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Xero adds 55 UK bank data feeds

1st Dec 2010
Editor in Chief (interim) AccountingWEB
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AIA

Xero is to add capability to take data feeds from 55 different UK banks into its online accounting application.

Automatic bank data links are well established in Xero’s home country of New Zealand, and one has been operating for HSBC banking customers in the UK. Now, according to Xero UK managing director Gary Turner, Xero will have links with all the main UK banks, with the exception of Barclays, which will come on stream in January.

“We launched HSBC service in May last year and now have over 1,000 customers hooked up,” said Turner. “The response has been as positive as in our other territories. The biggest feedback we’ve had is from people not on HSBC asking for their feeds to be available on Xero. That’s given us the impetus and motivation to roll this out.”

The Xero bank feed service will be expanded in stages, starting with a first wave this week. There will be no extra charge, Turner said. “You can take in feeds from different business bank accounts and credit cards and connect up with Xero in minutes.”

Automated banking is part of the second wave of Cloud innovation, he argued. The first wave saw the elimination of multiple data sets and the ability to access accounts on the web, anytime and anywhere there was a web connection. That was the “kindergarten” wave, according to Turner.

“The next wave – integration of bank feeds – means doing things that were not as easy before,” he said.

Importing bank data has been available in accounting software for years. Pegasus, for example, introduced a bank feed facility for Opera in 1997 when Turner used to work there, but withdrew it for lack of interest.

Where the Xero facility differs from previous attempts is that the bank transactions are imported automatically into the software. Xero includes a rules-based bank reconciliation system that can pre-reconcile your cash before you log in. Using a smartphone, desktop PC or remote laptop, the user can see instantly what their cash situation is and run through a reconciliation by approving or disapproving the individual transactions in the bank rec.

“Customers are telling us they are completing a daily banking job in 15-20mins that used to take them 90mins. It saves them time and gives them visibility on where they are,” said Turner.

“If accountants are used to helping clients with manual paperwork, that multiples the productivity. They can save 20-30% on internal efficiencies for each client.”

Warming to the subject of Cloud innovation, Turner argued that automated bank feeds were a profound development for accounting software.

“We think this is the beginning of a big change in the industy,” he said. “It’s been a pretty tepid space for 15 years, but innovation is back. In next 2-3 years if you’re trying to be serious about having accounting solution and don’t have [bank] feeds, you won’t be at the race.”

Turner added that Xero’s financial performance reflected the “massive uptake” of Cloud accounting. “Our UK results for the first half of 2010 were three and a half times what they were in 2009 and our monthly billings are 4-5 times what they were six months ago.”

In contrast, he noted, Sage’s results for this week showed a 3% growth in UK revenues for the year to 30 September 2010.

Turner said that many of the quibbles raised in AccountingWEB.co.uk’s Cloud computing for accountants discussion group were not representative of the conversations taking place in the marketplace. “Small businesses are going at it great guns. They don’t have a CIO or an IT strategy. For the price of a cup of coffee every day, they’re buying Xero. And if it doesn’t work out, they can get out of it very easily. We see that coming out of our numbers. Xero is heading for 30,000 customers within four years. We’re happy with our growth.”

Cloud software is also paving the way for what he calls “the rise of micro and small business”. These companies are being empowered in ways that weren’t possible before because the technology was so expensive.

“I think that means medium-sized businesses will be challenged the most. The small guys will try more deployable technology and will see the benefits in automated billing, optimised customer service, better credit control and mobility. And the mid-market buyers will stand there for 2-3 years trying to get their heads around it.”

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Replies (31)

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By elansea
02nd Dec 2010 10:38

Cloud Computing

It still relies on rubbish broadband speeds and lack of bandwith. Until that comes right, Cloud computing is for the enthusiast (and Apple users who don't have access to proper software) only.

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By AdShawBPR
02nd Dec 2010 10:51

Broadband speeds no problem

I must say I have had no problems with broadband speeds but I guess that depends on where you are.  I'm in SW London and use Virgin broadband (which claims to be the fastest), but I've clients in Italy, Serbia, Cardiff, Cornwall, Kent and none of them have a problem with broadband speed.  In terms of time saved by not having to visit clients to see their live data, any speed is enough.  I think it's mainstream!

