Xero, Nedbank team up in API-banking deal

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 20 Jan 2021
Alan Shannon, Nedbank executive client engagement: professional and small-business banking.
Alan Shannon, Nedbank executive client engagement: professional and small-business banking.

Global small-business cloud accounting platform Xero has collaborated with Nedbank to provide SME clients with access to their financial data through a fully-digital API-enabled bank feed.

In what they call a “first for the banking sector” in SA, the direct feed enables small businesses and their advisors to have their banking transactions automatically imported directly and securely from their Nedbank business accounts into their Xero cloud accounting platform, eliminating the need for third-parties and reducing the time spent manually importing financial data.

It enables business clients to reconcile statements; create smart, shareable reports, online invoices and bank statements; and allows them to review their cash flow in real-time from anywhere.

According to the companies, this bank feed, which will go live in the next few weeks, is different from those already available in SA because it uses an online connection process, allowing clients to seamlessly connect their Nedbank accounts to Xero.

This will give SMEs an up-to-date view of their bank account cash flow, helping them better understand business performance so they can make informed business decisions during these critical times, notes Xero.

“It’s fair to say that accounting and creating financial records is not the core competence of many business owners, so using bank feeds as a consequence of frameworks like ‘open banking’, has become more prevalent, providing secure, customer consent-driven journeys which ultimately put ownership of data back into the customer's hands,” says Colin Timmis, Xero South Africa country manager.

“Now more than ever, we need to work together to support the small business community, which forms the backbone of our economy. Bank feeds are one of the greatest innovations in accounting, and their impact for small businesses in other markets has been incredible − reducing the amount of data entry and giving them better visibility and control over finances,” notes Timmis.

Xero says it has been at the forefront of bank feeds for the past decade, and the partnership with Nedbank builds on this.

Nedbank similarly has enabled the integration through its API Marketplace, which was launched in 2018 with a core set of offerings, including the Accounts API and OAuth security pattern (a security standard), which has been integral in the integration between Xero and Nedbank.

“As a bank for small business, we’re mindful that entrepreneurs are still dealing with one of the most challenging periods in our history as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Alan Shannon, Nedbank executive client engagement: professional and small-business banking.

“This called on us to support SMEs through various initiatives, including extending payment holidays as well as dispersing funds on behalf of the South African Future Trust and partnering with the government to deliver the COVID-19 SME loan scheme.”

Once the new feed is live, small businesses will be able to connect the direct feed through their Xero account.

The feed will be free of charge to all Nedbank small business customers with a Xero account.