Freelancer body calls for banking revolution
The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), has called for a ‘technological revolution’ in banking following the publication of a report by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
The organisation, which represents the interests of some of the smallest businesses in the UK, wants to see higher levels of competition in retail banking. They also called for greater transparency around fees.
Adam Waters, Senior Policy Adviser at IPSE said: “The CMA’s findings reflect what the UK’s freelancers are telling us: banks don’t cater for their needs. Many microbusiness owners are raising specific concerns about the lack of a suitable banking service and it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.”
IPSE welcomed the CMA’s call for more open banking but argued that banks should go further. The organisation insists that technology can play an important role in improving banking for the smallest business owners, who often feel weighed down by unnecessary bureaucracy.
A survey from the freelancer organisation revealed that many microbusiness owners believed that they would benefit from a more technological approach to banking.
“Two thirds (65%) of freelancers say more advanced internet and mobile banking facilities, like mobile cheque imaging or webcam banking, would help their business. A similar number (64%) said their business would benefit from linking their company account with other software they use to run their business. These freelancers contributed an enormous £109 billion to the economy in 2015 – and this figure could be even higher if banks became more innovative and made it easier to do business,” Waters said.
Following a two year investigation into retail banking, the CMA concluded that banking customers could use new mobile phone apps to find out which banks offer the best accounts. Part of the report that focussed specifically on SMEs recommended a new price comparison website be created for small businesses seeking funding.
But the competition watchdog was criticised by consumer groups and economists for not going far enough. Consumer group Which? suggested that the measures would not be enough. And industry experts warned that the measures for SMEs did nothing to address the fundamental issue of a lack of supply of funding for small businesses.
Cloud accounting platform FreeAgent, which is designed for use by freelancers, allows customers to import their latest bank transactions directly into their FreeAgent account to help make banking easier for microbusiness owners.
For more information on the bank feeds feature, or for any additional advice on cloud accounting please contact a member of the team today. Call: 0808 281 0303.