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Any one out there use Bankstream? Would you recommend?

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By chatman
29th Oct 2015 09:02

Bankstream looks really expensive

I don't see the benefit of Bankstream. Software such as Yodlee, Xero, ClearBooks and Kashflow can get bank downloads for a fraction of the cost of Bankstream.

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By kbottomley
29th Oct 2015 13:45

Difference between data feeds
Hi qhas & chatman, Kevin from Bankstream here. The big difference between Bankstream data feeds and those provided by Yodlee (and used by a number of accounting systems) is that our service operates with the authority of the banks. Other data feeds use unauthorised ‘screen scraping’ which uses the account holders’ internet banking credentials to log in and ‘scrape’ the data out without the bank’s authority. This generally contravenes internet banking terms & conditions and may leave the account holder exposed in the event of fraud. Data feeds from screen scraping are also prone to errors and omissions, whereas all Bankstream data is validated before it's sent to accountants. In addition to the data feed, Bankstream also provides software which automatically codes the transactions into most common accounting systems. Our prices are based around volume of usage, but most accountants pay around £6-8 per client, per month and often reduce the time taken on accounting jobs by 60-80%.

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Replying to NYB:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
29th Oct 2015 14:04

Independent evidence?

kbottomley wrote:
Other data feeds use unauthorised ‘screen scraping’ which uses the account holders’ internet banking credentials to log in and ‘scrape’ the data out without the bank’s authority. This generally contravenes internet banking terms & conditions and may leave the account holder exposed in the event of fraud. Data feeds from screen scraping are also prone to errors and omissions, whereas all Bankstream data is validated before it's sent to accountants.
Obviously you have a vested interest here. The named suppliers are also all major players in the market.

So, I think it is not unreasonable to ask if you can point to independent evidence verifying these claims.

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By Cloudcounter
29th Oct 2015 14:21

Sidestep

Kevin's reply neatly sidesteps the issue of feeds that are actually provided by the banks and not through Yodlee.  Xero, for example, has direct feeds from HSBC, Natwest, Santander and others

It is also possible for clients with internet banking to download transaction files for manual upload into the cloud software.  No third party involvement at all.

The facility to code transactions is of no use where you are using something like Xero to do the same thing.

Bankstream might be of use for those clients who don't have internet banking, although I'm not sure that it is usable if there is no internet banking.  For anything else it's a relatively expensive way of doing things and I could never make it work for us in value terms

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By kbottomley
29th Oct 2015 15:27

Hi Stepurhan,

To clarify, I was only talking about Yodlee bank feeds - as Cloudcounter has pointed out Xero do have direct bank feeds but they are the exception rather than the rule in terms of suppliers.

With regards to independent evidence about the different types of feeds, this blog provides a good summary:

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/group-thread/bank-feeds-you-know-theyre-dodgy-right

While the post may be old, and KashFlow’s position may have changed since it was bought by IRIS, it does discuss the different types of feeds and includes comments from other suppliers.

Cloudcounter – Bankstream works with or without Internet banking which is one of the benefits of bank-authorised data feeds.  

Our service is solely for accountants to help them efficiently process large volumes of data across many clients. We solve a different problem for accountants, and in a different way to the cloud. Our clients generally see good value very quickly and I’d be happy put you in touch with some of them if you’d like to PM me with your details. 

Kevin

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Replying to johnt27:
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By chatman
29th Oct 2015 15:40

That link is unhelpful

kbottomley wrote:
With regards to independent evidence about the different types of feeds, this blog provides a good summary:

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/group-thread/bank-feeds-you-know-theyre-dodgy-right

I'd hardly call it a summary, with 30 comments, although the headline is good if your intention is simply to promote Bankstream. It basically restates what people have said above, but adds that Yodlee is a PCI Level 1 Service Provider.

I don't really think this thread has shown that Bankstream has any benefit.