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By garyturner
02nd Dec 2010 10:58

Bank feeds explained

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By connect2field
02nd Dec 2010 11:06

Cloud Computing is for businesses looking to save time and money

@elansea Cloud Computing isn't just for enthusiast, so many businesses are taking advantage of the 'cloud' because it offers real benefits to their business.  The 'cloud' isn't something which is just fad it something that is going to change the businesses world. Look at Microsoft their whole business model is changing to work towards delivering software via the cloud.

Having 'proper software' as you call it will soon be a thing of the past... These days with broadband, high speed 3G available on your desktop, laptop, iPad, Iphone etc give business real reasons why they should take advantage of a 'cloud' solution.

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By paul.k2
02nd Dec 2010 11:20

What accountant will advise their clients to use a data aggregra

As I understand it, these 55 feeds rely on a data aggregation service. A bit like Eggs Money Manager. ie your client gives someone else access to their e-banking system for reporting only.

Ask your High Street bank how happy they are about this? I suspect they will tell your client they would be in breach of their Ts&Cs if they use an aggregator and there is a problem.

I know the aggregators will argue their systems are as secure as any and that the banks Ts&Cs will not stand up. They will also point out how common this is in other countries.

With one notable exception, the High Street banks are dragging their feet on this, but until someone tests this is court or the banks give an endorsement of these services, I can't see the typical small accountnacy practice recommending these services to their clients.

Would you agree?

www.kellysolutions.co.uk

 

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By PUREaccountants
02nd Dec 2010 11:23

Broadband Speed?

Interesting point. Having become an avid Xero user I am promoting it to every client I can in Suffolk. Despite BT's head of Research based here my broadband speed in the centre of Ipswich is a measly 600k (1mb on a good day). Yet I find that this has not stopped me utilising all that the cloud has to offer. I also use MyPaye for payroll and WorkflowMax is on trial for practice management.

I will point out though that I did get 4.5mb at one point which made the cloud offering considerably more appealing.

When out and about I use my iPad where I can get wifi and my iPhone with 3G. At no point has broadband speed been a problem.

Moving on to your Mac point, another benefit for the change is that in the not to distant future I can ditch my PC for a glossy 27" iMac.

Indeed broadband services need to improve considerably in the UK to be competitive with countries such as Korea (who I believe had 100mb connections) but at the moment it does not stop any of us using cloud services in general.

 

 

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By PUREaccountants
02nd Dec 2010 11:31

Aggregation Services

hmmm i'm sure there is plenty of valid points there, its just shame it feels like everyone is anti cloud? Or is it anti Xero?

As I mentioned i'm a complete cloud convert and love the convenience that can be afforded by these services. But surely if the banks are giving access to their/clients data they must be reasonably confident that the system works - or as well as it ever will.

Technology has finally reached a stage whereby, in my opinion, it is truly useful and not some geeky gadget, take my much loved flipboard app for iPad, news delivered in a format that I like, when I like, and from the sources I love. Surely that's a good thing, together with daily bank feeds for my clients. Real insight, everyday, no hassle!

Welcome to the cloud people - enjoy the ride!

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By paul.k2
02nd Dec 2010 11:48

You have mis-understood

I am an IT Consultant and I am not anti-cloud, I just don't buy everything the cloud vendors are saying.

The issue with this article for me is not that the solution or Xero is Cloud based, as I think it is the most appropriate way to provide this type of service. My problem is the use of aggregation services when the banks are not happy with them.

The aggregation services are partly a response to the lack of service from the High Street banks and also an enhancement to their offering, but they do not want to get involved and they have constructed their Ts&Cs to discourage it.

So my question is:

Which small practice is going to actively encourage their customers to sign up for aggregation services when the banks are seemingly against it? If a client subsequently suffers a loss and the bank refuses to re-imburse them because they used anaggregation service, might the accountant be laible for recommending it?

 

For me this is where "the rubber hits to road".

