SME banking first: Tide opens up accounting services for non-account holders

By Oliver Smith on Wednesday 24 November 2021

Digital Banking

Further blurring the lines between banking and accounting provider.

SME banking first: Tide opens up accounting services for non-account holders
Image source: Tide.

Tide is offering its accounting products, starting with invoicing, to non-account holders in an unusual move that will open up its service to customers of rival business banks.

While the launch of Tide Open Access is restricted to invoicing, the fintech says its expense management, payroll and credit services will all soon be available to any SMEs, not just those whose current account is with Tide.

CEO Oliver Prill said that while new businesses are open to choosing a digital banking challenger like Tide, for established companies such a move is often difficult or impossible.

“We reached the conclusion that the only material way competition can be introduced for the established businesses is to allow them to virtually switch to use the Tide platform without actually switching bank accounts.”

The creation of Tide Open Access is funded by the fintech’s BCR funding and formed one of its public pledges.

Surveys regularly report that around 13 per cent of businesses are considering switching banks within the next 12 months, yet business banking switching rates are only around 4 per cent.

Takeaways

It’s clear from Tide’s decision that this move will both open up its appeal to more SMEs while also putting the company in more direct competition with rival business software firms, from Expensify to Concur.

While Prill is keen to keep positioning Tide’s offering as that of a “business financial platform”—that can be connected to a host of other software providers, like Xero and Sage—as Tide’s feature set grows it is now increasingly competing with these providers.

Finally, exposing Tide’s services to non-account holders indicates that Tide could be shifting its business priorities away from owning the SME current account.

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