Small business platform Xero has partnered with Investec to give small businesses and their advisors access to financial data through a fully digital API-enabled bank feed in South Africa.

The new feed is live now and is available to Investec private banking clients in South Africa with a Xero account.

This fully digital bank feed means that small businesses and their accountants can import their banking transactions automatically and securely, directly from Investec into their Xero organisation. This bank feed uses a fully digital connection process.

It’s never been so important for businesses to have a clear view of their financial position so they can track cash flow closely and be ready for future disruption. This bank feed will help businesses and their accountants to easily reconcile statements; create smart, shareable reports and online invoices; and review cashflow from anywhere. This will reduce the time spent manually importing data.

Colin Timmis, Xero South Africa country manager, says: “With the impact of Covid and other economic uncertainties continuing, we all need to work together to support small businesses. This means making sure they have the digital tools they need to grow.

“New technologies – like API bank feeds – are helping to automate manual processes like tax filing and support small businesses to better track performance and plan for their future. This is freeing them up to focus on growth – which creates employment and a healthier economy for all.

“As the first accounting and small business platform in South Africa to introduce fully digital bank feeds earlier this year, we’re excited to continue this innovation with like minded organisations like Investec,” Timmis says.

Wayne Summers, head of open APIs at Investec Digital in South Africa, adds: “Our aim is to not only offer transactional convenience for our clients, but to become a full-fledged digital business enabler and financial partner in their business journey. The introduction of Xero is the next step in the bank’s evolving proposition.

“Whereas traditional banking focuses on product offerings, there has been a paradigm shift in the financial services sector. Digital banking that responds to a changing technology environment and user needs must put the client firmly at the centre of any new offering. Today any bank has to think about what is best for a client rather than what is best for the bank. This is the way the world is moving.”

Bank feeds are a great example of the transformational role open banking can play in helping South African small businesses to automate processes. Many businesses are already using tools enabled by open banking, but the potential is much greater. It can help businesses get paid faster, make payments more efficiently, and access the capital they need.

The new Investec feed has been built to Xero’s API. Xero launched its Bank Feeds API in 2018, allowing banks to respond to customer needs by nimbly building connections to Xero.

Small businesses and their accountants are able to connect the direct feed through their Xero account. The feed will be free of charge to all Investec clients with a Xero account.