 

www.kellysolutions.co.uk

 

 

 

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By garyturner
02nd Dec 2010 11:49

A secure and proven method already widely adopted by the global

The new feed service Xero is using to enable these additional feeds (we've had in place individual feed service agreements with several banks for a number of years) globally serves more than 27 million end user accounts across 11,000 individual financial institutions every day. Mostly by virtue of the fact that it was originally pioneered and has been adopted to-date by 42 of the 50 largest US banks whom themselves take and embed the same feed service as part of their own end customer web services, including American Express, HSBC, and many others.

When evaluating and selecting our bank feed service, we were more than satisfied by the fact that if it's secure enough for many of the world's largest banks and financial institutions to embed inside their own web banking services and then encourage their own customers to use, then for the simplified feed service that Xero's bank reconciliation requires it was perfect.

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By AdShawBPR
02nd Dec 2010 13:09

Banks not serving customers again?

The funny thing is to date HSBC has been the only UK bank forward thinking enough to provide these feeds directly.  It's one reason I've been pushing my clients in their direction.  The others are in the dark ages and, as usual, not giving customers what they want.  Whatever the legal technicalities, I wonder if these fuddy duddy banks would ever have the cheek to make a legal challenge to this facility and get in the way of something that their customers have been asking for and have a business need for?

Bank Manager: "I might give you a loan.  But I want to see how your business goes over the next few months first."

Customer: "But I'm so busy getting new business I've little time to do management accounts for you.  Could you push my bank transactions straight into my accounts software to make it easier and quicker for me?

Bank Manager: "No! Just spend a bit less time getting new business and do it manually."

I have been using the HSBC feeds with great success to date and will recommend that my clients who do not bank with HSBC get these new feeds.  Bring it on!

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Paul Bulpitt profile image
By Paul Bulpitt
02nd Dec 2010 13:47

What do clients want?

Broadband speed (or ease of access) and data security are the usual drawbacks levelled against Cloud Applications. The reality is that ease of access and data security are exactly the reasons why cloud applications are so popular.

That said, regardless of what any of us on here say - our firm has not made the move to Cloud apps because of some stroke of genius foresight on my behalf - we're being driven in this direction by clients. This is now most definitely mainstream, not some niche fad for techies. Fortunately for us, we've been able to make the transition - we benefit, clients benefit - and now we are seeing more and more clients come to us because their existing accountant doesn't like/won't work with Xero. Now with the automated bank feeds, the question is no longer why Xero? but why on earth not Xero?

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By paul.k2
02nd Dec 2010 14:16

Why not Xero

Paul did you mean why not Cloud as opposed to why not Xero?

There is no reason why a client should not use Xero, as long as it is right for the client.

The country is awash with companies that use software packages that have been picked for them by their accountants. They do a great job for the accountant and a reasonable job for the client. I would prefer that accountants pick software that is great for their clients.

I think that sometimes accountants confuse their needs with those of the client.  I concede that in the start up stages or in a small business these might be the same.

Use Xero, Kashflow or any of the many others, but pick it for your client.

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Paul Bulpitt profile image
By Paul Bulpitt
02nd Dec 2010 14:34

Re. Why not Xero?

Paul - I just use Xero as an example of a Cloud app - and of course the bigger decision for a business moving to only/other Cloud apps is certainly a decision to be made carefully on a case by case basis. There are certianly some decidedly average cloud applications that would be well worth avoiding!

Re Xero, the point I was trying to make was that (a) businesses are discovering Xero for themselves and approaching us and (b) with the bank feeds, Xero is now 'right' for more and more businesses - to the point that for the vast majority of our clients, I would be hard pushed to offer any other accounting option. (There are certainly a few exceptions - but even those, when integrating with other applications such as WorkflowMax - are now coming to us requesting the move to Xero).

Of course, this is just my experience and my firm's client base. Happy to talk through our experiences if it's of interest.

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Duane Jackson
By DuaneJAckson
02nd Dec 2010 21:02

NOT approved by banks + more (much more, sorry!)

 @PUREAccountants “But surely if the banks are giving access to their/clients data they must be reasonably confident that the system works

 That’s the key to it – they (the banks) are NOT giving access. Phone your bank and ask them. Using this service is in breach of your T&Cs. Call Yodlee (the aggregator) or Xero and ask about indemnification. Yes, you’re indemnified by them for any losses as a result of giving your online banking credentials to a third party. But their liability is limited to however much you’ve paid them for the service. Not much help. More on this and other issues here.

