Why Accountable relies on our APIs
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.”
Alexis Eggermont Co-founder
"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."
“Significantly better than others”
Another advantage: “Exceptionally there is a small or foreign bank that we cannot connect with, but in Belgium virtually every bank is covered by Ibanity.” This is different in Germany, where Accountable is now also active. “We are forced to use another, local API aggregator for part of that market. And that is when you notice how great the difference in quality is with Ibanity”, Alexis Eggermont underscores. “For me, Ibanity provides a real premium service: not necessarily the cheapest, but significantly better than others. For instance, we are not confronted in Belgium with the issues we currently have to deal with in Germany.”
And if any problems should occur, Ibanity stands out once again. “In addition to our permanent account manager, we can always count on their support staff. They are easily accessible and ever so available”, explains Alexis Eggermont. “Ibanity usually also clearly indicates what the problem is, where it is located and what we or the customer can do to solve it. Unfortunately, this is not the case with every API aggregator either.”
Outsourcing a significant part of the technical complexity behind its new financial service to Ibanity enables Accountable to focus on its core business: supporting self-employed people in managing their paperwork, taxes and accounting obligations. “We already have more than 10,000 users today in Belgium and Germany combined. The Belgian market remains the most important for the time being in terms of volume, but this is gradually changing. Germany will soon be our biggest market. We want to expand into other countries and eventually become a European player. A stable, reliable technology partner such as Ibanity and, by extension, Isabel, can only help us to that end,” concludes Alexis Eggermont.