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Replying to johnt27:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
29th Oct 2015 16:17

A blog post? Seriously?

kbottomley wrote:
With regards to independent evidence about the different types of feeds, this blog provides a good summary:

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/group-thread/bank-feeds-you-know-theyre-dodgy-right

So your best example of independent evidence is a three year old blog post. I can't help noting a few problems with that.

Over three years old - So, even with some more recent responses, likely to not reflect the current positionA blog post - So not exactly evidence of anything. Doubly so since the opening post appears to be by someone in the business, so no more likely to be offering unbiased views than you. Same goes for many of the responses for similar reasons. Haven't followed most of the links, but none of the URLs scream independent evidence either.Undermines your point if anything - The other providers talk about easy ways to get bank information into their systems, some including direct feeds. Even with marginal extra work, still a cheaper option than Bankstream in my opinion.

So your post was, at best, misleading and at worse baseless scaremongering. It would appear you have also had to change your original post, having been called out on Xero, so you're not exactly helping Bankstream's credibility here.

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Replying to johnt27:
By garyturner
24th Nov 2015 09:05

A bit late, but..

kbottomley wrote:

Hi Stepurhan,

To clarify, I was only talking about Yodlee bank feeds - as Cloudcounter has pointed out Xero do have direct bank feeds but they are the exception rather than the rule in terms of suppliers.

With regards to independent evidence about the different types of feeds, this blog provides a good summary:

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/group-thread/bank-feeds-you-know-theyre-dodgy-right

While the post may be old, and KashFlow’s position may have changed since it was bought by IRIS, it does discuss the different types of feeds and includes comments from other suppliers.

Kevin

It may suit Kevin's worldview to rehash the three year old debates, but for the record Xero now has more direct bank feeds than any other vendor, including Bankstream.

HSBCNatWestRBSSantanderMetro BankSilicon Valley BankAnd, imminently, Barclays

Gary Turner
Managing Director, Xero
@garyturner

 

 

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By TimDunn2
29th Oct 2015 16:24

Bankstream

As our practice we do use bank stream for a number of clients and have had a good experience with the product.

The principle of an authorised bank feed is something we value. Both in terms of selling point to clients and in terms of our own risk management policies.

For the larger clients where there are a considerable number of bank transactions, we find that the Bankstream product allows us to process a large amount of  data in an efficient manner and I would not consider this an expensive approach.

We do also have other clients on Xero, and recognise that there is also value in the direct feeds that this product can provide.

There does seem to be more solutions being provided using Yodlee and they are undoubtedly a leading player in the market place.As long as clients understand how data is being extracted and agree with the approach then risk is being adequatley managed.  However, for us and our  larger clients the "authorised" access provided by Bankstream is important.

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Replying to richard thomas:
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By chatman
29th Oct 2015 16:54

Misleading Post

TimDunn2 wrote:
There does seem to be more solutions being provided using Yodlee and they are undoubtedly a leading player in the market place.As long as clients understand how data is being extracted and agree with the approach then risk is being adequatley managed.  However, for us and our  larger clients the "authorised" access provided by Bankstream is important.

Despite acknowledging the existence of direct feeds in the previous paragraph, this paragraph implies that Yodlee is the only alternative to Bankstream. Kevin tried to do the same thing and has been discredited.

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By ashfieldacc
29th Oct 2015 19:39

Bankstream - our "add on" app for bank data feeds

I run a Xero partner and Bankstream partner practice and use both packages to provide a secure and efficient service to our client base depending on their requirements.

I am uncomfortable with using a “live” data feed that is not a direct feed from the client’s bank and never recommend services such as Yodlee to my clients. In the instances when a direct bank data feed is not available then I find Bankstream offers a sound and secure alternative across their live feed , scan feed or file feed service. I do not see the cost of Bankstream as an issue as it is used when the alternative is unsecure or not available.