We looked at using the same technology in KashFlow a year or so ago and decided against it for a number of reasons.

Not only  isn’t it approved by the banks, there’s a whole load of other issues. A big one is perceived security. From my understanding of how Yodlee store your online banking credentials, I’m happy that it’s secure. But I’m a techie, the vast majority of our users aren’t. It’s taken years for SME’s to get over the perceived security issues with the cloud generally, so we don’t want to raise that spectre again with a service like this.

We’d get asked awkward questions by customers and the only honest response would scare the crap out of them.

Another issue is how this technology works. It uses something called “screen scraping

Why isn’t Barclays available at the moment? According to Xero themselves on their blog: “Barclays, which are not yet available because they require some multi factor authentication (e.g. a second user password or ID) to access Internet Banking. Support for this is under development and we plan to release feeds for these additional banks early in 2011.

When banks make changes, Yodlee breaks. They then need to re-write their integration. This potentially makes the service unreliable. Our customers aren’t going to care that it’s a problem with a 3rd party supplier. They’re paying us for a service and rightfully expect it to work.

An interesting question would be “Was Barclays supported in the past via this aggregator? when did it stop working?”

As more banks introduce improved security, more of them will be unavailable for months whilst Yodlee re-write their code.

This level of service and security is perhaps acceptable in free consumer products like mint.com and the many other consumer products using it. It’s NOT acceptable in business grade applications. I'm not alone in this thinking - where are the other business apps using this service? Look at the comments on the Xero blog - many say only personal accounts are available from their bank, not business accounts. There are reasons for this.

I’m aware this whole comment could come across as sour grapes as Xero has a cool new feature that we don't. That’s not the case. Xero are doing some amazing things. Even given all of the above, comparing this level of bank feed to what Pegasus had in ’97 is like comparing an iPhone 4 to a Sony Walkman from the 80’s. 

But for all the reasons given above, I’m not willing to have this service made integral to KashFlow. Instead we are working with another company that is developing a service that IS approved by the banks and doesn’t have any of these problems. Unfortunately the banks in this country are so bloody slow that it’s still some way off.

Finally, re the very first comment on this article, the politest thing I can think to say about it is “incredibly naïve”

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By garyturner
02nd Dec 2010 23:45

You're always good value entertainment, Duane..
Duane, thanks for your perspective – I suspect you've been waiting to draft for some time. Congrats, you didn't disappoint.
 
Ever since we first announced the global expansion of our bank feeds service by partnering with Yodlee in January this year, http://blog.xero.com/2010/01/xero-and-yodlee/, we have explained that in order to get the benefit users would require to authorise Xero to access their bank accounts with the Yodlee service. It stands to reason that if users have to securely log into their online banking service in order to manually download statements for upload into Xero, or Kashflow for that matter, then an automated service will also require user authorisation for good reason.
 
Yodlee successfully automates this extraction process for more than 27 million accounts, with many thousands of new accounts being added each day. The vast majority of these account initiations are made by BANKS. We think that's good company to be in. Indeed, this authorisation step also holds true for the direct feeds we have forged with banks where Xero is also authorised by its customers to extract bank statement data on their behalf. In this respect, we have earned the trust of thousands of businesses who regard Xero as a trustworthy supplier. In fact, on top of that, as a publicly listed company we are also subject to a great deal more regulation, scrutiny and transparency than Kashflow is. The decisions about whom we partner with are therefore not taken lightly, and we carried out extensive due diligence on Yodlee.  
 
Why does an aggregation services like Yodlee exist and why are they so popular? The fact that most banks have not kept up with customer demand is regrettable in respect of enabling integration with other services, but I guess they've had other problems of late.
 
But as as some banks switch on to the fact that their small business customers want the benefits of better cashflow management that can only come when they connect their live bank data with their cashbooks and accounting apps, then we would be perfectly happy to enroll those banks, one by one, as direct feed providers and add their names to the list of banks we already partner with.
 
