Barclays Bank has put its faith in Cloud computing with a support package for new business clients that includes FreeAgent’s online accounting system.
Where previously Barclays offered new clients a copy of Sage or QuickBooks though its ClearlyBookkeeping initiative, Barclays this week launched MyBusinessWorks, a package of Cloud-based services available for £12.50 a month that include:
- FreeAgent bookkeeping software
- LivePlan business plan program
- Legal Essentials - document templates and compliance news
- MozyPro data backup service
- MindLeaders training services
For FreeAgent founder and managing director Ed Molyneux, the announcement was a big validation for Cloud computing.
After going through a fairly extensive evaluation process, Molyneux said FreeAgent central won the deal on the strength of its UK-specific functionality, with features such as the built-in tax timeline (which shows a real-time total of outstanding tax liabilities), VAT modelling and online filing.
As the current holder of the Software Satisfaction Award for small company accounting, FreeAgent’s customer satisfaction numbers helped to convince Barclays, as did the developer’s relationship with IRIS.
Following its investment last year, IRIS Accountancy Practice Solutions managing director Phill Robinson sits on the FreeAgent board and was involved in the negotiations with Barclays.
“They weren’t entirely confident diving in with a relatively new supplier who didn’t have a readymade relationship with accountancy practices. We needed to deliver it in scale with buy-in from accountancy side as well,” Molyneux continued.
The customers who take up the Barclays offer may well be business that are also looking for an accountant, he added. “With customers coming from Barclays, from accountants and from the wild, we can meet them in the middle. It’s an interesting opportunity on both sides to meet those people on a common platform.”
Development work is under way to to enable FreeAgent to access Barclays’ and other bank account data through its Yodlee data integration partner. This should be available for MyBusinessWorks users by September, Molyneux said. To win the coveted contract, FreeAgent also had to carry through a project to make its chart of accounts more flexible and to deliver stock control functionality.