For those clients who have no requirement to upload their banking data into monthly subscription software we can analyse their income and expenditure on a cash basis within Bankstream. For these clients the cost of Bankstream is extremely competitive as it combines a bank data feed and effectively what would otherwise be a monthly software subscription into one charge. We also find that the time saving in preparing accounts for clients who have no accounting software platform by using a Bankstream provided bank data feed far outweighs any cost that is incurred making use of the Bankstream service.

When there is a live direct bank data feed available into the client’s software of choice and it provides the functionality that is required we recommend they use it.

Our experience currently is that not all clients want to change their software to obtain the benefit of a direct live bank feed. In these instances we find Bankstream provides us the solution to give these clients the benefits and functionality that can be gained from processing transactions from a direct bank data feed without them having to change their existing accountancy software package. We currently use Bankstream to automate bank data entry into both Sage 50 and TAS. It not only gives us the ability to batch upload data but it also enables us to pre-code transactions by memorising them within Bankstream. It is effectively the "add on" app for packages that can't provide this service to their users.

I think it is true to say that the goal posts are moving all the time currently with accounting software and how accounts data processing is carried out. Who is still around in a few years is anyone’s guess but currently I am finding that a mix of cloud accounting solutions, desktop accounting solutions with either backed up by a secure direct feed into the software or, when this is not available, using Bankstream to provide that functionality gives us the flexibility to offer the benefits of processing bank data electronically to all our client base and not just a few.

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By Eddie Murphy
30th Oct 2015 16:47

Bankstream

As a practice with primarily retail clients we have found Bankstream to be a good solution in many ways and certainly, as a company, very easy to deal with.  The implication in some of these comments could be construed as Bankstream somehow being disingenuous, that is not our experience in any way.  From day one they have been completely transparent in their charges and provided support above and beyond the call.  We do not have experience of alternative providers as the cost to benefit is such that we have not found better.

 

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By ashfieldacc
24th Nov 2015 12:58

Not everyone uses Xero or FreeAgent

I think it is true that Xero are gaining more direct bank data feeds than most currently, but the banks are being selective in who they provide direct feeds for. Why, for example do Barclays only currently provide FreeAgent with a direct feed ? For us Bankstream is a tool that can provide memorisation of bank data uploaded securely from paper statements, elecronic data file or direct bank data feed into all the popular accountancy packages. This is useful to us as a general practice because we do not have to stipulate that clients change to a specific package to get a direct bank feed into their accounting software and they do not have to choose a package that happens to be favoured by one bank over another. As mentioned in my previous post we do not endorse "psuedo" live feeds such as provided by Yodlee so currently my view is that Bankstream provides the best all round platform for bank data import. It accepts direct bank data feed, it captures and converts data from paper bank statements and PDF's and captures data from bank data file downloads. All capture sources can then be memorised withn Bankstream and uploaded into the client's software of choice. This has to make Bankstream the most versatile and safest way to capture bank data whilst the banks resist in providing data feeds as a standard offering to all that require them. Given the savings provided by electronic data capture over manual data entry whatever is used provides a good deal for the client. We therefore provide the opitions that are available and leave the client to choose if they want to spend a few pounds extra each month to stay using their bank and software of choice or make the move to another bank or another accounting software solution to acheive a potential few pounds a month overall saving to obtain a bank data feed and combined monthly accounting software subscription.

 

Mark Hill

Senior Partner

Ashfield Accountancy Service

 

 

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By chatman
24th Nov 2015 13:14

Nice use of paragraphs.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By ashfieldacc
24th Nov 2015 13:39

Content over Presentation

Chatman, why not comment on the thread as opposed to posting useless comments. If you would like it fully paragraphed send me your email address and I will send it to you in the format that will enable you to read it and digest the content.

mark @ashfield-accountancy.co.uk

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By Tim Vane
24th Nov 2015 14:14

Instead of offering to email everybody individually with correctly formatted versions of your posts, why not just post them correctly in the first place?

Seems like an odd way of doing it to me.

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By Yonder Dave
24th Nov 2015 14:51

There is an Edit button.