However, cloud accounting is a fast developing and nascent market, and we calculated that it's unlikely that the banks will agree a common standard for this kind of service provision for some time if ever. In large part due to the fact that many of them have opted for same alternative route Xero has just launched; Yodlee. And if banks themselves are comfortable using Yodlee to get around their own collective inability to agree the secure services platform their customers demand, then it's unlikely such a platform will emerge for quite some time, if at all.
 
The fact is that thousands of Xero customers already tell us that bank feeds are transformational. We hear that loud and clear, and if Kashflow had any bank feeds, you'd hear the same from your customers. Ultimately its about giving customers a choice and we're happy to let the market decide what they want, and who they want to provide them their accounting apps and services.
 
But no doubt we'll see more entertaining mud slinging from you out there. And there was me thinking the reason Kashflow wasn't going the Yodlee route was because it was too expensive. We live and learn.

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By paul.k2
03rd Dec 2010 09:39

I agree with you Paul

Paul I agree with what you are saying.

I just wanted to draw out the point that there are products other than Xero, even though Xero does appear to be a good choice for many.

Xero have a critical mass and are rapidly becomng the default Cloud application for small businesses. Accountants must start to shift their thinking, I would just hate to see the situation we have with another prominent piece of software, were accountants seem to propse a solution before they understand the problem.

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By paul.k2
03rd Dec 2010 10:19

I am inclined to agree with Duane

I am not interested in the commercial spat between Duane and Gary, but on balance I am inclined to agree with Duane. I don't know Duane or have any bias for his products, but I don't see his remarks as anything other than reasonable.

I have nothing against either Xero or Yodlee or what they are trying to do, although I do think their last marketing e-mail promoting 55 bank feeds did imply they had an arrangemnt with the banks. I don't recall the Yodlee feed being mentioned in the intial e-mail. If it was I apologise.

I have no doubt that the Yodlee system is secure and that it will work. Xero are not the only company using it.

However, as Duane has pointed out, when a client asks the hard question, is this okay with my bank, what do we say.

So far no one has answered my earlier questions about how willing peole are to recommend aggregation services to their customers. So allow me to put it another way.

I have approx 350 clients for whom I want a Cloud App with banks feeds for all of their banks accounts.

I am prepared to consider any solution, but on one condition. If the solution uses data aggregation services, that service must fully indemnify myself and my clients against any lossess should the banks successfully argue a breach of Ts&Cs due to the use of an aggregation service.

Until that happens I will wait for a bank approved solution.

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By mkcdavies
03rd Dec 2010 10:22

Clarification please

Paul - hats off to Xero for forging ahead, but can we get some clarity please?  (Without asking you to divulge "state secrets"!)

You say that "The vast majority of these account initiations are made by BANKS" - which infers that the banks are proactively supplying the data to Yodlee.  But when I signed up for Yodlee I had to supply them with my online banking credentials in order to gain access to my account transactions, which implies that they are using the so-called screen scaping approach.

Is the situation any different for a Xero user?  Do they store their credentials in Xero instead of Yodlee?  Or, even better, log on to their bank and initiate it from that side?

Regards, Mark

EDIT: Sorry, meant to start with @Gary

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Duane Jackson
By DuaneJAckson
03rd Dec 2010 11:10

Where's the mud?

Hi Gary,

I'm sorry you see my comments as "mud slinging", they weren't intended as such.

I've just re-read what I posted and don't see where the mud is. It's just my list of reasons why we're not implementing Yodlee.

I'm sure that if anything I've said is factually incorrect you'll point out the error and correct me rather than just dismiss it as "entertainment".

By all means attack my arguments if they're wrong, but there's really no need for personal digs at me or my company.

Duane

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By ringi
03rd Dec 2010 11:43

We need the banks to provide a 2nd read only login to each accou

The first step to sorting out this mess is for the banks to provide a 2nd login that is easy for a customer to setup that provides read only access to the on-line banking.

The next step is to bring back the automatic down loads of statements, banks like Nationwide used to provide a API that software could use to download a statement – Nationwide has now stopped doing this - a big step backwards.  (Expecting the accounting software to pretend to be a person using the website, is just asking for problems)

We then need a standard format for electronic statements, the most important item is having a “ID” for each transaction, so software can tell if the transaction has already been imported. A lot of the bank that let you download a statement as a CSV file, do not even include a transaction ID!
 

