What self-employed person doesn’t want a financial assistant? The question is clearly rhetorical! With its eponymous mobile app, the Belgian fintech Accountable now brings this assistant within reach of every self-employed person. And API aggregator Ibanity helps make this new service possible. “We might have been able to do it without Ibanity,” says Alexis Eggermont, co-founder of Accountable, “but with them it’s just much faster, easier and cheaper.”
In 2019, a new European directive for payments entered into force with PSD2, the successor to the Payment Services Directive I. Consumers and businesses can ever since give licensed third parties access to their payment accounts also. These parties can be banks, but also other players, such as Accountable. They can then develop new financial services based on the available account information, such as the balance, expenditure and receipts.
Mobile accounting via the app
Accountable is one such Account Information Service Provider (AISP). The young growth company registers its customers’ business expenses automatically, reconciles their payments, informs them when their invoices are paid and tells them how much cash is in their bank account. Accountable also takes into account future VAT obligations and social security contributions.
All you need to do to get started with Accountable is download the mobile app from an app store. “You can always simply scan in your proofs of payment and create your invoices, without linking them to your payments. In other words, you can limit the use of Accountable to your bookkeeping, without giving the app access to your accounts,” explains Alexis Eggermont. “But then, of course, you get a lot less out of it. An important advantage of linking your bank accounts to Accountable, for example, is that we can then remind you that a payment has been made for which you have not yet provided a receipt.”
Direct integration through single API
Not only is the consent of the account holders required in order to link a bank account to Accountable and to share account information with the app, but a technological translation has to be carried out. And that is where the Ibanity API aggregator comes in. As a subsidiary of the Belgian fintech Isabel Group, Ibanity focuses on the development of so what are known as APIs or application programming interfaces that give banks and other companies access to the payment data of customers.
In concrete terms, Ibanity bundles separate APIs from different banks together in XS2A: a single API that is user-friendly, fast, secure and always in line with the PSD regulations. Using this central API means in particular shorter development cycles and lower costs , confirms Alexis Eggermont. “Half of the fifteen or so employees we have at Accountable today are developers. But we would undoubtedly have needed additional developers to be able to interface with all the banks on our own and to carry out the complex, extensive translation to all those bank accounts ourselves. So by working with Ibanity, which manages all those APIs for us, we save work and money, but above all a lot of time. As part of Isabel Group, Ibanity has easy access to most banks, so development goes a lot faster for them too.”