But I will have a look at Bankstream as it does appear to free up time for emails.

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By MissAccounting
24th Nov 2015 15:12

Seems odd that 3 or 4 "accountants" have appeared to leap to the defence of Bankstream. 2 of them have only posted in this topic and the third only appears to have ever posted about BankStream or NetPayroll (of which he ia a director of)

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By Whinger
26th Nov 2015 16:24

i noticed that too

MissAccounting wrote:
Seems odd that 3 or 4 "accountants" have appeared to leap to the defence of Bankstream. 2 of them have only posted in this topic and the third only appears to have ever posted about BankStream or NetPayroll (of which he ia a director of)
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By chatman
25th Nov 2015 08:40

Isn't Bankstream very expensive?

Does anyone know, or will Bankstream reveal, what Bankstream costs? All I can see on their web site is a case study / advert for Ashfield Accountancy Service with a lovely picture of Mark Hill, but I seem to remember it is very expensive.

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By AdShawBPR
26th Nov 2015 11:35

Not sure I dare post here...

This has turned into a rather unpleasant stream for some reason so not sure it's sensible to add to it.  I don't work for Bankstream but I have occasionally supported them on this forum and will again - they haven't asked me to.  I find it a great piece of software for the right client and it does a lot of the work in, literally, the blink of an eye.  I'm a sole practitioner and have some clients on there that I couldn't deal with if I didn't have it.  I use Xero for about 70% of my clients - which I also love - and Bankstream for most of the rest.  The time saving - which can be massive - far exceeds the cost of it so not something I'm concerned about.  It's not web-based which some will not like, but not all clients are interested in that and it does work extremely quickly.  It also has a great birds eye view of all clients so I can see up to what point every client is at in terms of both the data feeds and any coding still needing to be done.

I do wish the UK banks would get their act together and sort out their feeds.  I know many accountants have an issue with data held in the cloud and while I don't have a problem with this, I also don't feel confortable recommending Yodlee or any other screen scraping service to clients on the basis that this is not with the explicit authorisation of the banks.  If a client wants to use it that's fine but I do point out the difference - as well as the fact that Yodlee is a large, reputable organisation - and when they know this most seem to back away.

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By DexterDog
26th Nov 2015 11:53

Bank feeds main drawback

I use Bankstream and am generally very happy with it, works pretty well and the cost is relatively negligible - if you can't pass on a cost of £6-8/month to a client in return for doing their bookkeeping for them, then there's something wrong with your practice.

The main drawback is the restriction in bank feeds; here north of the border approximately 80-90% of our clients use RBS or Bank of Scotland.  RBS have a bank feed but Bank of Scotland don't.  Bankstream can deal with this if you send them scanned copies of the bank statements, they will process them and the result is just the same as the direct feed, but it is much more cumbersome.  If Bank of Scotland would get their act together then Bankstream (and Xero presumably) would be much more useful.

But if you just want to process accounts and clients don't need access to them, then Bankstream is a good solution.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By chatman
26th Nov 2015 14:28

Bankstream's Limited Bank Feeds

DexterDog wrote:
The main drawback is the restriction in bank feeds

That is quite funny because the big advantage we have been being told about Bankstream is that it copes with all banks

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By Lambdenman
26th Nov 2015 12:22

Bankstream

Has no one heard of AutoRec

Does the job.

 

 

 

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Replying to cfield:
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By chatman
26th Nov 2015 17:01

AutoRec

Lambdenman wrote:
Has no one heard of AutoRec

Isn't that for reconciliations?

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By AdShawBPR
27th Nov 2015 12:12

Use Autorec as a back up

I use Autorec too but only to get bundles of paper statements into Excel format for importing into Xero or Bankstream.  Another great time saver though I've never used it to do anything more than that.

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By chatman
27th Nov 2015 12:38

Paper Bank Statements

I use Statement Reader for getting paper statements into Excel. Very good and very cheap.

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