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By Jon Norris
03rd Dec 2010 11:53

I think it's slightly sad...

That this whole problem exists simply because the big banks can't keep up with customer demand. Perhaps somebody needs to form a lobby group to pester them into developing some kind of API! Although I fear they will always hide behind the excuse of security.

I'm on the fence about screen scraping - initially I was enthusiastic about the convenience but I was really put off when somebody pointed out to me that I'm giving up all the necessary credentials for somebody to move my money around. Obviously I know practically this would never happen, but it's a little unnerving.

I'm also interested to see how Yodlee deal with various UK banks introducing those little encryption key fobs.

EDIT: Well said, comment above mine!

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By garyturner
03rd Dec 2010 11:57

Its a free world

..and you are entitled to your opinion, Duane.

However, the context into you chose to leave your remarks is interesting - in essence you said in the comments of a news article about a close competitor of yours, that in your opinion their decision to partner with Yodlee to provide their customers automated bank feeds was "..NOT acceptable" - forgive me if I took that as less than complimentary about Xero, so please don't try to flip it. You've made your decision and so if you're truly happy that its the right one, then you should live with it and get on with providing your own customers with new innovations rather than so vigorously damning the good faith efforts a competitor as it tries to to help small businesses and in doing so achieve some success.

@Mark - Xero stores no secure data, our bank feed architecture simply passes encrypted data through the secure Yodlee service, and the authentication details are then anonymised by Yodlee, the encryption keys are stored inside the US Federal Reserve. At the insistence of the banks whom contractually embed the Yodlee service inside their own systems end customer systems, Yodlee is audited and monitored by the US authorities as if it was a bank.

The initiations I was referring to are new accounts attaching to the Yodlee service every day, such as American Express BILLPAY users and users of other banking services. We've written on our blog a number of times about Yodlee this year, there's loads of comments and explanations in there.

@Paul - this is just one aspect of our system, customers are free to choose whether to use automated bank feeds or not, some will be happy manually loading their statements and others will wait and see. In the first 24 hours this week we had several hundred customers complete successful feed activations, which is many more than we expected for day one.

I'm happy to provide an future update on how adoption goes, lessons learned and what our customers think.

 

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Rebecca Benneyworth profile image
By Rebecca Benneyworth
03rd Dec 2010 13:39

Comment from a mere mortal

At the moment with a bit of IT help from my OH I just suck data from bank (and business credit cards including Amex) into Excel and then feed into cloud software (Kashflow as it happens). It's a bit clunky but it saves masses of work. Have got one fairly IT literate client going with it and he loves it - he is transaction heavy and this saves a lot of time for him too. In my view cloud is the way forward and this works well enough for me and my clients for now.

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By brenmcl
03rd Dec 2010 14:34

Duane is right

At Clearbooks.co.uk we made the same assessment of Yodlee and after due diligence we decided against using them so I am surprised Xero came up with the opposite result. Like Kashflow, Clearbooks is working on another way which avoids the security problems present with Yodlee but the fact is that the current cloud solution of logging into your bank downloading a CSV and uploading it to your cloud provider each week is not that far off automated feeds. After all the reconciliation still needs doing either way anyway.

To add to this the extra security and compatibility of a CSV download solution means that our users prefer it once they are made aware of the risks. The key is it avoids giving another company access to your bank account details even if you believe as I do that Xero and Yodlee are trustworthy third parties it is still potentially breaking bank policy and could put your funds at risk, which is why we think it is just a horror story waiting to happen.

This could take the form of an online banking hack attack that took all someone's business bank funds out because security details were leaked and they couldn't get their money back because it was not a bank authorised service.

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By mkcdavies
03rd Dec 2010 16:51

What about customers of UK banks?

@Gary, you didn't answer my question.

You say that the service is encrypted using keys stored by the US Federal reserve and Yodlee is monitored just as if it were a bank.  Great, I guess that covers the US banks.  Does the US Federal Reserve store keys for UK banks too?

