Sage partners up with MarketInvoice
Sage and peer-to-peer business lender MarketInvoice have launched a new partnership to help small-and-medium-sized businesses receive finance with “just a few clicks”.
The new partnership, which follows MarketInvoice teaming up with Xero and PwC last year, aims to raise alternative finance awareness among Sage users and will enable them to directly access funding from MarketInvoice investors through their accounting software.
MarketInvoice has built technology to use data from the software to speed up the application and trading process, meaning businesses using Sage 50 can now raise finance against their outstanding invoices almost instantly.
James Beard, head of business development for Sage UK’s start up and small business operations, said: “We know that savvy, growing SMEs are looking for different ways to manage their money so this is a great integration for us because our online and desktop accounting software helps businesses to track their finances and MarketInvoice are working hard to help hundreds of customers like ours to get greater access to cash flow.”
Anil Stocker, co-founder and chief executive of MarketInvoice added that the support of firms like Sage will be a catalyst for the growth of the industry.
“By bringing big data and intelligent finance together we can help businesses access funding in a tiny fraction of the time it takes to even meet your bank manager,” Stocker said.
On the role software companies and Big Four accounting firms have in MarketInvoice’s growth strategy, a spokesperson for the alternative lender told AccountingWEB the partnerships were largely an awareness play, plus the value of their due diligence.
“We see accountants as playing a vital role in the future of alternative finance - the Big Four are a great way for us to reach out to 'man-on-the-street' accountants through shared training and marketing. The software side is a great evolution of the product itself - bringing together smart data sources with data driven finance options makes a lot of sense to us,” the spokesperson said.
In terms of who’s next on their partnerships target list, the company said it has a number of ways of generating leads into its sales funnel, including PR at first, an outbound sales team, marketing, a network of existing clients who refer contacts, and its partnerships team. “We'll be looking to grow leads by increasing activity in all of those teams,” they said.
On the order of Xero being first to partner, followed by Sage, the MarketInvoice spokesperson said it was just a capacity issue at their end and they couldn't do everything at once.
MarketInvoice was also part of the ABF platform announced early last year. Rather than seeing this as a referral vehicle at the moment, the peer-to-peer finance provider said it’s really a body in waiting for the government's referrals policy to kick-in. “At which point we will want to be listed on any and all referral platforms,” they said.
On some of the misunderstandings about alternative finance, the MarketInvoice spokesperson said the key one was that it’s a product set for businesses that have been rejected by their bank, i.e. riskier lending.
“This is simply not the case,” they said. “Whilst we can help many firms that banks won't lend to, we want to be (and often are) the first port of call for businesses looking for finance. We believe our product is superior than traditional offerings - quicker, cheaper, more flexible and simpler,” the spokesperson said.