attach receipts to invoices in case they haven’t done so yet?

That’s by the way how we also at Penta internally use Penta for our own expense management process and the product team loves to see our team members use Penta on business trips inside and outside of Germany. Of course, we use Penta also for our other company spend from Google Corporate suite to AWS and other technical tools such as Github, Mailchimp and marketing expenditures via Facebook, Google and Co:

  • They take out their phones after having made a card payment and with one click add the receipt to their transaction.
  • At the same time, our internal finance team gets a notification and can implement this into their workflow.
  • At the end of the month, our accountant now has all the transactions including receipts/invoices prepared in his accounting tool.

Brief outlook on 2020 for Accounting and Expense Management

2020 is going to be the year where you will save even more time in your expense management and bookkeeping process. How? Of course by using Penta.

We will shortly release the ability to approve/decline flagged card payments via the mobile app which will save you the hassle of card payments which didn’t go through previously.

Enabling you to use many more accounting platforms is incredibly high on the agenda. Learn more here.

A direct integration with Datev to transmit receipts/invoices and the ability to use Datev Unternehmen Online are scheduled for Q1. 

Enabling teams to issue & use Virtual Cards with dedicated limits is already on our roadmap and we are proceeding well with setting the remaining legal bits and pieces.

Additionally, we will further improve Penta for medium-sized teams and enable Administrators to set up a better process for reminding users in case they forgot to provide receipts/invoices.

Offering a seamless payment infrastructure eliminating any friction

Providing a strong & stable transactional backbone is key for any business bank. Apart from closing some gaps, we are working hard on creating a much smoother experience when it comes to making & receiving payments.

What we did in 2019 for Accounts and Payments

We launched Batched Payments for you. One .csv file is enough and you can make up to 50 payments with one TAN. Perfect for salary payments, social security payments and more.

We launched our international payments product which allows you to send money outside the SEPA Zone and also exchange EUR into more than 30 currencies. If you are interested, let us know by sending an email to globalfx@getpenta.com 

For growing businesses with a growing amount of payments, we significantly improved our filtering functionality so that you can find the payments you need much faster now.

Recently, we allowed you to download a payment confirmation file for a single outgoing payment which you can access by simply clicking on a transaction.

Brief outlook on 2020 for Accounts and Payments

We are fully aware that Penta without the ability to collect SEPA Direct Debits from your customers isn’t the perfect solution. Hence, we are working hard on finalising our first collection in Q1 2020 so that you can collect SEPA Core Direct Debits. This will be a key focus for us in 2020. XML format for Batched Payments will be launched prior to launching XML upload for SEPA Core Direct Debits.

On top of this, sub-accounts will be a crucial part to help you better manage your cash-flow. We are working on removing one final legal blocker and will soon be able to provide you with a more significant update.

Additionally, we are working on removing the TAN requirement for logins and offer you the ability to use device binding with your mobile app as an alternative soon. Device binding for payments might follow later. The same is true for Google Pay and Apple Pay. Also paying in cash is a topic which we aim to finalise later this year.

Extending our product offering together with partners

At Penta, we strongly believe that by working together with other innovative partners we can significantly increase our value to you.

What we did in 2019 with our Partners

In the early days of Penta, the vast majority of our customers were internet businesses, be it internet stores or digital consultancies. Over time, we saw a very strong inflow of interest from customers who are operating traditional offline businesses. From restaurants to doctors to stores. After having enabled Einzelunternehmen to open a Penta account, we partnered with SumUp to allow our customers to order a SumUp Point-of-Sale device to collect card payments offline.

Additionally, we recently partnered with iwoca to help our customers get better access to lending products. Traditional banks still don’t support enough SMEs with easier access to financing, hindering many strong businesses from growing even stronger. Our first step of the partnership enables our customers to get access to iwoca’s lending offering with a more in-depth integration coming soon. You can find out more here.

Brief outlook on 2020 for our Partners

We are doubling down on partnerships with innovative partners. Shortly we will announce a great package for our customers who are just starting their business, incorporating templates for legal contracts, access to legal advice and much more.

On top of this, we are working together with even more lending partners & partners outside the classical financial services space to provide you with the smoothest experience to run your business.

How you can support us in 2020

Penta was built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. We truly believe that our community of now almost 15,000 businesses has helped us shape our product into the right direction. Thanks for this! 

Keep giving us feedback. Speak about us on Social Media. Use your Penta MasterCard or VisaCard as often as possible. Help us spread the word about Penta & get rewarded. Engage in our Slack Community. Move your other bank accounts to Penta. Rate us on TrustPilot or Google.

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