But I was asking how Yodlee gains authority from the customer to access the customer's bank transactions and supply them to Xero.  A typical Yodlee user in the UK has to store their online banking codes in Yodlee itself, then Yodlee logs on to the bank's online system on the customer's behalf.

Surely the same type of authentication is needed for Xero customers, which implies that:

(a) Xero stores these codes (but you say Xero stores no secure data, so scrub this option)

or (b) The customer stores them in Yodlee just like other Yodlee users,

or (c) They are never stored, so the customer enters them each time they want to download their bank transactions to Xero,

or (d) Something else that hasn't been explained.

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By atlascs
03rd Dec 2010 19:25

Interesting.

It's very interesting to see Duane and Gary talk so openly about reasons for and against Yodlee.

I think both Gary's and Duane's reasons for and against Yodlee are equally valid.  IMO people wishing to take advantage of cloud services are being severely disabled by incumbent organisations, banks in this case, who are slow to adopt a common standard and useless at keeping up with the pace of technological development.  Frankly a system such as Yodlee shouldn't have been created because it shouldn't need to exist.

I would love to see Duane, Gary et al to combine resources and focus their energies not on having to find hacks and debate them but instead lobby for these financial institutions to take what you and the rest of the industry are doing seriously.  This would of course take longer but would be for the benefit of all tech companies.  Ok I know it's an unrealistic but thought I'd bring some outsider perspective.  Keep up the good work in any event guys.

Finally @elansea - if you think lack of bandwidth is the primary opponent of cloud computing you're so very wrong.  If you wish I can forward you all sorts of data that will back up my claim that cloud based computing isn't just the way forward but is happening now, and if you're holding off using web based applications you're already falling behind your competitors.

Simon

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By garyturner
04th Dec 2010 11:16

Conflicting interest

@mkcdavies - I was gracious enough to attempt answer your first question, however you really ought to have been clearer that you too are an employee of a competitor to Xero and a such, there is an undisclosed conflict of interest.

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By mkcdavies
04th Dec 2010 19:39

Clearer?

@Gary - you and I have met face-to-face, we have participated in the same online forums many-a-time, my picture is attached to my comments, it is obvious who I am.  If you were at all unsure, you only had to click on my userid to check.

I did not mention my company's name out of courtesy to Xero.  I do not want to appear to be promoting our brand on the back of your initiative.

I am not aiming to de-rail your news story and, re-reading my comments, I can see nothing more than a golden opportunity for you to explain what a great and secure service you are providing to your UK customers.  Instead, you have tried to claim some kind of moral high ground on the basis of you being "gracious" and me needing to be "clearer".

The one thing that is not "clear" is how someone securely connects their bank to Xero via Yodlee.

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By garyturner
04th Dec 2010 22:01

Thanks

Mark - Of course I know who you are, that's not my point.

It was appropriate for me to highlight to casual readers of this thread the difference between when a general observer asks a question or makes a statement and when someone who has a conflicting interest does, neither of your comments disclosed your status up front. No high ground being sought here, it was a perfectly valid point for me to make.

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By mkcdavies
05th Dec 2010 09:14

It's in the Help Centre

A clear explanation of how this service works is in your Help Centre.  Good.

Hopefully the UK banks will take notice of your initiative and join in by either granting their approval of the Yodlee service or making their data available via a similar type of concept.

As I said at the beginning, hats off to Xero for taking the initiative.

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By ringi
05th Dec 2010 11:47

This has nothing to do with cloud services!

(A cloud accounting system is just accounting software hosted on a server that you access over the web.)

Regardless where your accounting software lives (desktop, web or server in your computer room) the issue is how do you get your transaction data from your bank into your software.

The web based accounting software just seems to be leading the desktop software on finding ways round the refusal of the UK banks to allow a bank customer access to their data in a sensible format with access method the accounting software can safely automate.

(We have gone backwards on this, a few years ago Microsoft Money could use an API provided by some of the UK bank to download statements. Now none of the UK banks even support direct statement downloads to Microsoft Money.
I think the accounting trade bodies need to talk to the UK banks about this, and be willing to get many clients to change banks as soon as a single UK bank see sense.)

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